North Caicos, Working Oversea

MY DAILY LIFE IN NORTH CAICOS

Today I came home earlier than usual. Around 4 pm.

**Old stories while living and working in the Turks and Caicos Islands**

I had to take a staff boat from the hotel to North Caicos. After the bag checked, I waited at the dock. The next boat staff departure schedule was an hour away. If I missed the boat I had to wait for the next boat departure. Often the boat captain kind enough to take me across.

I had two choices if I went to work or came home from work outside working hours, walking or waiting for pick-up.

 

Walking home from work

The day was still bright, I chose to go home by foot.

After the staff boat reached the Sandy Point dock, I walked to the apartment for about 45 minutes. Actually walked through the main road was faster but because the road deserted and damaged, I chose a detour.

I never thought before that I would work in the Caribbean. I never heard of a country with the name of Turks and Caicos Islands before. Of course, I know Bahamas, Jamaica, Cuba, and others.

I came to the country in the middle of nowhere. Many said Turks and Caicos entered the tourism radar 20 years ago.

The Turks and Caicos Islands are small tropical islands in the southern part of the Bahamas. One short direct flight from several cities in the United States.

The Turks and Caicos Islands or TCI are British Foreign Territories consisting of Caicos Islands (composed of large islands) and Turks Islands (composed of smaller islands).

 

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Conch shells

 

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Turks Islands separate from Caicos Islands by Turks Island Passage, comprising the Grand Turks and Salt Cay.

Caicos Islands consist of Middle Caicos (the largest island), Providenciales (most populous island), North Caicos, South Caicos, Parrot Cay, East Caicos and West Caicos (part of Providenciales District).

Turks and Caicos have luxury resorts with the most beautiful beaches in the world. Lots of amazing water sports in a beautiful maritime environment. The third largest coral reef in the world with unequaled diving sports.

I love this country with all its beauty and peace. Not many people come to this country.

I live in North Caicos, precisely at Sandy Point area. Even quieter than the Providenciales.

North Caicos is the second largest island in the Turks and Caicos Islands after Middle Caicos. The island is less than an hour away by boat from Providenciales. Wildlife colonies such as pink flamingos are residents of North Caicos. Ideal place for explorers and nature lovers.

Less developed than Providenciales. It offers beautiful and crystal clear beaches for swimming and snorkeling.

 

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Public roads (apart from the road in front of my apartment) were nice and smooth. Easy for people who not familiar with North Caicos to venture to the end of North Caicos or up to Middle Caicos.

My friends when they had time and tired of staying home, they biked to Kew or explored Bottle Creek. Shop ing or having lunch at one of the fish shack in Bottle Creek.

I was not used to the quiet atmosphere.

The silent North Caicos made me uncomfortable during the first year.

Quiet. No cars passed by. Even if there were cars, only one or two pass for 45 minutes I walked home. Often there were good people offering a ride. It depended on my circumstances and my mood that day. Sometimes I accepted their offer or refused.

I refused because I wanted to walk or did not know the driver.

When I lived in North Caicos it was relatively safe. No crime. But I had to stay vigilant. I politely refused and said that I wanted to exercise, eliminated fatigue after many hours of work.

Since I took over the job of the manager at Guest Service, my duties multiplied. I worked more in front of the computer. If I did not send an email or order goods, I met with the guests or gave directions to other staff. Not to mention helping the front desk department, the recreation department and many other jobs.

 

Staying in North Caicos is like coming home

Away from a never-ending work environment. It was a relief to reach the apartment. Took off shoes, had tea or did some chores.

First time staying in North Caicos, I did not know what to do when I was at the apartment.

Although I was a homebody while living in Bali, at least I heard the sound of vehicles on the street, neighbors talked, roommates watched tv or conversed, food vendors passed by and more.

I was totally isolated in North Caicos.

The nearest neighbor was a big house I never saw the residents. Another house was 500 meters away. The rest was shrubs, short trees, and mangrove forests.

 

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White sandy beaches all over the island.

 

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No sound.

Quiet. Friends were still working or resting after a day’s work.

The only voice was the sound of crows. Occasionally, the sound of cars passed through the damaged road.

The first time I felt strange and horrified at seeing so many crows. I never saw crows in a group. They made a loud noise, flew low and then perched on a branch. Then flew in the other direction.

But last year before I left Turks and Caicos Island, I rarely heard this voice again.

Perhaps more and more settlements. Or because of the environment affected by changes in climate and people’s lives that do not heed preservation of nature and surrounding areas.

 

First time ride behind the pickup truck

With my coworkers. Ha ha ha…

The first time doing it I felt weird.

No odd things for my friends from Bali (most Indonesia friends came from Bali). Especially those who live in the countryside, when they have to go to the temple or work in the fields. More practical for those who go to some places with lots of stuff.

 

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They casually sat on the floor of the truck and enjoyed a short drive. Then jumped down. I did not know how to go up and down. Until a friend was impatient, he pulled my hand and pushed me to sit on the floor of the truck when suddenly the pickup truck moved. As a result, my butt and hands bruised.

The Turks and Caicos Islands taught me to be more independent and out of my comfort zone.

If I worked during the day, I chose to wait for the pick-up. There some of my friends who had the same working shift. We waited for the bus under the trees near the main road. My friends created a makeshift bench by collecting stones and put wood on top of it for a temporary bus stop.

Did not forget our natural friends, sand flies and mosquitoes, faithfully accompany us. Every time my friends stepped out of their apartment, they smelled of mosquito repellent spray.

I did not like the smell. So I wore a jacket, trousers and a hat. A wonder of wonder, when I changed into uniform, sometimes I found dead mosquitoes in my clothes. Where did they come from?.

 

Hunting for food

Yupe, hunting for food.

I found how strange this term when a friend said he would hunt for dinner.

Apparently, he wanted to go fishing at sea.

He said as opened one of the closet doors and pulled out a bucket full of fishing poles. Different types of fishing rods, tackle, and baits.

Two to three hours later (if lucky) he came with the fish. He and some friends immediately cut the fish and cooked. If caught more, he stored in the freezer. Dinner with Balinese spicy soup. Delicious.

 

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It’s common for them to come home from work straight away picked up fishing gear and left. In addition to therapy after working all day, eating fish was interlude after every day to eat in the cafeteria.

They did not only caught fish but also other marine inhabitants. Stingrays, bonefish (fish has more bones than meat), squid, barracuda (many friends are afraid to eat because they suspected poisonous fish) and nurse shark.

Of course, sharks and barracudas released back into the sea. Occasionally my friends, if they wanted, brought home stingrays and bonefish. There were some friends who good at cooking this type of fish.

One time I joined them. I could only last less than ten minutes. Because the mosquitoes were really unforgiving. Friends who were fanatical with their hobbies did not bother with mosquito bites. They armed themselves with mosquito sprays and sealed their bodies with clothes except for hands and feet.

When the crab season arrives, my friends got out at night. Armed with plastic buckets and flashlights, they walked around the Sandy Point area. If they were lucky, they could come home with a bucket of crab.

Then they kept it in a cage or cardboard box for a few days while being fed. Waiting for a nice opportunity for a crab feast.

Every time I ate crabs, my whole body would be itchy. Especially face. I did not care. Every time they cooked I always ate with gusto.

Another ridiculous incident during the crab season. When I worked in the office at night, a friend left a cardboard box behind my desk. Then soon I heard a voice like someone scratching.

Wow … I ran out of the office and asked for help from a friend who was working. When he saw the box he laughed out loud.

“Don’t worry, just crabs, they want to get out”.

“Why do they want them out? Ohhh nooo…They can’t breathe !!” I panicked

“It’s okay, they can breathe. Look at the many holes in the box.” Pointing to the hole around the box.

“Please move it to another room,” I begged him.

“No problem”. He said, holding up the box.

Huh !!!

 

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North Caicos Island is often called the ‘Garden Island’ of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Due to its place, the island has more year-round rainfall than any other island. And also the rich soil layers, More fertile and the trees bear much fruit than other islands.

Therefore we also enjoyed local products here like mango, papaya, banana and even mangosteen.

We bought fresh produce from supermarkets or picked from the land around our settlement.

So besides enjoying food from the sea, we also ate vegetables such as lawar papaya (salad of chopped young papaya), jukut ares (soup from young banana tree trunks) and much more.

All Balinese cuisine. Delicious and I wanted to keep eating.

 

 

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