Caribbean, Bali or one of the tiny islands in Philippines – you wake up and see beautiful sandy beach with palms and perfect turquoise water. Everyday you eat fresh tropical fruits and drink colorful cocktails. Who wouldn’t want that?
Doesn’t it sound like living in a dream?
Well, I’m the last one to discourage you and say it is not that nice at all, but I think it’s good to realize that there are good and bad sides. There are ups and downs and sometimes there are the days when you just want to buy first available ticket and get back ‘home’ immediately.
Are you ready to find out about truth of living the perfect life on a beautiful tropical island?
Here are few things you need to put up with.
‘What? really?.. Isn’t it one of the main reasons why people move from north and settle in beautiful sunny tropics?’. Yes! Of course it is, but not every day looks like the picture from the tour-operators’ catalog. On my first couple of days in Bali I was wondering why they have such deep ditches all around. And then I found out – when it rains it does rain properly. It is like someone poured whole bucket of water on your head, and after a minute it does not make sense to run and hide from the water, because even your underwear is wet. During the rainy season it rains every single day and it is really difficult to dry your clothes properly because of the humidity. Good thing is that it is still warm even though it rains, but to be honest you get used to the temperature surprisingly quickly. After a while you wear a jumper and long trousers whenever the temperature is getting close to 25°C / 77 F.
DIFFERENT MENTALITY and CULTURAL DIFFERENCES
This can be very exciting on the beginning and it can get quite annoying after a while. It is so interesting to travel to a new destination and learn the ways and habits of local community. Isn’t traveling all about it in the first place? Yes, but.. there is always a ‘but’. After the trill and excitement of a new place wears off a little you get a bit annoyed that you have to wait in a line to the check out forever and the cashiers take their time and happily chit-chat with each other while you just want to pay and go. You also get tired of answering the same questions over and over again.. where do you go now, where do you live, where did you come from, why did you come here, what you do here.. oh, stop it already! Oh, and how do you like it here? AAAaaaa.. In most places local people are very curious and they do not have much new things going on in their everyday life, so you naturally become sort of entertainment to them. I don’t mind chatting and answering some questions, but imagine doing it everyday for a week, month… every time you go somewhere where they don’t know you yet..
BEING TREATED AS A TOURIST
This is one of those things that annoys me the most. Imagine explaining everyday, that you didn’t just come here for holidays and that you live and work here -‘oh, really?’ -‘yes, really!’, and you’re not gonna pay ridiculously high price for something you actually know is quite cheap. ‘I’m no tourist. Give me a normal price, man!’ – oh, if I got a penny each time I had to repeat that sentence.. $$$ The taxi drivers are ones of the worst for that and usually the hardest to argue with. Almost!every!single!day!
OMG, standing in the queue in a bank for forty (40!!!) minutes just to cash a cheque What’s a cheque by the way? I don’t even remember when was the last time I went to a bank in Europe. What for? Everything is digital now, right? Well, not everywhere. “Why don’t you get an account then?” – very good question. One and a half hour in the queue to the bloody counter where you can set up an account and 20 people before you waiting for the same. Not a single thing changed during this time and you already invented million ways how to set this place on fire and walk away like Antonio Banderas in Desperados with huge explosion behind your back.
Don’t even get me started on the government offices like Immigration Office for instance. This is perfectly normal that they only had your passport for seven weeks and they still did not have a time to make a photocopy of it. Why don’t you just sit patiently for an hour or so and wait for them to decide that they finally do not need it anymore? Welcome to Jamaica!
UNWANTED VISITORS IN YOUR HOUSE
Have you ever seen a spider the size of a clenched mans fist? No, not in a terrarium in the Zoo, and not on National Geographic channel – in your own bathroom lurking in the corner of the shower and just waiting for you to get inside and get an heart attack and die on the spot. Well, I did not get a heart attack, but I surely dashed out of the bathroom and out of the house in the blink of an eye (fortunately wearing clothes) and I refused to come back inside for a long while. Yes, I was sitting on the porch with my knees under my chin for couple of hours. Only after few drinks I calmed down and managed to go back home. Well, I do admit I have a problem with spiders.. yes. Other creatures do not bother me that much. Anyway, whatever it is that scares the shit out of you: cockroaches, spiders, lizards or just innocent frogs (yes, I do know the person that is afraid of them) you are sure to find them one day in your house when you live in tropics. And believe me, they will be big, mean and they will be very reluctant to leave your premises. Ultimately, they showed up to creep up on you and make your heart jump out of your chest, didn’t they?
Please do not think that I’m just a moany witch that doesn’t appreciate what she has. I do actually know that living on a tropical island, especially when you do what you love as your occupation is pretty awesome 🙂 I just think it is good to realize that it is not only romantic sunsets on the beach, drinking Piña Colada and working on you sun tan – this is called vacation. When you start to live somewhere long-term you just notice what is normally hidden to people spending two weeks in all-inclusive hotels.
Do you have any experiences about living abroad in exotic places? I would love to hear about your stories! Please share them in comments.