Tuesday, 06 January 2009

Into Provo, not quite

The two most interesting creatures we met in these islands were firstly a cockroach looking crayfish in the Ambergris anchorage. Some months later we found out the creature is called a Slipper Lobster. The second were the massive coral heads outside of Ambergris island. Those I have no immediate desire to encounter again.
When we laid anchor outside the commercial bay in the Providenciales Island (Provo), we had to check in at customs in another bay across the hill from our bay. After parking the dinghy next to some dodgy characters, we started asking the same dodgy persons to give us directions to customs, a bar and a supermarket (in that order). The customs office was a ten minute walk, the bar not findable and a mini market a bit of a distance. At the dusty entrance of the busy Provo harbour, we were duly informed that children are not allowed into the premises. Whilst the children and I were coughing dirt and chatting with the security guard who was more interested in his mobile phone than the trucks that were on business at the harbour, Ingrid and Mads went to check us in. Luckily it took a much shorter period than anticipated.
We had been informed that the minimarket was along the newly paved road. The area was a bit odd, a mixture of tropical paradise mansions next to huge building sites and no life to speak of. The minimarket was as exactly as I expected it; a few selected items on the shelves with gravely expensive tags on them.
Central town was far away and we could only get there by taxi and the fee was purpotedly expensive too. I was getting tired of hearing that word but then I realised that I am just a pompous boat owner who is looking for cheap ways to do things. The people there had to live with those prices, they could not exactly opt out. I for one could always pack up and sail away; which we did as soon as the weather was right. We heard mention of barbecues and all sorts of get togethers for sailors and travellers but I must admit, Provo did not quite charm us. Possibly the only charming element of our anchorage was the hotel on top of the hill, which obviously was ostentatious in its days. After checking out with customs, we took the path that cuts right across the hotel. At first we were sure that it was uninhabited and then as we found ourselves on the main ground, beautiful aromas were wafting across the parched lawn. The whiff was that of food. To our amazement, the place was full of Asian people. On the clothes lines were colourful silk clothes which brightened this erstwhile grand hotel with its magnificent views. We later found out that the Asian people were part of the construction and marine industries. Such are the demands of capitalism and the chase for a better life for one's children: these will move you worlds away from that you love most.
The following day we left not having seen the town of Providenciales.

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