One thing you adapt to fast when you live on an island in the tropics is the reality that there is no such thing as Amazon two-day delivery. At least not on my rock.
So when you need something that can’t be obtained locally, you face a bit of a conundrum. You can order via Amazon, but it will take a minimum of two weeks to get to you. Fine if what you desire is not an immediate necessity. And of course, even if you have the patience of a saint and are willing to wait it out (and pay duty and extra shipping fees), there are those things you can’t get on Amazon. Like car parts.
And when you drive a vehicle that isn’t sold on your rock, the likelihood of anyone here having parts readily available diminishes substantially. So even after a diligent search, when your mechanic cannot locate a critical component – one that, without which, your formerly beloved and beat-up 4×4 is reduced to an object d’art in your driveway – you need to go to Plan B. Immediately.
Plan B can be wonderfully efficient. It can also be exceptionally frustrating. Either way, it is one that every islander is familiar with and has benefitted from (or been tormented by) at least once.
So what is Plan B, exactly?
It involves finding someone who is (a) traveling to the island in the coming days and, more importantly, (b) willing to bring the item you need. Plan B can work beautifully well and be a model of efficiency and satisfaction, allowing islanders to pour an umbrella drink and marvel at their luck. It can also be a disastrous nightmare, wherein said umbrella drink is still poured (because alcohol is a MUST) but is immediately followed by an outburst of cussing followed by a period of mild depression.
The mere fact that you’re reading this blog should indicate which version of Plan B I’m currently experiencing.
My 4×4 needs some sort of sensor. Which one is unimportant to my non-mechanic self. The only thing I know is that without said sensor, my vehicle (a/k/a my ticket to freedom) is permanently parked and gathering dust. And such a sensor is unavailable anywhere within my tiny kingdom in the sun.
Enter my mechanic (who is a lovely gentleman, by the way). He had a friend coming who agreed to bring the part a week ago. Wonderful! My jeep would be back in action just a few days after breaking down. What luck!
Sadly, said friend had a family emergency and cancelled her trip. She passed along my critical part to another friend who was scheduled to arrive five days later. Okay, not nearly as joyful, but at least my jeep would be fixed by the next weekend. I can live one week without a car (thankfully I work from home).
Sadly, friend #2 had travel issues and had to reschedule his flight, too. So…my part is somewhere in the Netherlands, my jeep is still mocking me from its driveway location, and I’m still under house arrest. Granted, there are worse places to be stuck…at least I have a full liquor cabinet, a pool and cute puppies to keep me company.
And, of course, trying to remain optimistic, I will watch the KLM plane land tonight and pray that my part is somewhere within its metal confines. After all, if you aren’t a “glass half full” kind of gal on a rock, things can get pretty icky pretty quickly.
And hey, it’s Friday and it’s regatta and I’ve got a new dress to wear to dinner tonight. Although, since we’re going on the scooter, I probably won’t bother styling my hair.
I’m a writer living on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. Originally from the U.S., I followed my heart to the tropics in 2011 at the wizened age of 43. Since then, I’ve been blogging to inspire and entertain. I love kitesurfing, a good gin & tonic, and corgis.
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