Does the water go all the way around the island? - by Elbert Greer

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 11, No. 12            March 22, 2001

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The thought of how wonderful it would be to quit the rat race someday, somehow, and go off to live on a tropical island occurs to many of us. To flee, once and for all the hurrying crowds-to live on an island where it's always warm, the air is fresh, the sky is clear and the pace is slow-is something we long to try. An impossible dream, we know, but still worth pondering now and again. Well, some of us have managed to do it. We've chosen an island in the tropics and we're making a living from those who come to visit our island paradise on their vacation. We should love these vacationers as they march through the gift shops, restaurants and bars, leaving a trail of green dollars, but somehow the intrusion of their numbers and the repetitiveness of their questions seems to annoy, after a time, ex-patriots in paradise. 

    So in an effort to help them be better visitors to our island, I've developed a  list-with  the help of my expatriate friends and fellow islanders-of the 10 most annoying questions asked by a tourist, all in the interest of preserving peace, you understand? Not at all unappreciative of the hands that feed us.

    So when you pull up to a bar stool or throw your towel on a beach chair with one or more of John Grisham's books, to discover the person next to you lives here, try your best, hard as it may be, not to ask:

* Does it get hot in the summertime?

* Will Customs let me take back a bottle of the turquoise water?

* Isn't the Blue Hole just a big Blue Hole?

* Do you live here all year long?

* Are there any sharks?

* Does it rain a lot in the rainy season?

* Does the water go all the way around the island?

* Where do the fish sleep at night?

* Is that the barrier reef?

* Why do they park all the sailboats pointing in the same direction?     

    I recently docked my boat at the Palapa Bar in Tres Cocos on my way home from work. The bar was cooking barbecue and serving my favorite libation. Working behind the bar and slapping ribs down on tables around the palapa, clad in a white chef's apron was a large-breasted woman, putting up with over ten tourists and answering their questions with the rapid fire system-

    To the tourist query, "Does the water go all the way around the island?" she would reply, "number 3," serve their drink and move quickly onto the next tourist who would ask, "Does it rain a lot in the rainy season?" This brown-skinned voluptuous woman would respond, "number 3," serve their order and dart quickly to check the ribs on the grill.

    I guessed right away somewhere there must be a list and began to look around. Big and bold over the bar was my confirmation.  She had it all under control with a unique system- three concise retorts. I realized the value of this system and decided to pass it along to you with the hope that harmony will prevail, as the season rolls on, so we may all operate more efficiently with our service to the tourist.  Here's the list: 1 - No, 2 - It makes you wonder, doesn't it? and 3 - Yes.
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