Fun facts about living in St. Kitts
Yesterday was our first month 'anniversary' of our arrival in St. Kitts. Here are some of our fun - and 'fun' - experiences.
- You can get more or less everything, but everything is twice the price. Bottled water, twice the price. Smoked salmon, twice the price. Car, twice the price. Canned vegetables, twice the price. This seems to be partly due to tariffs, partly due to costs of transportation, and partly because of the local monopolies.
Essentially all goods are imported by two companies, Horsfords and TDC. Tariffs or no tariffs - I'd guess the duopolies have something to do with the local prices.
- During the first 30 days we've been here, the electricity was out about two days consecutively. You could say we have about a 94% effectiveness at having electricity.
Apparently, these outages were the longest that people recall, and the reason was apparently that they were installing additional generators so that, er, there wouldn't be so many outages. :)
What's interesting is how many offices, hotels and restaurants had power throughout, even despite these day-long power outages. It looks like everyone who's smart has their own generator somewhere. The local Marriott has one. The Timothy Beach has one. The Leeward Cove has one. But our place, unfortunately, doesn't yet have one, at least not at this time, so I sought refuge at the Marriott to get some work done and to get Net access. Net access at the Marriott is $5 for 1 hour, $10 for 2 hours, and $20 for a day. That's USD, and the daily pass is a scam - it expires as soon as you log out.
- Besides the power outages, there are surges all the time that will fry anything electrical. The air conditioning breaks down here all the time. So does everything that's plugged into the electrical system. Don't plug in anything unless you have a surge protector.
Unfortunately, for some things like stoves, dishwashers and refrigerators, there is no choice. The people building our apartment say they're trying to source a solution that will surge protect the whole apartment. I hope they succeed, but I wouldn't entirely bet on it. Solutions take a while to materialize here. If at all.
- A large bottle of water at the cafe in the Marriott is $5.60, USD. Or, it's $5.00 at the hotel store.
- The Marriott has sushi from Tuesday to Saturday evenings. It's not spectacular; it's decent. But boy, do you have to wait. Last time we went there, it took 1 hour and 35 minutes between the time we walked into the place and the time our order actually arrived. Some Americans nearby were getting pissed after they had to wait just 45 minutes. :)
- Intellectual property doesn't count for much here. You can get counterfeit DVDs from stores in town. We recently moved into a different apartment where we have a temporary roommate, and right now he's watching Blood Diamond on DVD. He also bought Oceans 13 and Spiderman 3. We need to find that store and get our hands on Shrek 3. :)
We'd prefer to see it at the cinema; but there's only one cinema here, and that one is fairly seedy.
I'd prefer to get Shrek on an original DVD; but the industry insists on not making them available at a time when you actually want to see the movie, and then they insist on pricing them insanely.
- Not only are DVDs readily available, so are Cialis and Viagra! Yes. The cost is roughly $26 US a pill, and you don't need a prescription.
I tried Cialis, and it works. Man, it works. My wife can attest to that. :) But I took a whole 20 mg pill, and that had some undesired side effects. I had a headache that lasted some 24 hours, and I think it seriously disturbed my sleeping pattern. I'm definitely going to do it again at some point in the future, but I'm definitely not going to take the whole 20 mg. :)
I haven't yet tried Viagra. If anyone has any tips on dosage, let me know. The pill I have is 100 mg, but I think that's going to be way excessive. However, I have no idea whether I should split it up in 1/4 or 1/2.
On the one hand, I'm 26, not 60, so I probably don't need the dosage for old geezers. On the other hand, I don't want to waste a quarter of the pill and not have anything to gain from it. So, if you have the experience, post a comment and let me know. :)