One day this week, I didn't get a chance to pack my lunch. I know that a lot of the factory workers go someplace to pick up food, so I asked about it. Apparently, there are about 3 places up the block from the factory where they go. One of them, Roy's, was most highly recommended. Roy's is not easy to find unless you know exactly what you're looking for. It is a home bathroom-sized room in a larger pink building. The only sign out front is a write-on board titled “Menu” that didn't have anything written on it the day I went. There was a picnic table or two out front, but no other seating, as Roy's is aimed at people working at the nearby factories who are all coming for takeout. The day I went, there was a painting crew covered in pain sitting on the tables. I ignored their shouts of how much they loved me, and went in. (Side note- please don't get the impression that all island guys say obnoxious things whenever a woman walks by. There are most certainly many who do, but most of the guys I've met aren't like that.) Inside is a small buffet counter. They had dumplings, sweet potatoes, pasta, some meats, and a couple kinds of rice. I asked for something vegetarian and was handed a large take-out container with a small section of salad, a small section of mashed sweet potatoes with some other veggies, and a large section of vegetable pasta. I think at Wegman's, my meal would have been about $15. At Roy's it was 10 EC, which is under $4. For comparison, a regular jar of peanut butter on St. Kitts is about 12-20 EC. For the amount of food I got, Roy's was a great deal. It wasn't bad, either. It most certainly wasn't gourmet, but it was tasty and homey. The quality was about the same as if I had packed my own lunch (although the quantity was more). I would go there again.
The ladies at work are very honest and straightforward. Apparently my pants were a little tight in some places today, and they had a whole conversation about my weight. Thanks guys. While most people in the US would be offended, and I think that conversation would only be had by people wanting to offend, I get the impression that the topic is standard acceptable fare here, at least based on how they talk with/about each other. The benefit of having this conversation was that it led one of the ladies to offer to take me out on Friday night. Here, they call it “liming.” She told me to “get dressed up all sexy” and meet her at Port Zante. We started at Mapau, which is a casino where Friday night is Bingo night. Unlike in the US, Bingo here is played by people of all ages. I hadn't played bingo, except in elementary school, so I was surprised at how much concentration and focus it took. For each round, we had 6 boards, and had to dot in the called numbers in a certain pattern. It took less effort to dot all of the numbers, even if they were irrelevant, but then that made the pattern harder to identify. Just marking the relevant numbers took more up-front concentration, but then it was easy to see when you were getting close to winning. Neither of us won anything, but it was fun. Next stop, was the casino downstairs, which had slot machines. The machines only take dollars, not EC, but there is a counter where you can trade if you don't have USD. Apparently, you are entitled to a free drink if you're playing slots. My friend was going through her money, looking for a waitress to bring her a drink, but only the casino security and mechanic people were around for the longest time. Finally, she got her drink (something pineappley) and got me a drink. Then, she started winning. At one point, she was up $20, and decided to cash out. Of course, the machine ran out of tokens in the middle of the cash out. We hit the service button and waited. Now, there were waitresses everywhere, but the service guys were nowhere to be found. Eventually one came and took care of the machine for her and we finished at the casino. We wandered over to Fat Tuesday, an outdoor bar, also in Port Zante. That night was post-finals, or spring break, or something because they were throwing a big party for the college students. They had a large tent up and a DJ was playing hits from the USA. They weren't current hits, and they weren't good dance music. They were mostly the songs that might get played intermittently at a wedding or bar-mitzvah so that people can get on the floor and sing together because everybody knows all of the words. Despite the music choice, the students were bopping away. A couple who looked like they had taken ballroom dancing lessons together were even pulling lift moves. It made us a little nervous to see a drunk guy lifting a drunk girl over his head, but hey, it's a college party. The locals (and I) were standing at the edge, watching. A student came to invite us all to dance, but I think that it really was a party just for the college students. When we were ready to dance, we headed over to Cloud 9. Cloud 9 is a nightclub upstairs that I've passed in the day and never noticed before. They have several different rooms with several different Caribbean types of music. We went to a few different rooms and ran into more people from work. Ultimately, we ended up spending most of the night in the Reggae room. Overall I had a good time, but there was a funny incident. I was tapped on the arm buy a guy who then immediately left. I'm almost always willing to dance with anybody for one song, so when he came back and actually asked to dance, I danced with him. Several songs later, after having thanked him and headed back to dance with my friend, I found myself still dancing with him as he just wasn't getting the message. The whole time, he had been trying to talk with me, which was humorous on it's own. I couldn't really hear over the music, it was difficult to figure out his accent, and despite my constant reply of “what?” to everything he said, he still kept trying. I'm pretty sure he was telling me that his family is from St. Maarten and that he owns land. I'm not quite sure why he was telling me that, maybe that's a pickup line in St. Kitts. In any case, my friend and I left the room for a while. When we came back into the reggae room, he tried to start dancing with me again, but I didn't even let him hold my hand because we were done. So, he sent his friend over to ask me. My friend saw that, and advised me not to dance with him to avoid a repeat situation, so I didn't. He didn't take it well. He put his middle finger up at my friend, which I promptly reached over and put down. How rude! Later, a guy with dreads who had a stereotypical odor to him came over to dance, and I danced with him for a while. Unlike the other guys,he was very polite, left some space, and the only time he talked was to ask if I was having a good time and to tell me that he was. While we were dancing, the middle-finger guy tried to also dance with me. Upon (polite, even when I probably shouldn't have been) rejection, he and his friend (the first guy) started yelling at my friend “why you give her to the rastaman?” as if I was something to give away and as if they hadn't been totally rude while the other guy was very polite. She was just laughing at them, but we did duck out for a bit because the yelling was getting annoying. The club closes at 2, at which point people head over to The Strip, but we headed home instead. It was a fun night and I had more energy, but my friend's husband had looked tired for quite a while and I didn't want to press it with him. Also, I'm not sure that there is a diner open when the clubs let out.