The other day, a black, English-speaking man (originally from St. Maarten) suggested we get married. I was getting my bike tire fixed at this po-dunk house with a tire in front of it that said, "Chubby's tire service." All three of them working there were skin and bones, but I found out Chubby was a dead uncle of the current owner. Anyway, they said, "We thought you was the Mormons!" I guess because I'm white, and ride a bike? Anyway, I said, "Oh. Well, actually I am. I used to be a missionary, but now I'm just here visiting." Then they wanted to know what I was doing, and I told them a little about the study. I said it was about marriage, and the one, whose name I found out later, is Michael, said, "Ah you mahhried?" (think Cool Runnings accent). I said, "No." He said, "Is you lookin'?" I said, "Um...yeah." He said, "Me too. Let's stop lookin'." I laughed...and invited him to the focus group for never-married men. And he came!! Hooray for research!
I also made friends with the Jamaican neighbor, who happens to teach windsurfing, which is where you have a giant sail connected to your surf board. And he said he would teach me...for FREE!! So we went to town yesterday, to one of the nice beaches at the hotels, and he taught me (kind of)...except mostly his English is hard for me to understand and I can't figure out what he's talking about. The "lesson" went something like this:
Bob: Okay...get up there.
Me, trying to climb up the board and falling off: Um...like this?
Bob: Yeah...just get yo' butt up deh.
Me: OKay I'm up
Bob: Okay now you pull deh sail up...ready, ONE, TWO, THREE (which I wasn't sure if he meant 3 pulls to get it up, or if he was counting to three and then I was supposed to pull it up in one giant heave)
Bob: Okay...find deh wind. Where's deh wind? The wind's ovah deh. You see deh wind?
Me: What do you mean? How are you supposed to see the wind?
Bob: You does see which way deh wind is blowin'. You does see it?
Bob: Okay. Now when you does see the wind you does always go with deh wind. You understand?
Bob: OKay. You does just go like this...
And then he took off. I got going for a little while, but then I turned around and realized I was way out at sea. And then I couldn't get back on because I couldn't figure out which way the wind wanted to blow me. And everytime I got back on I just fell off again. Over, and over, and over. And then the rescue boat with these two Arubian guys came out to pick me up, and I was embarrassed, so I told them I was fine. But then they came back like 15 minutes later, and they were like, "C'mon, get in." So I did. And they took me back to shore. And they were talking to each other a lot in Papiamento, and I could understand them of course...and the rough translation of what they were saying was, "Holy cow, she was way the heck out there."
We became friends though, the rescue boat drivers and I. After a while they asked me if I understood Papiamento and when I answered them back in Papiamento, their eyes got really big and they looked as if I had just told them I was the president of the United States. And then they asked if I wanted to go fishing with them. So I stayed on the boat, and we sailed out to sea, and they fished, and we talked. And then when we came back to shore, they asked if I wanted to kayak. So we did. It was so fun, speaking (and mostly listening to) Papiamento, and just being in the sun, on the ocean, with people who had so kindly rescued me from the hazards of windsurfing...