Nine Ways You Know You're In The Caribbean


If you’re from the Caribbean (like me), have lived there or ever visited, you know there are some behavioral quirks that only seem to take place south of the Gulf of Mexico. Check out my list of quintessential, only-in-the-islands idiosyncrasies, and then tell me: What would you add?  

  1. You ask for something, and you’re told “No problem.” Even when there is one.
  2. The concept of time is elastic. “Soon come” could mean “right away”, in five minutes, next month, or never.
  3. At even the most casual social gatherings (a birthday party at someone’s house, for example) at some point you’ll be asked to gather around the buffet table to say grace.
  4. The entire plane claps when you touch down on the runway.
  5. Checking in at the airport on a Caribbean-bound flight, there’s at least one person kneeling on the ground in front of the check-in desk re-packing their bags to avoid overweight luggage fees.
  6. At official events, the observance of protocol (recognizing of dignitaries by name at the beginning of a speech) can take longer than the speech itself. Yet EVERY speaker on the program will do it.
  7. Getting the attention of someone whose name you don’t know by referencing their most obvious physical feature (Hey, Fatty!/Hey, Shorty!/ Hey, Chiney Man!) is totally commonplace and not meant with any malice.
  8. When driving, it’s perfectly acceptable to block a narrow road by stopping to chat with the oncoming driver.
  9. In spite of any challenges, if you’re a visitor, you can’t wait to go back. And if you live in the Caribbean, no matter how much you enjoy time spent in “foreign,” it’s always good to be back home.