My thoughts were that we must look like Martians to the local people we encounter in the carribean.
Last year I read an account of a sailboat stranded on a reef in Cuba
. The Guarda Civil wouldn't permit
another cruiser to help with salvage
, they aren't licensed for that work etc. In a marina in Panama
I saw several expat (foreign) boaters help out on other boats for pocket money
. They have to get out of sight when the port captain
appears because they have no right to compete with locals. Like illegal aliens at home, foreign contractors operating in the Bahamas would drive down market prices for services and locals cannot compete. We all know it costs a lot of money
to operate a boat in those waters so it's not surprising things would cost more than at home.
I've paid double for body work when the shop knows its covered by an insurance
policy so its not surprising this outfit would charge top dollar. This is not all rip off though. Insurance
companies expect guarantees, certified personnel, extra paperwork, and take their time paying for the service
. I would have left price
negotiations to my insurer.
In my limited experience your most valuable asset is a very respectful attitude. This doesn't mean you cave in to someone's demands but it means you treat every official you meet, every person, as someone who is responsible to enforce their regulations
and who has the capability to help you out if they so choose. It never pays to shout at someone whether you are a man or a woman. Once you've shown your lack of respect you cannot go back - if you are dismissive then you can expect to be dismissed. Then there is the colonial legacy (I'm being polite here). A people who have been treated as inferiors historically are challenged to understand a foreigner with a superior attitude today. You should expect someone in authority to pull your chain until you demonstrate an understanding of their role. Once reassured you can ask everyone to be reasonable and then you can ask for their help and advice.
The volunteer who suggested a local company might be looking for a commission, people at home volunteer for all kinds of reasons, so why not? Or, he might simply have been explaining the right thing to do, from a Bahamian point of view. I don't think he had a gun to your head
, did you need to insult him or his country on this forum?
Do you negotiate prices in the straw market? Why wouldn't you negotiate with the local towing company, or ask your insurer to negotiate on your behalf? I'm glad you made it home by sail but if you took risks they probably weren't necessary. I found everything in the Bahamas takes longer, in fact that's why we go there - to slow down a bit.
I hope you come back to the Bahamas soon and that you come with eyes and heart open to experience their culture. We travel to learn about ourselves.