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Old 26-09-2007, 11:42   #31
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Originally Posted by S/V Antares View Post
To my surprise the top and frame were gone when I came out a few hours later. I was mad but when I woke the lad up he was furious. His street integrity was threatened. If I had the time I think he would have gotten my top back. Lesson learned... Leave the top at the rental place!

Will Heyer
He must have been pretty darn bought his act.

How much did the top cost?

Maybe this is for another topic but I think there is a pretty good percentage of what we would call "criminal elements" but I don't think they see it that way really. I think they know that the visitors will be on their way soon and just don't have the time to pursue the issues. I read that the island people know one another and all that too. I also read that the response time and "apparent" organizational and crime scene follow up is also on "island time". I seem to think that since they all know each other so well they also know pretty much who took what, when, where, and how. Not really criminal to them.

But this is just sort of my condensing a lot of reading of "first hand" accounts etc.
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Old 26-09-2007, 12:49   #32
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Boat Boys, Urchins, Street Boys....they're just people. Very much like us, but often less fortunate. And, not infrequently, very clever indeed!

Fifty years ago -- yes, think 1957 -- I was a young boy visiting my Foreign Service dad in Indonesia after my first year of college. I wanted to learn the local language, and often hung out with the "Betcha Boys", those hearty souls who pedal people around in the 3-wheeled rickshahs. In Indonesia, the driver rides behind with passengers in front in what are called "betchas". These young men rent the betchas from Chinese owners and actually live in them, hunkering down in groups at night with their sarongs wrapped around them.

At night, we'd often visit the local bar on Jalan Nusantara...the main drag in Djakarta. Heinekin beer was $ .25 a quart bottle, thus $1.00 would go a long ways :-) The burgers were good, the Italian owner, Tony, was jovial, and usually there were no fights.

One night a young man came in for drinks, and when he left later that evening he saw he was missing the right front hubcap from his expensive car.

Wise to the ways of the East, next evening he returned and....on engaging the "djaga" or watchman before entering the Cozy Corner he pointed out the missing hubcap. "No problem", he was told.

Sure enough, when he emerged from the bar a few hours later the missing hubcap was indeed in place. He was a happy camper.

Until, next day, when sober he noted the missing hubcap on the left rear wheel :-)

If ya live in the streets (or on the docks), ya gotta be resourceful!!

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Old 26-09-2007, 12:58   #33
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Therapy, The top was only $100 US. But that was a few years ago.

There are a lot of people in the islands that wish we would not come there. They are the ones that get loud and pissy every night and do not even try to make a living and blame all their woes on the tourist. The people that welcome us nearly make up for it so sure, I will support them as I can.

The crimes are generaly those of opportunity so if you leave your dink unlocked it will be taken by someone that may otherwise not. Get drunk and fall down and someone might take your shoes or wallet.

I find that i simply do not go to some places as I am tired of being hassled, even a little.

The Ugly American is in good company with Ugly Eurotrash and many more. Every society has it's issues. Being rich does not make you fat and ugly any more that being poor makes you buff and beautiful. The world is getting smaller and too crowded and we are all less patient.
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"Yes, well.. perhaps some more wine" (Julia Child)
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Old 04-10-2007, 22:31   #34
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In July of 02 my two bestest buds and I were limping the dilapidated Diva from where I'd bought her (Tortola) down to Trinidad for the major rebuild I was pretty sure she needed (and I was right). On the way we suffered fuel problems, battery problems, broken steering chains, disfunctional windlass, head problems, running rigging failures, electrical fires, decks that leaked like sieves every time it rained (and it rained buckets 3-4 times per day) and in the middle of the night off Rousseau, Dominica, a blown water pump on the Ford Lehman. We tacked into the dying wind all night until by dawn we were about a mile from shore. We then got the bright idea of seeing if a 40 hp Honda outboard could tow a 46,000 lb. boat, and to our surprise (and annoyance, for not thinking of this at 11pm), it did. We anchored, exhausted and demoralized at 7am. As soon as we were confident that back-wind alone had set our anchor sufficiently, we heard the put-put of a beat-up pirogue, and a gleaming smile welcomed us to Dominica. His name was Rodney, and we told him of our plight, fearing that Dominica's reputatiion as an eco-tourism destination precluded much in the way of repair infrastructure. He said he'd arrange a taxi and meet us in an hour at the street side of the hotel we'd anchored in front of.

An hour later, we found Rodney and Anthony the Taxi Man waiting for us outside the hotel. They first took us to Customs to clear in, then to the "Ford Dealership" in town, which was a dour office on the third floor of a concrete-block building with shelves of dusty parts and a poster of a 1993 Probe on the wall. The Dutch proprietor said he could have a water pump shipped to us from the UK in about three weeks, for a mere $1800 USD. Then, Anthony got another idea: he knew somone who might know where to get a pump. We drove north for over an hour through the interior of the island, then finally turned onto a dirt road and through razor-wire fencing into the Dominican Dept. of Transportation Motor Pool. Huge road graders were hoisted high up on even huger lifts. He parked and went into the office, and a few minutes later came out with the Asst. Chief of the motor pool, who thought immediately of two Ford engines he had on the grounds, one easier to get to than the other. We went to a cluttered storage shed, and pulled an old baby buggy and a box of ten-year-old government pay stubs off a rusting hulk that was once a tractor engine. They got some tools, and Rodney and Anthony removed the water pump. The Chief said, "Go try it, if it works, come back and we'll talk about a price." We drove down-island, went to the boat, and while the bolt pattern worked, the geometry of the plumbing conflicted with the manifold...damn, so near and yet so far.

We radioed Rodney and said we had no joy, and needed to go back up to the motor pool. An hour later, we met Rodney and Anthony again and went back, catching the whole place about to close up for the week; it was 4pm on a Friday. The Chief led us to the second engine he had in mind...through a jungle path to an outer warehouse made of 6" steel grating, and locked since time immemorial. No one knew where the key to it was, and the engine in question sat about four feet inside the gate with the water pump side facing away from us (of course). Rodney and Anthony first tried to tip the 800 lb+ engine over with a 4x4, breaking it in half. Then they took a long iron pipe and patiently dug a hole next to the engine until it finally just fell over. They reached through the grating and unmounted the pump, and my heart skipped a beat when it wasn't sure that it would could be wiggled through the grating. Here's a photo of that mission, and one of our prize:

We had brought our original pump with us, and it was an exact match. The Chief asked for $100 EC (roughly 40 bucks US), I paid it gladly and we went back to Rousseau. I paid Rodney and Anthony $100 US for all their efforts that long 12-hour day; an even better bargain considering the hundred included a trip to the airport for one of our crew at 6am the next morning. On board, installed with some liquid gasket, it fit like a glove, and we held our breaths while testing it with the engine running. It held pumped water...and the temp gauge actually ran about 10 degrees cooler than it had previously. We were back in business!

The next morning, we got a bit worried about having pre-paid for the airport trip, as 6am came and went. 6:15, 6:20...finally, at 6:30, a different taxi came roaring up, and Rodney hopped out of the passenger seat, uttering a torrent of apologies about their lateness; evidently Anthony blew his windfall of the previous day on rum and was AWOL that morning. Rodney had roused another driver and got there as soon as he could. They got our crewman to the airport in plenty of time, and he wouldn't take another penny for his gallantry.

If it wasn't for Rodney the boat boy...who knew Anthony the taxi driver...who knew Mssr. La Diva would be mouldering away in the jungle on Dominica, instead of (fingers crossed) a few months away from being resplashed in Chaguaramas.

All I can say is, God Bless Boat Boys.

"Give a man a fish, and he can eat for a day. Give a man a boat, and he can't afford to eat for the rest of his life."
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Old 04-10-2007, 23:53   #35
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Thanks Geoff - great story.
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Old 05-10-2007, 02:56   #36
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Lead pipe and mace still sound like the best option. Failing a good neutron bombing, that is.
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Old 05-10-2007, 06:08   #37
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Great story. Thanks for sharing it.

Those who've been there will understand and appreciate it.

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Old 06-10-2007, 07:17   #38
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Geoff... that is the kind of story some of the boating mags need to print rather than the undercover ads they run as stories.... Great read and wishing you the best on your re-splash!!
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Old 06-10-2007, 13:22   #39
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You should send that story to Sally Erdle, the editor of the Caribbean Compass. You've probably read it yourself, since its shipped all over the Caribbean. They publish stories like yours every month.
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Old 06-10-2007, 18:39   #40
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Great story and points out a couple of truths

1/ Make friends - It's always better to have friends than neutrals. You learn after a while how to spot the good ones from the bad ones.

2/ When using the "mexico" blueprint (i.e. find one that fits) it's a good idea to take the blueprint (part) with you. Would have saved a trip.

My experience in Asia is that Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand they would rather give you something of value than "rip you off." OTOH - they don't want to be ripped off either. Mutual respect goes a long way no matter where you are...
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Old 08-10-2007, 20:58   #41
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Thanks, gents for the kudos. And thanks, Hud for Sally's name and link. I do actually intend to publish a tome of Diva's acquisition, the trip to Trinidad (which my wife refers to as the "Ship of Fools") and her subsequent resurrection. Just waiting (God, am I waiting) for her grand re-christening to take the triumphant "after" photos for the end of the tale. Still not sure whether to spin the book as a cautionary tale about fixer-uppers (i.e., "Don't do what I did!") or an inspirational tale (i.e., "You can do this too!"). Probably a bit of both. When done, i hope to advertise it with excerpts sent to all the various cruiser rags, including the Compass.

Didn't mean to hijack the thread. I have run across a fair number of cruisers who look at that inevitable flotilla of small craft launched in their direction when they turn towards port with trepidation and annoyance; as if boat boys are at best beggars or at worst some sort of mafia racket ("Gee, it would be a shame if somethin' were ta happen to ya boat...") I personally have gotten wonderful fresh fruit, ice, and laundry done thanks to boat boys; good local advice about where to go, where to eat and what to see; and in the case of Rodney, out and out hiney-saving. Glad I didn't follow the curmudgeons' example.
"Give a man a fish, and he can eat for a day. Give a man a boat, and he can't afford to eat for the rest of his life."
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Old 09-10-2007, 07:28   #42
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What a great story, regardless of where you are in this big ol world you will always find good people. It only takes a few bad apples to spoil the whole bunch. I hate to be so cliche', but I do believe that.
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