UA-31290512-1

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Currency Capers & Nevis Customs


Nevis Port Authority.  Note the Carib signs?  Yet
another area of Caribbean government that
appears to be partly underwritten by… beer.
In St. Lucia, it was Piton placarded bus stations.

“That will be $40”, the woman at the Port Authority said.  “Oh, no!  I meant $40 in US dollars.” 

“This isn’t the US,” Wayne retorted, “Why are you expecting US dollars?  We don’t have US dollars.  What is it in EC [Eastern Caribbean]?”

“$100 EC.  You don’t have US dollars?”  “No, why would we?  We’re in Nevis, here.  We haven’t been in the US for months.  We’ll be back after we go to an ATM as we don’t have $100 EC on us.”  To me he groused, on our way to the ATM, “What is it with these guys?  Don’t they have any sense of their own identity?  I mean, you wouldn’t come to the US and have anyone insist in getting paid in Canadian currency.” 

Nevis Police Station; the weekend immigration processor.
“What have you seen that speaks to you of Nevis identity?” I asked.  “The five Chinese restaurants we passed? Or the Jamaican one?  [We didn’t see anything touting Nevis food] Or the Alexander Hamilton House?  Maybe the Mark Twain ferry?”

Maybe this gives an inkling of Nevis culture…. You
would not see “Jesus Saves” on a traffic stats chalkboard
in the lobby of any police station in the US.
We expect we will get more of a taste of Nevis in the next few days.  After all, we were just going through steps 3 of the 4 step customs and immigration process (not counting our trip to the ATM).

Nevis / St. Kitts Country Entry process.
Step 1:  Customs
Step 2:  Immigration (police station on the weekend, which this was)
Step 3:  Port Authority
Step 4:  Return to Customs with evidence steps 2 & 3 are completed

Customs, our first and last stop in the
Nevis / St. Kitts country entry process. 

Bottom line:  Whenever we see prices posted in US dollars in the Caribbean, we know we’re being screwed.  

Want to pay to pose with a monkey?  You can, for $5 US.
Dang, and I thought he was going to pay me to pose
with his monkey!  No, I did not pay.
It’s a way to soften the blow on an overpriced product or service as EC dollars are roughly 2.7x US.  After all, doesn’t  it sound better to pay $40 than $100?  Uh, yeah.  But it’s still ultimately the same bite out of our budget.  And we really hate it when we think the price is in EC, and instead it’s in US.  Open wallet… wider.  Much wider.

Sunset, our first night in Nevis.

As an aside, our friend Dave pointed
out an awesome example the
Caribbean as the Fountain of Youth.
Witness the impact of the Caribbean
on Queen Elizabeth…. See how
much younger she looks on Eastern 
Caribbean versus Canadian currency?  
We’re hoping for a similar effect.




But sunsets, dropping anchor (though paid mooring balls are compulsory in Nevis) and sunsets are free.  
Maybe the Caribbean does suit us, 
like Queen Elizabeth.   A nice couple,
Gail and Peter, just relocated to St Kitts
from Adelaide, Australia, took this 
photo of us.  We hope to meet them
in St Kitts.