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drawbavks / downside of island life  

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cccb
 cccb
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January 12, 2016 1:17 am  

I have seen in other posts that island life is not for everyone. I am considering STT and I would like to hear some downsides or drawbacks of island life other than the cost of living. I am trying to understand things that a statesider might not be aware. Thank you for sharing your experiences.


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Scubadoo
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January 12, 2016 1:54 am  

Reduce selection in the stores (food, non-food) compared to stateside. You can order some things, there are a few online retailers that will ship to VI and some for free. Island Time- "Tomorrow" doesn't always mean tomorrow, just not today. Crime is everywhere, not just on an island but there are those that may say the crime rate per capita is higher. But that is still dependent on specific locations/areas. Cars will get tired faster, especially brakes on STT. Health care will also be more limited and health insurance non-existent unless employer provided or you are non-US citizen. No snow. Downtown is mobbed on cruise ship days. No highways on STT. Potholes. Hurricanes. Seemingly random (but not typically very long) power outages during fair weather. Skeeters. Limited employment opportunities. Home Depot closes at 8PM.

These are the facts, whether they are truly downsides or just part of the price to pay for paradise is still somewhat personal opinion.


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Finatic
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January 12, 2016 2:02 am  

Rock fever. The sense that creeps up over time where you realize that you are essentially stuck on a small rock in the middle of the ocean with 40,000 other people and there's no easy way to escape it. Airplane or boat are your only options. Stateside you can feel like you can drive for two hours and be somewhere else. Not so on an island. This bothers some more than others and can be most pronounced when a hurricane is approaching and you are unable to get out of the way.

Crime. People tend to focus on the violent crimes of murders and mugging, but I find the petty day to day thefts and burglaries the most annoying. I have lived on STX long enough now to have the majority of my friends and myself have suffered from one theft or another, be it a car break-in, a home break-in, items grabbed from the driveway or patio in broad daylight, or an armed mugging or carjacking. It is tiring to constantly have to think ahead of thieves. Or else you do as some do leave everything unlocked and when something is stolen you don't sweat it.


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wanderer
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January 12, 2016 2:23 am  

-- same people you see everyday wherever you go (although this may be seen as a plus by some)
-- very few options for sports (other than water sports)
-- very few options for entertainment (other than live music)
-- very few options for professional career (other than service industry)
-- certain racial tensions
-- certain tribal/clannish mentality
-- necessity to be a "good member of the community", even if you don't feel like it
-- the persistent feeling that you are among the fugitives from Babylon
-- the feeling that you will always be a guest on the island that belongs to the "natives"
-- mosquitoes in a mind-twisting quantity and intensity
-- huge insects in your house
-- scary tropical diseases
-- substandard medical care
-- the abject poverty and despair evident among the locals
-- driving is a chore (because of the terrain and bad roads)
-- necessity to embrace/adapt to a different culture
-- possibility of living without electricity for months
-- less bang for your buck (35% higher cost of living, 40% lower wages/salaries)
-- never ending home/car invasions
-- the realization that criminals are blood-related to cops and politicians
-- the realization that since 1980s, the VI population has decreased (i.e., people move out), implying that if you want to move in, you are probably going against common sense and/or market forces


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STTsailor
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January 12, 2016 9:00 am  

The state of education and limited schooling options. I hardly see any mainland families with children moving down here. Plenty of young pple working service industry and retirees.

What I miss the most is being able to go out in the evening and stroll with other people through downtown, stop for icecream, get a drink at the open air bar, do some window shopping. I just do not feel safe after dark in downtown Ch. A.
I have to regularly escape to San Juan where I can soak in local nightlife of Condado or Old San Juan.


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speee1dy
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January 12, 2016 10:41 am  

not being able to get in your car and take a 3 day road trip
not being close to family
limited/bad quality produce
food going bad much sooner
high cost of food
kmart as your shopping choice-not knocking kmart because i like them, just gets old
no shopping malls. in the states kmart has a rewards thing, we dont
no big book stores-wander in for hours, stop and sit reading a bit here an there
no air conditioner for us-the house is not conducive to one
limited job opportunities
pot holes galore-only time ours get fixed is right before the triathlon
no sunday paper with coupons-though most stores will allow you to use them if you ask
certain stores not shipping here or allowing you to purchase from them and ship stateside
some retailers consider us international, so shipping is higher.


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Afriend
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January 12, 2016 1:56 pm  

The realization that life in the Caribbean is not necessarily "simpler" and that the slow pace known as "island time" can be very frustrating. For example, when your refrigerator goes on the fritz and the repairman tells you he'll be there "later" or "tomorrow" it means NOT TODAY but maybe tomorrow or maybe next Thursday. When he finally does show up he says you need a replacement part that he has to have shipped in from Florida and it will take two weeks unless you are willing to pay $100+ to have the $25 part shipped by Fed-Ex.

Or that the strong sun and salt air means exterior wood has to be painted more often and fabrics fade quicker that back on the mainland. The sun's UV rays play havoc on anything made of plastic making it brittle very quickly.

Anything made of metal rusts and corrodes quickly.

Any electronics with a motherboard tend to fail more often due to constant power surges and power outages.

It seems as you are ALWAYS fixing something, leaking faucets, corroded electrical outlets (or outlets filled with dead bugs), replacing faulty heating elements in your water heater, dealing with telephone outages, faulty gate openers, leaking cisterns - anything than can break definitely WILL and at the most inopportune time.

One of the most frustrating things that happens is when the elastic bands on your underwear all dry out and "stretch" at the same time rendering them totally unwearable. same with elastic bands on shorts and slacks.

The list goes on and on!


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speee1dy
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January 12, 2016 2:28 pm  

all great points i had forgotten about


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RockyDock
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January 12, 2016 10:47 pm  

" . . . when the elastic bands on your underwear all dry out and "stretch" at the same time rendering them totally unwearable. same with elastic bands on shorts and slacks."

Oh snap, and all along I thought I was losing weight all of sudden. What a buzz kill.


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monogram
(@monogram)
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January 12, 2016 11:52 pm  

Crime is everywhere, not just on an island but there are those that may say the crime rate per capita is higher. But that is still dependent on specific locations/areas.

"Those that may say?"

The VI murder rate is ten times the national average, with victims ranging from the prep school educated to the poor.

"This makes the Virgin Islands' homicide rate about 10 times higher than the U.S. average of 4.7 homicides per 100,000 people."

See:
http://virginislandsdailynews.com/news/v-i-homicide-rate-still-among-world-s-highest-1.1434291

[quote=OldTart]
I can rattle off the names of half a dozen people who were born and raised here, have excellent professional credentials and have tried unsuccessfully to come back and give back to the "their" community only to be shunned. If I as a mere "transplant" can come up with that number then I'm sure that number is infinitely greater.[/quote]


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monogram
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January 12, 2016 11:54 pm  

-- same people you see everyday wherever you go (although this may be seen as a plus by some)
-- very few options for sports (other than water sports)
-- very few options for entertainment (other than live music)
-- very few options for professional career (other than service industry)
-- certain racial tensions
-- certain tribal/clannish mentality
-- necessity to be a "good member of the community", even if you don't feel like it
-- the persistent feeling that you are among the fugitives from Babylon
-- the feeling that you will always be a guest on the island that belongs to the "natives"
-- mosquitoes in a mind-twisting quantity and intensity
-- huge insects in your house
-- scary tropical diseases
-- substandard medical care
-- the abject poverty and despair evident among the locals
-- driving is a chore (because of the terrain and bad roads)
-- necessity to embrace/adapt to a different culture
-- possibility of living without electricity for months
-- less bang for your buck (35% higher cost of living, 40% lower wages/salaries)
-- never ending home/car invasions
-- the realization that criminals are blood-related to cops and politicians
-- the realization that since 1980s, the VI population has decreased (i.e., people move out), implying that if you want to move in, you are probably going against common sense and/or market forces

pretty good summation. The last point is particularly salient.

[quote=OldTart]
I can rattle off the names of half a dozen people who were born and raised here, have excellent professional credentials and have tried unsuccessfully to come back and give back to the "their" community only to be shunned. If I as a mere "transplant" can come up with that number then I'm sure that number is infinitely greater.[/quote]


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beckyhartung
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Posts: 25
January 13, 2016 12:28 am  

-- same people you see everyday wherever you go (although this may be seen as a plus by some)
-- very few options for sports (other than water sports)
-- very few options for entertainment (other than live music)
-- very few options for professional career (other than service industry)
-- certain racial tensions
-- certain tribal/clannish mentality
-- necessity to be a "good member of the community", even if you don't feel like it
-- the persistent feeling that you are among the fugitives from Babylon
-- the feeling that you will always be a guest on the island that belongs to the "natives"
-- mosquitoes in a mind-twisting quantity and intensity
-- huge insects in your house
-- scary tropical diseases
-- substandard medical care
-- the abject poverty and despair evident among the locals
-- driving is a chore (because of the terrain and bad roads)
-- necessity to embrace/adapt to a different culture
-- possibility of living without electricity for months
-- less bang for your buck (35% higher cost of living, 40% lower wages/salaries)
-- never ending home/car invasions
-- the realization that criminals are blood-related to cops and politicians
-- the realization that since 1980s, the VI population has decreased (i.e., people move out), implying that if you want to move in, you are probably going against common sense and/or market forces

Could not have said it any better


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daveb722
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Posts: 514
January 13, 2016 12:58 am  

I live just outside Buffalo and was suprised by the number, although most of them are drug/gang issues.

For reference:

Big Cities With The Highest Murder Rates (2014)

St. Louis, Missouri 49.91
Detroit, Michigan 43.52
New Orleans, Louisiana 38.75
Baltimore, Maryland 33.84
Newark, New Jersey 33.32
Buffalo, New York 23.22
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 22.43
Memphis, Tennessee 21.38
Atlanta, Georgia 20.47
Cincinati, Ohio 20.16


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monogram
(@monogram)
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Posts: 446
January 13, 2016 1:24 am  

We've been higher than every city on that list in recent years (66 out of 100k in 2011). Truly sad. Our tiny size makes it so much worse. 🙁

[quote=OldTart]
I can rattle off the names of half a dozen people who were born and raised here, have excellent professional credentials and have tried unsuccessfully to come back and give back to the "their" community only to be shunned. If I as a mere "transplant" can come up with that number then I'm sure that number is infinitely greater.[/quote]


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AandA2VI
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Posts: 2290
January 13, 2016 6:58 am  

Lets not go into the crime again. You can always search the 16 million threads on here that discuss it over... and over.... and over again. Same points same stats same people same arguments.*-)

In order of importance to me:
Animal abuse / letting animals roam and breed.
Trash - watching children litter and parents saying nothing. Picking up used condoms, underwear and plastic cups when I'm diving. Why do I find so much underwear in the ocean???? #gloves4sure
Potholes / roads - you WILL spend 1K+ a year on car repairs in STT - no matter what.
Racism (STX I never experienced it in STT or at least never noticed it there)
Power Outages - generator is worth its weight in gold for me & my online business
Mold/dust/cleaning window screens - lawd I hate cleaning screens!
Nepotism & police not giving AF
Cab drivers.... not related to my STX experience :@). STT cabbies be crazy!

I've never been bothered with prices of stuff - would I like them less? Sure but I am a realist - we live on an island and that stuff comes in on boats. Money can always be made and or adjust lifestyle for less. I work for myself and am not rich. I just have priorities. Travel, craft beer and diving. Thats what I spend MY money on 😉 Oh and I love bugs! Mozzys... not so much but part of life. I've seen some of the coolest bugs here.

Thats being said I LOVE STT!!!! I felt more at home there than I have anywhere else. We keep traveling to see if we like it better somewhere else and between Africa, Paris and Costa Rica last year - only Africa was close... but that water is COLD full of seal crap and theres some damn big sharks that don't play well with divers. Amazing place thou. Have a couple trips planned this year but when I move back to STT from STX, I'll probably buy a place and stay a long while. For me theres so much more good than bad here.

*** The views and opinions expressed in my posts are soley those of A&A2VI and other like minded islanders. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the majority or any/all contributors to this site. Have a GREAT DAY!


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Alana33
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January 13, 2016 9:34 am  

:@)(tu)


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Spartygrad95
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January 13, 2016 9:57 am  

$1000 a year in car repairs? I have an old beater Escape and in 18 months have spent $500, 2 tires, brakes, water pump and coolant reservoir. I travel on those crap roads from Peterborg to Redhook every day too.


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Spartygrad95
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January 13, 2016 11:58 am  

I just thought again about $1000/yr and I guess she is probably right if you take it to someone to fix. I did the water pump brakes and reservoir myself. So my apologies AandA2VI. mechanics are expensive here and aren't necessarily the best. That is why I do it myself when I can


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Alana33
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January 13, 2016 1:14 pm  

I take my 97 truck in 2xs a year for oil change, check brakes, clutch, check fluids and all that good stuff. It pays to maintain a vehicle here. It only runs up if I need to replace brakes, tires or other parts Good tires are expensive.


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SausageInTheCan
(@SausageInTheCan)
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Posts: 396
January 13, 2016 4:14 pm  

The highlight of your day is $2.39 butter.


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wanderer
(@wanderer)
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January 13, 2016 4:27 pm  

The highlight of your day is $2.39 butter.

Haha. This belongs to the "You are a Virgin Islander, If ..." thread.


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ms411
(@ms411)
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January 13, 2016 4:35 pm  

The highlight of your day is $2.39 butter.

Lol! Any day I get a bargain, and not just in the VI, is the highlight of my day.


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Finatic
(@Finatic)
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January 13, 2016 6:34 pm  

The highlight of your day is $2.39 butter.

That's an excellent laugh...


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wanderer
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January 13, 2016 7:15 pm  


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Finatic
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January 13, 2016 7:23 pm  

It's doubly funny because it could actually be true. I think if you'd put it on the Consortium background you'd have a serious contender on your hands. 😀


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