Toes in the sand and the perfect umbrella drink? Of course.
Two for one sale on bikinis? Goes without saying.
Finding your favorite food/drink/item from your home country available on the shelves of your local island shop? Duh.
But there is something far more exciting than that.
Something that – the mere thought of – sends shivers down the spine of every woman who finds herself on a rock where there is a lot of wind blowing a lot of dust. Where constantly open windows means said dust accumulates on an hourly basis. Where dog hairs shed from one’s beloved pooch (or pack of pooches, because who on an island actually only has one dog?) tend to morph into tumbleweeds of epic proportion in every corner and under every piece of furniture, thanks to said wind.
And, in my case, where a glorious wall of west-facing windows in the living room proves irresistible to about 10 gazillion flies who fly in each day (obviously for the fab sea views), and find themselves trapped with no identifiable escape. Sort of like the Hotel California for them, I suppose. I hope they had a good few final hours, because each morning I wake to the carcasses of said flies scattered on the white tile floor. Everywhere. Which then requires a few minutes of post-mortem clean-up (after coffee, of course).
Yes, dear friends, there is one thing that every civilized Island Girl longs for (at least this Island Girl). One possession that promises a certain ease of island living that provides far more of a thrill than any sale on board shorts can provide. One item that, in my past life, was something I just took for granted as part and parcel of what every home contains. Of course, I am referring to…
…a vacuum cleaner.
It’s true. Whether you have a housekeeper on your rock or take care of the domestic chores yourself, a vacuum cleaner is – hands down – the bomb. In fact, I’m not sure how I managed so long without one here. (Caveat – in Edition One of Island Living I had a housekeeper. And she brought her own vacuum each week. So yeah…this time round…no housekeeper in sight…going it alone…for the moment, anyway.)
And so, today was the day that I excitedly announced to Island Boy over morning coffee that, after the dead fly cleaning ritual, I was going to embark on the epic adventure of finally buying a vacuum cleaner for our new house. I’m not sure what prompted this bout of domestic interest. Perhaps it was the realization that, once again this weekend, I was faced with sweeping the acres and acres of tile flooring that cover the rather sprawling abode we moved into. It usually turns into a multi-day process. Half the house one day and half the next. It is just too damn hot to sweep and mop 10,000 square feet (ok not really…but it feels like that much) all in one go.
So off I went, set on finding the perfect vacuum cleaner. Visions of uprights with powerful beater bars and multiple attachments dancing in my head. Memories of all the vacuum cleaners that had come before in my life sprang to mind. I imagined I would have to do a lot of comparison shopping before settling on the perfect one.
As it turns out, my shopping trip was much shorter than I imagined. As there is only one shop on the island where I trust buying quality appliances, I headed straight there. At least that decision would be easy.
As I walked through the automatic sliding doors, I was met with a blast of icy cold air. Any Island Girl relishes that moment, by the way. Sweet relief from the heat and humidity outside. But I was a woman with a singular purpose. I had no time for such frivolity. I purposefully strode towards the section where the home appliances would be found.
Floor fans? Not today. Ninja food processor? Don’t let yourself get distracted. Focus. Focus.
Ah yes, there, the first vacuum cleaner to be spotted. Hmm…not an upright. More of an egg with a long, snakelike hose and a few meager attachments. Ok…no worries. Just keep looking. The rest of the options must be right around the corner.
Deep fryer? No. Set of 8 acrylic wine glasses? Well, I do need something unbreakable for the pool…alright, grab that box. Keep walking down the next aisle, now carrying eight surely amazing vessels for pool beverages. And the next aisle. And the next. No more vacuum cleaners. Nothing.
Ok. Maybe over by the washers and dryers. Nope. Just a sea of Whirlpools and Frigidaires as far as the eye can see. Ok. Regroup. Back to the humble, egg-shaped thing I carelessly discarded upon first glance. There must be other vacuum cleaners here somewhere. Right? Right?
As it turns out, vacuum cleaners are not the hot commodity I first imagined on this island. The first choice I came across turned out to be the ONLY choice. Ok, fine. I am nothing if not adaptable. I may as well give the egg a try. It was that or another weekend of endless sweeping (and sweating). And, of course, the box boasted of the Fine German Engineering contained inside.
Hopefully this vacuum cleaner will be like a Mercedes – solid, efficient and mildly stylish.
I’m a writer living on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. Originally from the U.S., I followed my heart to the tropics in 2011 at the wizened age of 43. Since then, I’ve been blogging to inspire and entertain. I love kitesurfing, a good gin & tonic, and corgis.
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