Well, yeah. It’s summer, and it’s hot in a good portion of the hemisphere. The difference is that on North Caicos I can immerse myself in summer instead of being forced to deny and defy it. I can go full-on summer style.
Full-on summer means I can, and do, live in a swimsuit. Tom can be shirtless. Other clothes—a beach dress for me, a shirt for Tom—are thrown on only when we have to dash to the store for something. Our walks, on the beach, are done barefoot. Unless there’s something really special going on (which, in summer, means hardly ever), I don’t wear makeup. I remind myself to put in my earrings now and then so that the holes don’t grow over.
That kind of summer style goes a long way toward dealing with the heat. In contrast, here in Richmond, where we get every bit as much heat but without the sea breeze, I must put something other than flip-flops on my feet to take a walk. I must wear more clothing. I often have to carry a sweater with me, since stores, restaurants and museums are super-chilled. I must deal with all these silly Southern rules for acceptable behavior and dress.
Of course, I rebel and push the limits. I figure that since my neighborhood is rather bohemian and its residents young, I can get away with a little bit of island style. (After all, I do see people walking their dogs in pajama pants around here.) I can run to the local store without makeup, and I wear my beachy dresses over swimsuits at our favorite dive bar/burger joint. Once I get to my studio, wearing shorts, tankini top and Hawaiian shirt while I cross the Mayo Bridge, off comes the shirt. My art, my rules. Still, I look forward to being in a place that there are so few people to see you that there’s no need to even think about rules.
North Caicos in July also means it’s perfectly acceptable to sit and do nothing but enjoy a breeze and the ocean waves. No one expects your house to be perfectly clean when the act of cleaning makes it dirtier as your sweat drips over everything. Yardwork is unnecessary since nothing is growing. Turning on a stove is unthinkable, so meals are salads and snacks, plus plenty of beer. Now, that’s a vacation! We’re talking about the original Jimmy Buffett paradise fantasy, before Margaritavilles, themed retirement homes and places where the roads to the beach are crammed with SUVs (yeah, I’m talking about you, Outer Banks).
In the summer, North Caicos truly is beyond the parrot paradise. It might not be for everyone, but that’s why I love it.