For many who come, this will be just a party, but behind the fun there is meaning. The Turks and Caicos Islands haven't been on the tourist map for very long; it was only in the 1980s that things began to develop, first on Provo and then spreading to the other islands. It's significant that Pelican Beach Hotel, the islands' first native-built and -owned inn, was a part of that early wave. That accomplishment here on North Caicos says volumes about the abilities and vision of those who call these islands home.
Maybe it's just my own opinion and personal prejudice, but I think too many TCI visitors underestimate their hosts. They expect a service economy focused on themselves, the tourists, and fail to look beyond the welcoming smile. And yet there is so much there. The charm of this sleepy little island overwhelms notice of the nascent poet, philanthropist and artist.
Just one example: On one of my trips, when a bunch of guys were having drinks around my table, Roy Dickenson noticed that I was pulling off and saving the tabs from soda cans. I explained that my Parrot Head club back in the States collects them to recycle and benefit the local children's hospital. He nodded, and the conversation moved on.
He remembered, though, and spent the wake for his sister-in-law saving the can tables to he could present me with a bagful this visit. These are the things that endear me to North Caicos.
I will be so happy to party with the pelicans next week, not only because I love a good party, but also because I want to pay tribute to a friend's vision about the possibilities and future of this little island. Congratulations to Clifford and Susie, to the hotel, to Lovey, to North Caicos.