As you bop around from island-to-island cruising the Caribbean, you won’t find any laid-back country stores in the bustling little port towns that your ship pulls into.
Instead, once you make your way off of the ship, you immediately stumble upon tawdry souvenir joints full of tchotchkes and crap. The vendors and store owners hunker in their entryways imploring you to “Come in and shop in my store. I give you a good deal.”
After a couple of stops in these places, you find that they all look (and smell) the same. Even their selection of items for sale seems the same. Granted, some shops may have some specialty items but overall, it is all the same crap. My collective take is that it’s a giant waste of one’s time, and maybe even money, if you dare to set foot in any of these tourist trap joints.
But for some unknown reason(s) many travelers feel obligated to buy things in these joints for members of their family back home. It may come as a surprise to you to learn that Buzzy was one of these buyers who would always hit these tourist traps and buy things. He would buy something for not only each of his 12 grandkids, but also for my Mom and a couple of folks back at the Store including Berta who minded the Store for him while he was away. He kept a list of everyone he wanted to get something for and would then check them off once he had made a purchase of something for them.
I get the idea of buying something for yourself that will always remind you of the place you visited. For instance, this Antigua ball cap caught my eye and I was tempted to go for it. However, once I thought about the 800 or so hats I currently have in Buzzy’s Country Store along with a slew of new ones that I just stocked up on, I re-thought it and elected not to buy it. The store owner, after telling me what a great hat it was, seemed a little peeved with me when I put it back on the shelf.
Here is a good article on why people buy souvenirs (click here.)
While on Antigua, we visited Nelson’s Dockyard. Check out this video discussing the boatyard. Note how the narrator eventually ends up in their gift shop and she concludes “Expensive!”
She mentions Shirley Heights which we also visited. (It made me think of the many “Heights” that I have visited such as Golan Heights, Capital Heights and of course our very own Carver Heights.) One of the highlights (literally) of visiting Shirley Heights is that we got to see Eric Clapton’s home nestled on the hillside below us: