Work

My home for the next few months

Each week day, at 8.15am, I am collected to travel to my new job. I am based in the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, which (among other things like supervising banks) looks after the currency and monetary policy for the Eastern Caribbean Monetary Union, a group of 8 small countries, whose population is around 600,000, and who share a common currency – the EC dollar.

The Bank is a whopping 2.5km from where I am staying, and it takes a leisurely 5-7 minutes to reach the front of my office building.  The typical workday here starts at 8am but, lucky me: since my driver starts work at 8am, I don’t get picked up until later.  Nonetheless, I feel like I skulk in each day since everyone is busy working by the time I arrive.

The view from my office (that's the canteen on the left, and the Eastern Caribbean Stock Exchange directly across the way). The green and red flag with the stars on the left belongs to St Kitts.

As we roll past the security office at the gates, I have to smile and show my pass, allowing the mysterious figures behind the dark glass to check me out and wave me through.

The Bank. My office is on the middle floor, on the right

Even though it’s hot here, there is a relatively strict dress code, and one is not meant to go sleeveless.  This, and a number of other “rules” mean that the culture is, despite its clear Caribbean-ness (relaxed, fun-loving) is still oddly English in many of its sensibilities.  One rule in the Bank’s dress code reads “ties should be seen and not heard”, and I wonder if the author laughed out loud as he or she was writing it.

My first three weeks have not been as busy as I am used to, so I have taken my time in getting stuff done so as not to run out of work to keep me busy.  However, things are catching up on me and the next 2 weeks are going to be frantic, which is more like it (although I wonder how much of this I have caused by taking my time getting into the swing of things – manufacturing my own busy-ness?).

Some time between 12-2pm each day, I head to the canteen for lunch, for which I pay $25 Eastern Caribbean dollars (a little under USD10), although staff have their meals subsidised and only pay $10 EC dollars!  We get soup, a main and salad.  I hate to say it but desserts are not big here in the Caibbean, a subject I will address later as I am still recovering from the emotion of it.  Although I was at first thrilled by the idea of a nearby canteen, all the food is starting to taste the same and access to alternatives is difficult without a car.  Not to mention the fact that green bananas (think flavourless, firm, cooked bananas) feature heavily on the vegetable menu (no, not a typo); I have started to ask the server to leave these out.  The other day, bananas or plantains were in 3 different dishes on my plate!

My office (I think the version of Microsoft Office I'm using is about 200 years old)

At the end of my work day, my driver collects me at 4.30pm, meaning I am home by 4.40pm, which is deeply unheard of in my past lives and allows me to wash clothes, go swimming or take a snooze in the afternoon.  I think I like working here, and am even getting quite used to the hea.  It might – just MIGHT – break the back of my aversion to hot weather, although it does help that it’s not particularly humid, and that trade winds blow through with great regularity to cool things off.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Work

  1. is that the red Mandarina Duck I see?? bananas were a huge thing when I was in Nicaragua – plantains were with every meal. You can only eat so much before it’s pleeeease no more!
    I am awaiting a post on the tangerine ice-cream 🙂

  2. Lisa Catto

    Hey Kaz
    Managed to drag myself away from rivetting ironing of 3 sets of school uniforms to read half of your blogs – only have pre-Miami to catch up on now. Wow what a life, the world is certainly your oyster right now. I’ll continue to live vicariously through the blogs (as most of us probably are), although short of the international travel and meeting amazing people and seeing different sights, I am a happy house wife this year leading a very quiet life in a very small world (occassional I cross Forest Way you know, but only to shop at Arndale, jog with jogging partners in Belrose and Davidson or visit in-laws in Glen St)! Tomorrow I cross the Harbour Bridge to pick Mum up from the airport and take her to see Archibald exhibit on the way back to her place in Manly. This excursion will keep me going for weeks (he he he). Shell-belle’s 6th b’day today (ironically she had out her baby book and I was reading your congrats card from Aunty Kaz, and your generous newborn presies still adorn her room – throws and blankets). Hope it doesn’t take me another 2 months to get to your blogs. Can’t say what I do with my time, not working or studying and kids all at school now but with big house and running a family I still don’t get to watch any tele – Masterchef online – luxury – think I’ll have to fly to the Carribean to have time to watch it. xx Lis PS How many people are following your blogs? Is this a public post? If so hi all of Karen’s friends.

  3. Tim Masseur

    Correction-correction
    Abort last message until the 5th
    I knew your birthday conincides with a friend but mixed things up. My brain got jammed in a blender last night and I’m still looking for a lobe or two.
    Have a great day anyhow
    th

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