Bad Advice From Paradise
By Agatha Callie
Copyright 2002 - 2009 Agatha Callie
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Have you ever dreamed of getting away from it all and living carefree in a tropical island paradise? Many years ago I was a terrified single mother working in New York City. My baby had been coming to the office with me but my boss’s tolerance ebbed away after she threw up on the computer keyboard. I began reluctantly interviewing prospective nanny candidates. I asked one particularly unkempt candidate – she resembled Mrs. Bates from Hitchcock’s film Psycho - if she had children of her own. Her reply was that she used to. When I inquired further and learned that all five had all burned to death in a fire something in me snapped and I made my plans to leave. My wonderful friend Magdalena had first acquainted me with images from the beautiful Bali so I went for that tropical dream; strapped a pack on my back and boarded a plane for Bali, Indonesia with my seven month old daughter hugged tightly to my chest.
Over the years I’ve observed a few basic types that migrate to paradise and set up housekeeping. First you have the expats who have been “stationed” on the island as hotel general managers, chefs, diplomatic or embassy representatives, country managers for NGOs and the like. There is also a large contingent of castaways from the Hippy Trail of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s. Many of these started out as either rich kids travelling on their parents’ largesse or small-time smugglers traversing the eastern hemisphere. Then there are the types that cashed out back home and went for it, selling everything, quitting their jobs and buying a one way ticket. One of the largest groups is comprised of wounded souls running away from dysfunctional personal lives, whether a bad divorce or those who, for a myriad of reasons, are incapable of forming a romantic liaison in their home country. Finally, we have a claque of international fugitives hiding out or on the lam. It makes for an interesting social life.