Survival kits for cruise ship tourists

Government has acknowledged that Road Town needs a lot of work if it is to remain

a viable cruise ship destination. However, after decades of poor planning and questionable development decisions, it will take a while to get the capital back in shape.

Fortunately, I have the perfect interim solution: Road Town Survival Kits, which should be provided to tourists as they step off cruise ships.

Each kit should include a brief orientation note:

“Dear Valued Cruise Ship Tourist, Thank you for coming to the beautiful Virgin Islands, where the weather is always warm, the water is always blue, and the smell of raw sewage is only temporary! The capital is under construction, so please use caution. We apologise in advance for inconveniences you might face, which could include but are not limited to wild chicken attacks, dilapidated sidewalks and disgruntled vendors. The VI assumes no responsibility for adverse incidents. However, if you come back at this time next year, we can assure you that Road Town will be the spitting image of St. Barts, only much cheaper. Enjoy your stay, and please feel free to spend your hard-earned money!”

Besides this welcome note, the most important item in the kit would be a three-ounce bottle of 100-proof rum, which tourists would be encouraged to drink immediately. This treat would either send them right back to the ship to pass out, or make them so drunk that their entire visit to Road Town would seem fun no matter what happened.

And who knows? They might even fall asleep somewhere and become overnight visitors.

Other items

Several other items should also be included in the kit.

• A map that lists various “danger zones,” such as ghuts, construction sites and Main Street. It should also give directions to Pusser’s so clearly that someone who has just had three shots of 100-proof rum can find the way.

• A mask to block out dust and foul odours. The special keepsake should be decorated with an artist’s rendering of what officials hope Road Town will look like five years from now.

• An illustrated guide for navigating traffic lights in Road Town. Among other things, it should clearly explain the dangers of relying on the crosswalk signals at the intersection of Admin and Waterfront drives.

• Emergency flares for anyone who gets lost or stuck in a sewer grate.

• Elastic-lined plastic bags to protect feet and shoes from chicken poop, along with a brief explanation of bird flu.

• A bright flower-print shirt that will help residents identify cruise ship tourists, just in case there’s any doubt.

• A “chupse whistle” to blow in response to any rude vendors who may wish to take advantage of the fact that many visitors can’t chupse properly unaided.

• An ankle brace and splint in case the capital’s crumbling sidewalks result in a twisted ankle or broken leg.

• A collapsible baton to use as defence against angry roosters and stray dogs.

• Earplugs to drown out the sounds of trucks, honking and yelling, thus making Road Town seem like an idyllic and peaceful island town.

• A poncho to wear when walking past puddles that speeding cars might splash on pedestrians.

• A disposable, single-use biohazard suit in case of contact with raw sewage leaking from a manhole.

• A VI profanity dictionary for translating the words that some drivers like to yell at tourists who have the misfortune to venture into the street at the wrong time.

• Blinking reflectors that can be clipped on to clothing to make the wearer more visible to drivers.

• Plenty of disinfectant.

• A few dollars of spending money to increase the chances that tourists will make a purchase, thus gaining a souvenir to take back home and stimulating the territory’s economy at the same time.

With these kits, visitors will be sure to enjoy Road Town in spite of its eccentricities. And they’ll clamber to come back after the capital has been renovated into a first-class tourist destination.

Disclaimer: Dateline: Paradise is a column and occasionally contains satirical “news” articles that are entirely fictional.