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lmoliver
06-15-2005, 06:58 PM
I have some questions about life on the island:

You said that clothing stores are lousy. I assume that there are no Wal-Marts down there. Can you order, let's say, my favorite Nikes online and have them sent in? Does it take a long time, compared to US?

You mentioned snacks are scarse. What about Diet Coke? I need my Diet Coke? Am I going to find normal American groceries or have to go to farmers markets, etc.?

Do students usually eat with host families or do you just rent a room? What are they like? Are there kitchen facilities? Hot Water? Air conditioners? Cable TV?

Is the airport convenient to the college? What can you tell me about flying in?

Library? Also, can I order textbooks online, like here, and have them shipped in?

Can my family send me food and other items I can't get there?

Are there any job opportunities on the island? I teach piano. would there be an possibility of picking up and student or two?

What do students wear? I planned to just bring down some scrubs, since they are light weight and cool and wash easily.

What's the laundry situation? Are there laundromats? Can you hire people to do laundry? How about housecleaning?

Linda

sums
06-15-2005, 11:18 PM
good set of questions.. i was wondering the same thing....
frankenstone? :D

jpryor
06-16-2005, 05:05 AM
I have some questions about life on the island:

You said that clothing stores are lousy. I assume that there are no Wal-Marts down there. Can you order, let's say, my favorite Nikes online and have them sent in? Does it take a long time, compared to US?

I know Frankenstone has a full plate with this semester, so I'll try to help him out with some answers. There's nothing remotely resembling a Wal-Mart on the island. There are a few clothing stores that are over-priced with selections you wouldn't consider in the States. You could order things online, but losses, taxes and delays may make it too frustrating for you. If you did order, it would be weeks before it came. You are better off planning ahead and bringing what you'll need...and going home during semester breaks to bring what you forgot. It is very hot on the island, so cool clothes are essential. But you'll also be inside air conditioned rooms, so sweaters/sweatshirts and long pants may be needed.


You mentioned snacks are scarse. What about Diet Coke? I need my Diet Coke? Am I going to find normal American groceries or have to go to farmers markets, etc.?

You will find your sodas, but the formulas are a bit different than what you get in the States. There are local drinks and Dutch drinks, so you'll be able to sample quite a variety. Odds are, you'll tolerate the difference in the formulas for the diet cokes. As for other groceries...do not expect anything like a US grocery store. Remember, this is an island, so everything is imported. That means that things that should be frozen may have been thawed and refrozen a few times. Packaged meats are always suspect (I have seen green bologna being offered for sale). There are three large grocery stores and numerous corner stores and it will take you a few weeks to learn which ones have the foods you like. I thought the grocery store "More for Less" was the best for just about everything. You'll learn when the ships come in, when the shelves are stocked and who has what. The packaged foods are mostly Dutch (which isn't bad, just something to be tried) and there's virtually no ethnic food. If that sounds dismal, it really is not. Just anticipate it being different. Oh, the restaurants are top-notch and you'll have your socks knocked off with how good most of the food is. But whether you eat in a restaurant or cook at home, plan on food being your major budget item.


Do students usually eat with host families or do you just rent a room? What are they like? Are there kitchen facilities? Hot Water? Air conditioners? Cable TV?

I never heard of a student having a "host family" on Bonaire. The amenities in your apartment will depend on what you spend. The real cheap places are essentially a bed and a bathroom. Most apartments are fairly well equipped with refrigerators, air conditioners and microwaves...many come with TV's, but you'll have to order the cable on your own. Internet access is available via cable or dial up. You won't have either one installed very quickly and if you decide to go the cheaper route with dial up, you have to oder a phone first and then a month after you get that they'll get around to connecting you. It's just different there. You can get frustrated or begin planning on racking up a host of stories to relate to folks back home. As for hot water...most places DO NOT have hot water. If your place does not, take showers in the late afternoon--the radiant heat makes the water luke warm. Personally, I need my hot water and I need to start the day clean...so I made sure my place had hot water.


Is the airport convenient to the college? What can you tell me about flying in?

The airport is about a 5 minute drive from the center of the city and the school is in the center of the city. The airport runs fairly well. Many students go island hopping on weekends and there are commuter flights to Aruba. The Dutch airline, KLM, lands large jets there a few tiomes a day. The Dutch head down to Chile as a major tourist spot and Bonaire is a refueling stop for that trip. But access to and from the island isn't an issue.


Library? Also, can I order textbooks online, like here, and have them shipped in?

The best advice is to handcarry your texts here. The next best is to have them mailed (not shipped) to you. You'll have to pay a customs tax on anything shipped via any parcel delivery, but I never had to pay any tax on things I received via the mail. They take about the same amount of time (10 days to 3 weeks) and again, it's expensive...three to four times what you'd expect to pay in the US. As for libraries...your texts are really all you'll need, but the schools are trying to stock the shelves with medically related books. The majority of students do not use what is there.


Can my family send me food and other items I can't get there?

They sure can...and most do. It's usually snack foods that are missed. Other items, such as toiletries and personal hygiene products are readily available...but fresh Oreos might get you mugged by your best friends.


Are there any job opportunities on the island? I teach piano. would there be an possibility of picking up and student or two? You are not allowed to work while on the island. If you are caught, you can be deported. The Dutch are very protective of their island...they don't want anybody coming there with the idea of staying there.


What do students wear? I planned to just bring down some scrubs, since they are light weight and cool and wash easily. You'd do very well with scrubs. But remember, Xavier has a dress code...they have their own shirts for you to wear...which are like Polo shirts. Nice enough and certainly suitable for the weather.


What's the laundry situation? Are there laundromats? Can you hire people to do laundry? How about housecleaning? There is a single laundromat on the island. You can do your own laundry or use the drop off service. They do an excellent job and I thought the price reasonable. Yes, you can find maid service quite easily. From comments I heard, I gather the quality of the service doesn't meet expectations all of the time, so be prepared for that frustration.

You aren't going to the "end of the world" so don't panic that you'll be stranded and left desparate. People live there quite comfortably. It will be different for you, but there will be some things that you really like and some things that you'll miss. But if you have specific foods you like, start telling your mom how much you love her and guilt trip her into weekly care packages :) If your friends find out...a nominal fee to include their requests isn't unreasonable :lol:

lmoliver
06-16-2005, 07:20 PM
Thanks my friend, that gives me a lot of information and gives me a lot more confidence. I'll be prepared to live very simply and study my a... off.

In another post I think it was Franenstone that suggested bringing pots and pans,etc. How do you pack that stuff, in suitcases? or ship it UPS? Same with textbooks, do you pack them in suitcases?

Are there any more 40 somethings out there, who are heading down in Sept.?

Linda

frankenstone
06-16-2005, 11:12 PM
Thanks J-,

I am busy this semester. :!:

Bring your books in luggage and bring at least one good pot preferrably 2 in your luggage. Just mix it in with your clothes.\


OR don't bring any and you can deal with trying not to scrape the cheapest coating of mock teflon off the pots and pans. Which within a weekor two they start rusting badly. They you can write a cookbook called "100 ways to prepare rust".

Thereis stainless steel but that burns badly if you try to fry. So the gol here is to bring one or two nonstick pots and the stuff to boil can be used with local pots.




:wink: Frankenstone

jpryor
06-17-2005, 04:20 AM
Bring your books in luggage and bring at least one good pot preferrably 2 in your luggage. Just mix it in with your clothes.

I know the airlines have a limit on the number of bags...but the fee for an extra one probably works out to be equal with the cost of mailing a large box to yourself. As Frankenstone noted, a couple of good pots and pans will make your meals a lot more enjoyable.

Just so you know...there are no throngs of kids leaping at you to cart your bags on each leg of your trip. So count on struggling with your own luggage right up until you get within a few feet of the taxi...and the taxi drivers aren't real enthusiastic about lifting the heavier bags.

sukhtinder
06-18-2005, 11:28 AM
can u buy thongs on the island?

frankenstone
06-18-2005, 06:25 PM
can u buy thongs on the island?

They have a few cheap ones..... I know because I own some myself. I use them to hang bananas with. :lol: :lol:

Frankenstone







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