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“In essence, it cannot even be considered a tourist destination. There is hardly any local population, and not that many short-stay holidaymakers either. Instead, the population is largely made up of rich people who work remotely and stay here for long periods of time. There are no special attractions except for a few churches and a replica of astronaut John Glenn's capsule, which landed nearby. The main thing, though, is that the sea here is wonderful. By the way, you can also see funny-shaped cacti and almost gentle, innocent-looking donkeys walking the streets.” (b.e. 2021)


Practicals

Transport


Local transportation

“They drive on the left here, like the British, although most rental cars are left-hand drive, because they were imported from the USA and not from the UK, and they are rented by Americans, not the British. The locals prefer to import cars that no longer pass roadworthiness tests in Japan, for a few thousand dollars. These are right-hand drives and seem to keep going forever. The locals – like the inhabitants of other, similar islands – cannot drive at all. They turn without indicating (or in the opposite direction to the direction they indicate). That's why we should always stay a fair distance behind them, because they often drive without brake lights, holding a mobile phone to their ear, and can turn right or left at any time. Or, with a quick honk of the horn, they slam on the brakes to pick up a local standing by the side of the road. Indeed, they may use the handbrake for this, which can be unpleasant for the tourist following, who is used to indicators, brake lights, and preliminary slowing down from the driver in front of him. This honking, unofficial ‘taxi’ will take a local standing on the sidewalk to his destination a few kilometers away for a couple of dollars. And if tourists are walking on the sidewalk, cars traveling in the same direction will also honk at them, because there is no public transportation on the island. For this reason, it is better to use the sidewalk on the side of oncoming traffic. Of course, foreigners don’t know why they are getting honked at, and worry that they have broken the rules. This can be particularly disturbing if a tourist is passing by with a rental car at the same time that the ‘taxis’ are honking at a pedestrian.

Bicycles can be rented at all hotels – and there are also scooter rental companies – but due to the aforementioned local style of driving, it may not be a good idea, unless you really want to tempt fate. Central America and the Caribbean are known as the junkyards of the US and Japanese car industries. In those countries, cars that do not pass the test – often after one or two million kilometers – must be destroyed, for which a fee is charged, so it is much easier to export them, even if the transport fee ends up covering the greater part of the purchase price. Because of all this – although there is a technical exam every year – the exam can be seen as purely for show. You just have to pay the $150 a year, for which they give you a sticker that you have to stick on the side of the windshield, i.e. it has a pure tax function. By the way, the test consists of turning the steering wheel slightly to the right and then to the left in a stationary position, and if the mechanic facing the car sees that the wheel has also moved in the direction the driver sitting inside turned the wheel, then the chassis has passed the test. (By the way, the concert of squeaking brake pads and broken spring, each sounding at a distinctive pitch, depending on the car model, is best experienced at roundabouts and speed bumps.) After the chassis inspection, all you have to do is switch on the lights and indicators. If those work, the exam is successful – all you have to do is pay. But since everyone is related to almost everyone, plenty of people don't even have to drive their car to the exam location, they just pay the fee and their car is noted in the system as having passed. The braver ones, or those who don't have the money for the sticker, go without it, trusting that their cousin the policeman, who rarely checks, will forgive the lack of a sticker. If it is not the cousin himself who checks, then at least he will ask his colleague not to push the matter any further.

It is also common at night for them to drive without lights – since they can still see – but it is even more common for every second car to drive with all its lights on (including, of course, the full-beam headlights), even though there is street lighting everywhere. On top of all this is the aforementioned reverse/left-hand traffic, so it is highly recommended to take a taxi everywhere. It looks more expensive, but it's the best option and will usually be the cheapest in the long run.”

Taxis

“Taxi fares should be available in every taxi on a foiled sheet of paper, but the taxi drivers do not display this, so they quote you more than the prices set there – though of course not as much as the cowboy taxi drivers back home – and they also calculate the fare per person. Feel free to ask for the price table at the start of the trip, so they don't dare ask for more. The not-so-experienced traveler will have difficulty understanding why taxi drivers think that white passengers are (also) related to polar bears because the air conditioning in the back seat is set to freezing. However, this is only because Americans always demand it, so feel free to tell them to switch it off. After each trip, the taxi drivers put their business cards in our hands, and if we were satisfied, we can call them next time, but if they say they will be there in five minutes, it can be up to 25. The best thing is to sit in the shade, and calmly call him again every five minutes to see where he is. In the end, it is also possible that a relative/colleague will come on his behalf. For true stress-lovers, the price of renting a small car for a week starts at 300 dollars.”



Shopping

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Turks and Caicos - Grand Turk - Historic Post Office - Here they sell stamps and put stamps with state marks - philately for the islands is also a business - k.a. photo

Fun


“The only nightlife is on the island of Providenciales (referred to among locals as Provo). Many beach bars offer ‘happy hour’ deals, which means serving cocktails between 5-7 p.m., i.e. before dinner, around sunset, often accompanied by live Caribbean music. Most tourists are attracted to Bight (Children's) Park, which hosts the ‘Fish Fry’ festival every Thursday evening between 5:30 and 9:30. Here, on both sides of the park, dozens of fish restaurants await hungry tourists, where locally caught fish, lobster, and conch are freshly prepared, but you can also get a side dish with fried banana or boiled corn. You can also drink raw coconut juice by sipping from the nut with a straw while the music composed by a local DJ plays in the middle of the park, and tourists, who are getting more and more cheerful thanks to the cocktails and local beer, dance in groups.

At around eight thirty, the ‘slightly’ plus-sized lady – here this is ideal – asks the tourists from the stage, made up of representatives of different nations, to send one lady up to the stage. Usually, female representatives from 8-10 countries – given courage by their cocktails –go up, where the task is to present a dance typical of their nation to the audience in addition to about one minute of music. Of course, Americans do not dance the ancient dance of the Indians, but whatever has ‘stuck’ from movies, parties, etc. – certainly not from the dance school.

Just like the representatives of other nations, they try to perform this slightly writhing ‘sexy/seductive’ dance, which they presumably usually perform for their male partners before certain occasions, potentially in a similar mood as here from the rum cocktails. How impressed the audience is can be seen from its expression of approval (shouting/whistling/applause) at the end of the minute, at the host's request. This determines the ranking order. There is an exception to this relatively ‘uniform standard’, which the reader can guess. The most memorable runner-up was a 40-year-old Moroccan lady who put the most skilled harem ladies to shame with her dance. The audience praised her for her skill and grace. At the same time, the first-place winner was a very cheerful black lady who managed to cram her 200 kilos of charm into black lycra pants and a similarly close-fitting top, ‘divided into folds’, which she was able to move very rhythmically and separately to the music. The audience went crazy from the sight, not only at the end of the dance, but from the very beginning, screaming, crying, and laughing, meaning that the outcome of the vote was not in doubt – she was the ‘Dancing Queen’ of the islands.

After this program, we await the performance of the drummers/percussionists around 8-8:30 p.m., who, dressed in Caribbean carnival attire, dictate a crazy rhythm with drums and rattles during their half-hour parade. Dancing tourists follow the marching procession, and then take pictures with the masked leader.”

Public safety

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Turks and Caicos - Grand Turk - Her Majesty's Prison - k.a. photo

Background

Turks and Caicos - Grand Turk - Parliament building (House of Assembly) and the Prime Minister' office - k.a. photo

Turks and Caicos - national flag - p.p. photo

Destination in brief

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Geography

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Turks and Caicos - donkeys - Once, donkeys were used to carry sea salt, which was collected in drying ponds. By the by the need for donkeys ended. They ,,became wild", and now their self-reproducing population grazes on the islands by itself wherever it gets. - k.a. photo

Climate


“The biggest attraction of the archipelago is that unlike many other Caribbean islands – and other ‘tropical’ islands around the world – it has a less rainy climate, without monsoon periods, and the daily temperature fluctuation is only about 5 degrees Celsius, so you can walk around at night in flip flops/barefoot, wearing a t-shirt and shorts, and never need a cardigan. The occasional rain is also warm, and there are no chills afterward. The moldy smell and mustiness characteristic of tropical houses is also less pronounced because the humidity is only between 65-70% for most of the year. The exception is the summer months when the year-round pleasantly cooling trade winds stop, and this increases the humidity and the feeling of heat since the Caribbean sun is even higher and very strong in summer. Therefore, Europeans are advised to holiday elsewhere in summer, and not to come here at this time, unless they are looking for extreme heat.

The hurricane season is between June and October, but fortunately, the ‘real’ hurricanes generally do not strike these islands, because they tend to become stronger as they move west.  Here they generally strike with a force comparable to a serious European thunderstorm, with a few hours of warm rain and stormy winds. But as this storm cloud moves towards Florida following the Gulf Stream – which keeps the Caribbean warm in the winter by ‘transporting’ the heat from Central Africa – it gets stronger and stronger as it moves up the east coast of the USA, and can eventually cause major floods in the states around New York. And if every few years a ‘late-starting’ front (at the end of November or December) meets a cold front arriving from the north at that time, then their merger combines their strengths, and certain US states can become disaster-stricken areas under meters of snow or sleet.”

Attractions

Beaches

  1. Grace Bay Beach. One of the longest, most popular beaches on the island, but for a reason. It was named the world’s best beach multiple times, has the crystal clear water and runs along all of the resorts on the island.
  2. Long Bay Beach - this is the one where windsurfers from around the world travel to. The water is roughly 3 feet deep for hundreds of yards into the ocean, and there’s always enough wind there, making it the perfect place for windsurfers. Far out in the sea is an abandoned and rusting container ship, which hit the reef decades ago and has been there ever since. You can take boat excursions out to it and jump off. At the beach, we have seen multiple stingrays.
  3. Sapodilla Bay Beach - located on the other side of the island, this smaller beach has it all, from jet skis to beach chair rentals. It also has the shallow beach and sits right in a cove.
  4. Taylor Bay Beach - known only to a few and farther down than Sapodilla, this beach is my favorite on the island. The water is even more shallow than Long Bay, and just a bit larger than Sapodilla. Because it is tucked away and off the road, there is maybe a maximum of 10 people there every day. It is beautiful. Some local dogs stop by every time we go, which is fantastic. We have spotted crabs, large fish, and turtles while swimming here. (M:C., 2019)

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