On our Bahama vacation, my new husband and I had decided to stroll in the sun for the afternoon and then head back to town for some pre-whoopie pies.  We’d strayed far from both the cruise ship and the street vendors and found a deserted part of the beach.  It was our moment in Paradise.  

The moment, though, was fleeting as a local woman seemed to jump out from behind a palm tree.  She pleaded in broken English, “Braid your hair lady?!”  I gave a quick but courteous negative reply as we experienced this part of the local tourist economy.  When she didn’t take “No” for an answer, her sales accent insisted, “Braid your hair 10 dollar.”  Not right now I tried to explain, wondering if it made the translation?  If it didn’t, I thought our turning away would break the language barrier.  Her body language was more persistent, however.  She started to walk the shoreline with us and continued her promotion.  At that point, I think a less courteous level of American phraseology came out of my mouth.  This seemed to make her disappear as quickly as she’d arrived.  

We managed to take pleasure in the scenery and water’s edge after that and laughed about our earlier encounter. Had I been with my girlfriends, I may have let my long brown hair enjoy the native fashion.  Rather, we headed back to the ship and put on our dinner fashions.  We laughed about our afternoon all over again when the other wives showed up in corn rows!  They loved sporting their native hairdos but we too had managed to live like natives on that deserted beach. 


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