On my first cruise in the Caribbean in 2000 I sailed with my friend Veronica on the Enchantment of the Seas. We visited St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Nassau, Bahamas. While visiting the earlier ports people would get their hair braided by the locals on the beach. Apparently the going rate was $1 or $2 per braid depending on the island and it was suggested that you set a price beforehand. In my infinite wisdom I decided to do it at our last stop in the Bahamas. This was a problem for 2 reasons – it’s more expensive in the Bahamas and it was 2 days before returning home. While the braids are cute on vacation they lose their thrill in real life after a day. To add to my poor decision making I set a price with the girl – $2 per braid and she estimated 15 or 20 braids for my head. Ok, I could handle that. Except she actually did like 30 braids, so my $30-$40 investment cost me $60 and I could tell Veronica knew I had done a bad job with my bartering, or maybe that was my own brain yelling at me. What was done was done, I paid my $60 and would like to think I’m a little more savvy for the experience. But even I know that the most savvy have bad days.
A funny little story about one of my tablemates who got braids in St. Maarten. She was dutch, as is the side of the island she got her braids, however it is illegal to do braids on the beach. Well her braider got caught half way through by the police. Well since she ws dutch and the policeman was nice, he hauled them all back to the police facility and made the girl finish her head, without getting paid of course before he did whatever the police do with braiding violators.