Come in, have a seat. We'll tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a place whose fairness could perhaps be imagined if there existed a hundred words to describe the idea of blueness, if our ever-bombarded ears could grasp the concept of something more peaceful than silence, and if our civilization-distorted minds could appreciate the artistry of life as practiced by a dozen indigenous tribes.
Then came the age of discovery and soon after the voyages of Christopher Columbus some major European powers realized that the verdant sugar cane valleys and coconut-tree-clad mountains could well replenish the waning potential of the Old World. The native peoples were driven to near-extinction and the enslaved ones worked their hands to the bone on conquistadors' plantations.
Bruised and battered, the Caribbean finally saw a wave of abolitionism and independence overflowing the region. Hugely unskilled, heavily dependent on agriculture, and left with basically no profit, people had no choice but to tame their paradise anew. Poor but enjoying relative freedom, the islanders started to splinter into numerous separate cultures, living off produce, building upon local folklore, and carefully preserving colonial architecture, all of which came as a powerful testimony to the peoples' resilience and sense of togetherness. Buzzing with the squawking of tropical birds, mesmerizing with the underwater galore, soothing with unimaginable clusters of greenery, and rocking in the rhythm of salsa, the Caribbean was only waiting for a helping hand to heal the economy.
It came sooner than it could have been expected but with long strings attached. The movie-set beauty drew countless filmmakers with their million-dollar productions, photographers shooting their bikini sessions in the emerald shallows, greedy developers whose resorts just mushroomed along the palm tree lined coasts, and hordes of tourists fueling the pockets of European and American investors. Far from what we'd call a happy-ending...
Yet the story goes on, and although there is little chance for a fairy tale conclusion, it may nevertheless be a long, pleasurable read. The Caribbean is still arguably the most enchanting region on Earth, with people whose passion for life is irresistible and with plenty of pristine spots which have luckily escaped the flood of commercialism. Don't get us wrong; we are not trying to stop you from visiting. Do come! Mix with the people, support their local economy, discover the roots that underpin this staggering diversity, and help them grow. We have already lost one Eden, so let's do our best to keep this one for as long as possible.