Friday Column: Can I get some freaking real milk please!?

(Yes it is late, but it is still Friday).

Why is it that 'standard' is so sub-standard?

Yesterday in St. Lucia, Mia and I were enjoying my secret Santa present at the Bread Basket, one of the myriad cafes in Rodney Bay Marina, where the ARC finish festivities are still going on (the secret Santa, by the way, is a disproportionately enjoyable activity that we ARC staff participate in each year. Each person is allowed to spend $30EC dollars on some sort of knick knack to give to a person whose name you draw from a hat. Inevitably, we are given only a few hours to complete the task, usually within the marina. The options are fairly limited - there is a cheesy tourist shop called 'Drop Anchor' in the center of the marina, a small not-well-stocked grocery store, said cafes, a marine chandlery - that was closed - and an electronics store. Plus a sailmaker and Suds laundry, which do not offer much. The gifts are more often than not silly - take for example Nick's hard hat and safety goggles he got last year - but this year there were decidedly more practical ones. I got a gift card to the Bread Basket).

A further aside - today we were at the same Bread Basket drinking another frozen cafe latte (the subject of today's diatribe, which I will get to), when a drunk man from Martinique fell off the balcony adjacent to our table and landed with a thud in the grass. Only after bouncing off an a large air conditioning unit on his way down. He only spoke French, and the cadre of people standing around watching could not offer much help. He seemed fine - other than being so drunk to the point that he could barely speak - and no bones were poking out where they should not have been. Nonetheless someone called an ambulance and they took him off.

To the point. Yesterday, when we first ordered a frozen cafe latte at the Bread Basket, the waitress assured us that it was only milk, coffee and ice - no sugar, nothing extra. Sounded good to me. When it arrived, it was suspiciously dark and creamy. I took a sip. Mia took a sip (she rightfully did not order one of her own until tasting mine). We both grimaced. It was definitely not real milk or coffee, and there was definitely sugar in it. Mia chased the waitress back inside to tell her to cancel her order. It took several minutes to get the thick taste out of my mouth. Mia discovered that the 'real milk and real coffee' came out of a box, pre-mixed. The second ingredient was sugar.

Which prompted her to try and persuade the waitress that I was in fact disgruntled and would not be drinking my frozen cafe latte nor would I be happy about using my secret Santa gift card to pay for it. The waitress returned. She then assured us that she would be able to in fact make us another one, this time really with real coffee, milk and ice (no sugar). This she did. Again Mia waited to taste mine. Satisfied, she ordered her own and we enjoyed them.

But why is the standard fare the crappy fare? Why is it fake? Why should I by default suspect something labeled as innocently as a frozen cafe latte as not telling the truth?

The coconut men on the other side of the road outside the marina have it right. They whack open coconuts by the bushelfull and pour them straight into recycled water bottles, big ones. They sell them for $8EC out of the back of pickup trucks. I know what I'm getting. They are delightful.

The lady in the hotel this morning tried to make me pay $6EC for reconstituted warm milk. I just wanted it for my coffee.