I have mentioned some of the local workers in previous posts, such as the fruit vendors and dive masters. But I thought it may be interesting to touch on some of the other locals we see and deal with on a daily basis. As a whole we have found the people of San Pedro and area to be very friendly, helpful, and hard working. Bearing in mind the mainstay of the economy around here is tourism, obviously a large number are engaged in the numerous jobs surrounding that. From what I have observed the next biggest group would be in construction.
When Karen and I are out for our morning run we pass dozens of workers making their way to work on bicycles going up the beach. The beach drains quicker and is in far better condition than the road, so it sees a much higher volume of commuter traffic. The neat thing is that nearly every person that passes us takes the time to say hello or apologize for causing us to step out of their way. They include immaculately dressed people in the service industry to some very rough looking fellows with perfect manners. I find it wonderfully refreshing interacting with them.
Workplace safety is something that is a bit wanting here. Having a bit of a background in workplace safety I find it disconcerting and amazing the way some jobs get accomplished.
You see workers clinging to the sides of buildings wearing flip flops or a fellow cutting rebar with a saw (his eye protection consisted of closing his eyes and turning his head once the cut was started) and you wonder why you don’t see more obviously maimed people walking around.
Despite my perception of their workplace safety practices, the people here do get the job done. One of our neighbours at Reef Village wanted to do some beautification around their condo which consisted of making a little beach area by the lagoon. This entailed a lot of rock, bags of earth, plastic and sand. When I watched these guys work and chatted with them I am left with a deep admiration for what is truly hard work.
Of course there are also the people with the gift of the gab that migrate to the touristy jobs. Whether it is convincing a tourist to blow on a chickens butt or explaining the finer points of reef fishing and making sure the customer gets their monies worth.
The people who make San Pedro tick are a fantastic group of hard working folks. Take the time to acknowledge and respect them and they return the favour tenfold. They are just another reason to come and enjoy this little slice of paradise.