Communications – Better Late Than Never

Communications, Better Late Than Never

Guest Post by Louise Crandall

This story, which took place quite a few years ago on a deserted beach in the Caribbean, certainly exemplifies the concept: Communications – better late than never.

I used to like going to places that hadn’t yet been overrun with tourists. While the area now has dozens of hotels and mini-malls, at that point there was only one hotel on a 20-kilometer stretch of gorgeous, deserted beach. One afternoon, I was walking down the beach when it started to rain. Noticing a run-down bar on the edge of the sand, I went up and asked if I could join the dozen or so locals who were sitting around under a thatched roof beside the hut, drinking beer and waiting for the rain to stop. I spent a couple of pleasant hours, practicing my mediocre Spanish on the women and kids, and making jokes with the men. Think I bought everyone a round too.

When the rain finally slacked off and I got up to leave, one of the women said that since we’d all had a good time, why didn’t I come back for lunch tomorrow.  This sounded like a good idea to me since who wants to hang out with other sunburned tourists? Better to mix with locals, improving one’s capacity in a foreign language and learning local customs.  So the next morning I headed out around 11am to join my new buds. As I was leaving the hotel property, the gardener asked where I  was going. “To the bar down the beach”, I said. His somewhat shocked response was, “Lady, that isn’t a bar. That’s the local *#@+!house!”

In retrospect, I hadn’t paid much attention to the visible cues such as money changing hands, the hammock in the otherwise empty  hut, and the wide variety of skin tones of the kids running around. In fact, I had helped one women argue for more money when a guy was handing over a few pesos – for the beer I thought. I continued my walk up the beach and this time just waved cheerily at the girls as I  passed the establishment.


  • Be aware of the context in which you are communicating.
  • Do your research, know your audience.
  • When things don’t go as you planned, be gracious.

Louise Crandall is a communications specialist and an amazing writer. While her forte is travel writing, she is a master at pulling together complex communications projects with apparent ease.


About Debra Yearwood

Experienced communications and public relations executive who manages challenges with an eye on outcomes and a sense of humour. Learn more about how I think at Learn more about my experience at
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32 Responses to Communications – Better Late Than Never

  1. becc03 says:

    Too funny! I love random things like this. I have so many stories involving prostitutes, somehow I just seem to attract them to me!

  2. maxwell ivey says:

    great story; even better since its a bit embarrassing and she shows that she can laugh at herself. and we get a good lesson out of it too. this doesn’t happen just when there is a difference in language. there can be many reasons why an audience is unfamiliar to you. sometimes its just the language of their field or jargon. sometimes its the way people in certain communities interpret what you say. thanks for having her as a guest author. take care, max

  3. Love that story. What a laugh!!

  4. The north Idaho mining town I grew up in had functioning prostitution establishments right up until 1988 when the FBI raided the town and put an end to them as well as all the illegal gambling. It would have been pretty hard to mistake them for any other type of business, but your story brings back memories nontheless.

  5. Lorraine Marie Reguly says:


  6. Oddly enough, for me, that wouldn’t have been my first time hanging out in a house of ill repute. Sometimes you can learn quite a bit about a culture when you spend time with even the lowliest of their people.

  7. Diana says:

    Nice story – unexpected ending anyway – made me laugh so thank you, Louise for that – thanks Debra for hosting!

    However, i have a question – while the few communication tips in the end are super valuable, i fail to see how the story or the tips relate to the saying “better late than never”? Can anyone explain? Please? Maybe i am not seeing the obvious… 😀

  8. I laughed out loud. I could just see me doing that very thing. It really is true. Communication isn’t always about what we say but all the cues that surround a conversation. Watching the whole of the person, circumstance (or surroundings) can change the message. 🙂

  9. jacquiegum says:

    Ok this was hilarious…at least to me! Sounds like something I would do and then be shocked that I had enjoyed the company of people that polite society had told me I wouldn’t. But I would have done the same thing and avoided lunch…only because one never knows where danger lurks.

  10. Laurel says:

    I think that this story really demonstrates when context does not matter. Clearly Louise enjoyed meeting the locals, no matter their profession. It is here that communication (albeit broken Spanish) carried the situation. I also love the fact Louise was fearless and just whimsically joined the people sitting protected from the rain. That fearlessness in communication is most often a huge asset. Thank you for sharing this story!!

  11. Janet MacLeod says:

    Too funny!!! Louise you are a gem!!! (and obviously your new friends agreed)

  12. alisonwiley says:

    Good story! I agree about the importance of reading contextual cues, and being gracious when we suddenly discover the unexpected.

    If I had liked the people, I think I would have gone ahead with lunch, anyway (assuming they weren’t trying to recruit me). Jesus happily hung out with all types . . . diversity helps to make us rich in what matters. And prostitution isn’t contagious. 🙂

    Thanks for the good story.

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