Caribbean Adventure Tour 23 to 29 August 1999
Day 1 – Departing Dallas
We managed to get to the airport on time, actually with plenty of time to spare! The sun was shining in a regularly warm Dallas, however when we finally arrived in Miami, the rain was drenching the airport, that along with the lightning, required us to be grounded before disembarking for about 45 minutes. Naturally we were an hour late taking off. Both of us were just wishing we were there. Side-note. Don’t stay up all night prior to flying.
The cab ride from airport was AMAZING. Fast and maniacal, is the only way I can describe it. At one point we stopped for gas, or so we thought, he (the driver) was checking out the petrol pump attendant. I think this should have been a warning about the way life is on the islands. Hotel is nice. Greeted by Karen – the handshake is a nice touch. She arranged for sandwiches. These are hospitable people. Seems this island is liked by the british, as we have heard many already. The crickets are also amazing here, as they sound like a birds tweeting constantly, or like a spring in need of an oil. The room is basic – no air conditioning, but it is about 30 feet from the ocean. As I write this I am listening to the rolling waves pounding the beach, with the sounds of the crickets ‘chirping’ away.
Up at 6.41 this morning. Wandered to the clothing optional part of the beach and took advantage of the solitude and the camera. Also managed to get this great shot (to the left) with the blue waters of the Caribbean sea just metres from our room. Got to the airport, where our plane was delayed for over an hour. Got to St Martin – part of the Netherlands – and then drove over to the French part of the island. Yep 2 countries on the one island. Took the ferry to Anguilla – the water here HAS to be seen to be believed. Hotel is great – except they seem to have a problem with 2 men. Given this was a prize given to the HRC, it is a little odd. Prices seem extraordinary – still trying to figure out if they are EC or US. Napped the afternoon away – after finally getting our room. After dinner we wandered along the moon lit beach and relaxed in a hammock.
After a good sleep, wandered down to the beach and soaked up some sun and frollicked in the warm Caribbean sea. Decided to wander to Gee Wee’s bakery for lunch. The food – a turkey sandwich – was fresh and tasty. I suggest you skip the ‘local’ drink called Moaby – or something, we discovered it was made from tree bark (we kid you not!). Ventured to another hotel to buy some stuff at their ‘shop’ – but it was closed. Walked back to the Sonesta – having walked about 6 miles. Hot and sweaty, we immediately moved to the beach for a cool down in the water. The tan line is starting to look good *laff*. Ate at the hotel restaurant, it is very expensive unfortunately.
We are sleeping late – and neither of us are really sure why. Maybe the warm air and the lazy attitude. Today we decided than rather hiring bicycles, we would investigate hiring a car. The economics have paid off as we now have this new found freedom. We drove over to Shoal Bay today, which is meant to be the ‘nicest’ beach on Anguilla. It’s pretty and lots of coral around, but the sand is coarser. We met a guy named Raymond, who asked if we were from the Sonesta – we decided it was the towels that gave us away. His sister is the assistant manager at the Sonesta, and he provides beach stuff. He gave us his card proudly annuouncing he was ‘on the internet’. We didn’t use his service, but thought he was worth a mention. We lazed at Shoal Bay for a couple of hours, and then visited the market for food items (another benefit to having the vehicle). Later we ate at the World Famous “Smitty’s”, which is an interesting establishment and interesting food. I started my transformation into a real man at Smitty’s. After returning to the hotel, we did coffee and then watched the night roll by whilst laying in a hammock on the beach. I think we solved all the world’s problems out there.
The tan is coming along nicely. Today we visited Sandy Island, which is about 2 miles off the Anguillan coast. The island used to be covered with palm trees, however these were destroyed five years ago in Hurricane ??. Being low season we were the only people on the island (about 100 foot by 30 foot). Very relaxing with the sound of water lapping the beach on all sides. The water varies in colour, from a deep deep blue to a brilliant torquoise. Simply stunning. We ate lunch there and watched a squall pass by in the distance, with our little island remaining sunny at all times. The company that provides the ride and lunch are a family run business. The cost was a little more than expected – make sure you ask – with the trip, lunch and a couple of drinks costing about $69.00. The rest of the afternoon we spent relaxing at the hotel. Dinner was eaten at Arlo’s – a french/italian place. After ringing to confirm they were open, we arrived to find that they were closing the next day, so their menu selection was limited. Chris and I returned to the hotel and played Checkers and Chess under the watchful eye of the barmen. Followed by the obligatory hammock watch. My journey to manhood is almost complete.
Today was a quiet day. We lounged on the beach for a few hours in the morning, did a lunch from Gee Wee’s and then napped at the hotel. We ate dinner at Top of the Palms, a restaurant attached to the La Sirena hotel. Chris wanted Fondue, however they were only serving the “west indian” style and not the swiss cheese style. Both of us were a little disappointed, but enjoyed the food we did eat. Back to the hotel where a rematch for chess was requested. The outcomes did not change. Chris thought it would be cool to go for a swim, but the ocean was dragging all this grass in, so we remained clothed and dry. Well…
Today is the last day here. We are planning to soak more sun, pack and leave. Both of us have enjoyed ourselves a lot.