A Travellerspoint blog

October 2021

Anguilla, Part 1: Newbies by the Numbers

What happens when two longtime visitors to Anguilla bring two newbies along for a week . . . besides the crushing pressure of planning the perfect trip?

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A whole lot of incidents, injuries, and ill-considered decisions, which are best summed up in this handy tally:

Large ducks mounted: 1
Large ducks destroyed: 1
Times Trina went home with a stranger: 1
Times Scott went home with a stranger: 1
Times Tracey sampled a stranger's dinner: 2
Fake accents employed: 2
Injuries (cuts/scratches/scrapes): 15
Injuries (bruises): 11
Injuries (Angel): 0 (for the 22nd year running)
Hexes placed upon Angel for his lack of injuries: 1
Stabbings (by a particularly sharp plant): 2
Sun rashes: 3
Swim platforms exposed to ladybits and sloshed with frozen mojitos: 1
Times we mashed de place up: 1
Bug bites (Tracey): 2
Bug bites (Trina): 7 (all localized to right butt cheek)
Bug bites (Scott): 11
Bug bites (Angel): 348
Goat pettings: 0
Attempted goat pettings: 42
Faces melted by Carolina reaper & ghost pepper sauce: 2
Stories we heard about someone named Snakey: 2
New British greetings invented: 2
Resort pools crashed: 3
Cheeseburgers consumed: 8
Pizzas consumed: 6
Bottles of wine consumed: 9
Number of rum punches consumed: We can't count that high (and even if we could, we can't remember)
Pounds of homemade scalloped potatoes consumed: Until nauseous

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I should have known when Delta Airlines slashed our newbies' connection time at JFK to just 45 minutes -- then sent them a red, boldfaced warning which read (I'm paraphrasing only slightly here), "Hey, you're probably not going to make the connection that WE idiotically scheduled for you, so you might want to re-book at your own expense" -- that this trip was not going to be tranquility wrapped in blue, but calamity soaked in rum. But as my sister Trina and her husband Scott skidded breathlessly into the early boarding line with us at JFK and we scurried onto the plane bound for St. Maarten, I still held out a sliver of hope.

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And in fact, the rest of the travel day ran like clockwork: An easy transfer from plane to dock, complete with icy bottles of water and chilled towels soaked in lemongrass oil(!); an uncharacteristically bump-free boat ride over to Anguilla complemented by a round of rum punches; a breeze through Customs; and the Jeep we'd rented waiting in the parking lot, just as Ronnie Bryan promised.

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I mean, Catherine (of the fabulous Anguilla Villa Company) was even waiting at the villa wearing a fabulous tropical-patterned dress that (1) I immediately commented on and (2) she admitted to wearing just for me. Smoooooth, I tell you.

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As we have on trips past, we stayed at Coconut Palm on Mead's Bay, not wanting to risk any surprises at a new-to-us place with our new-to-island peeps.

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After months of agonizing, I knew I'd made the right choice when Trina and Scott sequestered themselves in the suite downstairs, leaving me and Angel with the entire upstairs to ourselves. (This was pre-Covid, when people sequestered themselves on purpose.)

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But we didn't come all this way to hang around the house; I had an entire island to show off, and just one short week to do it. And so we made a beeline for one of our (literally) nearest and dearest, Malliouhana.

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Soon the long day of travel began to catch up with us.

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Luckily it was nothing that a couple of glasses of Minuty at Leon's couldn't fix.

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That evening we decided to stick close to home for dinner, so we headed down the beach to Waves.

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We ordered a round of drinks, and pretty much everything on the menu.

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It was a quiet night at Waves, with just a handful of bored locals at the bar. And so, when they cranked up the music and asked if we wanted to mash de place up, who were we to say no?

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The next morning we explored Coconut Palm and hung around the pool for a bit.

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Soon our stomachs began rumbling, so we got ready for lunch.

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I picked Ocean Echo on Meads' for Trina and Scott's first lime. I'd say they got the hang of it.

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Soon the sweet smell of curry wafted down the beach, so we willed ourselves out of the water and up to the restaurant for lunch.

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It was a tough choice -- eat a second pizza, or get back in the water? I think I chose wisely.

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Later that afternoon, we spotted it. Like a mirage, it bobbed unsuspectingly in the distance: A gigantic blow-up swan that was just begging to be boarded.

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Or, as Scott put it, "You guys are gonna mount that big duck?"

Yes, Scott. Yes, we are.

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We bounded off down the beach, energized to complete our conquest.

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Only later did we realize that we'd wasted precious energy jumping around like idiots, because that swan was far.

Like, really far.

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Indeed, it is no accident that we look like we are drowning in this photo. Did I mention how far it was?

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Finally, sweet relief! We grabbed onto the swan for dear life and clambered aboard . . . to find not an Instagram-worthy rosé party, but a couple of children sitting in a puddle of warm water that had collected in the middle.

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But it wasn't until we'd, um, swanned off and headed back to shore that we realized that the "water" in that swan was suspiciously warm. Bet you never see that on Instagram.

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The next day, we noticed that the swan had disappeared. I guess they had befowled it.

That evening we enjoyed the sunset at Coconut Palm before heading out for dinner.

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I really wanted Trina and Scott to enjoy the island on their own for a bit, so we dropped them off in Sandy Ground while Angel and I headed up to Falcon Nest.

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But not before yelling, "Don't do drugs!!!" -- Almost Famous style -- as they exited the car.

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We ordered up our "usual" - two gigantic lobsters, a rum punch, and a Presidente -- and set to work.

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As we were finishing dinner, we bumped into friends Sue, Dina, and Denise enjoying a pasta feast. They politely asked me if I'd like to try it, and anyone who regularly reads this blog knows what a bad move that was.

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At least Denise had her head on straight. Here she is thinking, "Don't even look up. Don't make eye contact. Just eat your food before she does."

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For their part, Trina and Scott had enjoyed a tapas dinner at SandBar, then walked down the beach for a couple of nightcaps at a new spot on Sandy Ground, Lit Lounge.

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The next day we decided on lunch at Elodia's, which Angel likes for their strong rum punch and I like because they do not shame me for ordering off the kids' menu. But first, a stop at the scenic overlook on Back Street.

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At Elodia's, Angel and I played in the water while Trina and Scott perfected their limin' technique.

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Soon it was time for lunch.

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We were just on our way to be seated when we ran into my friend Karen, who was in Anguilla with her parents, who also happen to read this blog. I was honored when Karen said it would make her father's trip if I stopped by to say hello and, after chatting with the three of them for nearly an hour, I was even more honored to have been so easily welcomed by this warm, charming bunch with such a great sense of humor. (Case in point: When Angel came by to gather us up for lunch, Karen's dad took one look at his dark sunglasses and shaved head, and exclaimed, "Oh, look, another celebrity: Mr. Worldwide!" How an 80-year-old man knows who Pitbull is is anyone's guess, but what you don't need to guess is whether Angel was referred to exclusively as Mr. Worldwide for the rest of the trip.)

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After lunch, we settled sleepily into our loungers to while away the afternoon.

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Of course, we couldn't leave Shoal Bay without introducing Trina and Scott to a local Anguillian favorite, the guavaberry colada. Tropical Sunsets makes an O.G. version that's just Pepto-y enough to satisy even the most discerning palate.

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That evening we decided to go fancy for sunset at the Four Seasons.

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The place was packed -- particularly for August -- but we lucked into a table with a great sunset view.

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Trina and I took a stroll while the guys held down the fort.

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We'd timed it perfectly in order to make our dinner reservation at Picante.

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I tried to introduce Trina to my beloved seafood enchiladas, but she rebuffed them.

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Instead, her and Angel had a staring/swearing/sweating contest, melting their faces off with Picante's Carolina reaper & ghost pepper sauce, made with peppers home-grown by the chef's mother-in-law.

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I, of course, was not foolish enough to burn off all my taste buds so early in the trip.

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Thankfully they took things down a notch at dessert, with some cool, creamy vanilla ice cream and Picante's justly-famous frozen lemon-lime pudding with the little chili-lime salt shaker on the side.

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But you just know those two hotheads went crazy with the chili salt.
____________________________________
Part 2 soon come! Click here to subscribe and you'll receive an email when the new post goes up!

Posted by TraceyG 12:59 Archived in Anguilla Comments (5)

Anguilla, Part 2: Newbies by the Numbers

By this time we were roughly halfway through our trip, and already we had mashed de place up; mounted a floating, pee-filled duck; eaten half of a stranger's dinner; endured bug bites, sun rashes, and melted faces; and consumed enough rum punch to forget all about the bug bites, sun rashes, and melted faces.

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So it seemed like a good time to take our lives into our own hands.

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Our friend Rob Willsher, he of the tireless will to find my missing ring, runs the island's best dive shop, Vigilant Divers, and, in a moment of gratitude for everything he'd done for us, I temporarily lost my mind and inexplicably agreed to give scuba diving a try.

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We were literally that "How It Started / How It's Going" meme.

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Angel did really well, but I was a disaster. First there was the fact that I literally could not stand upright, since the gear weighs 50 lbs. . . . and I weigh 100 lbs. Second was the fact that my thin-skinned body is basically a collection of dowel rods wrapped in tissue paper.

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The worst part, though, was that as Angel and I were thrashing about in the water fighting for our lives, Trina and Scott were enjoying a serene, leisurely brunch at Straw Hat.

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One of them even had the audacity to order a hot dog while I gasped for my last dying breaths. Next thing you know they'll be scarfing down FBI cheeseburgers at my funeral.

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It is a testament to Rob's patience and professionalism that he still agreed to have lunch with us at Straw Hat after we essentially spent the morning sucking up two tanks full of oxygen in order to dunk our heads under water and then wail, "Save yourself! Go on without me!"

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We were joined by Trina and Scott (who apparently never left after breakfast), Rob's wife Julie, and Straw Hat owner Anne Parles.

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Rob may look like a tough guy, but he dines like the British royalty that he practically is, lunching on an elegant chicken salad and a crisp, grassy Sauvignon Blanc.

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Rob regaled us with stories of his road-trip adventures in America -- all of which involved him sparring with the likes of Maury Povich and ended with us in tears of laughter -- and, as the Sauvignon Blanc flowed freely, we decided to create two new British greetings in his honor ("Beef kippers to you!" and "Great candied pears!").

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That evening was a Wednesday, which could only mean one thing: Wing Night at FBI.

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What appeared to be a new waitress in an AXA Brewery tank flitted from table to table, occasionally popping in behind the bar as well. When she stopped by to check on our table, we got to chatting and, after another round of rum punch, the talk inexplicably turned to which one us had the funniest baby pictures. I thought it was me (I had front teeth the size of tombstones that you could park a truck between); Trina thought it was her (she looked exactly like a Cabbage Patch kid until she was well into high school); and Amy? Well . . . Amy won.

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At least she turned out gorgeous. Trina and I are still waiting.

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Later Amy mentioned that she'd just gotten a new puppy to keep her existing dogs company, and did we want to come by and see him since she lived just up the hill? I certainly wasn't risking a walk in the dark -- I'm clumsy enough in the daytime and without any rum punch -- but Trina was all in, and although I'd normally be loathe to let her set off in the dark in a foreign country with a complete stranger (to see a puppy, no less -- the oldest trick in the book!), I figured it would be fine since Amy worked at FBI and Scott was going along, too. And so they set off into the Anguillian night.

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Later, when Marjorie asked where they'd gone, I explained that they'd gone up to her new employee's house to see some dogs.

"You mean that blonde girl I saw earlier?" she asked. "She doesn't work here."

Oh.

Luckily Trina is too small to make a skin suit out of anyway, and so her and Scott returned to FBI safe and sound and covered in puppy saliva.

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The next day we decided to head over to Zemi Beach House for lunch, to show Trina and Scott how the other half (and shameless interlopers) live.

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We enjoyed a delicous lunch of fish tacos, watermelon and feta salad, tomato gazpacho, and more.

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After lunch we headed to the upper-level pool for a swim.

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Not a bad day for a bunch of interlopers.
-------------------------
There's still one more part!! Click here to subscribe and you'll be the first to know if we mount any more large, seafaring blow-up animals.

Posted by TraceyG 17:37 Archived in Anguilla Tagged vigilant_divers Comments (4)

Anguilla, Part 3: Newbies by the Numbers

That evening our friends Hal and Donna invited us over to their villa in Island Harbour for sunset cocktails.

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I wore a very special outfit: Donna made this dress for me, using a sarong I found at Irie Life. Made it! Me, I can barely use scissors without adult supervision.

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After drinks we drove the short distance over to Ben's for dinner.

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See that pointy plant in the foreground? It had no sooner stabbed me right in the crotch when I heard a muffled "oooof" behind me, only to turn and see Trina nearly impaled through the groin by the same sneaky shrub. (It is only with great restraint that I do not make any bush puns here.)

Sadly, she hasn't been able to sit upright since.

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I knew I was having Ben's excellent pepperoni pizza, and came prepared in case I needed a slice for the road.

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The next day we decided to check out Cap Juluca. Obviously they'll let anybody in this place.

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Mother Nature ensured that we didn't overstay our welcome.

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Ferryboat Inn may not be as fancy as Cap Juluca, but the burgers are better and that guy Christian is somewhat ok, too, now that he's married to Jenn.

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Someone who is more than just ok is Marjorie, who made an entire casserole dish full of homemade scalloped potatoes just for me. Which I proceeded to inhale at a rate that would make Joey Chestnut break out in a sweat.

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Of course, we made sure that we weren't the only ones who ate well at FBI that day.

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Later, the guys dropped me and Trina off at CuisinArt while they checked out Christian's new venture, AXA Brewery. [NOTE: AXA Brewery is currently closed but should be back up and running soon. Save water, drink beer!]

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Meanwhile, over at CuisinArt, Trina and I were busy contorting ourselves into their egg chairs and making people jealous of our frozen mojitos.

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It had been a long day -- even more so for those of us who downed a bushel of potatoes at lunch -- so we picked up dinner at B&D's for a well-deserved night in.

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The next morning Trina and Scott kept to their routine of breakfast at Straw Hat, while Angel and I made a pit stop at Shoal Bay West.

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We split up for lunch, too, with Trina and Scott at Blanchard's Beach Shack and Angel and I just down the beach at Ocean Echo.

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For lunch, we feated on Caesar salad, shrimp curry, and pepperoni pizza before retiring to our rafts.

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The four of us couldn't stay apart for long, though, and met up that afternoon at the Dune Preserve.

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But the swim platform at CuisinArt beckoned, and after our encounter with the Pee-king Duck, we were powerless to resist. And so we sloshed aboard, chistening everything in our paths with frozen mojito.

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Trina was triumphant, while I pretended not to know her. I'm sure Scott can relate.

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It was our last night on island, and I had a perfect night planned -- sunset and Sancerre at Coconut Palm, followed by dinner at our beloved Dolce Vita.

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Abbi surprised me with a gargantuan veal parm, and Angel and I surprised Trina with an early birthday celebration.

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The next morning we were set to depart on the ferry back to St. Martin. It was a Sunday, so we negotiated a deal: If Ferryboat would open that morning just for us, we'd provide the sausage and egg sandwiches and the entertainment (a.k.a. Trina in any sort of hat).

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Although Marjorie was at church and didn't join us, she still did the Lord's work the night before and prepared some rum punch for us to take to go.

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Now that is how you travel first-class.

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Where to next? Burgers, bourbon, and bumpkins in the Hudson Valley; a very special birthday trip to Antigua; summer on Anna Maria Island . . . and TWO MONTHS(!!) in Anguilla. Click here to subscribe and you'll be notified when a new post goes up!

Want to know what we're eating in the meantime? Follow me on Instagram @escape.from.new.york. Hope to see you there!

Posted by TraceyG 12:37 Archived in Anguilla Tagged dolce_vita ferryboat_inn Comments (6)

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