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Entries about irie life

Anguilla, Stage 3: Pick Your Poison

The next morning I bounded out of bed at 5:20 a.m., a feat that I could accomplish back home only if the house was on fire (and even then it is doubtful). Naturally, Angel was still asleep, so I tiptoed to the other bedroom to take in the glorious sunrise.

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5:30 a.m.: Maybe I'll head outside to poke around in the gardens for a bit.

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5:45 a.m.: Time to lift up Angel's eyelids to see if he's awake yet. No dice.

5:50 a.m.: Back to the balcony to soak up the sea breeze.

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5:58 a.m.: Doing nothing is boring. Happily, it suddenly occurred to me that the balcony would be the perfect spot for Angel to enjoy a cup of coffee when he woke up. And so I headed downstairs to do battle with that coffee-making contraption I'd seen earlier.

I don't drink coffee, so I don't really know how to work a coffee maker. But how hard could it be? I confirmed that I had coffee, sugar, and cream, then added the grounds to the filter, filled the chamber with water, and flipped the switch.

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After a few short minutes, success! The machine began to gurgle, and out came what looked and smelled like coffee. I triumphantly patted myself on the back as I poured a cup for Angel and delivered it to him in bed.

He was delighted by the coffee (though less so by the 6:15 a.m. wake-up call), and spent the rest of the morning sipping his coffee poolside as we discussed our plans for the day.

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We decided to do a little shopping that morning, with stops at Irie Life and a new favorite, Limin' Boutique.

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Ken and his cute-as-a-button wife Renee run Limin', while Renee pulls double duty by also modeling the bright, beachy wares that line the walls.

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After our spree, we drove up to Island Harbour to have lunch at Elite, which is not new but was new to us. We'd heard good things, and even if we hadn't, you know I'd drive to the ends of the earth for some gnocchi.

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It turns out that Elite is sweet and secluded and makes a mean focaccia, too.

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If that isn't enough to get you up to Island Harbour, then maybe the view is.

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We began the meal by sharing the shrimp panzanella salad, which came with croutons made from more of that fabulous focaccia, then moved on to the penne arrabiata in a spicy red pepper sauce for Angel (with just a smidgen of cheese), and the gnocchi for me.

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After lunch we lazed around for a bit, then decided to head over to Scilly Cay, since it had been 19 years since we'd last been there.

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Nineteen years, and I am pretty sure we are still nursing a hangover from that visit, courtesy of Eudoxie's deadly rum punch.

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Nineteen years, and we discovered that we've actually grown up a bit since then. What used to be great fun -- drunk folks lolling about in the water, awkwardly attempting to slap each other five and yelling, "WOOOO!" -- was now annoying to our old-folks sensibilities. And so we stole away to a couple of hidden loungers, sipped our rum punches, took a quick dip in the water, and caught the next boat back to Island Harbour, all before you could drunkenly holler, "Dude . . . watch this!"

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When we returned to Moondance that evening, Angel wasn't feeling well, and we racked our brains to see if he'd eaten something that I hadn't. (Not that it would have mattered much -- my stomach is made of cast iron.) But we'd shared an appetizer and tried each other's entrees at lunch, had ordered all the same drinks at both Elite and Scilly Cay, so we were stumped as to the cause.

That's because by that time, I'd forgotten all about that coffee I'd made for Angel earlier that morning, and of course so had he. In fact, it wasn't until his insides revolted with such vehemence that they couldn't even pick just one orifice from which to expel that coffee (and everything else in his stomach) that I realized what I'd done: Without even thinking, I'd filled the coffee pot that morning with tap water. And not just your run-of-the-mill Caribbean tap water, but tap water that had been languishing in the pipes of a house that had been unoccupied for weeks prior to our stay.

Looking back, I guess I should have known that something was amiss . . .

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At least he knew I didn't do it on purpose. There's no way I'd poison him in Anguilla and ruin my vacation.

By the time our dinner reservation at Straw Hat rolled around, Angel was in full-blown digestive distress, and it was clear that he was in no shape to go out. I picked up the phone to cancel, but before I could get through, Angel hauled himself off the sofa and insisted that he could make it. (I didn't believe him, of course, and when he actually volunteered to pose for some photos, I knew he'd gone plum delirious.)

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If you are new to the island and wondering if you should add Straw Hat to your list of dinner reservations, consider this: If you are suffering from all five symptoms in a Pepto-Bismol commercial at the same time and still want to go out to dinner because "It's Straw Hat!!," that's a pretty good sign that this place is worth your while.

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He staggered into the place like a man on his last legs and slumped into his seat at the table, where he looked like this . . .

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. . . but probably felt like this.

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Our table was ridiculously romantic: Right on the edge of the sea, illuminated by string lights and candles, with the sound of the surf and some reggae music floating on the light breeze.

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I didn't think Angel would be able to eat much, but that didn't mean his half would go to waste. And so we ordered up the lobster spring rolls to "share," followed by the lobster mac & cheese with gruyere and parmesan sauce for me, along with a mild-sounding melon-mojito snapper for Patient Zero.

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Angel took approximately two bites of that snapper before he turned green, and so we explained to our server, as politely and discreetly as we could, that we'd be taking the meal to go (though not before I inhaled that entire order of spring rolls as an act of good faith).

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The lovely Doris quickly noticed that we were leaving early and inquired as to whether everything was okay. We assured her that both the food and the setting were perfect, but unfortunately Angel hadn't been feeling well. At that she sprang into action, filling a to-go container with bitters and seeing us off with the utmost care and concern.

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For his part, Angel was the consummate professional, still shouting out photography tips as he crawled to the car gripping his belly.

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We got him home, tucked him into bed, and made sure he was on the side closest to the bathroom. And that's when I realized I'd entered Stage 3 of Anguilla Vacation Grief: Bargaining.

Dear Lord, please let him feel better so I can work in a second cheeseburger.
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Click here to read Part 4!

Posted by TraceyG 05:21 Archived in Anguilla Tagged elite irie_life straw_hat moondance scilly_cay limin_boutique Comments (13)

A Sweet Return to Anguilla, Pt. 6: Little Bit O' Sweet Love

The next day we decided to do a little sightseeing on our way to Shoal Bay East.

Translation: I'm going to chase around a bunch of goats and buy $300 worth of Anguilla magnets on our way to Shoal Bay East.

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Raise your hand if you thought it was the goat...

Our first stop was at Irie Life, a brightly-colored shop overlooking Sandy Ground.

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Here, we loaded up on t-shirts, key chains, license plates, bumper stickers, magnets, and baseball caps. I get the feeling that if Irie Life sold used gum wrappers with the letters "AXA" stamped on them, we'd probably buy them, too.

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Then it was off to the Sandy Ground roundabout for a combination rodeo/episode of "When Animals Attack."

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At least they smiled pretty for the camera.

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We passed through The Valley, then headed north toward Shoal Bay Village.

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Only in Anguilla would we pull off to the side of the road in order to admire a chain-link fence studded with old license plates.

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Our journey took us past Wallblake House, a former plantation whose sad history includes the use of slave labor to harvest sugar and cotton.

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We also passed a few local churches, whose sad history includes keeping people from sleeping in on Sundays.

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We decided on lunch at Elodia's, a colorful spot at the end of Shoal Bay near "the point."

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The day was hot and humid, so we stuck to a quick lunch of turkey sandwiches at Elodia's, allowing us to maximize our soak time.

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Of course, there are other ways to cool off, too.

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Elodia's rum punches are quite tasty, and while ordering a second round Angel said as much to the bartender and asked what was in it. Her brown eyes sparkled and she smiled. "Oh, just a little bit o' sweet love!" she chuckled.

We hung around as the beach emptied, enjoying a last rum punch before Elodia's closed up shop.

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If we'd had a little bit o' sweet love at Elodia's, we were in for a whole lot o' sweet love that evening for dinner.

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Though I'm not sure "love" is a strong enough word to convey my feelings for the FBI cheeseburger.

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It was Wing Night, but because I hate the smell of Tobasco, Angel is always kind enough to order his wings for dessert, so the smell won't interfere with my celebration of FBI Monday.

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He even eats them at the bar so I can bask in the burger after-glow.

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Not that he has any ulterior motives, of course.

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Click here for Part 7!

Posted by TraceyG 05:51 Archived in Anguilla Tagged goats ferryboat_inn irie_life elodias march_4 sandy_ground Comments (9)

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