27 June 2011

Anguilla, Anguilla, Anguilla: part the eighth

FRIDAY
We have become quite the fans of the Sea Spray smoothies!  Friday morning we slept late, read on the balcony, and then packed up our beach bag.  Shoal Bay East is our destination for the day, but first we have to stop at our new favorite spot for another smoothie.  This time we wised up and shared one, creating our own taste sensation: peach & passionfruit.  Because brain freeze seems to come so easily to us these days, we stay there about 30 minutes while we sip away in leisure, casually waving to the people as they drive by. 

At Elodia's we set up shop again under the cabana we have fondly come to think of as ours.  First thing we do is take a walk down toward Tropical Sunset.  We make it about 3/4 of the way and decide to head back since DH doesn't have any sunscreen on his bald pate.  As we negotiate the soft sand leading to our cabana, a young woman hails us and asks if I am Emily.  Stunned, I reply in the affirmative and she introduces herself as Angie.  She and her husband Mike are vacationing for the first time in Anguilla and they've been reading my blogposts about Anguilla--again, I couldn't be more tickled.  Honestly, it makes my heart ache a little bit just knowing that somebody other than my husband and my mother are reading the blog at all, much less finding it helpful.  We chatted for a while and they compared notes with my husband about teaching high school--the pros and cons of private vs. public.  Angie & Mike were staying at Viceroy for their first two nights before moving on to Anacaona for the remainder of their stay, and from what they had seen on their first morning, they were a good way towards falling in love with the island. 
self portrait on Shoal Bay East
Just as we were settling in to our chaises longues, a large bus full of people pulled up by Elodia's.  Apparently it was a large tour group of people from St. Thomas who were on the island to celebrate a wedding--can't recall if it was the bride or groom from St. Thomas--and they pretty much cleaned Elodia's out of food.  No bbq, no fish, no crayfish left by the time we ordered our lunch.  No worries!  We ordered a hamburger (me) and a grilled cheese off of the children's menu (DH), and it must be said that it wasn't a great lunch. My hamburger was fine--nothing out of the ordinary to recommend or disparage it, but the grilled cheese was a little lacking.  Still, we had very ample portions of French fries, cole slaw, and green salad, and once again we left a lot of food behind on our plates.  Carol mixed me a really excellent passionfruit daiquiri, which went a long way to redeem the otherwise ordinary lunch.  And much to our surprise, Fay, the other woman working that day, offered us a discount on our cabana when it came time to settle up.  I never expected a discount and I certainly would never ask for one, but it was sweet of her to offer, despite my protestations that she should charge us full price.  She told me that I shouldn't argue with her, and as I filled out the tip portion, I reminded her that there was another way for me to settle that argument.  She grinned very broadly when she looked at the receipt. 
Another shabby sunset on Barnes Bay
 I wish I could say that the rest of our afternoon and evening continued in such a fine fashion, but alas, it would be untruthful.  We had decided to go casual for dinner that evening and selected the Ferryboat Inn, but once again, the three times I called to make reservations, nobody answered the telephone.  Thinking that the phonebook listing might be outdated, I checked in the dining guide in our villa and called the other number listed, but to no avail.  My karma clearly doesn't align with the Ferryboat Inn's.  We took a chance and decided to just show up, something we don't really like doing in Anguilla because we don't want the chef or the wait staff to be unprepared for dinner guests to arrive.  When asked if we had a reservation, I responded that we did not, but that it wasn't for our lack of trying--that we'd tried to call several times over the course of several days, at different times of day, but that we never got an answer.  The response?  Nothing.  Just a long look.  Then we were told to choose any seat.

Ferryboat Inn

Ferryboat Inn
Okay.  Fine.  Not everybody on Anguilla has to be friendly.  Maybe it had been a rough day at Ferryboat.  Who knows?  But the setting is nice & breezy and as other people have noted, the lights of St. Martin in the distance make for a pleasant backdrop for an evening meal.  Our server comes to ask if we want a beverage, to which I respond that I'd like a small bottle of water and a rum punch.  She then leaves without taking my husband's order.  We're a little befuddled but figure he'll just order the next time she comes back.  She returns with my rum punch, which is admittedly excellent, and deposits the bottled water with little fanfare in front of me, but with no glasses.  Thinking maybe she just had her hands full and will bring glasses later, I don't mention anything, but my husband has to call her back to place his initial drink order.  She seems a little put out that we didn't give it to her before.  Um, yeah.  We actually would have given it to her if she hadn't rushed away the first time.  It's not like we plan ahead to figure out ways to make our servers's lives as miserable as possible. 


We order the grilled snapper, which comes with potato and vegetables, and when she brings our entrees to the table but we still don't have any glasses for our bottled water, I ask for a couple.  She *actually* rolls her eyes at my request.  I mean, come on.  Are we both supposed to swish back water from the shared bottle?  This is the only time in Anguilla where we have ever had to request glasses to go with our water--including barefoot beach bars--and we're not keen on being made to feel like it's an imposition.  The meal itself was perfectly acceptable--neither great nor terrible, but once again, we didn't finish.  After our server cleared our plates from us, she brought us the bill.  Either there was no dessert on offer that night or she just assumed from our half-eaten meal that we didn't want anything else.  At that point it didn't much matter to us.  Her service was indifferent at best, sullen at worst, and we would just as soon not spend any more of our money there anyway.  I know that Ferryboat Inn has a legion of fans and is well-loved by many, but after giving it a couple of chances,  my husband and I will not be among them in the future.  We'd rather go where the food is better and where our custom seems appreciated. We won't be bothering them any more. I manage a small independent bookstore at home, and while I am not in the hospitality industry, good customer service is critical to our survival.  An employee who acts as put out as our server did over the request for two water glasses would not last long.

Another lovely apres-sunset.

7 comments:

  1. Can you get the Anguillian tourist board to hire you as a live blogger so you both can just stay on? I have grown to love the morning ritual of checking your blog and feeling like I am transported to the island via your prose and pictures.

    Bummer to hear about the dining experiences, but thank you for taking the time to share them with us. I have virtually no tolerance for people that show up to a job but don't seem to want to actually do the job - which is a heightened annoyance in service-based roles. Why would someone take a job assisting people if they don't really want to help? My puzzlement in regards to human behavior continues. :)

    I'm hoping your last few days bring better experiences!

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  2. I hate to deal with servers like that. I don't want to be the yeller who disrupts the entire restaurant, but I don't want to be the person quietly eating their meal with a stone in their throat, either.

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  3. Lee, aka beachloverJune 27, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Emily,
    Thanks for taking the time to post your reports while on vacation. I have really enjoyed reading them. I love your writing style...I feel as though I'm right there when I'm reading your blog. It's not just your husband and mom reading ... there's a link to your blog here: http://www.anguilla-anguilla.com/ and it's on facebook as well. You're becoming quite popular!
    Enjoy your last few days there!!

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  4. Hi, Lee aka Beachlover, and thanks for the comment. I wasn't familiar with that website until you mentioned it to me, so thanks for letting me know!

    Jennifer O, I've never heard the phrase "stone in the throat" before but I like it!

    Cindy, would that I could!

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  5. That server has been surly for years. Too bad you didn't meet Marjorie or Christian - you would not have had a negative experience.

    Love your blog!
    FlipFlopsForever

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  6. Surly for years and still has a job?!

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  7. Whether you are book blogging or writing about your vacations, your writing is always so compelling ... I would love to see you in print. Perhaps a travel-based book ala Bruce Chatwin???

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Please, sir, may I have some more? (Comments, that is!)