|Barnes Bay in the morning light|
|Getting ready to land in St. Maarten|
We flew American Airlines out of Hartford, via Miami, to St. Maarten, and I've never seen such long lines at immigration before. It's hard to imagine how much worse it must be on a Saturday in high season!
We grabbed our checked bags and walked through customs (which is to say, we walked through an empty room) and started making inquiries with the various boat reps to see who had space and who was leaving soonest. When I told a lady at Funtime that I didn't have a reservation, she actually started fussing at me. When I told her that we generally don't make reservations because we prefer to go with whatever is available, her fussing became even sterner. Not the best of welcomes. If I'm not fussed about taking the public ferry if no private charter has space, why should she be so upset? Luckily, Calypso had room for two more and was leaving in 15 minutes so I just turned my back and walked away from the No-Fun-time lady.
|Leaving St. Martin in our wake|
This was our first experience with the new ferry/immigration office next to the airport, and it was fairly chaotic. They rounded us all up and told us we had to wait inside, though there was barely room to turn around with all of the passengers trying to pay, fill out their forms, etc. We paid $65 per person and headed for the Calypso boat, which is on the small side with a 12 passenger capacity. The crossing was a little bumpy but fine and we were in Anguilla about 20 minutes later. Unfortunately, about half of our luggage was not, which made DH a little nervous since the two bags left behind were both his.
When we inquired with one of the porters, he assured us that the bags would be on the next boat: "jus' a couple of minutes." Well, he was half right. They were on the next boat, but I should know better by now what "jus' a couple of minutes" means in Anguilla. A little over half an hour later, we had all of our bags and made our way to Caribella, our home away from home.
|View between two Caribella buildings|
This year Rose-El put us in a different unit--the upper one in the building closest to Mango's. The square footage is the same but the layout is different, and it's fun to try out a new space. As the week goes by, I will probably post more about the unit itself.
Our first night at Caribella, we always choose Mango's for dinner. It's definitely one of our favorite restaurants on the island, but being able to walk 10 meters back home afterwards makes this choice a no-brainer for us. We started with a round of cocktails and shared the green salad, moving on to the sesame snapper for me (sauce on the side since it contains cilantro) and the grilled whole snapper for DH. Both were excellent. I also tried the mango martini for the first time and quite enjoyed it, mentally raising my glass to the many members of the travel boards where I am active who recommended it.
|You can see our balcony light on behind my head--that's how close we are to Mango's!|
|My excellent sesame snapper|
|DH's whole red snapper|
Dave and his wife came by to chat with us, and we were in good hands with Andrea, who is one of our favorite restaurant people. She promised to poke me like her granddaughter does to her if I seemed to be falling asleep over dessert. We usually get the apple tart, but it was finish, so we opted for some simple ice cream instead.
|Mango's eponymous martini|
I made a valiant effort to finish reading my book after dragging ourselves back home, but DH went straight to sleep. Despite the excellence of Holly Black's The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, I had to give up with about 75 pages left to go.
|In the early mornin' rain.|
I managed to finish it first thing in the morning--it's a pretty wonderful YA book that is homage to vampire genre that Holly read growing up [most assuredly not of the Twilight ilk]. I slept fitfully, which is not unusual for my first night, and arose early, which is, oddly enough, pretty typical for me on vacation. I finished unpacking while DH slept, and then we both went out on our large balcony to talk about our day. Before we even knew it was upon us, a brief but intense rain shower passed through, and we enjoyed the freshness of the ozone in the air and the light spray on our faces.
|The grounds leading to Straw Hat|
|At Straw Hat|
Thirty minutes later, clutching books and an umbrella (just in case) we headed down to the Meads Bay area. We always like to break our first fast at Straw Hat--we've done it on every visit save one, when we were staying in Island Harbour. Breakfast was a leisurely and pleasant affair, with each of us lingering over our coffee and books. I had the continental breakfast with a side of bacon and a marvelous mango & peach juice concoction and DH chose a simple bagel. We lingered there for a while and when we got up to leave, Peter came over to greet us--he'd been in the middle of a meeting, but promised to visit longer the next time we popped in.
|Sounds appetizing, no?|
After that, we did some grocery shopping--mostly breakfast fixings and booze--and then scoped out a fruit stand to buy some mangoes, bananas, and a melon. No passion fruit today. Then we made a beeline home because we couldn't wait to be outside under the seagrapes by our villa, reading the day away.
|The fruit stand on the side of the road|
Soon we will be off to Veya for dinner to celebrate our anniversary. Ten years ago tonight, DH and I exchanged vows on a Caribbean beach at sunset--the summer solstice, to boot. I still wonder at that. Today's post is dedicated to him, the one who daily puts the D in the DH.
|Happy anniversary, sweet'art!|