Up at 4:00am to catch the airport shuttle, we were pretty bleary-eyed and subdued for our two flights to get to St Maarten. For the first time ever, we flew USAir via Charlotte, and because our incoming flight was delayed a bit, we really had to hustle to get to our connecting flight, which was boarding when we arrived at the gate. We had paid a bit extra to sit in the front rows of economy because we knew the connection might be tight, but unlike the commensurate seats on American, I was disappointed to note that these did not have extra legroom.
The rep from Anguilla Air Services met us before we went through immigration in St Maarten to provide us the transfer boarding passes. NB: they do not use immigration cards any longer in St Maarten, but they do require you to show your boarding pass upon entering. We only had one to show and we got fussed at a little. Oops.
|Ava loved the small plane|
|Our plane's shadow over the beautiful water|
|Anguilla in the distance|
When we arrived at Caribella, the entire staff was hard at work trying to clean things up from the hurricane and other recent storms. While our unit was certainly comfortable enough, it wasn't looking its best in some places, particularly out on the balcony where much of the newly-applied paint had been stripped off by an unexpectedly vigorous storm.
|Panoramic sunset show from our balcony|
|Interior of Jacala at night|
|My rum punch|
The evening was beautiful, with just the right amount of breeze coming in to keep everything comfortable. Fighting off exhaustion, we managed to do some damage to our food nonetheless. DH opted for the cucumber soup with spicy tomato sorbet (possibly my favorite soup, anywhere in the world) and a steak (pretty uncharacteristic of him), Ava had a lobster soup and the fettucine, while I settled on the grilled crayfish, no starter.
With the exception of DH's steak, it was all wonderful. His steak was completely pedestrian and a little overcooked, but that chilled cucumber soup makes up for a world of other ills, as far as I'm concerned. Not to mention that we all loved the asparagus that came with the steak. We're trying to figure out how it came out the way it did. Parcooked then flash-fried, maybe?
Ava got off to a slow start with her lobster soup as her palate adjusted to the new flavors, but before long, every last drop was gone. She also handily polished off the fettucine and helped me with my crayfish. Seriously, this kid could eat us right into the poor house on this island.
My crayfish were delicious, simply grilled and served with a choice of a lemon butter or a garlic butter sauce. Not being willing to choose, I asked if I could have a bit of each sauce. The accompanying rice was also good, which surprised me. I can take or leave plain rice, but this was flavorful and a little nutty.
That night at Jacala it was technically my birthday, but even if it hadn't been, I would have selected the rum baba with banana sorbet anyway. I'd been dreaming of that dessert ever since I read about it on the Savannah Gallery blog that Frank writes. It was absolutely incredible, and that night I proved definitively that you can have your cake and drink it, too!
|Yum! Happy birthday to me!|
All in all, a wonderful start to our trip. We were sufficiently tired from our travels that when we got back home to Caribella at 9:00, we promptly retired to bed. It rained a bit in the night, and that, combined with the noise of the Barnes Bay waves crashing on the exposed rock, made for perfect sleeping and dreaming conditions.