|Stormy morning on Barnes Bay|
|Chairs, umbrella, and hammock for our private use|
We selected a coconut & a lemon danish, an almond croissant, and a cheese turnover for our repast and tucked into them with considerable gusto. The iced coffees were excellent, and we talked over our plan for the day at a leisurely pace, and then drove back to Villa Ella to pack a beach bag and head out for the day.
The Place on Rendezvous Bay became my favorite beach bar around the same time that Rendezvous Bay became my favorite beach. I fell in love with it for its gorgeous location, ample shade, good food at decent-for-Anguilla prices, and its wonderful staff, particularly Mo and Dave. Unfortunately, those two no longer work there, but the current staff was genial and bid us choose whatever location we desired for the day. They had been so recently re-opened that they didn’t have their beach umbrellas yet, so we selected a shady spot under the palm fronds, started a tab, and settled in to read, always keeping an eye to the sky, where the clouds were constantly in motion and threatening to rain.
|Terribly crowded, these Anguilla beaches|
Our server came out around 12:30 to let us know that a large group would be arriving for lunch at 1:00 and to recommend that we put our food order in before that. Happy to oblige, we shifted from our beach chairs to our lunch chairs and ordered the jerk chicken sandwich, a hamburger, and a couple of Tings to quench our thirst after such a hard morning. They brought out the wrong hamburger, but by that time we were so hungry that we decided to just keep it. My jerk sandwich wasn’t spicy at all, and the French fries were pretty pedestrian, but both sandwiches were good and filling, and at the right price. Meanwhile Michael continued his quest to try every rum punch on the island (verdict: a bit too sweet for me, just right for him).
It started sprinkling, and then raining in earnest, so we hastily moved our chaises longues under the shelter of the roof on the western side of the building and there we were content to continue reading for a while. One of the families who had been traveling with us on the public ferry drove up for a late lunch and we had fun chatting with them about their trip.
After a while, the sky cleared enough for us to take a walk, followed by one last swim and one last rum punch before packing everything up around 3:00. Once back at the villa, we went for our first swim on Barnes Bay. Because of the rocks, getting in and out of the water here can be tricky, depending on the surf, but we managed to avoid getting banged up. Napping and getting ready for dinner took up the rest of our afternoon until sunset, when we had a good bit of color in the sky -- moreso the light reflecting on the clouds than from the sun itself. If we had known then that it would be our last good sunset of the trip, we might have made even more photos.
We had been looking forward to trying a new-to-both-of-us spot for dinner that night -- Criss Conch Shack on Sandy Ground. Since their menu says that they’re open Friday-Saturday-Sunday at 6:30, and since I have some experience with island time, we showed up at 7:00, eager to sample some conch and other local delicacies. We parked across the street from the Pumphouse and carefully made our way in the dark towards the Conch Shack -- that part of Sandy Ground is not well lit AT ALL -- but they were still closed and nobody was around to ask about it.
Undeterred, we walked towards the lights at Elvis's to have a drink before giving it another go. Michael did the rum punch while I opted for the less-sweet planters punch, both of which we enjoyed. By 7:30, there was still no light on down by Criss Conch Shack and we were decidedly peckish, so we went with the item on the menu that featured something Michael wanted to eat while on the island -- the “goatchos” are a nachos platter for two, featuring slow-roasted goat. I’m not sure if it was a matter of how good the food was or a matter of how hungry we were, but we practically inhaled them. We did, however, have just enough to share with a couple who walked up while we were eating to offer them a bit -- they had never had goat before and were very, very curious.
By that time, Michael had walked up the beach again to see if the other place had opened. They were nearly ready, but by that time we were feeling more than sassified from our meal and not inclined to order more food, despite how much we were looking forward to it. We had one more round of drinks at Elvis’s, and by the time we left, the Conch Shack was open for business...two and a half hours after their advertised open time. Were we disappointed not to try a new place? Sure. But we agreed that our time at Elvis’s was a great night -- we talked to everybody at the bar and still had plenty of quiet time for the two of us to chat. There were expats and locals and tourists all there, and of course Elvis is great for telling a story or two.
We hit the sack almost as soon as we got home, knowing that we’d have another full and wonderful day ahead of us tomorrow.