07 July 2010

How I Spent My Summer Vacation, part V

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale...you can see this boat from Turtleback.
It washed ashore in the last hurricane and was just left there.

Grenada Day 7

Ugh—woe is I! I wake up feeling utterly miserable. What had started as what I presumed were normal menstrual cramps the day before turned into something far more severe this morning—we suspect that it’s something I’ve drunk or eaten. The pitiable thing is that it’s a beautiful day, but because I’m the only driver, DH is forced to stay home all day, too, while I alternately moan and nap. He is such a good sport, though, checking in on me every 30 minutes or so to make sure I don’t need anything. Shortly before lunchtime, I muster the strength to head out again to the IGA to buy some more Advil, and while we’re out, we pick up a few pastries from La Boulangerie, the only food that sounds remotely appealing to me, oddly enough.

We get back home and I head back to bed while DH reassures me that he’s perfectly content to read by the pool all day and not to worry that I’m ruining his last day of Grenadian vacation. Meanwhile, I’m so woozy from sleep and discomfort that I cannot even concentrate on my book. You know something’s seriously wrong with me when I cannot read!

I perked up a bit by the end of the afternoon, so we made plans to go watch the sunset on Grand Anse. We ended up at Coconut Beach, where I nursed a Ting and DH had a G&T. The sunset wasn’t spectacular, but it felt good getting out for a while. What the outing lacked in fiery spectacle, it made up for in people watching opportunities. So we lingered there until it was truly dark and then headed back to the villa for leftovers and to pack. With a 6:45 am flight, we had to get up early the next morning to finish packing, load the car, and hie ourselves to the airport. For the first time ever, I was not sad to leave Grenada behind and could only hope that the rest of the vacation was an improvement over the first half.

Sunset on Grand Anse

Travel Day 2

Up at 5:00 am to be ready to leave for the airport at 5:30. We arrived in plenty of time to check in for our 6:55 flight with American Eagle and get through security, but we were glad we did because in addition to the usual screening and metal detector, every passenger was patted down & wanded, and every single piece of luggage (including handbags, briefcases, etc) was inspected by hand. So despite the small number of people ahead of us, it took a good 30 minutes just to clear security. I can’t imagine how backed up it gets when a big flight to the UK departs. The departure lounge at GND now has two more gift shops as well as an expanded duty-free shop for liquor & jewelry from our last trip, so there are a few good distractions for me—my tummy was still feeling quite crummy, though thankfully the severe cramps are less frequent. I fervently hope that soon after reaching Anguilla that I’ll feel better, because if there is ever an island where you want to be hungry for each meal, it’s Anguilla!

Immigration & customs in San Juan went by lickety-split, and DH and I were looking forward to being greeted by our Anguilla Air Express rep to whisk us away for our next phase. We find the San Juan airport to be notorious in its lack of proper signage, especially once you leave the American terminal, so the thought of having an escort was a pleasant one. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one. So we wandered about, looking for the proper place to check in. We stopped to ask an airport employee but she hadn’t heard of the airline. We stopped at the information desk but he didn’t know, either. After reading so many kudos on various travel forums about this airline, we were beginning to get frustrated! We finally found our way to the various small and/or charter airlines and asked at the Cape Air counter where we can find Anguilla Air Express and he pointed out a man standing a few yards away and said, “that’s your pilot right over there.” Well. We walked over to him and introduced ourselves and he said, “Oh! You’re here already?” He had lost track of time and forgotten to meet us. Not a terrific first impression, I admit, but all negativity vanished when he continued, “we’re just waiting on two more passengers who should be here soon and then we can leave right away.” As in three hours ahead of schedule!

The flight was a little bumpy and we had very little visibility with all of the cloud coverage—apparently it was not just Grenada that was socked in by bad weather. Still, we were so very happy once we landed in Anguilla! We had arranged ahead of time with Ronnie Bryan to have our rental car waiting for us at the airport, but since we landed almost three hours early, it wasn’t there yet. A local stopped what he was doing when he saw us circling the parking lot with our luggage and offered to let us use his cell phone to call Ronnie, who was very apologetic and promised to rush over right away. True to his word, less than ten minutes later he pulled up in our little Toyota Corolla and got us taken care of, but looking a little flustered. We assured him that it was all good and that if we had been thinking, we would have given him the courtesy of calling him from San Juan to let him know of our early arrival.

When we pulled into Caribella, Vandra came out to greet us and give us our orientation. After the dearth of current online information about Caribella, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect, so we were pleasantly surprised to see how bright and airy it was inside. We had the entire top floor of the villa closest to Viceroy and it was very spacious. Unlike the dark photos shown on the Caribella website, the kitchen was done in white tiles and cabinetry and the white tiles continue throughout the living room and bedrooms. The living room furniture is fairly standard sturdy wicker whose cushions are covered in a bright tropical print and in the bedroom the king-size bed is done up in a soothing shade of blue. The bedroom has one set of sliding doors and the living room has two sets, and they all lead out to a deep balcony with expansive views over Barnes Bay.

Clockwise from upper left: Caribella living room, Caribella kitchen, exterior as seen from the beach (note the Viceroy villa in background), Caribella master bedroom.

First a nap, then shopping for provisions, then back home to watch the lightning show from our front row balcony seats. For the third time in a row, B&D's bbq was our destination for our first dinner on Anguilla--now it's a tradition! They looked rained out when we pulled up, but a few men were gathered under the tarp next to the smoker. We placed a to-go order for two servings of chicken and two sides, which came to only US $10. My tummy was still feeling pretty rumbly and grumbly, unfortunately. Early bed time.

Rugged Barnes Bay, where Caribella is located. The surf here was fairly typical for our stay.

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