21 June 2011

Anguilla, Anguilla, Anguilla: part the fourth

Enough with the crowds!
Sunday & Monday

This has never happened to us before with only one week on the island, but we have reached that happy point where the days are blending together.  Usually at this stage in our vacation we would be saying to ourselves, "only one more full day, last chance to go to Shoal Bay East, last chance to lime at Gwen's, etc" but with the luxury of a second week on Anguilla we're able to postpone that kind of thinking, at least for a while.  And so yes, our days blend almost seamlessly from one into the other.
At Veya Cafe for breakfast
 Sunday morning was Father's Day, so we had called around the day before to see which places were open for breakfast.  Turns out the Veya Cafe was doing a special  breakfast that day when they would otherwise be closed, so that seemed as good a place as any to break our fast that morning.  We arrived just after 10:00 when they opened and were the only people there.  I was famished, and after reading on various travel forums how customers requested a johnnycake for their breakfast or lunch panini, I did the same and ordered the Prickley Pear, which was eggs, cheese, spinach, onions, and red pepper--with an order of their iced tea to wash it all down.  Though he always feels better by midday, my husband has been feeling slightly ill most mornings here and we can't figure out why, so he ordered a fruit plate and some freshly squeezed orange juice for himself--and reluctantly, after my urging, he added a coconut date muffin to his order.  Anyone who has read my ravings about Veya might recall their phenomenal coconut cake on their dessert menu upstairs and I suspected that this muffin might be of a similar stripe.  Well, it was wonderful.  Stupendous.  Fantastic.  It was absolutely the best full breakfast we had ever eaten on this island (hard to compare it to a place like Geraud's or Koal Keel, where we only order coffee and pastries).  My johnnycake sandwich was the best breakfast sandwich I've ever had.  The fruit was fairly standard as fruit plates go but it was very fresh, but that coconut date muffin, served piping hot, was amazing.  My husband freely admitted that he was very happy I urged him to get it.  His OJ was sweet & pulpy, just the way he likes it, and my little pitcher of tea was perfect.  I know I'm heaping (some might say, wasting) superlatives on this small breakfast, but hey--that's my call to make, isn't it? To balance it out, I will concede that the air was a little still and that on a hotter day it might get uncomfortable, but really, it was very pleasant sitting under the pergola and reading and eating in the quiet. 

Looks refreshing, no?
After breakfast we drove around the island a bit looking for open shops that might carry shaving cream, but to no avail.  But we had a nice drive before heading back to Caribella for the rest of the day.  My husband mostly stayed up on the balcony reading all day, but I alternated reading with swimming.  Around 5:30 we went back inside to clean up and start preps for dinner in.  My husband is a fair cook and does most of our meals when we're at home and I'm the chief bottle washer, so we make a good team.  He prepared a simple meal of pasta with garlic & olive oil, accompanied by some grilled eggplant marinated & sauteed in olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, and basil--with a fresh loaf of bread bought at Geraud's earlier that day (can't beat the $1 baguette!) and a bottle of sauvignon blanc.  All eaten al fresco while watching the sunset. Not a bad way to spend an evening, I must say.  DH went to sleep very early while I cleaned up and then spent a couple of hours working on my blog and book reviews. 
Not a bad dinner backdrop

On Monday, we started our day eating breakfast in and chatting with Vandra again before packing up a bag to take to the beach.  DH chose Gwen's as our spot for the day, but before we headed there we stopped at the smoothie place, which was open--yay!  We shared a Very Berry smoothie with raspberry, strawberry, and blueberry and it was very tasty and refreshing.  $6 each, but there is an option to add a shot of rum for an additional dollar.  Maybe we'll do that one day when we're on the way home.  I know you can't sit on the beach and drink all day if you don't get an early start, but apparently I'm just not hard core enough to want rum in the morning. We all have our little issues, I guess.  Anyway, while sitting & sipping, a man named Darryl introduced himself and we got to chatting.  He's the owner of Real Deal, the winning boat from the Anguilla Day races where he set an island record for circumnavigating AND where the second place boat was fourteen minutes behind him.  He's also a cook at Mango's and we marveled at him that he could go in to work at 4:00am for food preps, be out on the water racing all day 10:00-4:00, then go back to work for the evening.  We told him we admired his preps and cooking very much, as we were staying right next door to the restaurant and intended to go back again before our stay was out.  Just one of the many reasons I love Anguilla--striking up conversations with total strangers and sharing stories and making small connections. 
Waiting for lunch at Gwen's
 Anyway, we stopped at the pharmacy/t-shirt store after that to pick up shaving cream and for me to purchase a swim mask since mine had broken in transit home from our trip last fall.  My fins and snorkel were both fine but the glass on my mask shattered from rough handling and it's been difficult to find a good mask sold separately from the entire snorkel kit, and I didn't want to pay money to replace more than I had to.  Then we were on our way to Gwen's, via the longer route that took us past the Anguilla heritage museum, which was, alas, closed.  We had wanted to try it out but I guess we'll save it for another time.  We were the third couple at Gwen's when we arrived and I was disappointed to note that the hammocks weren't hanging, surmising (incorrectly, it turns out) that they only get hung up for the weekend.  We ordered a hamburger to share, plus a Diet Coke and a rum punch.  Again, even sharing a platter was a little too much food.  We finished the burger and the cole slaw between us but left behind most of the fries and some of the curried pasta salad. 
I know, right?  Pretty shabby!
Upper Shoal Bay + Hammock + Breeze = Perfection!
The obligatory feet-in-hammock shot
Since we both had our backs to the chairs & palm grove, we were very pleasantly surprised after lunch to turn around and discover that the hammocks had been strung up while we were eating, so we ambled over to claim a couple of them.  I can't recall the last time I spent such a pleasant afternoon.  A hammock is a wonderful thing, and Upper Shoal Bay is a wonderful thing, and a stiff ocean breeze is also a wonderful thing, but when you combine the three you end up with a situation so wondrously sublime that it's too magical to believe.  Looking back on it now, it even has a dream quality about it.  So we stayed there for the rest of the afternoon.  Swim, snorkel, snooze--that was my mini-pattern for those idyllic hours.  We tallied our bill around 4:45 (Gwen's closes at 5:00) and it came to US$35 plus tip, which included a mango daiquiri that I ordered at one point in the afternoon.  CASH ONLY.

We had originally planned to call Straw Hat for a dinner reservation that night but neither one of us felt particularly peckish when we got back, so we opted to eat leftovers at Caribella instead.  DH improvised a pad thai with spaghetti that was actually quite good and more than passable while I opted to reheat my cheese pizza from Smokey's on Saturday.  His was better, but my pizza was improved by the addition of a little basil and some crushed red pepper.  We shared a Presidente, watched the sunset, cleaned up together, and then retired to watch another movie: Death at a Funeral.  We had already seen the original British version and hadn't especially loved it, but we were willing to give this one a try based on a friend's recommendation.  It had its moments--Peter Dinklage is always good, of course, and it was funny enough to see Chris Rock playing the straight man, but drug/potty humor can only go so far.  And while I understand that it would be shocking to discover at his funeral that your father was actually a closeted gay man, I don't feel that it would be (and, particularly, should be,) something one could be blackmailed for.  Too bad Hollywood doesn't see it that way. But I digress.
Caribella: the master bedroom
Caribella: Our kitchen
 After the movie I wrote up a few book reviews and started reading a collection of short stories called Ladies and Gentlemen by Adam Ross, the man who brought us last year's cricitally acclaimed and bestselling Mr. Peanut.


  1. Wow! It looks like you had a great time. I've never been to Anguilla, but I must say how beautiful it looks. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous photos, too.

  2. Emily, you're in my seat at Gwen's, love Upper Shoal Bay so much! Wonder if DH is getting ice cubes from cistern water? Glad you have that extra week. Pj

  3. Did Best Buy not have shaving cream? They are open on Sundays.

  4. Emily, I am loving your blog, it is really well done.
    Thanks for all the news and your time.

  5. That huge picture of the palm trees is stunning!


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