18 June 2011

Anguilla, Anguilla, Anguilla: part the second

DAY TWO -- Friday

When the day dawns in Anguilla as bright and clear as Friday did, there can be only one destination: Shoal Bay East.  After breakfasting at Caribella we packed up a beach bag and headed straight to Elodia's, our favorite beach bar on SBE proper because we love Carol and the oversize cabana/tents that we can rent to stay out of the sun all day.  The beach and the water were as gorgeous as always and we soon lost ourselves in our books.  Or at least my husband did; I was only moderately interested in mine and thus I did a lot of people- and pelican-watching.  Around 1:00 we moseyed up to the bar and ordered drinks & lunch.  We could smell the chicken & ribs grilling, so we split the combo platter that comes with fries, cole slaw, and a small green salad.  Despite being very hungry, we simply couldn't manage to finish the trimmings, though we polished off the meat lickety-split!  Very good.  Four Tings, plus $25 for the chairs & cabana brought our total to US $55, plus tip.

Hammocks @ Gwen's
We lingered there after lunch long enough to avoid the worst of the sun and then once 3:00 hit, we took a walk around the point to Upper Shoal Bay.  Gwen's was our destination, where we ordered a couple of rum punches (potent but pricey, at US $8 a piece) and hung out there for awhile.  I took it as my solemn assignment for the day to count the shades of blue in the water in Upper Shoal Bay.  Couldn't actually get a firm count, what with the shifting wind and clouds, etc, so I will clearly have to return and re-evaluate my work.  You know it's a great day when pondering the beauty of the beach is the most crucial thing on your to-do list.

Bellamare Villa
 We left Gwen's to walk up to Bellamare, which is absolutely my ideal among Anguilla villas: traditional West Indian architecture, not too big, fabulous outdoor living spaces, a sense of whimsy & play as relates to the colors and decor, and not created as a Showy McShowplace, like so many other villas I could name, built by people with more money than sense.  No, I've never actually stayed there, but I've drooled over the villa's website and have given strong consideration to staying at the owners' other two (read: less expensive) properties right there. 

DH sporting his new lava-lava

On the way back to Caribella, we stopped at the smoothie place at the Sandy Ground roundabout, ostensibly to see if their hours were posted since they always seem to be closed when we drive by.  Luckily for us, Pamela was there and introduced herself to us, then utterly shocked me when I removed my sunglasses by telling me that she knew me--in fact, had just been reading my blog and looking at my photos.  I can't remember the last time I felt so gratified!  We bought some t-shirts, a batik sarong (or as my husband likes to call them after reading J. Maarten Troost, a "lava-lava"), a bracelet, and a bumper sticker.  I've been sporting one of the tees all day long today and I'm very pleased to say that 70% of the t-shirt price goes to AARF, the Anguilla Animal Rescue Fund.  Pamela has lots of cute t-shirts there and I definitely recommend everybody stop by to get something cute and do some good, all at once.  We left without a smoothie but with a promise to return (she's open M-F, 10-5:00) and try her rum punch, which she mixes according to the traditional West Indian proportions: one of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak.

Dinner that night was at E's Oven, a restaurant we visited on our first trip to Anguilla but hadn't managed to return to until now.  We were, apparently, the only table there that night, which makes my heart ache a little bit because it's so good and so reasonably priced.  DH had the creole conch and I had mahi mahi (autocorrect wanted to make that magi magi, which seemed funny enough to mention), both of which came with provision, and we finished off with a raspberry mousse layered between chocolate sponge cake.  Our entrees were excellent and the dessert was pretty good.  A good rum punch, two gins & tonic, and a bottle of water brought our total to US $88, plus additional tip.  We were very happy with our meal there and our server was the cutest young lady ever.  We also were mesmerized by the large land snail that we saw crawling on one of the big terra cotta flower pots on our alcove--having both recently read Elisabeth Tova Bailey's The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating (great book, by the way, if you're looking for some good narrative non-fiction of a fascinating subject) we now have a newfound appreciation for these gastropods.  And this was by far the largest landsnail either of us had ever seen!

Upon returning to Caribella, we discovered that we had somehow angered the vacation gods.  Because the a/c in the bedroom wasn't working as efficiently as we remembered from our last trip, we turned it on before going to dinner so that the room would be cool when we got back--and we dutifully shut & locked the balcony sliding doors and shut the main bedroom door behind us.  However, when we got back from dinner we discovered to our dismay that the bedroom door had accidentally locked when we shut it…and of the four keys on our Caribella key ring, not one of them unlocked our bedroom door.  We spent about 30 minutes trying to pick the lock alternately with a hairpin and a credit card, to no avail.  Torn between sheepishness over our having locked the door, and feeling a bit peeved that the proper key wasn't on our keychain, we decided to call the management at 9:30 pm.  Less than 30 minutes later, Elice Brooks arrived and rescued us.  He showed us that they intentionally place a conch shell on the floor behind the door as a doorstop because the bedroom door doesn't have a real doorstop in the floorboard--and when the door makes contact with the wall behind it, the lock is pushed in.  My husband didn't realize why the conch shell was there, so he had moved it out that morning so we wouldn't keep hitting it with the door…thus inadvertently locking the door.  We tipped Mr. Brooks and thanked him profusely (and apologized profusely, too!) and finally tumbled into our bed, chuckling ruefully over the misadventure. 

So, yeah.  It was our fault the door locked.  But I'm going on record as saying that it's pretty unreasonable NOT to distribute the key to the bedroom door to guests when it's clear that it locks so easily!

Another lovely, if somewhat subdued, sunset on Barnes Bay

Shoal Bay East.  When it's this empty, it's beach perfection!



  1. Yay! I'm glad you're having such a good time. Raspberry mousse and chocolate sponge cake sounds like just about the best thing ever right now.

  2. Another wonderful read Emily, it is so great having you there. E's Oven is one of my favorites, although I never seem to get there often enough, you have reminded me it has been way too long. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures, thanks for taking the time.

  3. LOVE E's Oven..keep spreading the word. His rum punch is absolutely the best. LOVE your blog. MISS YOU

  4. Would you believe last week I took a picture of a villa that I loved in hopes that someone on the forum could tell me about it, and behold - it is in this section of your trip report! When I first read your report without the pictures and you described Bellamare, I thought it sounded a lot like it and then the pictures confirmed it is the same one! I drooled over it at Gwen's, the porch/deck and view must be amazing and the exterior has such beautiful character. (Not yet seen the inside, I'll be checking it out through your helpful link!) Thanks! I hope you all are having a beautiful day!

  5. So envious! Stuck here in the Houston area with nothing but heat and ozone watches.

    And the Galveston beaches are definitely nothing to brag about.

  6. Shoal Bay IS beach perfection when empty. It makes me want to plan a off season trip.

    Thanks and loving it.



Please, sir, may I have some more? (Comments, that is!)