20 July 2014

Tuesday on Anguilla: Adventures New and Old

Panorama of Barnes Bay, shot from our balcony
Another early morning on Anguilla, waking up almost with the sun.  Since it's a Tuesday, we head out to Geraud's early for breakfast and some of that eye-opening coffee. Instead of pastries, I opt instead for a breakfast sandwich this time, forgetting just how humongous they are.  The French sandwich is egg and brie on a bagel, grilled panini-style, and DH had a bagel with cream cheese. I only ate half my sandwich and had the other half wrapped to go, which probably makes this the best breakfast value on the island!  We used our Anguilla card again to save 10%, too.
They sure ain't stingy with the portions!
Back to Caribella to pack a beach bag for the day and to stop at Caribbean Silk Screen to talk with its proprietor, Philippe, about my damaged Macbook, per Jerry Bogar's suggestion. We had passed the sign on the side of the road in South Hill countless times but never really knew what was there.  Philippe has a really fascinating operation going on there, and even though he ended up not being to fix my computer, it was totally worth the stop in to browse their t-shirts and other imprinted items. The t-shirts there were of a much nicer quality (heavier, more substantial cotton) than any place else we've visited, and the value is better than Irie Life (which I like for their styles, but the prices are pretty eye-popping). They also have both the boxier-silhouette of the so-called unisex style as well as the more fitted women's silhouette for tees.

He offered to show us around a bit, explaining that he used to use Dell products for his machines but they kept breaking down, so he essentially figured out a way to reprogram his Mac computers to run his machines.  They can do both silk screening and custom embroidery. The t-shirts there were of a much nicer quality (heavier, more substantial cotton) than any place else we've visited, and the value is better than Irie Life (which I like for their styles, but the prices are pretty eye-popping). Philippe showed us his two different machines, one of which was printing several silk-screened tees for an upcoming Anguilla camp, while the other was busily stitching the logo for Meads Bay Villas onto a bathrobe.  They also have two lovely dogs in the shop.  We thanked Philippe for his time, offered him money for his trouble (which he refused), and purchased three t-shirts instead.
Embroidery machine
Silk screen machine

We have so fallen in love with The Place that when we heard that they would be closing for a few weeks about halfway through our vacation, we resolved to spend every last day that they were open at The Place.  Thus you'll see that we experienced about five ingeniously identical days there...
Interior shot of The Place
This time when we arrived, somebody else had already claimed the two day beds, so we opted for a small table under the palm trees.  These chairs turned out to be better for reading anyway, and soon we were buried in the pages of our novels. We were glad to see that Mo was working on Tuesday since we missed him on our last visit, and I have to say that he and Dave are pretty much the Dream Team when it comes to island hospitality. They frequently came by to check on us to see if we needed anything or just to chat, if their time permitted. We like these young men very much and they are instrumental to our affection for The Place.
DH, sporting his new cap from Irie Life
I now suspect that this cap, which I've had for a few
years, is the handiwork of Caribbean Silk Screen
When lunch time arrived, I wasn't feeling overly hungry since I'd eaten protein instead of pastries for breakfast, but I was definitely feeling thirsty.  Explaining to Dave that I'd like something refreshing but not overly sweet, he told me that he had the perfect drink in mind.  It turned out to be my new favorite drink for the trip and I ordered it every day after that: it's passionfruit juice mixed with club soda, with a generous squeeze of lime.  For lunch I ordered the hummus platter and DH had the coconut shrimp.  His was the better choice by a mile.  Though the accompanying green salad was quite good, the hummus itself was way too dry and not especially flavorful, and I don't recommend it unless they change their recipe. It's the only thing I've ordered at The Place that wasn't good.  The coconut shrimp, on the other hand, were among the best I've ever had.  Not too heavily battered, but supremely crunchy on the outside, they also had the most perfectly succulent texture on the inside.
Roasted red pepper hummus appetizer
Our perfect coconut shrimp
The most refreshing drink known to humankind
Since our original table under the palm tree was now in full sun, we moved to the shaded dining pavilion on the sand after lunch (you can see it behind DH in the photo of him above).  I went for a short dip in the water and made good use of the changing rooms that The Place provides (I *loathe* sitting around in a wet swimming suit) before settling back in with my book.
I simply cannot convey to you how incredibly pleasant it is to sit in the shade with your feet in the sand, on a beautiful day, with one of the world's most perfect beaches in front of you. Music plays in the background, accompanied by the ever-present rustling of the palm fronds in the breeze, and there's an excessively diverting book waiting for you the moment you grow weary of watching the seagulls and pelicans wheel on the wind. That there are two men who periodically check in to see if you're in want of anything, all delivered with smiles filled with devilish charm, is simply the icing on the cake. There was only one thing that could improve our situation, which Mo cleverly put his finger on:
Sorbet and fresh fruit: the only missing piece
And so it was that we whiled away many satisfying hours at The Place that day and in the days to come. One of the most interesting things we learned from Dave is that there are wells on Anguilla and that the island does, in fact, have sources of fresh water, albeit limited ones.  Most references I'd encountered had said there there are no fresh water sources on the island, but I reckon they meant no rivers or lakes. Dave told us the story of when he was a boy growing up in Island Harbor that he and his schoolmates would explore the caves in that part of the island--they would drink from the pools of water inside the caves. I knew that the island was formed in large part of limestone, and I know what the limestone in Kentucky can do for that region's bourbon, so I imagine that Anguilla's groundwater is pretty pure.  DH and I had one of those   moments when we realized that the name of the Island Harbour restaurant we liked, Big Spring, must have taken its name from, you know, actual springs. 
Locations simply don't get much better than this
We lingered as long as we could at The Place until it was time to settle up our bill for the day.  Our two bottles of water, 1 beer, two appetizers, sorbet, the passionfruit soft drinks,  one extra-strong rum punch (hand-modified by Dave so it wouldn't be too sweet for me), and one free sample of one of Mo's concoctions, came to a little over $50. When we stay put like that for so long, we always leave additional cash tips behind to show our appreciation.  I think we left behind a $20 bill each day to thank them for their hospitality.
Panoramic taken from balcony at Caribella
Back at home, I broke from my usual routine to take a late afternoon nap before sunset. I woke up just in time for us to walk down to our swimming cove for a dip and back again before watching the sunset from the balcony. For the first time ever, we encountered somebody else down in "our" swimming cove -- a man named Ambrose who owns the Arbron complex on Barnes Bay.  We had a nice time chatting with him.  I wonder if O.T.'s ears were burning because we mentioned her.  Ambrose said he had a customer who visits every year from the Isle of Wight, which set the wheels in motion in my mind and I asked if her name was xxx. It's a small world, among Anguillaphiles.

Neither of us was very hungry, so we canceled our dinner reservations and stayed home.  We used my leftovers from Geraud's and augmented them with a cheese omelet that DH cooked up, and we re-created the passionfruit spritzers using the juice we already had with some tonic water. We played some more Skip-Bo, bemoaned the fact that we left our Banangrams at home, and were in bed by 10:00.  Now that we're acclimated to the warm weather, we no longer put on the a/c in our bedroom. With all of the jalousie louvers open on the windows, plus the ceiling fan, it's very comfortable and I think we slept even better without the a/c.

 NB: I'm afraid I went a little crazy taking panoramic shots that day--DH had just shown me how to do it.


  1. Philippe and family are really nice people. They came to Anguilla about 25 years ago and have served the island well.

    His embroidery machine can easily say or draw whatever you want on anything you buy there or bring in, for very little money.

    They're located on the north side of the main road, east of Tasty's.

    There are wells and underground pools in Anguilla. Some of the water is briny, and some has become polluted. What was safe to drink 50 years ago may not be today. Local advice is recommended.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Anon. And yeah, I wasn't exactly advocating for folks to start drinking random water they found on the island, all willy-nilly.

  2. Oh my gosh, the COLOR of the sea in the background of your photos from the Place just kills me, so gorgeous!

    1. I know--I used to think all of those photos from the Caribbean were photoshopped, because what water could possibly be that blue? The light was very pretty that day, rendering the waters quite luminous.

  3. Oh, this update makes me so envious! The photos are obscenely gorgeous -- will have to add Anguilla to my bucket list.

    1. If you like beaches,relaxing, swimming, reading, and eating some mighty fine food, I don't think there's a better place on earth.

  4. Emily,
    You are correct, smart lady! CSS is the vendor of choice for AARF's embroidered hats and T-shirts. They are lovely people and do such great work - we are lucky to have them in Anguilla!

    1. A-ha! I'm going to be looking at hats and t-shirts on the island with a different eye now. You're right--they're a great asset to the island.

  5. What beautiful panoramic photos! You definitely have a flair for them!

    1. Except I sometimes get impatient and they end up looking a bit wobbly...

  6. I love the pictures Emily, your wide angle shots are great, and of course as usual, your writing and descriptions take me right there with you. Such a pleasure, thanks!

  7. Emily, I'm late to the party, but catching up and just have to say how much I l-o-v-e reading your trip reports online. Truly the next best thing to being on the island is reading about it - and even more so when the writer is so gifted with words. I always learn something new and end up with new places to try. And tops on my list is this new beverage that is "the most refreshing drink known to humankind" - I haven't met a cocktail you love that I didn't soon after, so I'll be ordering "The Emily" on our next island adventure. Thanks so much for all you put into your reports. I'm already looking forward to the next installment...

    1. That's high praise, coming from someone who, in my opinion, has really set the bar for trip reporting. And the drink really is quite special.


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