Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Anguilla 2009

Cycling is taking over the island by storm! I didn't get a chance to talk to this rush hour commuter, but I was told his name is Breed. Shooting a photo with one hand when driving a manual transmission while having a beer between your legs is tricky, but damn!, it turned out pretty good! Truthfully, there were more cyclists then ever on the island. I saw roadies every evening and weekend morning. Anguilla's daylight is short, the sun sets by 6:30 every night. Riders go out in traffic after work on roads that have no shoulders and are very narrow. The road conditions have improved recently, but, I think cycling there is very dangerous. Very few riders wear helmets. I followed two that were wearing helmets, but the straps were blowing in the wind, not clasped.

Let's move on to another of my favorite subjects: Food!

We've been visiting Anguilla for 12 years now. We are "regressing" as far as our dining out goes. We really prefer to eat in the smaller local places. They are by far cheaper to eat at, and the food is always good. Another thing we like to do is hit the local BBQs. There are many on the island. Some, like Carl and Claire's shown below, have a rooftop and even a place to sit down and eat. Others are literally a grill (or grills) set up along the road. There is Big Jim's, Cyril and Joan's, Kenny's, Ken's, Sammy's, and several others. This is Claire. She is rolling out johnny cakes. Johnny cakes are pieces of dough rolled flat and fried. You can see some in the frying pan in the background. They can be served plain or dusted with sugar. You can also fill them with meat or cheese, fold them over and fry them.

Above is Carl. He uses a smoker to prepare his ribs and chicken. A slab of ribs is $6, the chicken leg with thigh as shown in the picture is $2.50. The ice cold Heinekens were $2. I'm not sure what the mixed drinks cost, but I'm told they pour a stiff drink! (unfortunately, there is no wine) While we were there, several men were sitting at a table under the canopy playing dominos, a common sight in Anguilla. When I asked Claire who was the boss, she said "I am." When I asked Carl who the boss was, he said "Claire." Smart guy, that Carl.

The photo above is of Prickly Pear island, located about a 25 minute boat ride away from Anguilla. It's popular place for a day trip for people staying in St. Maarten, as well as people from Anguilla.

Laurie, who owns the Pumphouse, took us there in his boat. Here he is, coming up the beach after dropping us off first and then going out to anchor the boat.

This is a short pan of the beach, ending with seeing Captain Rollins, whom we first met 12 years ago. Rollins has a catamaran available for charter, Chocolat. He is one of our favorite people on the island.

Speaking of the Pumphouse, here are a couple photos from one of our nights there: Laurie, Diane, Kenny, Sha-nye, and George.No pics of the Pumphouse would be complete without Sarah, whom we love dearly. She takes care of us, as you can tell by my squinty eyes. We got to meet her Dad this year, a very nice gentleman. Sarah we hope your mom recovers well from the surgery. Can't wait to see you next year, hopefully you feel better and can come to Prickly Pear with us...

Here I am getting a hug from Debbie. She's worked at the Pumphouse for several years, and also several other restaurants on the island. She's a lot of fun. She may look innocent with that sweet smile of hers, but I know better.
This is Alan, who along with his wife, runs the food end of things at Prickly Pear island. He was born and raised in England, and has a most wonderful Brit accent. He waited on us our first visit to Anguilla 12 years ago. Alan and his wife, Susan, are good people.

Here is a video of Alan, Susan, and their two employees, going home after a day at work:

Not your usual commute, is it??

This is Mike and Mary Ann Jarvis. Mary Ann is better known as "AXA Beach Bum." They are from Maryland. We first met them on an Anguillan AOL talk board, and then in person 10 years ago. They are very close friends, even though Mary Ann invites 26 people out to dinner whenever we plan on going out! They are always the first people to greet us when we arrive, and they make a special trip to wish us farewell when we leave. I'm a little mad at Mike this year. We didn't do our traditional shot of Patron at the Pumphouse. What up, dude?
The two most important accessories on the beach: a hat and a bottle cozy!

You might think we are the only Minnesotans that visit Anguilla, but, we are not. We used to see these 2 couples years ago on the beach. Then, one time we spotted them on our flight and figured they must be from MN. Sure enough, they are from the Hastings area. From left to right: John, Trudy, Charlie, and Elaine. Charlie and Trudy are retired and spend close to 3 months on the island. What is interesting is this year, all 6 of us were staying in separate places, but no more then 75 ft apart. One late afternoon, I just opened up our front door, and hollered "Happy Hour!", and over they came! We also went out to eat that night at Elsa's. A local little place that we could walk to. All home made food, with all the fixins, for $8-$14 per per person. You do have to bring your own wine or beer, however. I have a video of that night posted separately as well.
This is Elaine and Nature Boy. Nature Boy has a deep sea fishing service. We've just got to know him the past couple years. Elaine and Nature Boy were celebrating their birthdays when I took this pic.

One of the people sitting is sober, can you guess which one?
Hint: the one without the cigar.

This is Smoothie, aka the "Smooth Wan." He's another character we've known for several years. He has a speed boat and you can hire him for skiing, and towing water toys for the kids. This year he opened up a bar on the beach. He has music there on Sundays. I have some video from his spot elsewhere on the blog.

An interesting thing about the Pumphouse is that we get introduced to some strange liquors. In this case, Absinthe. Absinthe was banned in the US due to supposed psychedelic properties associated with it. It actually tastes terrible, unless you like licorice/anise flavor. I couldn't finish a shot glass of the stuff. If you want to find out more, check out wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Absinthe

This is Guiness. He is the proud child of Hugh and Barb, who are from Maine. They spend several weeks in Anguilla every year, and they always bring Guiness with them. He's a beachcombing kind of dog.

This is Elvis' Beach Bar, located on Sandy Ground. Avery nice place to spend an afternoon. We've been going there the past couple years on our first full day in Anguilla. Elvis is a great guy, and trust me, you have to "decompress" when you get to the Caribbean. Elvis' can do that for you. For more info, check this out: http://www.elvisbeachbar.net/

For some reason, several people ask me if there are any topless women on the beach. The answer is no, it's against the law in Anguilla. However, some of the European women disregard that law. Damn lawbreakers.

That's most of it for the trip. The video took lots of time, but was fun to do. Hope you enjoyed it!

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