Thursday, December 25, 2014

Crashing an Antiguan Yacht Party

Apparently Antigua has its own special kind of black pineapple which we were unable to locate. We did have an interesting encounter at the grocery store while looking for one though. In the checkout line a kid kept ramming a shopping cart into me and his British-sounding, soccer jersey wearing dad was apologizing for his behavior. Fine. On the way out of the store our cab driver informed us that the man was the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne.

It was especially funny because his face is all over these Christmas billboards but I never would have recognized him.

Always a little money-grubber, I found the equivalent of 7.41 US on the ground in the supermarket. I hope the prime minister didn't see that. Embarrassing. I used it to prop up the local economy sir.

We took a cab to Nelson's Dockyard which is a major tourist destination. It is named after Admiral Horatio Nelson, who lived in the Dockyard from 1784 through 1787. The place itself was about as we expected, with lots of old buildings with interpretive signs posted everywhere. Some rusted cannons and defensive walls rounded out the old naval base experience. However it wouldn't surprise me if this turns out to be the strangest day of our trip.

I'm glad SCUBA isn't like this anymore.

It began with the other visitors that we saw walking into the historic grounds. One was dressed like a sailor off of a Cracker Jack box. Others had garish Christmas outfits on. What the heck was going on? Inside this historic British naval base bad highschool prom music blared and a group of white people were playing beach volleyball. There were way more westerners than locals which was a first for us anywhere in the Caribbean. Several were quite drunk and yelling Christmas greetings at each other in varying levels of accented English.

The ancient docks were filled with yachts of differing shapes and sizes. Most had US or British Commonwealth-looking flags on them. We had officially stumbled upon a fancy people Christmas boat party.

A yacht fun fact is that some countries have specific flags for recreational ships to use. The US required this one from 1848 to 1980:

At first I was weirded out by the un-local nature of this odd gathering, but by the time we left I was glad we were there. There wasn't that much to see at the historic site anyway.

I approached one of the boat people (he had one of those silly looking floaty sunglasses straps around the back of his head). I was most interested in how long it had taken everyone to converge their big boats on this place. I didn't recognize the name of the place he'd embarked from but he said 3 weeks. No thanks! I suddenly felt a lot less inferior. I'd been on the boat yesterday for about 30 minutes before I was barfing over the side. Somebody really needed to tell these rich people that planes are way faster than yachts. Silly rich people. I'm going to be in America the beautiful for weeks while that poor guy is still staring at his naval little navel off the coast of nowhere.

An additional plus was that all these rich people meant that all of the restaurants on the property were open and rocking despite it being Christmas. The downside was most of the restaurant prices were obscene and it was mostly ham and figgy pudding sort of stuff. I was hoping for more local fare but we did pretty well. Local stuff included ginger beer, sorrel, which is a fruit punch-like drink enjoyed in many Caribbean locations on Christmas. The food was solid but pretty normal by American standards.

There was enough ginger in that ginger beer to cure what ails you. Ales you?

We found this notice board at the nearby marina, and it was like a window in a world I have no experience with.

There were several people looking for employment on yachts. Some clearly stated where they wanted the boat to be headed and others didn't. How interesting, if a person picked up some nautical skills they could just boat hitchhike across the earth. Wild.

It felt especially awkward when we returned to our cab driver's beat up van. I felt like we had to do that thing where your friend didn't get invited to a party so when he asks how it was you lie and say it wasn't fun. Sorry bro, it was fun.

This little governmental looking sticker was on the back of our taxi van. I don't have time to look this up but I'm pretty sure it's Japanese. Japan never seemed to have ANY older cars on the road. I think they must ship all their beaters to poorer countries.

We next did a little drive to nearby Shirley Heights which served as a lookout for the British to keep an eye on those sneaky French. There were more cannons and guardhouses. I'd like to see a recreation of a naval battle from this era. It seems like it would be pretty hard to hit a building from a mile away with a little iron bowling ball. Who knows.

Our taxi guide pointed out Eric Clapton's house across the bay. It's called Standfast Point and it actually looks like parts of it are available to rent. Clapton also seems to own a rehab center just north of that across another bay. Very interesting.

On the flight to St. Lucia they announced and then sprayed an aerosol pesticide in the cabin. Nothing gets me more excited about a trip than a good delousing. We then had to fill out an Ebola related health questionnaire at immigration. Get real. Get in close contact with me and you are at risk to contract a serious case of healthy and/or awesome.

Our driver Dalma Ossei was one of my favorite of the whole trip.

He's good people. Give him a call next time you're in town.

I think Antigua's flag is pretty cool looking.

Welcome to St. Lucia! Have you been bleeding from anywhere recently?

When we arrived in St. Lucia we went to the car rental desk and... surprise! They were closed for Christmas despite the fact they were accepting reservations. Good work guys. Stay classy.

You guys are the worst but it's not really an emergency, I imagine it's a long term condition.

In the capital city of Castries, St. Lucia we ate a really nice dinner at an Indian restaurant a la Christmas Story, as every other restaurant in town was closed (fa ra ra).

 We then retired for the night in our latest little guesthouse.

You know you're going to have fun when your bed has a mosquito net!

No comments:

Post a Comment