From the shores of the Caribbean — where one holiday celebrant in St. John’s, Antigua, danced under Christmas decorations while wearing a Viking helmet, a rag skirt, a tunic, and underneath it all a t-shirt covered with characters from the Fat Albert cartoon show– we wish our friends and readers a very merry and perhaps somewhat zany Christmas.
We’re out on the front porch, drinking rum drinks made with English Harbour Aged 5 Years Rhum (distilled right here on Antigua), listening to ’80s music (Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love was one of the greatest videos every, wasn’t it?), looking at the plunge pool and the lights twinkling across the bay, and waiting for Santa Claus to make his visit. Only a few hours to go!
For about a half hour the day before yesterday, on a bright, sunny afternoon, I watched this sailboat skim across the surface of the bay, pulling along a small craft behind. It was the kind of lazy, simple time that makes vacations so special, and it made me realize, yet again, that some day I would like to learn to sail.
The yellow-bellied birds of Cocobay are hungry . . . always hungry.
When people leave their tables after a meal, a scout bird quickly flits down for a look. If the plate looks promising — not a typical scenario, because the food here is excellent and clean plates are the rule — the word goes out on the bird grapevine.
Suddenly another bird appears, then another, then another. Before you know it, there’s a storm of bright yellow birds nibbling at every plate, crumb, and ice cream bowl on the abandoned table, with wings beating furiously as they fly back and forth after retrieving a scrap and scarfing it down. They eat as much as they can before a server comes over to clear the table and shoo them away.
With the sudden appearance of dozens of previously undetected birds, their rapid, decisive movements, and their creepy narrowing bird eyes as they turn their gaze at your inviting table, it’s a scene that might make someone like Alfred Hitchcock get an idea about making a movie about aggressive, flocking birds that have a newfound taste for a different kind of food item.
Our resort in Antigua has two “infinity” pools. They are a fine place to lounge in the sun, drink a relaxing beverage, and watch the water of the pool blend into the waters of the bay. A few adult beverages help you to get into the infinity frame of mind, incidentally.
Although Penny and Kasey aren’t with us on our trip to Antigua, we aren’t lacking in creature companions. I’ve been bitten in about a zillion places by no-see-‘um bugs, pelicans fly by with regularity, and this little guy scampers past on the chairs and railings of our front porch. With his bright eyes, alert posture, and quick movements, in fact, he reminds me of Kasey — without the morning barking.
I realize another sunset picture is probably boring, but I don’t care. I’ve had some rum drinks and Piton beer, I’ve played cribbage with the boys, and the golden bands of this sunset match my mood very well, indeed. It’s just lovely down here.
We’re staying in a small cottage here in Antigua, with one large bedroom, a bathroom, and a big front porch with a hammock and a “plunge pool.”
What’s a plunge pool, you ask? As far as I’m concerned, it’s a very positive development in the home design area. You walk out your front door into the Caribbean sunshine and plop into your own tiny pool, where the water is cool and you enjoy a view that looks out over the turquoise water in the bay below. This morning Kish and I lounged in the pool drinking our coffee, and worked up our appetites for breakfast.
We decided that, if the end of the Mayan long count calendar means the world ends today, we’d rather not face the music in Columbus, Ohio. It’s a wonderful city, of course, but we decided the end of the world requires something . . . different. Something . . . Caribbean. Something that allows us to greet the end of society as we know it with toes in the sand, cold and fruity tropical beverage in hand, and a view like this one in front of us.
So, we’re here in Antigua. where it’s warm and bright and last night we enjoyed this stunning sunset. I’d say we’re ready.