The room is spacious, beach side, tranquility, when slider doors open making the sheer white curtains billow in and out to a living room of light blue, green, and cream. Two twin beds support us in our stay. It feels of a steady rocking and small chirping sounds. A large yacht, on its own, anchored in the cove. I saw some children who call this island home, playing in the sand. With a big hello and wave, we greet each other. Walking this place I am lucky to inhabit for a few days.
Sunset and Cocktails:
Through the clouds an absolute red sun sets with even darker hues wafting out. Waves crash on the jagged rocks a quick jump, but a tedious climb away. A home sits atop natures walls, tamed on top of power.
Surrounded by the open wall-windows,
the kind of furniture that makes one belief life is lying down,
a fountain in the entryway that provides a constant gurgle to the ocean rhythm. Temperature cool and welcoming.
This house breaths with the sea and a kind woman is eager to comfort her guests and the village her resort resides in. Where to begin and end? After reading ‘A Small Place’ by Jamaica Kincaid I wonder what the answer is for the people of this island.
A toast, a dinner, a few silly dances to live band, and rather abruptly the quietude of the room. The heavy sleep only waves can bring.
The morning opens the same soothing crib sounds of the ocean. The yacht has gone and there is smoke tinkling out of the top of the hill. A little pool of water is cupped in a basin before each doorway here. Washing the sand from the feet of those who stay.
All the Knowledge a Jeep Ride can Bring:
Cruising, bumping, shaking through the roads of Antigua, our guide Travis is the expert at multitasking. He teaches out of passion this place he has always known.
We know English is the supposed language, but then why can’t we understand it? He explains the “lazy creole” or “lazy English” and how words are abbreviated to make them faster. I get it now as he gives an example, but I still can’t understand when our guides speak to each other.
So many small villages, close together, but each with their own small businesses and convenient stores.
Travis has a passion for the plants and animals.
We touch cotton and cattle tongue, smell lemon grass, taste tamarind.
We see black pineapple being grown and sold…it isn’t actually black.
Mongoose were brought to the island to get rid of the rats, but the rats are nocturnal and the mongoose are not. Instead they ate the snakes, no snakes remain on the main island of Antigua.
How do you tell the difference between all the goats and sheep seen wandering about? Down is a sheep’s tail, up is a goat’s.
He points out a kind of spiky tree that was used to tie slaves to, as a form of punishment and torture.
There are so many churches in all shapes and colors and Travis tells us that the younger generation isn’t as religious as the old, but that many still go to church. He goes sometimes with members of his family, to different churches in different villages with different sets of beliefs.
The agave is so tall. It blooms only once and then fades away. But a second life is had when these large sticks are tied together to make floating rafts.
Evening Food and Music:
Our buffet dinner on the beach of the resort is a marvel. Fish with mango, beef, pineapple chunks on top, vegetable kabobs, ice cream cake, chocolate cake, piles of raspberries. A steal drum band plays and my sister can’t believe all these sounds, all this melody comes from drums and drums alone. They play everything from traditional calypso music to disney songs to a western opera medley.
Breakfast and a walk past more abandoned buildings, an old sugar mill, and off to the airport. Our driver speaks of Mt. Obama, the highest mountain in Antigua.
One local man spoke of it with pride: the mountain to remind the people of just how high they can go.
Another equally at home, with bitterness: Obama is not Antigua. Why must the country turn to America for inspiration, when its own history is full of leaders of more importance to this place?
The people in the car do not give an answer, but the thought has been lodged.