Don't let Mom drive! Friday in Anguilla

I haven’t blogged in a few days because when I was on the computer, I was working. Kind of a bummer, but part of the bargain for being down here for 2 weeks. Last Friday when I was in the midst of some minor issues that needed to be resolved, we realized that Derek had left his Gameboy at Tasty’s where we’d had breakfast. Tasty’s has fabulous pancakes and a pretty great omelet, and it’s only 3 turns from Francie’s house. While Mom has warned me that her friends forcibly removed her from the car when she drove in England, I’m thinking, “how bad can it be” My mom’s always been a good driver.

Well, 2 hours later, Lauren walks in and says in a sing-song voice, “Mimi’s got something to TELLLLL Youuuuu”. Uh-oh

Mom found the restaurant ok, but somehow managed to get lost on the way back. She visited Blowing Point and Mead’s Bay. Then, when she was turning around from a dead-end, she didn’t quite calculate the new width of the left-hand side of the car and sideswiped a parked car…apparently green. She got out walked around, looked for anyone she could talk to about it. With no one she could find, no paper in the car, no cell phone, she came home. Of course, she couldn’t tell me where she was when it happened, a license plate number, the make of the car.

I’m beginning to think Mom’s going to be lucky to get off the island. While the US is a pain in the ass with its legal system, Anguillan’s, having a British heritage, are just so sticky about rules and details. I can just see her getting tagged with a hit and run charge and having her passport held. Even more, she leaves on Monday, the car’s in my name and I’m here for another week. The island’s just not thab big. If someone’s hacked off and looking for a white car with a big green stripe down the side, we’re probably not going to be that hard to find. I’ve seen the Anguillan jail. I’m not particularly interested in spending any time there.

By now the island is shut down for the parade, which means the streets to The Valley Police Station are blocked, so we drive in, park and watch the parade. (The parade lasts 5 hours on Anguila). I resolve to go in Sat morning and get it all cleared up.

Next up…the parade 😉

Sailboat racing at Anguilla

I’ve posted the first set of pics out on flickr. Since I didn’t have the camera Saturday, there’s not a whole lot of stunning beach shots in this set. There are a lot of the Sunday boat race, which is a tuneup for the real races that begin on Monday. There’s a great description of these races in the book A trip to the beach…. Sailing is a REALLY BIG DEAL on the island, and in this case, the biggest event of the year. More…

A day at Shoal Bay

Saturday morning, 8am, and it’s bright and HOT already. Derek ended up sleeping with me and coughing a fair amount of the night. Unfortunately, I was afraid to get up and hook up his breathing machine for fear of blowing the circuit to the A/C. (We have experience with this kind of thing.) Before the others were up, Derek and I head off to Jen and Syd’s market and get some water, eggs, and bread, milk and bananas for a little breakfast. At first, I’m scared to death as a half gallon of milk is $13. On checkout the whole bill was $32! However, that’s EC (Eastern Caribbean). US it’s about $13 for the whole mess. Phew!

Getting to Anguilla

Getting here is tough, no 2 ways about it…especially when you’re coordinating 3 different scheduled arrivals/departure dates from 2 different cities with credit card points and airline miles. I’m travelling with my 4 yr old and 8 yr old. My mom is flying in separately to meet us Friday night, my wife comes next week. So the kids and I left Th night at 7pm for Miami, arriving around 10:30pm, got all the bags, shuttled over to the Holiday Inn Express and crashed. Fri morning, it’s breakfast and off to the airport. From Miami to St. Maarten is about 2.5 hours, just about right for my kids.

After arriving and going through customs (a new stamp for the kids passports), get the bags and find a taxi from the Dutch side of the island to Marigot on the French side, arriving at the ferry dock around 3:30pm. There are people milling about everywhere…this is Friday afternoon and Carnival on Anguilla right? Lots and lots of people headed to the island. One line is for obtaining your boarding pass, one line is for paying your departure tax ($6), one line is for giving your excess bags to the porter, and one line is for waiting to get on the next ferry. There’s a ferry at the dock when we arrive, but no chance of getting on that one. Another comes and goes while I’m in the boarding pass line, but then the pace picks up and we get through the boarding pass, departure tax, and porter line ($1 per bag). Did I mention there’s no air-conditioning for any of this? That’s okay, but the combined travel of about 24 hours and waiting around in lines for getting on planes, going through immigration, waiting on baggage, waiting on taxis, waiting on ferrys is starting to wear on the kids a bit. More…

Island Time: en route to Anguilla

After some debate with Francie about doing a temporary blog-swap to go along with our house-swap, we decided not to. It’s early Friday morning, the kids are asleep in their hotel beds in Miami, and today we fly to St. Maarten and take the ferry to Anguilla. I’ve brought the mic and Audacity, so I think I’ll let the kids do Audio blogs of their experiences. Of course Derek (4) has a cough and the last time we tried taking him to the Caribbean, he ended up in a hospital for 5 days with pneumonia. THAT was a fun trip.