Antigua…the Beach Is Just the Beginning: Odds and Ends

I’ve been back 3 days from the whirlwind that was my Antigua trip and as everything is digesting, I see pictures I took or remember small things that made an impact so here are some odds and ends.

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1) Don’t be afraid of eating locally. Possibly the meal of the week was at a ‘home restaurant’ where you sit at tables in the yard and the host cooks in his/her own kitchen. Grilled fish and veggies in a broth with the most divine homemade bread pudding in STRONG rum sauce for dessert…absolutely delicious.

2) Mongoose are everywhere. Not endemic to the island, mongooses were imported to the West Indies from India more than a hundred years ago to control an explosion of rats on the sugarcane plantations. These rats were also foreign invaders, carried from across the world as stowaways on sailing ships. Ironically, they had little impact on the rodent plague, because mongooses hunt during the day, whereas rats are active by night. Instead, the mongooses turned their eyes and ears to much easier prey, snakes and birds. Today the only snake left on the island is the small Antiguan Racer Snake, one of the rarest snakes in the world (thanks to that damn mongoose).

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My man, Shamoi!

3) Antiguans are incredibly happy. I know I alluded to this in my past posts but it deserves elaboration. You expect those working in the resorts and restaurants to express joy because frankly, that’s how they get tips but even in the streets, they have such a sense of joie de vivre that you can’t help but be sucked in. Their smiles are contagious (“Antiguan Smile: it’s not just a drink!”) Increasingly as I see more of the world, I find that those who have less actually have more. More joy, more laughs, more community, more love. There’s a lesson here, people…

Thank you, Antigua…in the words of Douglas Macarthur, “I came through and I shall return”.

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