Tuesday 19th February 2013 – Antigua
I’m wide awake at 5.45am and by 6.30 I’m at my lap top attending to some work. Well technically I’m late for work as it’s already 10.30 in the UK. The sun is rising and a ship is just off our port side. Now that it’s lighter outside I can see that it’s Aida. I love the sail in to Antigua, so I watched from the desk where I was working away awaiting breakfast. Breakfast was taken on the balcony again courtesy of Deepak.
After breakfast we ventured ashore. The steel band was playing on the quay side and the voodoo doctor was doing his dance just outside the dock gates. Usually we would run the gauntlet past all the taxi drivers and find someone a little cheaper on the outskirts. But I dared to speak to one didn’t I! I told him we wanted to go to Darkwood and as luck would have it he had another couple looking for a quiet beach. Great! Can we go then? No we just had to wait while he got one more couple and it would only take him two minutes. 5 minutes later we were still waiting so I told him his $8pp fare was reducing every minute he kept us waiting, but you don’t need me to explain what Caribbean taxi drivers are like. More time ticked away, my beach time is precious, I’d had enough so I ventured to the edge of the duty free area and found Matthew who said he would take us now for the same $8pp. But by the time I got back to Joel he said he was ready. He lied!!! He was determined to find someone else, and he did, but then he pushed my patience further and wanted to find just one more couple! Oh deary me, I despair. He did eventually take us to his air conditioned van, and he was very nice giving us a bit of a running commentary as we drove to the beach. Eventually we were there at my Darkwood that I discovered years before. The sea was a little choppy today and it needed some negotiation skills to venture into it. But it was just fab. How can you not love the colour of the sea here? The beach got a lot busier than usual, and a lot of Germans from the Aida ship were there. I’m not a Darkwood fan on a busy day. I only had one rum punch today, then someone suggested I try the beer. I dodnt drink beer, but I had one to pacify them. Coke for me next round please. Hey? how did that turn into another beer? We stayed until the agreed time of 1.30pm and went back to meet Joel and his air conditioned van, but as I was packing up I knocked my foot on the sunlounger. Stupid thing to do, but I thought little of it as it was only a little knock. He was there waiting for us, but he had picked up an absolute bus load since he left us, and was collecting us en route from a bit of a Joel tour. I felt like a hot fried sausage rammed into the back of his van. I was not happy! Plus I had to listen to the same spiel on the way back as he gave us on the way out. Oh well, that’s the Caribbean for you.
A quick shower and freshen up and we went back out in search of a bit of free wifi and a browse of the shops. I dared to venture around the market ‘come hear sweetie, come look at my pretty things’ no thank you I get a bit freaked out in little warrens like that. Im sure they were only being nice but I was out of there faster than I went in. Wifi was in plentiful free abundance outside the Big Banana so Mr C wanted to linger there for ages, which was annoying. I suggested it would be easier to sit with a nice cooling drink in Big Banana, but he kept insisting he would only be a second! After another wander around we went for a drink in the bar overlooking the board walk and just watched the world go by. The strawberry Daiquiris is my recommendation – just to cool you down.
Now then, it has been brought to my attention that in last nights Horizon, tucked away in a small piece on the back page (told you I should read the paper properly) was a brief note to advise that due to the local elections in Barbados on Thursday the sale and display of all alcohol is banned until all voting has taken place. But Barbados day is my birthday, my big special birthday. I had a meal booked at The Tides. It had been booked for months. Could this be true? Was I about to celebrate my birthday without fizz and cocktails? We saw Marion, Tour Manager, on the quay side and I asked her if she could confirm this. Oh dear, it was true. She had had to cancel any trips that included alcohol including the Champagne cruise etc . Oh what was I to do? Once back onboard I emailed the restaurant to ask if it would apply to the restaurant and was there a way round it. No way round it, the law was the law, so I made the decision to cancel. I’m sure it would have been lovely, but I couldn’t toast my 50th with a soft drink. It’s just not me.
I decided that it might be an idea to celebrate my Birthday a day early in St Lucia. I had heard that the little hotel in the bay opposite the airport was very good and Marion confirmed this, so had a browse of their website on the laptop. Auberge Seraphine, mmm, could be a possibility. I later bumped into Lenny, F&B Manager and he suggested The Coal Pot Restaurant, in the same little bay. So at least we had two choices.
This evening was a very relaxed, laid back casual affair. I had a very poorly foot. It was black and blue and swollen like a big fat balloon. And it hurt! I don’t understand it because I didn’t hit it that hard, and I hadn’t drank too much to numb the pain so I wasn’t sure what was going on. My diamante flip flops were all I could manage this evening though, aided with some pain killers and anti inflammatory. We had pre dinner drinks in the suite, well on the balcony actually. It is a fab balcony! The warm Caribbean hair did nothing for our freshly coiffured hair styles though, and we went to dinner looking a little windswept. Still we haven’t ventured to any of the entertainment or more lively bars. We are on holiday and just want a quiet , peaceful, relaxing time.
Wednesday 20th February 2013 St Lucia
What would St Lucia be without a little liquid sunshine welcome?! We arrived and did a little pirouette at the quay side and berthed starboard side too. It was all very quiet at Point Seraphine. We were one of the first to disembark and have a little browse of the shops. I had a desire to explore the little bay just around the corner. The pretty little bay just to the right of the ferry for town and Marigot Bay, but how did we get there? I was confident we needed to head to the main road and follow signs for the airport. First we had to pass the taxi touts. Heck it was worse here than in Antigua. A non stop barrage of you need a taxi? For some of them it wasn’t a question but a demand. They insist on walking with you and wasting their own time as much as anything. They were doing my head in. If we said no to the first, second and third bloke, why is the fourth, fifth, sixth bloke just not getting it?! Then it was a barrage of buy my souvenirs, buy my conch shell. I don’t want a bloody shell! We had just about reached the main road and the liquid sunshine started again, so we took shelter under the canopy of a commercial looking building with a few other passengers. As the rain eased I attempted to continue our journey but as I turned left to walk towards the airport, down came the rain again so I ran back for cover. A fellow passenger asked where I was trying to get to as town was to the right. Yes, I knew that but I was in search of a restaurant. He said that last time they were there a couple walked a few yards along that main busy road in the same direction and the woman was attacked from behind, husband punched and kicked and bag and wallet taken from both of them. Well, that put the frighteners on me didn’t it. It was aborted mission, and we turned on our heels and wandered back to the ship. Still, the stupid taxi touts seem to think we are in need of a taxi going in completely the opposite direction.
We had another wander around Pointe Seraphine Duty Free area now that most of the shops were open and Mr C went in search of his free wifi spots. Lynn, rod and Rebs were enjoying a cool beer under the shade of a parasol, and after my harassing short time outside the port gates I t sounded like a good idea. I think they were 2 bottles for $3 or something silly, so as much as I don’t doo beer, it sounded even better. After several of those (it was hot and I did have a poorly foot) we ventured back up the gangway and got changed and rendezvoused by Breakers to indulge in some Cocktails of the Day. Lunch idea was abondoned, because it all seemed like a lot of hassle, it wasnt yet my birthday, and i like to do my research. Oh it was quiet on deck, pick of any sun lounger you liked, anywhere! Bliss. If only sea days were like this. We had very good attention from the waiters, all keen to see the cocktail of the day, large of course. Why do P&O even bother to do two sizes? If they are so determined to sell the large one, just sell a large one – that would solve the nagging at ordering time! We had a few showers to dodge on deck, some were light and were able to just absorb whilst laid on the lounger, but for a couple we had to retreat to the covered area at the back of Breakers Bar. Breakers bar is looking very swish again with the new deck furniture. Very tasteful rattan furniture and I’m loving the tables. The rest of the day was just spent chilling and generally taking it easy.
Another casual evening this evening and after pre dinner drinks in Sindhu it was dinner in Peninsular. Quite why Mr C decided to order another round of drinks 5 mins before dinner time is beyond me, and why I decided it would be a good idea to neck a full glass of Banares and give myself brain freeze is another mystery. All was going well until At dinner Mr C ordered some fish of some description. I like fish, as long as it doesn’t have its skin on. I don’t object to others at the table eating it, providing they just get on with it and would never choose it myself. I freak out at the sight of scales and slimy things, which is why I can’t be doing with lizards, snakes and those dinosaur things that frequent some of the Caribbean islands. So tonight Mr C got his fish dish, complete with silver grey shiny skin. He obviously saw me squirm a bit and he decided to play on it, really winding me up about theis skin! Little did he know that my stomach was doing hoops. I took as much as I could, but knew I had to get out, so made my excuses and left. I had to go outside on Prom deck and take in some fresh air, but oh it was warm and sticky. I strolled along to the aft and took the lift upto deck 10, loosened my belt and lay on the bed with the lights out. Bliss! Peace and quiet, but I did feel a bit queasy after my experience with fish on a dish. No rest for the wicked. Domas knocked at the door wanting to attend to the bed etc, I had to ask him to give me a minute. 2 minutes later Deepak drops by wanting to do whatever he does in our absence. Yes, yes, I’m going. Next thing I knew Mr C was on the phone. Blimeys, what does a girl need to do to get five minutes peace on this ship? I had been summoned to the Glass House. Oh don’t you just love those big orange chairs? Makes me want to kick off my shoes and curl up in one. Not very proper though is it?
A few drinks later I was feeling a little more human, if slightly tipsy. Did I need some food? No I really didn’t, so it was up to the suite to bed. Oh and look what greeted me. Someone had been very busy blowing up balloons and putting up banners. Poor Deepak, lol. There was a balloon and banner on my outside ‘porch’ porthole external door. Then the suite door was adorned with a bunch of balloons and another banner. Inside the suite there was a massive bunch of balloons on the ceiling and a banner across the divide between lounge and bedroom. More balloons over the bed, and more over the dressing table. Another banner over the bed. Gosh was the bathroom safe? I must have caused them all a right panic when I decided to go back to the suite midway through dinner lol. I never go back to the cabin so it is quite amusing. But I have fab friends, because I know who was the provider of said banners and balloons, and I think it had been left to Mr C to organsie. So well done team. And thanks. I love it!