Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 96
July 15, 1999

Last Update 12 July 99 1900ET

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1/ REGIONAL NEWS

ANGUILLA LOCAL NEWS

May 15, 1999 

Elodia's On Shoal Bay 

Try  Sunday  afternoon  at Elodia's Bar and Grill on Shoal Bay . Right 
on  the  sand  at  the  most gentle swimming spot along the beach. And 
great snorkelling just 50 yards to the right. 

Good  tasting  beach  food,  reasonable  prices,  and  live  music and 
dancing  on  Sundays. The crowd is nice, a mixture of locals, tourists 
and  expats.  Currently performing at a reasonable volume are the High 
Tension Reggae Band with Tap (and Tap's wife Gwen in the kitchen). 

Of  course Elodia's is open on other days too, but the live music adds 
a special touch. Easy parking. Telephone: 264-497-3363. 

Click  any  of these pictures to see the full-blown original. ELODIA'S 
BEACH BAR & GRILL May 1999 Prices. 

SANDWICHES: 

FISH SANDWICH - 9.50 
HAMBURGER - 7.00 
CHEESEBURGER - 8.00 
GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH - 6.00 
HOT DOGS - 5.00 
CHICKEN SANDWICH - 8.00 
(All Sandwiches served with fries) 

DESSERTS: 

ICE CREAM (Assorted Flavours)- 3.00 
CHEESE CAKE - 4.00 
COFFEE OR TEA - - 1.50 

MEALS: 

B.B.Q. CHICKEN - 8.00 
B.B.Q. SPARERIBS - 10.00 
COMBO - 12.00 
CHICKEN SALAD - 9.00 
GARDEN SALAD - 7.00 
GRILLED CRAYFISH - 17.00 
GRILLED LOBSTER (1.5lbs) - 25.00 
SHRIMP - 15.00 
GRILLED FISH OF THE DAY - 13.00 
GRILLED STEAK (Sirloin- Rib Eye- Tenderloin) - 12.00 
PORK - 10.00 PORK KEBAB - 10.00 
All  main dishes served with Salad, Cole Slaw, Garlic Bread, and Fries 
or Rice. 

All prices quoted in U.S. dollars. Good until about December 1, 1999.
 

Directions:  from the airport parking lot, take the only exit and turn 
left,  continue straight past Island Car Rental, the National Bank and 
through  the  intersection  at  Albert Lakes Market. Continue straight 
for  about  2  miles  through the villages of Stoney Ground and Little 
Dix,  then take a paved left turn down the hill and into Shoal Bay. At 
the  end  of the road, 50 yards before the beach, take a right turn on 
a  dirt  road, go 200 yards, through the gate for Elodia's and down to 
the beach parking lot. Sandals and Such 

Where  can you find an art gallery, beach boutique and souvenir store, 
all  in  one? Sandals and Such is located in a restored old Anguillian 
building.  She sells a fine selection of sandals, but that is not all. 
There  are  also  Caribbean  gift  cards,  Haitan  Oil Drum art, model 
sailing  ships  of  the  past, Caribbean handicrafts, prints, original 
art works, wraps, and Haitan dolls. 

Sandals  and Such is open all year, except for September when they buy 
the new stock. 

The  manager  is  Graceland Hawley of Sandy Hill, and the owner is Jan 
Tarbert,   who  rescued  the  building  from  demolition  and  had  it 
restored.  She started in 93, went through Hurricane Luis with the old 
cottage, and is still going strong. Telephone: 1-264-497-6009. 

Directions:  from the airport parking lot, take the only exit and turn 
left,  then  turn  left  again and drive past the airport, through the 
roundabout  and  west  down the main island road. Avoid the right turn 
at  the  next  roundabout  and enter South Hill. Go past the Methodist 
Church,  bear  left, then right, and watch for Sandals and Such on the 
right  just  before  the  Blowing  Point turnoff. If you reach Connors 
Rent a Car, you went 50 yards too far. 

Anguilla     Questions?     Email     the     Tourist     Board     at 
atbtour@anguillanet.com     or     the     Hotel     Association    at 
ahta@anguillanet.com 

Notice:  The Anguilla Local News web site is now on "summer schedule", 
or  "island  time".  This means that we will publish a new issue "not-
possibly-more- often-than" once per month. 

The  Valley  Methodist  Church  has  services  every Sunday at 9am (up 
Crocus  Hill  toward Koal Keel restaurant). However, May has 5 Sundays 
and the service on the last Sunday will be at 6am. 

Here are some events scheduled for the next few weeks: 

Direct from Your Jet to Anguilla 

Did  you know you can have the Link ferry pick you up at St. Maarten's 
Juliana  Airport, if you arrive mid-day? When your long flight finally 
lands  in  St.  Maarten  and  you  get  through  baggage,  customs and 
immigration,  you  can  sometimes  be pretty tired and hot. Why take a 
long  hot  taxi ride to Marigot harbour, just to wait for the ferry to 
Anguilla?  Instead, you could just walk across the airport parking lot 
to Simpson lagoon and catch Link ferry direct! 

Read  all about it on their airport pickup web page , with pictures of 
exactly  what  you  will  see,  a small map and everything you need to 
make your arrival feel familiar. 

If  your  flight arrives earlier or later in the day, you can ask them 
about chartering the Link to pick you up. 

Updates and Feedback 

On  Wednesday,  May  5,  1999,  my husband and I were eating dinner at 
Oliver's  .  I  was  looking  up the coast in a Northeast direction (I 
think)  when  I  saw what appeared to be a very large "ball of fire" , 
or  possibly  a  meteorite coming out of the low level clouds and into 
the  ocean.  As  it  was  after  dark,  between  8  and 9 pm, I had no 
perspective  on how far away this object was, but it did appear rather 
large.  Has  anyone  else reported seeing a similar object that night? 
Please respond with any information you have. 

Thanks, Valerie Roberts More Info On Tropical Construction 

The  Beachshack  Tropical  Construction web site has been updated with 
30  new  pictures  and  notes,  covering construction activities since 
Christmas. 

Read  about  bathroom finishing, faux tiles, decorating the porch, air 
conditioning,  Insteel  panels,  the  search  for  bandwidth,  and the 
uninterruptible  solar  power at the new Beachtech Technology Center . 
Then  read  the  other  19 construction reports and visit the tropical 
building bookstore. 

Just Pop To It 

Several  people  have  asked  how  they can access their email when in 
Anguilla,  or  the  converse,  how  to  get Anguillanet email when off 
island? Dave Thomas has written a short explanation: 

You  need  to  have access to an ISP that operates in your local area. 
In  Anguilla  this  is Cable and Wireless (1-264-497-3100). Click here 
for more details on connecting to Cable and Wireless. 

Many  people  who  travel  a lot use IBM.Net, AT&T, Compuserve or AOL, 
since  these  providers  have  access  in  almost every major city (at 
least in the USA). 

In  your  favorite email softare, such as Microsoft Outlook or Eudora, 
there  is  an  option  to  set your POP3, and SMTP mail addresses. You 
don't  need  to  know what these mean, you just need to know that POP3 
is  for  picking up email and SMTP is for sendng email. Normally these 
are  both  set to point at your local provider. In order to send email 
when  you are away from home, you need to change the SMTP address (you 
will  also  have  to  figure  out how to logon to the foreign ISP, see 
link above for Anguilla). 

1.  The  SMTP  address  needs  to  be  set to the address of the local 
provider    that    you    logon    to...    in   Anguilla   this   is 
mail.anguillanet.com 

2.  The  POP3  address needs to be set to where your email gets picked 
up.  When you are accessing a POP3 "server" from another ISP, you will 
be  asked for your password. Note, it is the password you would use on 
your home ISP login. 

Don't forget to change your SMTP address when you return home. 

There  is  another approach which avoids changing your software. Use a 
free  email  account  such  as  Yahoo.  Using  Yahoo mail, there is an 
option  to  check  your  external email which will requires you supply 
the  same  pop3  information  and  password  as  in  2.  above.  Yahoo 
remembers  this, so each time you want to access your mail you can ask 
it  to check "external" and it will get your email. With this approach 
you  can  check  your  email  from  any  browser,  even the one at the 
library. 

One  last  point  to watch out for; when you are away, it is suggested 
that  you  set  the  option for deleting your email off. That way when 
you  return home no email will be lost, although you will have to wade 
through it again. 

Hope this helps, 

Dave Thomas 

VIRGIN ISLANDS NEWS FROM FRANK BARNAKO

June 13,1999

For  the  most  relaxing  vacation  of  your  life, stay at one of our 
homes,  Over  the  Rainbow  or  Beyond the Sea. See them on the Web at 
http://www.woolyknits.com/vi.htm.

** Coral Bay embroidery business soars

It's  not  "so  so"  business  for  Marla  and Dan McClung's Coral Bay 
Caribbean  Custom  Clothing Business. "We've been spending some pretty 
horrendous  hours  here,"  Marla  told  the  Daily  News.  Buying  the 
business  a year ago, they have expanded their working space and added 
a  second embroidery machine to keep up with the demand for customized 
hats,  polo  shirts  and  T-shirts.  The  designs  are  generated on a 
computer,  at  their  shop.  The McClungs worked their way to St. John 
from South Dakota, about seven years ago.

** Animal Care Center looks for land

The  Animal  Care  Center  is  looking  for  land  on which to build a 
shelter,  preferably  a  site  convenient  to town but far enough from 
residential   neighborhoods  that  animal  sounds  would  not  disturb 
neighbors,  according  to the Internet-based St. John Source. The land 
would  need  to  be  a  large  enough  plot  to provide outdoor fenced 
exercise  space, a drop-off area for unwanted animals, and space for a 
full-time caretaker of the animals and grounds, the report added.

VI Web sites:

* Caribbean-On-Line: http://www.usvi-on-line.com/barnako/barnako.html
* St. John map: http://www.usvi-on-line.com/sj/sjm.shtml
* St. John Tradewinds:  http://www.tradewinds.vi
* St. John Source:
http://www.onepaper.com/stjohnvi/?v=d&i=&s=Community%3AServices&p=1324

* Team Virgin Islands America's Cup: http://www.amcup.vi
* US Virgin Islands: http://www.usvi.net
* Virgin Islands National ParK: www.nps.gov/viis
* Virgin Islands Weather:
http://www.weather.com/weather/int/cities/VI_St_Thomas.html
* WSTA Radio://www.wsta.com
* WIVI Radio: http://www.wivi.com

Source: http://www.stjohntradewindsnews.com/

2/ JOURNEYS FOR JULY 1999

ANGUILLA BY ANDY ARDEN

Trip April 1999

Anguilla - Cap Juluca, beaches and places to eat

Our  Flight  out from St. Lucia to Anguilla was via Antigua with LIAT. 
The  flight was on time and without any problems. Upon leaving customs 
we  were met at the airport by the Cap Juluca representative who had a 
taxi waiting for us.

Upon  arrival  at  the  hotel  we  were greeted by guest relations and 
handed  rum  punches  to  enjoy  during  check in. Our Villa was a 1BR 
Suite  with  a  huge  Bedroom  that  opened  to  the beach and a large 
beautiful  bathroom  -  separate  shower  that  led  to  a private sun 
bathing  area,  huge  double  tub - enclosed toilet and bidet area and 
dual sinks. 

We  had  lunch at their George's Restaurant and it was good $40.00 for 
2.

Continental Breakfast was served every morning on time on our patio.

The Hotel is Great and the service was excellent.

Rented  a  car  from  Thrifty nice 4WD Jeep type with electric windows 
etc. @ $ 54/day. Drive on the LEFT.

We  ate at the following restaurants: Note: lobsters on the Island are 
not running to well

Ripples  -  Great  Coconut  Shrimp  and  Lobster Pasta. Good red house 
wine. Jackie owns this restaurant. Service was ok. Cost for 2 $ 70.00

Straw  Hut  - old Smugglers - Great Food and Service. Tuna was great & 
Crayfish  was  excellent  - Rated top 50 in the world by Conde Nest or 
Carib Travel. Cost for 2 $ 115.00 

Trattoria  -  old  Paradise  Cove  in  Shoal Bay West - Great Northern 
Italian Food. Had lunch here cost $ 52.00 for 2. Service was Great.

Barrel  Stay  - Food and service was good. Lobster was so, so see note 
above.

Beaches - Shoal Bay be prepared to rent a chair $ 3 to $ 4 each 

Great Beach.

The  hotels  beach  is  also one of the nicest plus they serve drinks, 
cold towels & afternoon sherbet.

Scuba  Diving  -  I  tried  to contact Shoal Bay divers but they never 
answered  any  of my e-mails and when I called them they told me their 
new dive boat was out of the water.

Anguillian  Divers  - Meads Bay - 264-497-4750 Anne was the divemaster 
for  our  two  tank  dive  $  70.  each.  Wreck first dive with a reef 
second.  Great  Diving and friendly people. Stephanie works the office 
and  does  weekend  dives. Christopher also came along on a dive. They 
are  French  buts speak Great English and are very friendly. Manta Ray 
swam right under us and let us pet her/him.

This  Island  has  great,  very  friendly people and they are all very 
helpful  with  answering  a  question. The beaches and restaurants are 
great. 

ANTIGUA BY TOM ALTSTIEL

Trip 4/99

The Almost Complete Guide to Antigua: Easter 1999

Since  we began planning for our spring family trip later than normal, 
our  choices  were  rather limited. We wanted someplace new, but nice; 
exotic,  yet  not  too  third  world.  Antigua  seemed  like a logical 
choice.  The  official  name  of  the  country is Antigua and Barbuda. 
While  Barbuda  certainly  has  its charms, about 99% of the country's 
visitors never leave the bigger island of Antigua (pronounced An-TEEG-
ah). 

Charter Air Travel: somewhere between coach class and a cattle truck
We  booked  a  package  with Apple Vacations, flying out of Chicago on 
Ryan  Airlines.  We  have generally had good luck with Apple, but this 
trip  started  off a little shaky. After a long delay on the ground in 
Chicago,  we arrived about an hour late in St. Thomas to drop off some 
folks  going  to  the  Virgin  Islands.  As we deplaned to stretch our 
legs,  we  were  informed  there would be a four -hour delay while the 
crew  rested before taking us to Antigua. To help improve our spirits, 
they  gave  us  a  free  lunch  and  soft  drinks at the Emerald Beach 
resort,  a  few  minutes from the airport. We arrived in Antigua about 
10PM—five hours late!

Antigua  customs  was  interminable.  Why  can't  people use passports 
instead  of  fumbling  through birth certificates and drivers licenses 
when  they  travel?  The cab ride was uneventful except for the driver 
listening  to  an  Easter  Sunday  service on the radio. We never knew 
"Now  Let  the  Vaults  of Heaven Resound" had 25 verses. It was three 
times longer than "Hey Jude."

Rex Halcyon Cove: it's seen better days
We  stayed  at  the Rex Halcyon Cove resort on Dickinson Bay, which is 
located  on  the  northwest  corner of the island, between the airport 
and the city of St. John's.
The  Halcyon is an older facility, but still in reasonably good shape, 
featuring  late  60's  architecture  in  most of the sprawling layout. 
Time-share  units are more modern than the standard rooms. We reserved 
adjoining  pool  view  rooms,  but  were given two adjacent beachfront 
units.  We're  still not sure if this was an upgrade or downgrade. The 
views  were  great  and  we were literally 10 steps from the sand. But 
the  rooms  were  small  and  Spartan with very old bathrooms. It took 
four  days  to replace our dead telephone. Both rooms had trouble with 
the  sliding  doors  coming  off  the  tracks.  Our toilet chain broke 
several  times  before  it  was  replaced. Our boys saw a rat in their 
room.  On  the  plus side, we had functioning air conditioning, plenty 
of hot water and satellite TV.

The  Halcyon  is  located  at the north end of Dickinson Bay. It's the 
last  property in a long string of resorts and condominiums. The beach 
is  blocked  on  the  north  by  a  high  cliff overlooking the hotel. 
Sandals is the immediate neighbor to the south.

Between  the  Halcyon  and  Sandals  are  a  number  of  water  sports 
operations,  including  Wave  Runners,  Sunfish sailboats, sea kayaks, 
parasailing  and  water  skiing.  Dive  Antigua  operates from a small 
building between the cliff and last unit of the Halcyon.

The  beach  was rather narrow, but nicely maintained. The Halcyon crew 
kept  it cleaner than the one at Sandals. Huge piles of seaweed had to 
b  e  removed  each  morning.  The swimming area is rather small since 
there  is  so much boat traffic. Snorkeling from the beach is poor due 
to the sand bottom and heavy traffic.

We  did  not  choose  the  all-inclusive  plan.  I'd rather not travel 
thousands  of  miles  to  a new country and eat every meal in the same 
place.  We  opted  for  a  $100  per  person  meal/drink credit, which 
covered  about  half of our breakfast, snack and drink tab. We ate all 
but one evening meal outside the hotel.

The  breakfast  buffet  at  the  main  dining  room  was  OK,  but not 
great—plenty  of  food,  but  not  much variety. Service was excellent 
though.  If we stayed at the hotel for the afternoon, we usually had a 
sandwich  and  salad  from the beach side grill. Again, it was OK, but 
not great or much of a value.

The  one  hotel dinner we chose was Caribbean Night. They served local 
dishes  such  as  "fungi",  "pepperpot" and salt cod. I was hoping for 
lobster,  conch and fresh fish, but most of the food was good. A steel 
band  entertained  us as we dined under the stars. Overall, a pleasant 
evening.

The  other restaurant associated with the Halcyon is the Warri Pier, a 
long  narrow  building  at  the  end  of a very long, covered pier. We 
checked  this  place  out several times and it seemed nearly deserted. 
However,  other  guests  said  the food and service were good. When we 
visited,  there  were  only  two  other  tables occupied. The food was 
good,  but  the  wait  staff was a little stuffy—the only Antiguans we 
met who were not friendly. 

Eating Out: fine dining for a price
Be  prepared  to  spend about 50% more than at a comparable restaurant 
in  the  States. However, being able to dine under the stars while you 
listen  to  a  steel  drum  band  has to be worth something extra. The 
following  restaurants  were very good, and I'd recommend them for the 
great  food  and  friendly  service.  For  a  family of four, with one 
alcoholic  drink per adult/one soft drink per child and no desserts or 
appetizers,  the  dinners  ranged  from $110 to $130 US. This includes 
the 7% Antigua tax, but not the tip. 

Home—a  cozy,  yet  elegant restaurant in an old house on a quiet side 
street  in  St. John's. The best food we had on the island. Impeccable 
service.

Coconut  Grove—a  few  hundred  yards  south  of Sandals, right on the 
beach. Wonderful food and lovely view of the sunset.

Warri  Pier—a  low,  narrow  restaurant  located at the end of a long, 
covered  dock at the Rex Halcyon Cove resort. Great views of the ocean 
all  around.  Good food and competent wait staff, although they seemed 
a little stuffier than other restaurants. 

Miller's  -by-the-Sea—located  at  the  end  of a long winding road at 
Fort  James, between St. John's and Dickinson Bay. Huge outdoor eating 
area.  The  band  area  seemed  miles  away  from  our table. Food and 
service both excellent.

Spinnakers—located  on  the  beach  between Sandals and Coconut Grove. 
The  quality  of  service  depends on when the manager is working. The 
live  entertainment  promised  the evening we dined did not arrive. We 
had  a barbecue buffet, which was pretty good. Nice view of the ocean. 


Le  Bistro  --a  charming  French country atmosphere with a patio-like 
dining  room.  The  menu  is  extensive  and  everything is wonderful. 
Highly recommended.

Shopping: not ready for prime time
Don't  expect  the  variety  or bargains you'd find in St. Thomas. The 
two  main  shopping  areas  are  Heritage Quay and Redcliffe Quay. The 
latter  is  a  charming  reconstruction  of the old harbor where slave 
ships  docked.  A  new three-story vendor mall is being constructed in 
Heritage   Quay,   which   should   greatly   increase   the  shopping 
opportunities.  In addition to the usual T-shirts (the same five basic 
designs  can  be found in over 300 shops and stands), you might find a 
few  bargains in the jewelry stores. For example, Citizen watches were 
45% cheaper than US retail prices. 

St. John's Cathedral: heavenly views inside and out 
The  most  prominent landmark in St. John's is a 19th century Anglican 
cathedral.  This  beautiful old church dominates the hillside south of 
the  tourist area and provides a great view of the town. The inside is 
finished  in dark pine, from the pews to the vaulted ceilings. Outside 
the  cathedral,  early  English  settlers rest in the church cemetery. 
Some  graves  date  back  to the 17th century. Damaged by earthquakes, 
hurricanes  and old age, the cathedral is in need of major repairs. If 
you visit, please leave a donation for the restoration effort. 

Museum: relive 500 years in 30 minutes
As  long as you're in town, take a few minutes to check out the Museum 
of  Antigua  and Barbuda. It only takes about 30 minutes to get a good 
overview  of  island  history  from the Arawak Indians through slavery 
and  colonial  times  to  the  modern era. Even our jaded teenage sons 
found this interesting.

Cruise Ships: if it's crowded, it must be Thursday
Antigua  has  become  a popular port of call. Most the ships arrive on 
Thursday  so  if  you  want  to  avoid crowded shops, try another day. 
Another  note  of  warning:  we  noticed that our hotel beach and pool 
were  especially  crowded  one day. Every chair was taken. By evening, 
the  crowd was gone. It seems our hotel was a day trip destination for 
the  cruise  ship folks. If your hotel has a similar arrangement, find 
out  when  the  cruisers  will  arrive  and  plan  your island tour or 
sailing trip for that day. 

Casinos: not a good bet
Las  Vegas has nothing to worry about. In fact, the casinos in Antigua 
are  slightly less luxurious than the Denny's in Boulder City, Nevada. 
Slots  are  very  tight.  In the States, they could be used as parking 
meters.  I  wagered  all the money I had left in the airport casino as 
we  waited  for  the flight home. I lost it all. It's amazing how fast 
you can go through $2. 

Scuba Diving: a nice diversion, not a destination 
There  are  several  scuba  diving  operations on the island. We chose 
Dive  Antigua  since  it  was a 50-yard walk from our hotel room. They 
have  two  rather ancient dive boats, but they are equipped with radio 
and  GPS.  Dive  master  "Big John" Birk offers 30 years of experience 
and  jokes  that  are  even older. He does an excellent job of guiding 
groups  and  can make the most insignificant looking sea creature seem 
interesting. 

We  dove  Cade's  Reef, a nine-mile long coral reef, off the southwest 
coast  of  the  island.  Compared  to  Cayman  and Cozumel wall dives, 
there's  no structure to speak of—mostly a rolling sand-covered seabed 
with  a  few small reef fish. Vis was about 50-60 feet. The first dive 
was  50  feet; the second was 40. A pleasant, but far from spectacular 
dive site.

Catamaran Cruise: go for the sun and sailing, forget the snorkeling
We  could  chose  from  three  catamarans—Kokomo, Wadadli and Treasure 
Island.  We  chose the Treasure Island Caribbean Queen for a cruise to 
Bird  Island.  Since  we  were  the  last pickup, we boarded about two 
hours  after  the  first passengers. Finding a space to sit, let alone 
stretching  out, was not easy. A steel band played for most of voyage. 
The "William Tell Overture" was the crowd favorite.

We  cruised  along  the  north  shore of Antigua, past Long Island and 
Jumby  Bay  Resort. We also spotted Robin Leach's private getaway. The 
package  included  a  picnic lunch on Great Bird Island and snorkeling 
off  the  beach.  The food was OK and there was plenty of Wadadli beer 
and  rum  punch.  We  climbed a rocky hill and were greeted by a great 
view  of  the  small  islands around Bird Island on the Caribbean side 
and  the  dark  blue  Atlantic on the other side. Spectacular! When we 
returned  from  our nature hike, we found a few of the "larger" ladies 
on  the  beach had removed their tops, which raised the questions--why 
here, why now and why you? 

Snorkeling  was  a  huge disappointment here. Almost all the coral had 
died  off.  The  seabed was littered with dead white fragments. It was 
easy  to  see why. Even after warnings not to touch the coral, several 
people  were  using  the  few remaining brain coral heads as stepping-
stones.  With  most of the coral dead, we didn't see many fish: just a 
few  small  barracuda,  some  tiny  basslets, a few sergeant majors. A 
good  part  of  the  snorkeling area was very shallow and covered with 
turtle  grass.  The  water  was quite murky and the current was strong 
swimming  back to the beach. I trust there are better snorkeling spots 
around Antigua.
 
Due  to  lack of wind, we motored back. Too bad we couldn't unfurl the 
spinnaker.  The  rum  and  beer  flowed  freely and the group was much 
looser.  A limbo contest and dancing in the cabin livened up the crowd 
even more, making the ride back much shorter.

Nelson's  Dockyard/English  Harbour:  a  quick  trip  back to the 18th 
century 
Antigua  was  homeport  for  Admiral  Horratio  Nelson's  fleet in the 
1700s.  Many  of the original buildings of Nelson's Dockyard have been 
restored.  It's  still  a  working  boatyard,  and  being next to busy 
English  Harbour,  it's quite an active place. The $5 admission fee is 
being  used  to  continue  restoration  and  repair  damage  from  the 
Hurricane  Georges  in  1998. Keep your receipt. You'll need it if you 
visit Shirley Heights. 

Shirley Heights: high times and gorgeous views
The  long  winding  road  to the top of Shirley Heights takes you past 
the  ruins  of  the  British Navy buildings. They weren't quite ruined 
until  Hurricane  Georges  finished  the  job. It will be years before 
they  can raise the funds to restore these historical buildings. There 
are  two main viewpoints on Shirley Heights. Our first stop overlooked 
St.  James  Club  as  well  as  Eric  Clapton's three large houses and 
sailboat.  The  other  vantage  point  is  from  the restaurant, which 
overlooks  English  Harbour  and  Nelson's Dockyard. Arguably, this is 
the  most  photographed  scene  in  the Caribbean. Although the clouds 
hung low, it was a spectacular sight.

Each  Sunday  and Thursday, the restaurant is host to a huge party. It 
begins  with  a steel band early in the evening and gets hotter with a 
local  reggae band that jams into the night. It's a great way to toast 
the  sunset  and catch a case of "island fever." Since the rum punches 
can  really  sneak up on you, it's recommended you take a cab to avoid 
a long, very dark, winding trek down the hill after the party. 

Jolly Roger Cruise: break out the rum!
Speaking  of  parties,  the  other big gig on the island is a floating 
festival  called the Jolly Roger cruise. Like the pirate ships of old, 
the  grog  flows freely and the crew is rowdy. Several people told us, 
this  cruise  is  not  recommended for children. Since my teenage boys 
are  sensitive  to  the "do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do" attitudes of adults, 
we  thought  we'd  skip  the  debauchery. Saturday night is especially 
popular  with  the  local  people,  who  we  were  told,  can show the 
tourists a thing or two about having fun.

Cricket: the Empire strikes back
Mention  cricket  and  I  think  of  two  things: that annoying bug in 
Pinocchio  and  Connie Stevens on "Hawaiian Eye." But to anyone in the 
British  Commonwealth,  cricket  is Major League Baseball, the NFL and 
NBA rolled into one national passion. 

The  colonial  days  are long over, however the Antiguans retained two 
of  the  most  enduring  traditions  of  English  culture: cricket and 
civility.  Fortunately,  they  chose  not  to  carry on British dental 
hygiene  and  cuisine.  We  were  fortunate  to visit during the local 
cricket  world's  most exiting time of the last four years: a five-day 
test  match  between  Australia  and West Indies. The whole island was 
abuzz.  Every cab driver, bartender, and waiter was tuned in to round-
the-clock  radio  coverage. Every TV was set to live reports, previews 
and  recaps.  Our  hotel  was  host to both teams and we could talk to 
several  players.  Since  my  cricket knowledge is limited to "wicket, 
bat  and ball," I couldn't offer much except "good luck today." A very 
large  tour  group of Aussies also stayed at the hotel. They were even 
more  enthusiastic  about  cricket.  They played cricket on the beach, 
talked  cricket  at  dinner  and celebrated like Bronco fans after the 
Super  Bowl  when  their  beloved  team  kept the coveted Frank Worrel 
trophy. 

I  overhead  an Antiguan talking about a guy who "scored three maidens 
and  did  a  good  job  of  protecting  his  wicket." I thought he was 
describing  Bill  Clinton,  but  it  was  cricket  lingo.  He tried to 
explain  the  basics  of  the game. Like baseball, a pitcher, called a 
"bowler",  heaves the ball (a wicked one hopper) to knock a "bail" off 
the  top of three upright sticks called a "wicket." A batsman tries to 
smack  the  ball  before it hits the wicket. If he misses and the ball 
knocks  the  bail off, he is out. So far so good. The rest of the game 
's  finer  points such as "overs" and "silly mid-ons" were lost on me. 
However,  I  learned you can trail by 100 runs and still have a chance 
to  win.  A Test Match takes five days. A single player can score 1000 
runs  in  a  Match. Maybe this astronomical scoring system is designed 
to compensate for all those boring 0-0 soccer games. 

I  did some further research and found that, at least in Antigua, your 
ticket  to  the  match  also  covers  entertainment by a steel band, a 
comedian  who  continually  taunts  the  other  team, and best of all, 
unlimited  supplies  of  beer.  Now I'm starting to get it. It's Mardi 
Gras,  Christmas  and  the  Super Bowl combined into one event. Before 
you  dismiss cricket as another silly English affectation, think about 
our  sports. Could you explain the infield fly rule to a foreigner? Or 
describe  why  the  prevent  defense  neither prevents nor defends? At 
least  with cricket, the players looked like regular humans, not 7' 5" 
circus freaks or 350-lb. steroid-crazed junkies.

Driving: not for the faint of heart
To  visitors,  driving in Antigua seems like the Long Beach Grand Prix 
on  a  two-way  street.  If  you'd  rather  not dodge potholes, goats, 
construction  trucks  and  maniac cabbies--while trying to remember to 
drive  on the right side of the road--you might consider taking a cab. 
Once  you  are  outside of St. John's, driving is much less congested, 
but  can  be  more confusing since there are no road signs. Be sure to 
use  a  detailed  map  and  don't  be afraid to ask directions. (Guys, 
better let your wife drive if you want to get anywhere.)

Cabs: see the island through the eyes of a local driver
One  of  the best ways to see the island is to hire a cab for the day. 
Although  tour  companies  will  quote  a  fixed rate, the fee is very 
negotiable.   Our   favorite  driver,  named  "Business",  had  a  new 
comfortable  air-conditioned  mini  bus. Because he picked up a couple 
more  passengers  for a short ride, he knocked about $20 bucks off our 
fee.  As  a  lifetime  Antigua  resident,  Business  provided a lot of 
interesting  information  on  the island and its history. It seemed he 
knew  everyone  on  the  island  and greeted each one with beep of the 
horn.  I'm  sure  his horn button will wear out long before his tires. 
My  wife  asked him, "Since you're so well known, maybe you should run 
for office." I loved his reply, "Why ruin my reputation?" 

People of Antigua: the island's real treasure
We  found  the people of Antigua to be generally friendly and helpful. 
Almost  everyone  asked how we liked their island and if we would come 
back.  True,  we  only talked to people connected to tourism, but they 
seemed  genuinely  cordial.  Some  people  on other islands, which are 
equally  dependent  on  tourists,  were  not as warm as the Antiguans. 
Even  the  beach  vendors are polite and quietly go away if there's no 
interest.  The  hotel  staff  was  courteous,  responsive  and usually 
cheerful (especially when the West Indies cricket team was winning). 

Overall view: do it again but differently
We  saw and did a lot, but only scratched the surface. I would go back 
to  Antigua,  but I would probably do some things differently. I might 
stay  at  a  different  resort on a less crowded beach. I would rent a 
car  or  jeep and check out some of the 365 beaches around the island. 
I  would  spend  more  time  on  and under the water than shopping and 
sightseeing.  Antigua  is  not  a lush tropical island like Jamaica or 
St.  Lucia.  The  snorkeling and scuba diving are not as good as Grand 
Cayman  or  Cozumel.  And the shopping is not even close to St. Thomas 
or  Cancun. However, it you want a little bit of everything, including 
friendly  people,  nice beaches and a little colonial history, Antigua 
is a great choice. 

BAHAMAS: PARADISE ISLAND, ATLANTIS BY DUSTIN N. THOMAS

Trip May 11-18, 1999

We  just  returned  from  Paradise Island where we spent 7 days at the 
Atlantis  Coral Towers.

The  Atlantis  was spectacular! The waterscape and The Dig was a sight 
to  see!  We   were treated exceptionally well at the Atlantis and had 
no  trouble  with   overbooking  as  I was afraid of after seeing some 
post on the internet. 

After  considerable  thought and research I had decided not to go with 
the  meal  plan. For my wife and I this turned out to be a good choice 
as  the meal plan I  was considering was $75 per person per day and we 
never   spent  $150  eating.  If   you  would  like  to  try  all  the 
restaurants  at  the  Atlantis  the meal plan may be  good for you and 
others have posted good comments about this. 

We  did eat at the Atlantis a few time and enjoyed Seagrapes and their 
buffet.   We  also  enjoyed burgers at Sharkbites around the pools and 
the  Atlas  Bar  and   Grill located just off the Casino. We drank and 
danced  at Dragons in the Casino  and enjoyed a great group, The Baha-
Men.  We  also  found  Fathoms  to  be  nice with  a great view of the 
marine  life to be found in The Dig which can be entered  from outside 
or from Fathoms itself. Fathoms is expensive but the food was good.

We  also ate at The Poop Deck and the prices were not unreasonable and 
well   worth  every  penny!  A taxi from the Atlantis for 4 cost us $3 
apiece  each way  and the toll was added on the return trip. In Nassau 
we  really  enjoyed a nice  lunch at The Iguana (I think? sorry) which 
is  upstairs  about  mid  ways on Bay  Street. The best place we found 
was  Anthony's  Caribbean  Grill  across  the  street   from the Coral 
Towers  and  very  comfortable walking distance. The prices were  very 
reasonable  and  the  we  found the food to be very good. Burgers were 
about   $8  and  were  huge  and  came with waffle fries and plenty of 
them.  The other  couple with us really enjoyed the baby back ribs and 
after  the  first time they  just split one order (two good size racks 
with  one  order) and ordered a side  potato for the second person. My 
wife  and  I had lobster the last night and it  was $27 apiece and was 
really  good.  We  could  eat  at Anthony's for less than $50  for two 
generally. 

The  highlight  of  this trip was the Flying Cloud Catamaran cruise to 
Rose  Island   and snorkeling. This was my first time snorkeling and I 
am  now  addicted!  We  took some underwater cameras and if the photos 
turn  out good I will post them  on the net for others to see. We also 
went  on  the  Barefoot  Sailing  Cruise  to   Rose  Island  where  we 
snorkeled  and  had  lunch. It was okay but was not the  Flying Cloud. 
The  Flying Cloud was a lot of fun to boot, the crew is wonderful  and 
we danced on the boat all the way back to the harbour.

We  strolled  over  to  Paradise  Beach just north of the Atlantis and 
found  the MTV  crew filming there. A security guard told me that they 
were  there for 6 months  shooting music videos and they have mics set 
up  along  the  beach.  We  were also  somewhat surprised to find nude 
sunbathers on Paradise Beach. 

Overall  the trip was wonderful as expected just too short, of course. 
I  also   read that a high speed ferry would start service to Eleuthra 
on  July  5  and the  trip would take 1 1/2 hours and this should be a 
nice  trip  to  take.  It  also  goes to Exuma and Governors Harbour I 
think. If someone tries this please let  us know how it was.

All  for now and will add as I think of something, and will be glad to 
answer   questions if I can. This was our 2nd trip and looking forward 
to the 3rd!

BAHAMAS: CLUB MED PARADISE ISLAND BY LARA SOLONICKNE

My  husband  and  I  set  out for our fifth visit to Club Med Paradise 
Island in June 1999. Our last visit was in November 1997. 

This  trip report will just note my random thoughts and impressions in 
no  particular order. This is not a formal trip report, but more of an 
update on changes to the village. 

The Continental Connection Nightmare 

We  flew  the  Chicago/Fort  Lauderdale  leg  first class on United-no 
problems or delays. 

We  elected to fly from Fort Lauderdale directly onto Paradise Island, 
rather  than Nassau. We wanted to reduce the driving time and the time 
spent  standing  in  line for customs. Our only option was Continental 
Connection, which is Gulfstream managed by Continental. 

Without  getting  into  every  agonizing  detail,  let me just say our 
inbound  flight  was  delayed  1-½  hours  due to mechanical problems. 
Interestingly,  the  Continental representatives continued to announce 
we  would  be  boarding in "10 minutes" although there was no plane in 
sight.  Our  outbound  flight  was delayed 3-½ hours and we would have 
missed  our  connecting  flight  so we opted to stay an extra night at 
Club  Med  rather  than sitting at the airport for an entire afternoon 
and   overnighting   in   Fort  Lauderdale  anyway.  We  had  to  have 
Continental  rebook  our  United  flight for the following day. And of 
course,  Continental  screwed  that  up and the reservation never went 
through  to  United  and  they  had  no record of us being rebooked on 
another   flight.   The   Paradise  Island  airport  was  chaotic  and 
passengers  were extremely frustrated. Think twice before making plans 
to fly into the Paradise Island airport on Continental Connection! 

The Atlantis Monstrosity 

So  we  leave  the  Paradise  Island airport and begin the five-minute 
drive  to  Club Med. We had last been to Paradise just as Atlantis was 
beginning its expansion. 

I  was horrified at the result. They ripped down all the trees and put 
up  a  concrete  underpass and a hideous pink monstrosity that belongs 
in  Las  Vegas  and  not on a small Bahamian island. I cannot tell you 
how  stunned  we  were  to  see  how Atlantis ruined the island. Right 
then, I vowed not to spend one dime on their property. 

Fortunately,  Atlantis has not really affected the Club Med village in 
any  way.  The  only  real  change  is when you walk out to the tennis 
courts  you  see  all  concrete and parking lots when you used to hear 
birds  and  see  a  forest.  The Club Med beach is still uncrowded and 
quiet, thankfully. 

Clientele 

We  knew  there  was  trouble  when  we drove up to Club Med and saw a 
table  for  "MTV  auditions".  Then we pull into the village and there 
were   gaggles   of  16  and  17-year  old  girls  running  around  in 
Birkenstocks.  Yes,  you  guessed it, MTV had invaded Paradise and our 
village  was  overrun  with  American high school kids. I purposefully 
scheduled  our  visit to ensure we did not hit any Spring Breakers and 
this  was  what I got instead. Although, honestly, the situation could 
have  been  a lot worse. The kids were well behaved and not completely 
wasted as you might expect. 

Worse  were the MTV employees staying at the village. Imagine 40-year-
old  New  Yorkers  trying  to  act  like  21-year-olds and you get the 
picture.  The  G.O.'s  hated  them  and  we heard one story about them 
checking  in  and  screaming  so  much  at the welcoming G.O. that she 
burst into tears. 

But  even  more ominous was the presence of lots of babies and kids. I 
mean  lots,  where you go into dinner and there are strollers lined up 
outside.  Where  the  nightclub  at  midnight  is filled with toddlers 
running  around  the dance floor. We spoke with many repeat guests who 
said  they  are  not  returning to Paradise due to the large number of 
kids  there  now.  NOTE  TO  CLUB  MED:  you  had  better  remedy this 
situation  now  or  this  will  be  your  downfall!  Ban children from 
certain   villages  and  clarify  your  marketing  strategy  for  each 
village.  In  addition, a minimum age of 18 would be nice to eliminate 
the unchaperoned high school kids. 

So  between screeching toddlers and high school kids in packs of 20 we 
were hard pressed to find unencumbered adults to talk to at meals. 

Cutbacks at Club Med 

Club  Med  has  cut  back  a  lot  to  reduce costs and paint a rosier 
financial picture for its stockholders. 

The  number  of  G.O.'s  has  been  drastically  reduced.  This is not 
necessarily  a  bad  thing,  but  it  is kind of weird. No dining room 
hostesses  anymore,  although the Bahamian dining room staff will seat 
you if they see you looking lost. 

The  Harborside  restaurant was closed permanently so Club Med did not 
have  to  staff  it.  Many  of the repeat guests were very upset about 
this.  Harborside  was  a  beautiful place to have dinner and the food 
was always great there. 

Club  Med has also shut down the Grayleath "Ernest" Bar during the day 
so  if  you  want  a drink on the beach you have to walk 15 minutes to 
the main bar. They have also ended late breakfast at Grayleath. 

Moreover,  the  quality  and  variety of food at Grayleath has greatly 
reduced  since our last visit in 1997. On our last visit, they had six 
or  seven  menu items, and one was always lobster. Now they have three 
(and  one  was  spaghetti!).  The menu said they had lobster available 
for  a  $25 surcharge, but when I ordered it my server said you had to 
pre-order  it  ahead  of time. When?? So I ordered the grouper and was 
served  salmon instead (although salmon was not even on the menu). The 
buffets  in  the  main  dining room have been scaled way back from the 
old  days.  I always found something to eat, but the limited selection 
was  kind of a shock. One thing Club Med has added is the availability 
of  fresh  seafood.  We had crab legs on a few occasions and they also 
served fresh marlin, grouper, etc. 

Many  repeat  guests were griping about the changes to the restaurants 
and food. 

Interestingly,  Club  Med  makes  cutbacks  in its guest services, but 
elects  not  to  cut back the inane shows, costumes, and sets. NOTE TO 
CLUB  MED:  upgrade  the  dining and bar service and raise the nightly 
rate  instead!  Hey,  I  am not a Harvard MBA, but if 16 year olds can 
afford to go, maybe you ought to rethink the pricing. 

Bar Coupon Foolishness 

In  1997,  the  village  was  using  the bar bead system. However, you 
could  also use a village credit card to sign drinks to your room. Now 
they  have  eliminated the bar beads and have switched to coupons. But 
they  have  also  eliminated  the  use  of the credit cards so you are 
forced to use coupons. 

Club  Med  had a better audit trail using the credit card system, so I 
am  not  sure  why  the  village eliminated this payment option. Maybe 
they did not want to pay a G.O. to reconcile the accounts. 

But  interestingly,  you  can buy a coupon book at Grayleath using the 
credit  card  and  then  pay for the drinks using the coupons. Is this 
complete  idiocy  or what? NOTE TO CLUB MED: reinstate the credit card 
system.  You  are  not  fooling us with the funny money-we know drinks 
are over $5. 

ATP Tennis Program 

Club  Med  has  added  an intensive tennis program for additional cost 
called  the ATP program. This program is three hours per day and costs 
$150  for three days. The program is offered under the auspices of the 
ATP  tour,  and  they  have two levels-one for advanced payers and one 
for intermediates. 

The  Club  Med  representative  on  the  800  number  told us that the 
program  was  offered  in  1-½  hour  increments  in  the  morning and 
afternoon. Wrong! The program was three hours straight through from 8-
11 a.m. This was brutal, and scared many the guests off. 

Our  advanced  group  consisted  of three people working with one pro, 
and  then  there  was  an  ATP  (read:  non-G.O.)  supervisor floating 
between  the  two  courts  giving advice. This worked out great, since 
all  the advanced players in the group were truly advanced, and we got 
a  lot  of  individual  attention. Our G.O. mentioned that in previous 
weeks  the  self-described  "advanced"  players could not even hit the 
ball over the net. 

The  tennis G.O.'s were terrific during our stay. They worked hard and 
genuinely  wanted  to  see  us  improve.  I  got  a lot out of the ATP 
program,  but  the  regular  drills  were  fun  as well. I also took a 
couple private lessons from the ATP pro ($40 for 45 minutes). 

The  changes  Club Med has made to the tennis program at Paradise have 
been  great and, again, I would rather pay more and get a better level 
of service and instruction. 

Club Med Rumor Mill 

I  heard  that  Atlantis is still making overtures to buy the Club Med 
property. 

I  also heard that Club Med will be opening five new villages in 2000: 
one  in Hawaii, one in Canada (for skiing and mountain biking), one in 
Japan, and two more in places I cannot recall. 

Dining Out 

We  went  out  for  dinner  to The Poop Deck at the Nassau Marina. The 
open-air  restaurant  is  on the second floor and overlooks the boats. 
Service   was   excellent,   seafood  was  fresh,  and  portions  were 
plentiful.  I ordered lobster tail and my husband had cracked conch. I 
think  we  spent  just  over  $100  U.S.  including wine, soup, coffee 
drinks, and dessert. 

Summary 

Since  I  have  been  to  the  Paradise  Island  village  five  times, 
obviously I am a fan. 

I  will  not  be  returning  to  this  resort if Club Med continues to 
encourage  families  to take over the village. It really detracts from 
the  atmosphere  of  the  resort,  which  used  to  consist of adults: 
serious  tennis players, golfers, and honeymooners. Now it is a weird, 
uncomfortable mix. 

The  only  thing  that would make me return is the ATP tennis program, 
but  even so I would likely only go for the three days and then leave. 

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