Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 87
September 1, 1998

Last Update 30 Aug 98 1900ET

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1/ LOST AND FOUND

Lost and found from Steve Hardy

On  July  29,1998  I  found  some  35mm film on Hawksnest beach on St.
John,  USVI.   The  film was in a brown two-zippered purse that looked
as  if  it had been on the beach for several days.  It had been thrown
into   some  sea-grape  bushes  near  the  picnic  tables.   No  other
contents...  stolen,  I guess.  I brought the film home with me hoping
the  owner  might  claim  it  through  the  net.  The purse itself was
falling apart so I didn't bring it along - just the film.

There  are  two  rolls:  1 is 36 frame FujiColor 800 SuperG Plus print
film  and  the  other  is  27 frame Agfa HDC 200.  I'm not sure if the
Agfa  was  exposed...the leader is still hanging out of the canister a
little.  The Fuji was rolled completely.

It  would  be  a  shame  if  someone  lost  the only pictures of their
vacation.
Thanks for any help you can give me in finding the owner.

(If  you  can  help Steve find the owner, please e-mail the CTR Editor
at CTREDITOR@AOL.COM and I'll pass it along to him.)

2/ REGIONAL NEWS

ANGUILLA LOCAL NEWS FROM BOB GREEN

August 15, 1998

The  boat  race at Meads Bay was just one of many during Carnival. . .


Carnival 98 and Boat Racing

Boat  racing  is  the  national  sport  in  Anguilla,  and boat racing
during  carnival week is the high point of for the year.

Light  and  Peace  was  the  race  winner  on  Thursday  at Meads Bay,
followed  by  De   Tree  and UFO in third. As at all boat race events,
there  were  food  stalls   along  the  beach,  large  crowds of eager
spectators,  music,  ribs,  etc. Here is  another picture of the Meads
Bay race--notice Malliouhana hotel in the  background.

The  important  August  Monday  boat  race is held at Sandy Ground. On
this  day,   UFO  was  the winner. As you can see in this photo, there
are a lot of  sailboats entered in the race.

August  Monday  is a national holiday in Anguilla, as are Thursday and
Friday,   so  not  much  work  gets done this week! Actually, Carnival
lasts  12  days  and  starts on the Thursday before August Monday with
fireworks,  music and an  opening show at Landsome Bowl in The Valley.
Here is the schedule .

And  there  was  another important race on Wednesday from Sandy Ground
to   Blowing  Point.  Viking was the winner, with UFO in second place.
As  in  all   races,  crowds  of  enthusiastic fans follow the race in
numerous chase boats  and in cars along the shore line.

On  Sunday  the  winners of the preceding races face off in a Champion
of  Champions race. This is like the heavyweight crown for the year.

Here  is  the  start  of the Champion of Champions race on Sunday. You
may  not   be  aware  that  these boats do not have a keel, making the
handling  of  them   quite different from standard sail boats. Bags of
sand  and  rocks  are  used  for   ballast  and  can  be  jetisoned if
necessary  during  the race. For an  introdcution to the subject, read
the book "Nuttin Bafflin" .

UFO  from  Island  Harbour,  was  this  year's  Champion of Champions,
easily   winning the final race on Sunday. Stinger came in second (see
picture above).

Because  your  reporter  missed  most  of carnival attending the large
HPWorld  98   show  in  San Diego, he is very grateful to Brenda Carty
for sharing these  pictures of boat racing during Carnival 98.

More Action During Carnival Week

But  boat  racing was not the only action during carnival week. Marisa
Gumbs   won  the  Miss  Anguilla  contest,  and  once again it was the
candidate   sponsored    by   National   Bank  of  Anguilla  that  was
victorious.  Marisa  wins  EC $10,000 and  a trip to New York or Miami
on American. See the contestants .

8-year  old  Olufunmike Banks-Devonish and 9-year old Rhys Carter from
the   Gloria  Omolulu  Institute won the Prince and Princess Show. The
title  of Miss  African Heritage was awarded jointly to Pamela Maynard
and  Noreen  Gumbs.  La   Toyah  Matthew of Little Harbour was crowned
Miss Talented Teen on Tuesday  night.

Last  year's  Calpyso  King  Mighty  Springer repeated this year, then
also  won   the  Calypso  Monarch title, beating out stiff competition
from  Antigua,  St   Kitts,  St.  Martin,  and  other  islands. Mighty
Springer's  songs  for  this  year   were "Masa Day is Past" and "Good
Things We Can Do Today".

News Tidbits from Anguilla

TWA  is  planning to start flights from the East coast to St Martin in
mid  December.

Just  Back  from  Classes  in  NY. Twenty Anguillians just completed a
short,  but   concentrated  learning experience in New York state. The
students   attended    special   programs  in  either  Hospitality  or
Agriculture.  Tom  and  Dawn  write: We  have 20 Anguillians here now.
Tom  and  I  will attend their graduation today.  They spent two weeks
of   intense  training  at  our  State  University  of  New  York   at
Cobleskill.  Many  compliments  from  the  professors  regarding their
desire to  learn.

Winner  of  Photo  Contest.  Adele  Greenhut  of  Longmeadow, Mass won
Savannah   Gallery's  photo  contest  with  a  beautiful  depiction of
Little  Bay.  The  winning  photo and the many other excellent entries
from  visitors  are  on  display at  the gallery, with copies for sale
through  August and September. Proceeds from  the sale of these photos
will  go  to  Slick  Carty's bid to represent Anguilla  at the Special
Olympics in Sydney in 2000 .

Children's  Craft  Program  is  being  held  at Island Harbour Primary
School  this  summer. This program is sponsored by volunteers from the
ladies  craft  group,   and  organized this year by well-known artists
Lynn  Bernbaum  and  Marjorie   Morani. If you have ever bought crafts
from  the  group  at  the Christmas Fair  and wondered what happens to
the money, now you know.

American  Eagle.  Over  the  next few years they will be replacing the
current   ATR  42 aircraft with new ATR 72s. The ATR 72 cannot land in
Anguilla  unless  the airport is extended by 1000 feet. American Eagle
assured people that they  would continue to service Anguilla.

Upcoming Events in Anguilla

The  Anguilla  Local News has an Calendar for the year showing events,
holidays,  and  activities.  The  upcoming  period  is  pretty  quiet,
although  school does restart in September.

2nd  International  Art  Festival and Competition. Work has started on
organizing  a  repeat of 1997's successful art festival . Artists from
around   the  world  will gather in Anguilla July 25 to August 1, 1999
(just  before   carnival)  to  soak up the ambience and create. During
the  week  there  will be  workshops on pastels, oils, watercolors and
stained  glass,  plus  lectures,   tours  and  social  events. Then in
February  there will be a competition amoung  the works created by the
artists,   which  must  have  an  Anguilla  theme.  Prizes   money  is
US$15,000  with  $10,000 for the overall winner. For more information,
contact the tourist board .

Updates and Feedback

Update  on  the  Tennis  Academy. Mitch Lake and Euxodie Wallace and a
few  of   Anguilla's  young  players  were  in  St  Martin recently to
compare  notes  on   Junior  Tennis  progress with counterparts there.
After  a  series  of  friendly   matches,  they  arranged  for monthly
competitions  between  the two islands, with  the venue switching back
and forth.

Question  on  Medical  Jet  Services:  My wife would like to bring her
mother  who  is 89 and in good health. However, she is concerned about
flight  connections   and  possible  emergency flight home. Is there a
charter  jet  company  operating   in  the  area? There is charter jet
services  available  from Anguilla. The  company is Melmic Aviation in
St.  Maarten. The contact is Bobby Bower,  Cellular No. +599570725. He
flys a Lear Jet and can evacuate to Puerto Rico  or the USA.

National Bank of Anguilla has a web site at www.nba.ai

The  Institute  of  Healing was created by Dorothy Martin-Neville. She
has   a    web  site  at  www.instituteofhealing.com  and  Dotty  runs
intensive retreats in  Anguilla. Here email is dotty@anguillanet.com

Caribbean  Travel  Roundup  has a long and detailed May trip report by
Joe   Gavula, who stayed at the Boathouse villa and dined all over the
island.  Plus   a  first visit report by Steve Barrymore, who also ate
all  over  Anguilla, but  spent the last night at B&D's BBQ along side
the  road  at  Long Bay. On Fri.  and Sat. night a lady (Bernice) sets
up  plastic tables in her front yard and  serves BBQ. Total bill for 2
of us was $12! This was a great meal! .

Bali     Hai     Villa     has     a     new    web    page    address
http://users.nni.com/villabh

Pumphouse - The People's Place

"  Jah  lives!", the crowd chants repeatedly after the Reggae Groovers
end   their  rendition  of  Tony Rebel’s mega hit If Jah . This is the
usual  scene  at   The Pumphouse on a Saturday night where patrons are
entertained by the local  group Reggae Groovers.

Nestled  between  the Salt Pond and the Sandy Ground beach is the ever
popular   Pumphouse  ,  where  lots of people gather almost nightly to
relax  ,  dine,  sip   on  cocktails, and be entertained by Anguilla’s
local live bands.

The  Pumphouse  is  owned  and  operated  by Laurie and Gabi Gumbs. It
opened  its   doors  to  the  public on 4 th August, 1995. The site is
rich  in  history  in  that   it  was  home  to the Anguilla Road Salt
Company Factory which in its time was  the main export of Anguilla.

Laurie  Gumbs,  the owner has managed to restore some of the equipment
which   was used in the salt production process and has them displayed
at  his  bar,   his  intention  being  to create a ‘Mini Salt Industry
Museum’.  During  the   tourist  season,  the  archaeological  society
arranges tours of the site.

The  Pumphouse has 7 staff members, his wife and himself included. The
entire   staff is kept very busy catering to their patrons’ needs. The
Pumphouse   boasts  an  extremely impressive well-stocked bar. You can
get  the drink of  your choice all at very reasonable prices. There is
also  the  ‘Pumphouse Rum  Punch’, which is the house drink , and very
tasty,   the   ingredients  of  which   only  the  staff  members  are
privileged to know.

The  menu  may  be  informally  chalked  on  the  wall,  the  food  is
absolutely  delicious. Read this earlier news report on their food .

During  the tourist season, there is nightly entertainment five nights
a   week.  On Tuesday nights the house dee-jay offers ‘Pumphouse rock’
which   includes  alternative  music  and  rock  ballads from the most
famous  rock  bands.   Wednesday  nights  are  for  the reggae lovers.
Hotshot  and  his  band  Hod Nox  plays their reggae favorites much to
the  delight  and  enjoyment  of the  patrons. For all those who enjoy
Spanish  music,  Thursday nights are the  ‘Meringue Magic’ nights. One
can  dance  the  night  away  to  the  melodious  music   of Keith and
Raphael.  Friday  nights  again  there  is  the  Pumphouse rock by the
house  dee-jay  and  it  all  ends  on Saturday night with the ‘Reggae
Groovers’   belting out reggae hits which usually has the crowd on its
feet begging for  more.

At  present,  during the off-peak season, there is entertainment three
nights   a week, on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The Pumphouse
is  opened  nightly from 7:00pm to 2:00am and is closed on Sundays and
Mondays.

Visitor Feedback

Every  day  brings  new  email  messages  about  Anguilla.  Here is an
interesting  message that came in recently:

Date:  Sat,  25  Jul 1998 20:29:39 -0700 Subject: Comments from recent
trip

We  just returned from a lovely week on Anguilla. We used your website
ahead   of  time  to  get a lot of ideas on what to do. Coming in July
during  the  off   season  is  highly  recommended.  The  weather  was
gorgeous,  no  crowds  and  never a  problem with dinner reservations.
You just have to know when some are closed.

Mead  Bay  was  just  right  to  stay  at. It's quiet and the beach is
beautiful.   Olivers,  Blanchards  and Mangos are nearby and you can't
go  wrong  with  any  of   these.  We're  sending  Oliver some Old Bay
seasoning  from  Baltimore  so  you   might  be  surprised at some new
dishes  soon.  Spend a day at Shoal Bay . It's  more active, the beach
is pretty and you get to eat Uncle Ernie's HOT ribs.

We  found  our  best dining experiences were when we went to the owned
and   operated  ones  and  always  met  the owners. This also included
Straw  Hat ,  Arlo's and Gorgeous Scilly Cay . I recommend driving out
by  the  airport to  the silver trailer for some chicken with rice and
peas.  I  took this back to  Carimar Beach Club , and enjoyed watching
the  sailboats  with a cold Carib  from the balcony. Also did the same
thing with Chinese from the Landing Strip.

Everyone  on  the island was so friendly from passerbys to shopkeepers
that   you  didn't  want to leave. We did take the ferry to St. Martin
only  to  return   just  one  hour later. We missed the tranquility. I
would  have  wanted to try  Leduc's but understand the owner was in an
accident.  I  hope he is OK. I also  had a very good diving experience
with  Anguillan  Divers  .  Feel  free  to pass  my comments onto your
readers.  I  know  other comments I read helped me plan my  trip. Keep
up the good work on your website. We'll be returning.

David and Shirlee Morris

News.ai is On Summer Break

With  the  end  of  Carnival week, the Anguilla Local News is taking a
short   summer  vacation. We will still publish a truncated edition of
the  news  every   two weeks, but we won't be updating the indeces and
cross-references.  The   next  major  issue  is scheduled for October,
with lots of news about the  upcoming high season.

3/ JOURNEYS FOR SEPTEMBER 1998

ANTIGUA: SANDALS BY JEANNE N. DEVINE

Trip 6/98

I  wanted  to  believe the brochure. I was so excited about the trip I
made  Sandals  my  screen  saver password. I had a picture in my mind.
The resort was more beautiful than I expected.

Everything  went  smoothly  on our Thursday flight June 11 from DFW to
Miami  on American. Of course, our connecting flight to Antigua was in
a  different  terminal  which required a train ride. But we had plenty
of time to kill, an hour and a half wait in Miami.

The flight to Antigua was only half full. We got delayed out of Miami-
-5  p.m.  rush  hour.  We  were  fifth in line and it took an extra 30
minutes  to  take  off. I ordered orange juice to drink and then mixed
in  the contents of my little vodka bottle. You did keep those bottles
you  paid  $4.00  for on your last flight, right? Refill them and save
yourself  some  money. M, my boyfriend, got a free beer for giving the
flight attendant correct change.

A  woman  holding  a  Sandals sign was waiting when we walked into the
airport.  After  she confirmed that we were on her list, she gave us a
green  VIP  card  and  said  present  it  to the check in desk when we
arrived.  She  told  us where to catch a taxi after we got our luggage
and cleared customs.

Customs  took  another  30  minutes.  They open up your stuff and look
through  it  pretty  thoroughly. M got his first stamp in his passport
and  thought  that  was  pretty cool. While we were waiting in line we
met  the  couple  standing  in front of us, L and C. We found out they
were going to Sandals too.

The Sandals rep escorted all four of us to our taxi.

The  taxi  driver drove very fast, but I didn't feel unsafe. He seemed
like  he  knew the road intimately and there wasn't much traffic since
it  was  now  after  9pm. It was pretty strange when we passed the cow
nibbling  on  grass  next to the road. The ride took about 20 minutes.
Our  van  wasn't  air conditioned but the windows were open and a nice
breeze was blowing.

We  pulled  up to the front of the resort and were offered cold towels
and  a  glass  of  champagne as soon as we stepped out of the cab. The
bellhop,  Attiba,  told us to leave our luggage while we checked in. M
said,  "Uh  uh,  I'm  not  leaving  my  luggage where I can't see it."
Attiba  laughed  and assured us it would be safe (but my honey said he
kept  an  eye  on the bags anyway). L and C didn't get a VIP card (you
get  VIP  check in if you're in a suite) and we quickly found out what
the  advantage  was--we  got  checked in first. They probably ended up
waiting at least 30 minutes.

I  had  faxed  ahead  and asked for a beachfront rondoval, but we were
told  they  were  all  full.  No  problem,  let us know if one becomes
available  in  the  next  few  days  (we were staying 7 nights). After
filling  out  the  requisite  forms  and  credit  card imprint, Attiba
loaded  up our luggage on the baggage cart. M and I traveled light and
had carried our bags on the planes.


Our  new  friend  led  us to Room 312, a yellow rondoval surrounded by
gardens  and trees. I was a little surprised that the room was smaller
than  I  expected,  especially  the  bathroom.  But  it was very nice,
plush,  clean,  and  well stocked. Our mini bar had Antiguan rum, gin,
vodka,  wine,  Wadadli  beer, Coke, club soda. Red Stripe beer is only
on tap. There were ice trays filled with ice in the fridge.


Our  walls  had  louvered windows which we had to shut tightly to keep
the  a/c  in  (perversely,  the  maids  kept  opening  the windows and
turning  off  the  a/c).  A  white  ceiling fan is high up on the tall
roof.  Two  different  remote  controls  operate  the  TV  and the air
conditioning  unit.  Attiba  showed  M  how  to  use them. (It's a man
thing.)  Beach  towels were laid in a pretty design on our bed and the
washcloths  in  the  bathroom were also folded in a floral shape. King
size  bed.  A  nice  patio  with  two  comfy  lounge  chairs, greenery
everywhere,  and  lots  of geckos. One (or two...) got inside. M is in
heaven  because  he  can  get  ESPN  and NBC on TV and will be able to
watch  the  NBA  playoff  games  (as  well as HBO, Max, CNN, WGN, CBS,
ABC).


We  dumped  our luggage and asked where we could get something to eat.
It  was  about  10pm and Attiba said the Courtyard Grill would open up
at 10:30pm. So we walked around the grounds and by the ocean.


We  got lost on our way to the restaurant, ran into Attiba, and he let
us  have  a ride on his cart. I thought that was kind of neat. He said
he's  carried  luggage  that  weighed  more  than  the  two  of us put
together.


We  ordered hamburgers and fries at the Grill. L and C showed up a few
minutes  later.  We  got to talking and laughing and sat down together
to  eat our food. The lady behind the counter was eavesdropping on our
conversation and she was laughing too.


Now  it  was  time  for  some  drinks,  listen  to the band, take some
photos.  I  first tried a frozen margarita which I wasn't crazy about,
then  switched  to  white  zinfandel.  I  thought the wine tasted like
Sutter  Home or Beringer. We hung out until the band stopped playing--
12am.


Friday.  The  concierge called us at 9am to welcome us, confirm dinner
reservations  I  had  made in advance for my birthday, and check if we
needed  anything.  She  asked  if she woke me up and I said yes. But I
had  already  figured  out what I needed to complete the mini-bar so I
requested  a  bottle  of  white zinfandel and some fruit juice (to put
the  rum  in).  After we came in from the beach later that day, it had
been delivered.


Now  we  were  awake,  so M decided he wanted to work out. I wanted to
explore  and  get  to the beach. I put on my bathing suit and cover-up
and  walked  with  him to the fitness center. We took a closer look at
the  beachfront rondovals to see if we still wanted to move. He bought
me a hat at the gift shop.


While  he  was  riding the exercise bike I walked to the beach and the
pool,  to  see  which  I  liked  better.  The  beach. I stopped at the
concierge  office and found out they couldn't move us until Sunday. We
were  ready  to  get unpacked and decided we would stay where we were.
It  turned  out  to  be a good choice. Another couple we met said some
drunken  people  were  out  on  the  beach  right  in  front  of their
rondoval,  making noise at 2am. She also said their room was humid and
musty.


I  ran  into L and C in the same section of beach I had decided to try
out.  He  helped me pull up a chair and I saved a swinging hammock for
M.  I  took an air mattress I had brought with me to the dive shop and
asked a guy to inflate it for me. He did.


The  four  of  us spent the rest of the day at the beach. I got in the
water  with  my  float  and  let the waves rock me. The bar wasn't far
away  and  we took turns going to get drinks. I brought a 16 oz. sport
bottle  with  me  and  the bartenders had no problem filling it up and
adding  more  rum  to  the  strawberry daiquiris. Sure, we had to wait
sometimes  to  get a drink, because the bar got crowded. I thought the
bartenders  worked  hard  and  would  mix  up whatever you wanted. You
could  see  all the available liquors on display. They also had frozen
strawberry and banana daiquiris.


I  was  hungry  so  I  went  to the Bayside restaurant to pick up some
things  from  the  lunch  buffet.  You  can't  go  in  there without a
swimsuit  cover up or t-shirt. But they let you take the plate of food
back  out  to  the beach so that's cool. I thought the food at Sandals
was  simply  delicious.  For  lunch  I  had jerk chicken, macaroni and
cheese,  mussels,  johnny  cake  (a sweet biscuit) cheese and crackers
and  flan.  Juice,  desserts, and salad were available on each buffet.
They  didn't  have  the  same thing twice (main courses) at any of the
buffets during the week.


The  sun was starting to go down about 430pm so we went inside. I took
a  hot  shower  (no  problem  with temperature or pressure) and then a
nap.  We  watched  TV  and talked, and later decided we were ready for
dinner.  We  went  to Bayside, which doesn't require reservations. You
had   to   make   reservations  one  day  in  advance  for  the  other
restaurants,  and  if you didn't do it in the morning, you didn't have
a  chance  of getting the time you wanted. It was International Buffet
night  and  we  were  so impressed by the array of food that we took a
picture of it.


Saturday.  My  birthday. We were up at midnight last night so M wished
me  happy  birthday.  We  woke  up this morning around 9am and went to
work  out.  I  did  the treadmill and M did the bike. Back to the room
for  a shower. The maid had been in and washed out my dirty Aqua Shoes
which  I  had left in the tub, and set them on the patio to dry. I was
so impressed.

We  fixed  ourselves some drinks and relaxed in the room. Then we went
to Bayside and had lunch, and then to the swimming pool with the swim-
up bar. There was plenty of shade.


We  floated  around  and  swam  up  to  the bar when we got thirsty. A
British  grandma wearing a bikini chatted with us. My air mattress was
a conversation piece.


Later  in the afternoon there was a beer drinking contest at the pool.
M  wanted  to  watch.  There  was one for men and one for women. Three
people  signed up for each group. It was fun watching them drink, turn
the  bottle  upside down on their heads. To decide the winner, the two
finalists  had  to  drink the beer and then swim a lap, drink the beer
at  the  end  of  that  lap and swim back. I never imagined you had to
know  how  to  swim  to  enter  a  beer drinking contest. They all got
presented with their leather Sandals and went off happily.


After  that  we  sat in the hot tub right next to the pool. It was hot
and  could  hold  20 people. That was so relaxing M and I went back to
our  room  and took a nap, since our dinner reservations weren't until
745pm.  We  had tried to change to 630pm. to meet up with L and C, but
were told Il Palio was overbooked.


The  suite  concierge manager stopped by to ask if we needed anything.
More beer. It came quickly.


When  we  arrived  at  Il Palio L and C were eating dessert--slices of
birthday  cake. L's birthday was today too and the chef had prepared a
cake  for both of us. It had chocolate covered strawberries on the top
and  white icing but unfortunately the filling was mocha which I hate.



The  food  at Il Palio was excellent and I was disappointed I only got
to  eat  there  once. I had a shrimp kabob over rice with cream sauce,
roasted  garlic  and  sauteed  mushrooms.  M had chicken Parmesan with
eggplant  and snow peas. The antipasto bar was also good, with cheese,
tomatoes, olives, proscuitto and salami.


After  dinner  we rejoined L and C and went back to our room and drank
some  champagne. Attiba had left it chilled in the room for us. Toasts
to birthdays and vacations.


We  finished  off  the bottle and went back to the bar. Tonight's band
was  the  best  one  so  far,  playing  jazz  which  sounded  like the
Rippington's.  They  played  "Hello"  by  Lionel Richie and we danced.
After  the  band  left we called it a night. The four of us would meet
up again tomorrow afternoon for the Shirley Heights tour.


Sunday.  M and I slept in and then went to the fitness center. I had a
hamburger  and  fries  for  lunch  (the  French fries at the Courtyard
Grill  were  good).  We  left at 5pm for Shirley Heights. I personally
thought the trip was a rip-off.


The  taxi  ride there and back cost $35.00 a couple. On the way to the
Heights,  you  have a quick photo op of Nelson's Dockyard. The T-shirt
vendors were waiting.


It  was  only  a  short  drive  after  that  to the top. All six of us
sharing  the  mini-van  agreed  to meet back at 6:30pm. The sun should
have  set  by  then.  (Watching the sunset was the main reason for the
trip). We walked toward the music, a loud reggae band.


My  opinion is that this tour is a tourist trap designed to get you to
buy  maracas, jewelry, t-shirts, hats, and overpriced food and drinks.
$9.00  for  a  hamburger,  $2.50  for  a beer. M bought me a necklace,
bracelet  and  earring  set  for  $22.00US  (down  slightly  from  the
original  asking  price  of  $25.00).  Done shopping and not hungry or
thirsty, we decided to take a walk.


There  are some paths past the Officers Quarters, and you can go right
to  the  edge  of  the cliff. It's beautiful, ocean surrounding you on
all  sides.  Our  driver  had  pointed out the hurricane harbor below,
where  the  boats  will  be safe in a hurricane. The terrain is filled
with cacti.


The  clouds  covered up the sunset, and after an hour and a half stay,
we were ready to leave.


I  enjoyed  seeing  some of the rest of the island. One house we drove
past  had a big "Happy Birthday" sign and balloons hung over the front
door. We passed by a church and saw a wedding.


Our  driver  drove  crazy on the way back--too fast and passing 4 cars
at a time.


We were hungry and thirsty and happy to be back at the resort.
It  was  beach  BBQ  night. A buffet of BBQ chicken, ribs, paella with
shrimp,  plaintain,  mangoes,  salad, macaroni and cheese, crab salad.
Beans,  corn  on  the cob, bread, desserts, carrot cake and eclairs. I
had a piece of what tasted like pear pie.


Full   bar   outside,  steel  drum  band.  A  guy  did  a  limbo/fire-
twirling/fire-eating  show.  C  and  I  talked  with him afterward. He
showed us he didn't have any hair on his arms.


Then  we  met  up with the guys who had gone to the lobby to watch the
NBA  game.  It  was  the beginning of the second half. There was a big
crowd,  guests and workers screaming and yelling for their team. I had
a  couple  of  Grand Marniers and M had some more beer during the game
(I  was the waitress). We loved hearing the voices of the local people
as they shouted. They sound like they are singing when they talk.


Monday.  I  went  to water aerobics at 1130am. It had been raining off
and  on  so  I  called  first to see if it was still scheduled. It got
delayed  for a bit until the worst of the rain stopped, but then Dale,
the  instructor, set the music up under the roof of the bar and we got
started.  I  met  a  group  of  people  from  Ohio  and  a  woman from
California.  They  were  determined to get enough points for a free t-
shirt.  They tried to convince me to join them on the 715am power walk
tomorrow. No way.


The  British  grandma  and  her  family showed up too. We all had fun.
After  class  I got in the Jacuzzi and L and C came by to get a drink.
They  had  gone  to St. Johns and been shopping in the rain. I went to
lunch  by myself, and Dale came and sat with me. We had an interesting
conversation.  I  told him he was famous on the Internet (Compuserve's
Caribbean  Travel  Forum). He knew. He's been working at Sandals since
1991. He has traveled to the U.S.-- California and Florida.


It  was  still  raining  so  M  and I spent the afternoon in until our
745pm.  reservations  at  Kimonos.  We  walked  over  (it's across the
street  from  the Sandals entrance) and held a place for L and C. They
served  us  rum  punches  while we waited. When we went upstairs there
were  8  people  total  at  our table. A young British couple who were
pregnant and a German couple on their honeymoon.


Again,  I thought the food was great. You started out with your choice
of  appetizer.  I  got the nori-maki: sushi, california rolls, caviar,
shrimp  and  salmon  with  ginger and horseradish. It was delicious. M
got  the  ginger  patay  (pork)  and liked it too. The next course was
crab  and  corn  soup,  then a salad. The entree was chicken teriyaki,
beef,  scallops,  shrimp (very skimpy on the shrimp), marlin. The chef
put  sauces  on everything while he cooked it. There were also veggies
and  rice.  I  used my chopsticks but you didn't have to. The waitress
kept  coming  in  to  give  us  more  rum punches and white zinfandel.
Dessert was mango ice cream and vanilla cake.


We  got  in  a great conversation with the German couple (G and D) and
sat  there  talking until 11pm when they kicked us out. We listened to
the  band  for  a  while,  then  took  some  champagne  and more white
zinfandel  to  L  and  C's  room and sat up talking and drinking until
2am.


Tuesday.  I  was hungry this morning so I went to breakfast, came back
and  read  and  napped.  Then  M  and I got up and went to work out. A
couple  was  having  a  fight in the workout room. We bought some more
stuff from the gift shop. Then we showered and ate lunch.


We  went  out to the beach afterward and I got to float for 30 minutes
but  then  the dark clouds came in and it started pouring. We ran back
to  the  room  and sat on our patio for a while (and I wondered, where
do  the  geckos go when it rains?), but the wind kicked up and we were
getting  wet so we had to go inside. M watched more TV and napped. The
power went out for about an hour while it was storming.


I  wrote out my postcards and made notes in my journal. M said this is
our best vacation since a Caribbean cruise we took on NCL in 1996.


The  rain  stopped that evening. We were meeting L and C for dinner at
OK  Corral.  There was a short wait to be seated. M and I ordered ribs
with  french fries. The portion of meat was small but tasty. C had the
fajitas  which she didn't think were that good. L had a steak which he
enjoyed.  There  was  also  a  salad bar. For dessert I had a piece of
pecan  pie  which  melted  in  my  mouth.  My  only  criticism of this
restaurant  is  that  I  could  have  done without the country/western
music blaring from a jukebox, since I am not a country/western fan.


After  eating  we  joined  G  and  D. They had claimed a good table to
listen to the band.


L  and C were leaving early tomorrow morning so they didn't stay long.
G  and  D  left  about 11pm. M heard some good music coming from Betty
Jo's  Boatyard (the disco) so we went to investigate. There was a nice
crowd  and  people  were  dancing. We closed the place down (1am)(much
earlier than we would have liked).


Wednesday.  We have to leave tomorrow so I'm not in the greatest mood.
We  worked out, then went to breakfast. I spent the rest of the day at
the  beach.  It was more crowded today, but there were still plenty of
lounge  chairs  available. M stayed in, recovering from too many Grand
Marniers  last  night.  At  7pm, we were meeting D and G for dinner at
Bayside.


The  waitress  seated  us  and gave us menus. No buffet tonite. It was
difficult  to  make  a  choice, but I decided on prosciutto with melon
and  olives for appetizer, green salad with herb vinaigrette dressing,
turkey  cordon  bleu,  chocolate  mousse  for  dessert. Everything was
delightful  except  the mousse (not creamy or chocolate-y). We sat and
talked until late, exchanging addresses before we left.


Thursday.  Of  course  there  are  no  clouds at all in the sky today.
Since  I  had packed last night I had time to go to the beach. I tried
to  use my air mattress, but the wind kept blowing me out to sea. So I
came out of the water and took some pictures from the beach.


I  raced  back to the room with 30 minutes to spare. At noon the front
desk  called  to  make  sure  we  were  ready  to leave. The check out
process  was  quick  and  easy,  and  we  even got American AAdvantage
points  for the stay (just give the clerk your frequent flyer number).



The  taxi  to  take  us to the airport wasn't there yet, so I strolled
over  to  the  bar  to  get  us  one  last strawberry daiquiri and Red
Stripe.  We  sat  on  a couch in the lobby, and said goodbye to Attiba
who  happened  to  appear.  M tipped him $15.00 for excellent service.
Tipping  is  not  required, but you can get extra special treatment if
you do.


Airport  check  in  was  efficient. You pay a $20.00 departure tax per
person.  There  were  some  nice souvenir shops inside and a Colombian
Emerald  store. Near the gate was a bar where you could get snacks and
drinks, but the prices were outrageous.


Boarding  and take off were on time. The plane was a propeller jet and
we  flew  at  12,000  feet. M was not pleased with me for booking this
flight.  Luckily  we  were  only  in  the  air an hour, and had a very
smooth ride.


I  love  going  through  customs  in  San Juan--I have never seen them
check anyone's luggage.


We  headed  to the AA terminal, stopping to buy a few souvenirs on the
way.  Our  flight was running late. While waiting we talked about work
for  the  first time in seven days. Back to reality. We agreed that we
would return to Sandals soon.



There  was  an  unexpected  shortage  of  taxis at DFW airport when we
arrived  but  eventually we got home. Our house was still standing and
our dog was happy to see us. I'm already planning our next trip!



Some  general  comments  about  this  Sandals: 1) The entertainment is
amateurish.  Guess  I  got spoiled by the cruise ship shows. 2) D told
us  that  she  usually had to wait an hour to water ski every day. You
had  to  get  up  at  the crack of dawn to sign up. 3) The room had an
iron,  ironing  board and a hair dryer, but there was often a shortage
of  face  cloths  and towels. 4) The clientele seemed to be a range of
ages  from  late  twenties to late forties. Lots of weddingmooners. 5)
Both  C and D reported being bit by mosquitos. I used a sunscreen with
bug  repellant  during  the  day and Deep Woods Off at night. I didn't
get any bites (and mosquitos love me).

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