Thursday, January 26, 2017

Antigua West Indies: CJ & Adrienne

English Harbor from Shirley Heights
We arrived on Antigua island this last Wednesday, it being Saturday morning now.  Antigua is typical of other Caribbean islands that we've visitied, sunny, colorful and warm.  We're staying at a home in Buckley Heights in the center of this fairly small island about ten miles from all the beaches.  We have a pool and a large comfortable bed where we've been sleeping soundly each night since we arrived. We share this home surrounded by a large verandah overlooking the island and sea with CJ and Adrienne. CJ is a physical therapist for the world champion West Indies Cricket Team.

As I always say, one of my favorite things about travel is meeting people.  Each person you meet has the potential for such amazing life stories.  The downside is that if you compare your own life to these folks your own life can at times come off as dull. CJ's life ( he's in his forties), started in rural Australia on a family farm. He is very athletic and formerly played semi-pro basketball for an Australian team. He actually started when he was only sixteen and played for ten years. He was a guard with an average of 23 points per game.  Eventually he moved on to become a physical therapist to the king of Sri Lanka. There he met his wife a Brit who was working for Princess Diana's initiative clearing land mines from northern Sri Lanka.  CJ is a modest gentleman, lacking in any sort of bluster and we enjoyed watching the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys last weekend with him. He promises to take us to a cricket match later in our trip and teach us more about that sport. He's also helping Yata write the song "We Speak our Own Lang" contributing colorful Aussie expressions.  For example, referring to something that is ruined, the expression would say it is 'crash'. That confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVoss was crash.

Adrienne, our host, is a high energy African American who grew up in Queens, working in her family business, a restaurant.  She's ambitious and somewhat fearless as she moved here to Antigua after a short vacation, to rent a home and work two jobs.  She's currently renting this home we're in, with three bedrooms. She rents out the other two bedrooms through AirBnB which is how we found it. She loves music and is quite social so she encourages us to go out everyday to hear music or visit the island highlights and drives us there.  English Harbor is an area on the southern coast that has is a tourist and yachter's area. There we found live music in three locations our first night out.  Pretty interesting people watching, trying to imagine people's stories.  Is this angular tan man the owner of one of these yachts in the harbor and the languid young beauties his companions/entertainment?  Or how about the bucktoothed woman in the dowdy attire dancing with the serious faced man; are they on a date? Islanders?  I do like the way people are very diverse here. Color and class seem to be of little concern.  On the other hand, staff in many of the local establishments, not all, but some are so somber and at times downright rude.  We ate in one restaurant where the waitress boldly continued to pick her nose after I caught her eye.  Then when she served the roti with what turned out to be mango chutney which I'm allergic to, and was told, impudently turned and walked away with no concern or possibly disdain. As the saying goes, " You meet all kinds". Again, it's what makes travel interesting. The good with the bad.

A funny story Adrienne tells is how she was driving home from a night of partying, drunk...yes there is no law against driving drunk here, and she had to pee something fierce. Spotting a local cop shop she pulled in, ran in the front door,said, "I have to pee!"  They didn't think it was clean enough for her but she insisted and when she exited, proceeded to befriend the cops in the stations.  She asked them for directions and instead of telling her, gave her a police escort! Later, one of the police officers ran into her socially and told the story of 'how he met Adrienne".  When she goes home to the states, she may need to reacclimate!

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