I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Up at 8:30 after a fabulous sleep. I love how quiet this place is.

I read over the proof read one more time and email back and forth with Mike a bit until we get it just right.

I grab a couple of gingersnaps for breakfast and walk down to the computer store on 'Wall Street' (named so because there are several banks on that block) just by the big roundabout at the end of my road. They have a cord for my phone at $105 EC or $42 Canadian. I hate to pay that much but I need it.

Close by is the Allamanda Beach Resort, a sister hotel to where I am staying. Because of this, I can use their deck chairs to lounge on the beach. I head over there and have to ask at the desk for the chairs to be unlocked. I take two in case Regina comes by.

It's a partially sunny day and yet super hot so I put the chairs in the shade of one of the huge seagrape trees that are along this stretch of sand. I read for two hours and am constantly being interrupted by local men and women asking me if I want to purchase handcrafted jewelry, or do I want my hair braided (no!!!!), or would I like a foot massage. Most do leave when I say 'no thank you' but the constant interruption is annoying and the odd one who won't take no for an answer is as well. One great thing though, I am wearing the bracelet I bought on Mayreau so those who are selling a similar item notice it and say 'oh I see you have one' and leave me alone.

Ahhh... perfect!

A fellow walks up to my chair and hands me a business card, his name is Tom. He tells me that he runs tours of the island and asks if I am interested. I am, actually, so he asks if he can sit down and he sits on the edge of my lounge. He explains the full island tour and prices and I ask a few questions. I mention that I am looking for a new taxi driver and he tells me he drives taxi as well so I arrange for him to pick me up at 5:30 at my hotel for dinner at Prickly Bay with Rick and Alessandra. I tell him I will think about the tour (as his price seems steep to me). He eventually leaves and we agree to 'see you later'.

Shortly after I think I see Regina and Bruce heading towards me along the waters edge and I stand up and wave to them. They wave back. They get close and... it isn't them! I am so shocked because they both looked exactly like them from a distance. I get ready to explain myself but as they walk close enough to talk to, they completely ignore me - no eye contact at all. Hmmm.

Growing hungry, I realize that it is almost noon so I walk down the beach in search of a restaurant and find a place called Umbrellas near by. It isn't right on the beach, there is a packed sand parking lot between, but it's close enough that I feel okay about going in with just a swimsuit and cover up shirt. I ask to be seated outside on the upper deck and love the view from there.

View from my table at Umbrellas

I am dying for a burger so order one and a nutmeg milkshake. I don't usually drink milkshakes but I want to try the nutmeg one. I mention to the waiter that I'd like to charge my phone if there is an outlet nearby but he says there isn't. He offers to charge it behind the bar downstairs and I gratefully accept. The weather is warm and breezy, broken cloud with about 30% blue sky. I hope the rain holds off today.

Nutmeg Milkshake...mmmm!

The meal is exceptionally good and the shake is delicious! I decide I will definitely be back and trying more of their menu.  When it comes time to leave, I am rather self conscious as more patrons have arrived and they are all dressed for either a business lunch or a ladies lunch out with friends. I feel very underdressed and decide that I can't come back here unless I am dressed for it so no more beach lunches at Umbreallas.

Enhanced view

I head back to Allamanda and the chairs have been put back so I have to get them unlocked again. I just get one for me this time. As I sit there, a dog walks up to me and stands beside my chair and gazes into my eyes for about a minute. I look back at him and say 'hi' and give him a pat on the head. He continues to gaze into my face and then suddenly turns, walks a couple of steps to the rear of my chair and collapses onto the sand in the shade. He instantly falls asleep and stays there for a couple of hours. I guess he was checking me out to make sure I was trustworthy.

A weary dog who just needed a safe place to sleep for a while

After a couple of hours or so I decide to walk down the beach in search of sea glass and I don't get very far when who should be waving at me from a distance but Regina! So we walk back to my chair, get a second one and sit together and chat until I have to go and get changed for dinner. We agree to try to meet up again tomorrow.

I walk back and get changed and fixed up. Tom, the driver, arrives on time and seems rather taken aback by the change in my appearance - something I have encountered before as I know I tend to look fairly hideous on the beach with no makeup and limp hair clipped back off of my face. He compliments me and I just smile and say 'thanks' as I head down the steps towards his van... which is a total wreck. As he gives me a hand up into the back, I bang my head on a rusted piece of metal hanging by wires from the ceiling and I realize that it is the dome light that has come loose and is not working. I can't see but it feels like it cut my forehead. I decide on the spot that there is no way I am going for an 8 hour tour in this heap. The seat I am on is completely wrecked with lumpy springs under my butt.

He asks me a lot of personal questions on the drive to Prickly Bay but that seems to be the norm for males in these parts and I give short answers. It's about a 20 minute drive so there's a lot of questions.  I am relieved when we arrive at the destination and I ask to him to come back for me at 9.

Rick and Alessandra arrive about 20 minutes after me and they have a couple of people with them, a girl named Dasha and a local fellow named Michael. Dasha has a heavy accent that sounds a lot like Andy Kauffman playing Latka. Over beer, hamburgers, and pizza we have a nice evening. There is a trivia game that anyone can take part in and it is awful as the questions are seriously stupid - trivia no one but a specialist on the subject would know.

Tom arrives right on time and so I have to go even though I could have stayed another hour, and he is exhibiting impatience as I say my goodbyes which I find inappropriate but I don't say anything about it.

He has noticed my blistered and peeling shoulders (I will peel from my hairline to my toes before this vacation is over) and offers to stop at a friend's place to cut me some aloe vera. I thank him but tell him no. He insists it is no trouble. Again I say no, that it is okay. He then insists that I need it so I say fine. He heads in a completely different direction than we came in and soon we are on a pot-holed dirt road in the middle of nothing and nowhere. There are no houses, no street lights, just the glow from his headlights illuminating a few feet ahead and on each side of the road. It passes through my mind that this may not end so good for me but I take hope in the fact that he listens to Christian radio (there's been sermons blaring on it the entire time I've been in the van).  But him continuously saying 'let your heart be not afraid, I am not going to hurt you' without provocation could kind of negate that hope. However, deep down, I sense that his intentions are good, and sure enough, we pull off into a cleared area where there are several huge yucca plants and he jumps out and cuts off two huge leaves. He gets back in and fishes around on the floor until he finds a bag and puts them inside and hands them to me. I thank him and we get on our way.  There has been an odd unpleasant odour in the van since getting in at the marina and it just got incredibly stronger. I gingerly sniff at the bag in my hands. It is coming from there. I lay it on the floor.

We pass by the airport - we actually drive right through the pick-up area, and he is flagged down by a uniformed customs officer. Now what?! They exchange some words that I don't understand and then the passenger door opens and a woman gets in. I recognize her as one of the customs clerks that was present when I checked into the country. Apparently we are giving her a ride into town. She never looks back where I am and never says a word to me so I don't know if she even realizes I am there. She and Tom talk a bit but, honestly, despite my trying very hard, I can't pick up more than a word here or there. Hard to believe they are speaking English!

Once we are back at the hotel the driver tells me he'd like to take me out for coffee in the morning. I tell him no thank you. He then offers to come in and put the aloe vera on my back for me. Uhhh... no. He is really pushy about seeing me in the morning but I tell him again that I am not interested. He again offers to put the aloe vera on for me and I tell him firmly that I can handle it myself and I walk up the stairs to my door carrying the smelly bag of stems. He calls after me and says will I please, please think about going out for a drink with him and I say I will think about it just to get rid of him but there is no way I want to see this guy again. I feel so uncomfortable. I need a new cab driver. Mike gave me the name of a guy they use and I had intended to call him after my bad experience with Cat Eye but then this guy appeared on the beach and I figured why not just go with him but it was clearly a mistake. I will be calling Joe, Mike's guy, tomorrow.

I go to the kitchen to cut some aloe vera and when I pull it out of the bag I am overwhelmed with the odour of some sort of curry and see that there is a bright yellow oily slick on both stems of the plant. It just reeks - I mean, I love curry but this is not just curry. I have no idea what it is that smells like that but it is absolutely disgusting. I wash the stems off with dish soap and water and dry them to see that there is still a yellow stain on the stem. I cut a piece off of one and put the rest in the fridge. I then go about slicing the piece open and rubbing it on my shoulders and back as far as I can reach. As I climb into bed and get comfortable, I realize that I smell like that awful curry. It is absolutely nauseating and I get up, wash my hands and spray some perfume on myself before getting back into bed. It doesn't really help.
All photographs are mine and not to be copied without express permission from me (click on them to see the large version).
Some names have been changed to protect my butt.

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