for those still just thinking about this Paradise

( or How To Enjoy the Garden of Eden )

Trip Report to Anguilla

November-December, 1997

Your Intrepid Reporter, Laine Parnell

Johnnos beach bar at Sandy Ground beach Upper end of Shoal Bay East

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Arriving in Anguilla

"As you approach the dock at Blowing Point, Anguilla, the water will turn turquoise, the exact colour you have seen in travel magazines and brochures, but even more beautiful. You will also get your first scent of Anguilla, before you ever set foot on the land. It's very sweet, and comes out over the water to greet you."

"When you dock, if you need a hand with your luggage, wave at the fellow with the wheelbarrow; he's the porter. He'll bring your luggage up and then hand it through the window. I only took one smallish carry-on bag for a 3 week stay, next time I will halve the amount of clothing I brought. Possible that I will be able to fit everything in one large purse! I 'lived' in a cotton skirt and tank top; you can dry your clothes in an hour, so if you want to keep your luggage light, do so!"

Living in the Lap of Luxury

"This is a home, a nest, a haven of comfort. You could arrive with just your toothbrush and a change of clothing and never want for a thing. One silly concern I had before arriving was PILLOWS. I sleep with about 5 or 6 pillows all stacked around me for draping my arms and legs over. If I had piled all the pillows in Chinaberry on the king sized bed, there wouldn't have been room for ME!"

Now when I visualize the villa the images come in a series of snapshots, the bougainvillea trailing into the shower; breeze lifting the sheer white gauze curtains off the balcony; an evening of soft reggae on the stereo, scented candles alight and dancing in the light of the moon shining over the bay and into the room; sitting quietly in the kitchen, middle of the night, listening to the waterfall fountain and trying to capture the day in my journal."

Beaches, Beaches, Beaches

"Good grief, where do I start? It was an article in Islands magazine, front page titled "Beaches, Beaches, Beaches" about Anguilla that introduced me to this island."

"There are beaches perfect for swimming, beaches perfect for babies to splash at, beaches for shell finding, beaches for night life, beaches for total privacy, beaches for miles- long hand in hand strolling, beaches for snorkeling, diving, beaches for watching pounding surf, beaches for lying semi comatose on a chaise with drink at hand and 'people watching'."

Bacchanalia (Food and Drink)

"Granted I did not do a lot of gourmet restaurant hopping while on Anguilla, but this was my first experience in such a setting, and I would think that you couldn't do better as a place to bring any first timer to the Caribbean. One would have a urge to pinch oneself, except that you wouldn't WANT to wake up. I loved it!"

"... There's a big boat in the front yard, with Captain Hughes and Friends written on it. Don't go expecting to sit at a cozy little table, sipping drinks with your sweetie. DO go if you want to lounge on a couch, falling frequently to the floor with tears in your eyes from laughing at everything Marilyn says. She was a nurse back in New Jersey and her stories will make you howl! People pop in and out, the drinks are CHEAP, and if you don't know what you want, let her make something up for you. You are immediate family as you walk in the door, and a perfect place for anyone slightly shy. Also a perfect place for anyone wackily extroverted! This is the kind of place you can tell your friends back home about, 'that tiny, undiscovered local bar' that is NEVER in the guidebooks."

Night Moves

"... About 3 nano-seconds later this great looking guy appeared and several hours later we "closed" the place. Carried on dancing on the sand, on the dock, in the parking lot. Staggered down the road to the Pumphouse and closed it , too."

"While we were still at Johnno's we'd make frequent sweeps close to the bar while dancing (no stopping) and Rosie would fling a handful of paper toweling at me to mop my face (and everything else!) The next morning I discovered the insides of my knees covered in black and blue bruises from the dancing. He taught I had never danced like THAT before! (but it's really really easy to pick it up if you're in the right mood) The band was awesome, never taking the slightest break, not even a pause between songs. I've now got their CD, they're the VITO band."

Do's and Don'ts

"I won't tell you that you MUST stop and give people a lift, because some people just won't be comfortable with the idea. But...I did it and had nothing but fabulous conversations with great people."

"I gave a lift to Jean from Montserrat, staying here with her children until the volcano says it's OK to come home, a fellow who was on his way to Sandy Ground one morning to be 'ballast' in a boat race, Loretta who was healing a broken heart, dozens of high school students to and from school, a very inebriated sculptor one night, oodles of elderly ladies doing shopping and moms with children. Tried to keep track in my daily journal and finally gave up."

Farewell to Anguilla

Laine concludes...
I was on Anguilla for 3 weeks, a long vacation by most standards, but about a lifetime too short, in my opinion. On my last morning, as I was driving to the ferry dock to leave, I could barely see the road for the tears. If you are at all susceptible to friendliness and human warmth you will become as addicted to Anguilla as I have.

Departure tax..sigh

I didn't look back when the ferry pulled away from the dock, and I didn't look down when the plane soared high...I couldn't bear to see Anguilla receding. I will only ever look upon Anguilla approaching.

Regards, Laine

Up-To-Date Information on Anguilla...

Copywrite...Laine Parnell, December 1997.