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Our Arrival in Antigua

Everything was easy. Immigration was easy. Customs was easy… they looked at our papers and shooed us out the door to the taxi stand.

Approaching Antigua

Approaching Antigua

The taxi, a small diesel van, screamed around winding corners and seemed to hit nearly every car coming the other way. The thing is, that’s how everything looks to a passenger who is used to driving on the right hand side of the road and who is suddenly in a car driving on the left with no control of the situation. Everything looks like a near miss.

We whizzed past a gigantic cricket stadium that seemed very out of place, through small town centers with churches that seemed to be held together entirely by prayer, past goats and egrets in happy symbiosis, and by little general stores the same size as the modest houses, differentiated only by the plastering of Carib Beer signs on the exterior.

Though the cab fare seemed steep ($82 EC, $31 USD for the ride from the airport to English Harbour), I’m glad to have seen the local entrepreneurial spirit embodied in creative efforts like “Jakes Auto Repair Beauty Supplies and Electronics” and was thrilled to learn of a civic organization called “Optimists International.” It was so much detail, I had a hard time scribbling all the things I found interesting into my notebook.

Houses, though modest in size, are embellished and personalized by way of bright color, proud gardens, and sometimes mismatched doors and windows. I imagined that front doors with fake gold rimming cut glass, something we would consider a garish purchase from Home Depot, were probably procured and installed with some pride and celebrated with a couple beers.

Flash over to Falmouth and English Harbours. Same thing architecture-wise, except you’ll find a few more small houses boasting that they’re a gallery inside, or a boutique, or a water sports shop. Through the gates of the marinas were the biggest damn boats I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I’ve lived by the water my whole life, and I’ve seen a few boats that I’d consider large, but if anyone’s looking for the 1 percent that the 99 percent are looking to lop the heads off of, here they are.

Well, they’re not actually THERE with their boats. Their crew is, sitting there polishing chrome in case one of the owners shows up and demands to move somewhere else around the island or to the next island. It’s jaw-dropping to boaters like us who anchor rather than paying a $20 mooring fee. I really did walk around those slips with my jaw dropped open, my gaping maw making me look like little orphan Annie when she first arrived at Daddy Warbucks’ house.

I’m sure if any owners saw me, they were quite delighted with my reaction. I think that’s what they’re looking for with their multiple (5 or 6!) spreader lights glowing up at their monumental masts at night. You got me, guys. Yes, I’d like to go to a soiree on your boat.

And just outside the marina gates, a mother chicken herded her chicks on to the next yard looking for snacks and I bought a couple of limes to mash up with some rum.

Strictly Sail, Chicago

Though here on business and for friendly visits, far away from Mimi Rose or even thinking anything about the boat life while we’ve been in Chicago, Colin finds us a boat show to go to. I’m about to be a tight-fisted gawker in a big space full of sparkly things.

I’ve not been to one of these before, but of course, I hear that they’re teeming with safety equipment, shiny gear, and promises about how this or that product will make your boat faster, stronger, or more safe.

Strictly Sail Chicago, like most trade shows, is an opportunity to see what’s out there for the latest thingamajigs but it’s no museum or anything. They want to sell us stuff, because they know each person through that door is worth some amount of ROI for their booth, their R&D, and their bottom line.

And I’m ok with that. This should be a fun chance to think about summer.