Sugar and Spice
Bob and Elizabeth Frearson
Wed 6 May 2015 21:46
Dinner at the Dove was described as “contemporary Caribbean” and looked rather tasty. It turned out to be a strange and eclectic mix of tastes (aniseed, coconut and squid) and weirdly partnered proteins (pork and lobster), mostly partnered with Asian sauces from all sorts of different countries (Japanese wasabi and Chinese hoisin sauce) delivered by a chef from Ohio who should have known better. Puddings included weird martinis, not a nod to a martini but the real thing which was like a children’s game of mix everything you can find in one glass, just plain weird. I stupidly chose this. Bob had tiramisu (Caribbean? Asian? Umm?!) which turned out to be a dry slice of cake with a most peculiar pastry base. They certainly do things very strangely in Ohio. The service was eclectic too. We were “greeted” by a gormless Chinese man who seemed surprised to see people coming into the restaurant and taken to our table by one of those waitresses who want you to think of them as something so much more superior than just a waitress, and whose smile never reached her eyes. Bob had an upset tum this morning. I am not entirely surprised.
We were thinking of pottering over to Brandywine Bay today but a) we were both rather enjoying our latest books b) we are rather enjoying the stability of being in a marina and c) we were running late to get everything done and leave by 12 noon (the marina’s witching hour). We have decided to stay put. So we: fetched the laundry, tracked down the marina office which turned out to be the hotel reception (it just doesn’t say so anywhere), explained that we had been here for a few days which horrified the receptionist who said that we should have signed in and everything. How could we when there was no signage directing us to a marina office that was cunningly disguised as a hotel? She was somewhat surprised that no one had helped us dock or indeed made any contact with us whatsoever. She then accompanied us to our berth to read the meters, calling up the harbour master as well to find out why we had been totally ignored. She was most efficient and listened to our complaints about the lack of signage meanwhile the harbour master shrugged his shoulders and harrumphed at our temerity to complain about anything. He really couldn’t give a damn. After sorting this all out and most honestly paying our dues (we could have done a runner, no one would have noticed!) we headed for a bank to change an excessive amount of EC dollars into US dollars having completely forgotten that the British (huh!) Virgin Islands only do US dollars, enquiring at one bank we were directed to the Caribbean Bank where we queued for ever and eventually arrived at the teller to be told (in a tiny, tiny voice) that “they didn’t do that any more”. Bother (or words to that effect). We trailed out and found the secret supermarket bought more tonic (we don’t want to run out) and water returning for a well earned beer and a bite of lunch. Armed with new information we were able to log on to the internet and we caught up with the news including the naming of Charlotte Elizabeth Diana (we didn’t even know that she had been born).
This afternoon we went and visited the Sugar Museum. It was an interesting experience although we didn’t learn a great deal about sugar. We were greeted by a lovely woman who was serenely sitting reading her book about praising the Lord and listening to a religious programme on the radio. We pottered about the 5 rooms of the museum containing a mix of items of varying historical merit including a black and white TV, a cotton press and an ironing board (yes, I did recognise what it was) and a whole array of botanical and birdlife photographs variously labelled “a bird flying” and this bush doesn’t have a name. It actually succeeded in giving a really good sense of the Virgin Islands, how it was when it was all sugar plantations (I always thought that each island only had one or two enormous estates but they seem to have been lots of little ones and they were using nearly 5,000 slaves) and the struggle since emancipation for all those displaced people to make a sensible living in the face of no significant natural resources, the inability to grow anything worthwhile now having to factor in labour costs and then the turmoil caused by distant events in the rest of the world. The creation of the global tourist industry has been an absolute life saver. (Gosh, waxing a bit philosophical there and it isn’t even gin time yet!)
On our exit, we encountered a swarm of children playing amongst old heavy machinery, having just finished for the day. Some were most polite and greeted us with “good afternoon”, the boys wanted their photographs taken. Oddly they didn’t want to see the results, just the posing seemed enough but they were all very cute.
We have since returned to Windy (fretting somewhat over one of many chicks seen today but one seemed to have become separated from his Mum and was attempting to cross the road which was very busy), filled up with water, run the engine to charge the batteries (no Jerry, I haven’t enquired why) and Bob has been straight back into his book. It is the latest Rachel Abbott and it is rather good apparently.