It's 8:30 a.m. and it's already rained twice in the 90 minutes I've been awake. I mentioned we're in a jungle, right?
When I travel I prefer to rent a house to feel like a local in a place where I'm really a tourist. In booking this trip, we checked out rentals first but decided on a hotel-ish kind of place so that we could have a jacuzzi. Queen's Garden Resort is the best. The service is so attentive you feel like returning the kindness. "Hi Claire, no no no, you don't have to bring the butter and jam to my room. It's no trouble at all. I can go churn it myself. Hey, instead can I bring you a cup of tea? (Claire's Dutch.) Some cream and sugar in that?"
I have returned from snorkeling where I saw lots of pretty fish, including one of the jelly variety, and two sea turtles. Their beauty is only matched by the architecture of the sea floor. I was in a Portishead song from Dummy. I turned my headphones on. On the boat we saw a girl we met yesterday - Yvonne - a sprite Scot with tattooed eyebrows whose job it is to travel around the world for different tourism companies while drinking, and two Dutch sisters who are two days into a six-month stay on Saba to work with their friend, poor thing, (i.e. the friend), who has alopecia. One of the sisters got sea sick, as did I. That's bad. Neither of us threw up though. That's good.
On a mixed boat of divers and snorklers I usually have diving envy; they get to see all the cool stuff. Today however, owing to the currents and winds, we couldn't travel far off shore and the snorklers ended up seeing the same sorts of things the divers did and thensome. (Havis saw a nurse shark.) Suckas. Anyway, snorkeling is like being in a hyperbaric chamber only with more light and less claustrophobia: the senses are sharpened and after the pressure adjustment the mind is just able to... drift. You open up to a kind of nothingness usually saved for twenty-plus minutes into meditation.
After the water ride, we got dropped off in Windwardside where I tried to buy Havis some codeine-laced Tylenol at the grocery store.
"Havis, I don't want to get it."
"Vanessa, you're a girl. They always give it to girls."
"You know, 'cause you can blame it on cramps and stuff. Just go in there and hold your stomach while you're asking for it."
Not only did they NOT have it but instead they offered me Pepto Bismol. Awesome. We loaded up on other snacks and beer before walking across the street to get lunch. With a population of about 1500, Saba is a country of virtually zero crime. As our shipmate noted today, "If someone were to pinch my laptop it'd be pretty obvious." I suppose there's nowhere to go with stuff if you wanted to. So it's really safe. Hitchhiking (or 'hitching' as it's called) is rampant. Kids, women, old people just stick out their thumb and the next passing car pulls over. I kinda thought before I got here that I'd be walking everywhere -- the island is only five miles -- but it's so hilly here I'm tempted to hitchhike myself.
The lunch and the snorkeling took the better part of today so we ended up skipping the hike and opting for a poolside read instead. I'm getting pressure now to get in the shower so we can be prompt to our dinner reservation. Who the scratch cares about punctuality on Caribbean time? Havis does, apparently.
There is one road on Saba (aptly named "The Road") that is five miles long and took 23 years to create. Eddie, our cab driver tonight whose family has been here for generations, helped build the road by hand because "we never heard of machines." I would like to report that The Road has no potholes. Eddie, you can come build highways in Los Angeles any time. Just pick up the pace, sir. He drove us to Brigadoon where Saturday night is the island's only sushi night. Michael, the chef, gets there at 2 p.m. on Saturdays to begin the preparation. Apparently the road to Sticky Rice goes through the towns of Spraying and Fanning. Ahem.
We got to the restaurant early (I told you so), so we went to The Swinging Door to get a scotch beforehand. The Florida - Alabama game was on, so we caught some of that back while Florida still thought they had a chance. At halftime we made our way back to Brigadoon. You know, it was alright. I know I'm spoiled by Los Angeles, so I'll simply say it was fresh and decent. The service, like every other place on this island, was impeccable. Midway we got stuck in a monsoon so we had to move our table. Screw my sweater resting on the tablle -- I grabbed the bottle of wine I had purchased. After dinner we ordered dessert; Havis had the Obama ice cream ("chocolate chocolate chip with white chips on the inside" -- umm, is that some sort of joke?) and I had the key lime pie.
And now? It's Day 2 of Saba Days yet we're home waiting for the Big 12 championship to begin. Just as it should be.