We woke up Saturday morning at 3 a.m. and began our trek to JFK. Previous such experiences left us running asthmatically through the airport, which is not the way you really want to start a vacation. So we left plenty of time for mishaps, traffic and forgotten shoes. We arrived, checked in, got rid of our bags, and settled down for breakfast, with an hour and a half to spare. We all know it’s just not an airport meal if you don’t have some booze, so we went with sparkling cava to pair with our overpriced eggs, excited and ready for our adventure.
The flight went smooth, our stewardess Laura was a hoot, and we found ourselves in St. Maarten with all of our bags. We were greeted by Iris, the taxicab driver we found on this same journey six years ago. Iris is now 74 years old, she no longer drives at night, and she always has a few pearls of wisdom for us. Inevitably it’s drizzling when we get to St. Maarten, but she tells us, in her thick island accent, that “You can’t have da flowers if you don’t have da rain.” A valid point.
Next comes the ferry; get in this line to pay the tax, this line to get your ticket, leave your bags unattended here, and head right this way for Sailor Jerry’s Famous Rum Punch. Yes Please. Sitting up top is the only way to go; “The salty sea air, the wind blowing in your face. Aaah, the perfect day to be at sea!” The rain had stopped by time we boarded, but the waves were a touch rough. Our captain told us to hold on, and while it may have been a touch bumpy, not a drop of rum punch was spilled. #victory
Finally we get to Anguilla, depart in our rental car, and make our way to the grocery store. There we find everything you could ever want; dried salt fish, a gas oven, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, a wine chiller, locally grown tomatoes, even my morning essential, Naked Juice. Then we found the booze aisle; beer, amaretto and tequila on one side, a wall of wine on the other. I was a bit skeptical as to what I would find, but I walked away with a Mondavi Meritage, a lovely Barton & Guestier Veuvray and a Jadot Beaujolais-Villages. As I finish my stroll down the aisle, lo and behold, I find twelve bottles of 2011 Chateau Lynch Bages staring me in the face. What?! The price tag of $675.88EC each, or $250.33US, is apparently no big deal in Anguilla. Where I come from, that ish is locked up. Not to mention, it’s just hanging out, in a store that’s roughly 80 degrees, standing straight up. #winestorageproblems
We leave with our loot, and head to the villa. We were told it would be ready for us, but when we arrived, the house was dark, the patio furniture was missing and it was locked up tighter than Fort Knox. I suggested we go out to one of the “main roads,” wave our arms and ask the first person that stopped if they knew Veronica, our native caretaker. Lucky for us, Louise walked by wanting to know if we were burglars. She had Veronica’s number and gave her a ring. We moved our haul under the covered patio as a quick rain burst opened up, and lickety split, Veronica arrived, as stressed out as anyone I’ve ever seen. “I’m so ‘shamed, I’m so ‘shamed. Mr. Taylor told me you’s a comin’ on da 18th! I’m so ‘shamed!” We tried to calm her down, but she was just too upset. “No flowers, I’m so ‘shamed. I’ll be back first thing in the monin’.”
Luckily the villa was already pristine and there wasn’t much for her to do the next day. The pool mon came by to Skimm, and we had a lovely day, relaxing in the sun. I sipped my Vouvray as I allowed my translucent skin to burn to a crisp soaked up the Caribbean rays. A lovely crisp and refreshing bit of juice; slightly fruity, hints of green apple and peach, but not too sweet, perfect for an afternoon pick me up. I’m not sure how many ECs I paid, but in the US it goes for between $9 and $13 a bottle. A slam dunk in the world of white wines!
Barton & Gustier is a brand I’ve heard of, but not one that I remember seeing in stores near me. The company started from unlikely beginnings when an Irishman, Thomas Barton, settled in Bordeaux in 1725 and began exporting wine to Europe, starting with Ireland of course. His grandson continued in the family footsteps, partnering with Frenchman Daniel Guestier in 1802. The company continues under the same name today, though the original families are no longer involved. You may recall that Vouvray is actually a region in the Loire Valley; the grape variety used for this bottle was Chenin Blanc.
Until the next glass, cheers!
 Turns out they’re sticklers for that “arrive 2 hours early” rule.
 Once I went to The Firm’s Christmas party wearing my house slippers. Forgetting shoes is no joke. #tears
 Which we ordered from an iPad. Same thing when we checked in for our flight. Is it just me, or are humans becoming scarce?
 I was asleep before they came around with the beverage cart. Something about moving vehicles; it’s like they’re a natural Ambien for me.
 She was de-boarding until her next flight to get some chicken patties, booze, cigarettes, and some Z-paks…#priorities
 One of those fancy shmancy four-way roller luggage bags almost ended up in the ocean…just saying.
 Name that movie and you get a prize.
 We also picked the right side of the boat; our next door neighbors walked out like they’d just gotten off the Log Flume at Disney. #soaked
 What appears to be a 2001 Toyota Tercel, complete with missing gas cap, worn seat covers and various holes throughout.
 It’s called Best Buy. #trademarks
 This is just to start; don’t worry.
 It retails for about $110 at home. #islandmarkup
 Anguilla thinks street names are overrated, so the “main roads” are the ones that have been paved relatively recently and have two way traffic. #islandlife
 Who knew the Irish drank things other than Guinness and Jameson? #stereotype