Archives for category: British Virgin Islands

First published 2nd August 2008 on

Definitely getting used to being Norma No Mates on BVI now – my only friends being the hummingbird and the massive blue and green lizard that live in the Botanical Gardens. And they just take the piss!

Forgot to mention my smoking shaming before I got the ferry to Jost Van Dyke the other day – when I was waiting for the ferry – and deliberately moved away from the ferry building and platform to have a crafty ciggy. All of a sudden it was like the women nearby had spotted a rat wearing a coat made of turds dirty dancing in front of them. I was told I couldn’t smoke there (although there was no sign) and rather than argue I moved along – to where another lady had witnessed the fun and started telling me to move (I was in the process of crossing the road away from her and trying to avoid a truck). Once I’d crossed she decided I was too close to a restaurant that was more than 30 feet away – but rather than tell her to fuck herself I duly moved asking if it was ok to smoke in the carpark nearby. She said yes and everybody alerted by the noisy smoker hounding got to watch me “enjoy” the last of the ciggy. Not the way to encourage someone to quit, mind.

The other day there was the tailend of a massive tropical storm so we didn’t get up to much and I ended up walking (alone) natch to Skyworld restaurant – which is about 6 miles away and 1000metres up. Believe me I wouldn’t have attempted it if it hadn’t seemed so close by car. It only took me about 30minutes, but whilst women don’t sweat they glow , again I was glowing like a pig when I got there. I fitted right in though – the place was empty, so the lovely waitress didn’t mind serving a damp pink faced woman with mahi mahi in creole sauce followed by the least good (still nice) key lime pie I’ve had on my travels. Managed to get a taxi back (I also seem to be befriending taxi drivers here) to my sisters (well to nearby, I fortunately had a torch to guide me down the windy path past the tethered bull (useful landmark!) to her apartment) where my arrival back in the dark was greeted by – well indifference really. Fair enough!

Sky Restaurant

Yesterday I checked out Road Town, but the carnival (actually a festival celebrating emancipation from slavery) is a slow starter. there were a few open trucks with calypso bands driving around, followed by people who seemed to now be slaves to the rhythm, and impromtu “bars” (a table, and umbrella and the contents of someone’s liquor cabinet), but I’m looking forward to the main parade today. Sadly I will miss the “donkey race” and “grease pig” on Friday (listed as CULTURAL DAY – love it!). Had a HUGE and very vegetarian unfriendly Carribean buffet (so yes the hugeness was my doing!) from Village Cay and checked out my animal friends in the Botanic gardens, before getting a taxi back (and ironically getting pissed on with rain in the taxi – as soon as it left the idyllically sunny Road Town and climbed the hill.

Roadtown Carneval

Last night helped Dawn get rid of the giant millipede that had moved in suspiciously closely to the death of the house gecko (although apparent millipedes only eat leaves) as it had climbed onto her ceiling and looked like it might drop on someone’s face giving them a creepy novelty moustache any minute. Also managed to read three Terry Pratchett books in one sitting. Not sure whether that says more about TP, my reading or how stuck for entertainment I was.


Millipede Manouevres

First published 28th July 2008 on

Well it’s been a funny few days, and much like my time in Peru I’ve been mainly Norma No Mates, as my sister’s had some urgent work to go and do (I suspect I may have outstayed my welcome as spending 5 weeks in another country speaking a different language seems to have made me more autistic than usual). I’ve gotten ferries to 2 other islands and explored Road Town (Tortola’s main town – it has a road and a traffic island (which is pointed out on the tourist info map!) and the Governers house and “Craft Village” (which seems to mainly be selling items made in India, although I did buy a nice brooch from the pensioners collective shop (all proceeds go to the pensioner who made the item) made out of – fish scales!

View from Governor's House, Road Town

The boat to Virgin Gorda was fun, fast and very choppy – with most passengers quickly moving to the middle of the top deck to avoid being splashed by massive waves. Once there the place is pretty desolate with only the harbour in Spanish Town having many people about. I decided to walk to Little Dix Bay for some unknown reason) and after crossing some dry and desolate terrain strewn with cactuses and probably bufallo skulls, found a lush resort which I figured must be far too exclusive for the likes of me.

Getting away from it all on Virgin Gouda.


Nonetheless I checked out the lovely beach and had a swim – stopping short of joining the queue for the buffet at the restaurant. Heading back for a slightly bleaker walk I was chuffed to get a lift from a lovely lady called Nelly who worked at the resort and seemed impossibly cheerful and friendly. I made my way to a restaurant the book had described as having a “large selection of Carribean food”. However the restaurant had changed it’s name from “Dixies” to “The New Dixies” (always a bad sign) and seemed to offer only fried chicken. That’s not to say there wasn’t a selection! There was fried chicken wings, breast, drumsticks, legs and thighs. I went for thighs rather foolishly(expecting the small affair we get from Tescos in the UK) to be confronted by 2 GIGANTIC chicken thighs coated in delicious and artery clogging batter. After making my way through most of them and providing the locals with amusement I made my way back to the ferry dock, and didn’t have anything else to eat for the rest of the day.

Little Dix Bay. Idyllic and amusingly named.

The following day was spent by myself Cane Garden Bay Beach swimming whilst it rained and burning whilst the sun shone, then yesterday I took the ferry to Jost Van Dyke Island – spotting a massive dolphin curiously eyeing up our boat half way across. This place is totally gorgeous and laid back- my idea of a tropical island.

Great Harbour

The main town “Great Harbour’s” busiest street is a sandy pathway connecting beach bars (and the picket fenced police station) – most of which I had to visit there or on White Bay (a beautiful beach with warm shallow water which I had a lovely swim and float in and coral reefs close to the shore).

Brilliant advertising for a beach restaurant on White Bay

After having many combinations on The Painkiller (the local cocktail) – the best at Ivan’s Stress Free Bar where Ivan recommended St Croix rum (which an old Dutch sailor at the bar claimed was the only Island rum worth drinking) and proceeded to shake half a bottle into the cocktail mix – or the vanilla ones at Foxy’s tamarind bar – the least exciting at The Soggy Dollar where ironically the drink is said to have originated), and watching the world (and a load of crabs) go by – I got the rickety ferry back through a rainstorm (there was a rainbow over Tortola), met Dawn and we had dinner at Quitos in Cane Island Bay watching the sky light up from a tropical storm (apparently only a “Tropical Wave” in the island’s scheme of things – a real storm must be much much worse) which continued all night causing a 7 hour power cut.

Chillin at Ivan's Peace Bar

Woke up to discover the house gecko nearly dead clinging to the curtains. We still have a giant millipede living on the wall out of reach – have we missed some sort of primordial lizard..insect clash of the Titans?

House gecko RIP

First published 24th July 2008 on

As well as the sign for “Free Bottom” I’ve also spotted one for “Little Dick”. Have to take some photos as my one chance of getting published (via Viz). Life goes slowly on the British Virgin Islands – which is almost stressful if you find it as hard to relax as I do, but slowly I’m learning to cope with long balmy days on the beach and swimming in crystal clear waters.

Only way to drink pina colada (which can get awkward in the UK)

Apart from today when we had a great boat trip out to the neighbouring islands (and some sea caves teeming with gorgeous multicoloured fish) when at one point returning to the boat it promptly took off, and I promptly had an “Open Water” style panick attack and got someone to chuck me a float until the boat came back (it was only turning round, but when you’re about to get on and suddenly it’s 100 feet further away and still receding into the distance, and you’re left alone in deep water, it can be a tad disconcerting. I decided to check on the diving from the top of Willie T’s (a moored boat with a bar on – although given my luck it would probably have sailed off or sank had I jumped) preferring to watch the huge barracuda and jellyfish from less intimate quarters. The rest of the day involved meeting Dawn’s nice work colleagues who came on the boat and scoffing lots of “Johnny Cakes” (very very tasty despite the name) home made by Keisha. Plus a few obligatory pina coladas. Just to be a sad case I’m now about to start catching up on all the Dr Who I’ve missed whilst away, despite me forcing Dawn to give me ALL the spoilers a few nights ago.

Collecting salt on Salt Island, a boat trip stop off.

We had a great walk up Sage Mountain (a national park – which seems to be home to millions of lizards) the other day, followed by a pub quiz at The Tamarind Club – where we was robbed (ok we came joint second by 2 points, if only I could have gotten Finland’s flag right. Pah!). Then the best Chinese meal I’ve had (great place to like prawns here!) overlooking Fat Hogs Bay appropriately enough, where we got to watch a greedy pelican diving for fish while we scoffed our respective dinners. Looking forward to going to Virgin Gouda, which is another island, tomorrow. More soon, too chilled to write.

Lizard reading sign on Sage Mountain

First published 23rd July 2008 on

Well here I am half way up a mountain on the British Virgin Islands. Apparently there’s a homestead nearby called “Free Bottom”. Wahey! This is total relaxation. Some may say too much relaxation. Thankfully my half sis Dawn doesn’t get telly here as I was watching way too much shit on US telly. I did enjoy a news item entitled “autism outrage” in which a shock jock called Michael Savage had come out with this charming reflection on autistic kids “They’re just brats who haven’t been told to stop the act”. Well done on your 15 minutes of shame Mr Savage. US news makes the film “Anchorman” look like a documentary. The Christian Bale mom beating saga got way too much over attention and analysis. Kind of ironic that the most anti American act (September 11th) fit perfectly into the US TV news formula of looking cinematic and lending itself to hours of “analysis” from “experts”.

I had to forgive the hotel staff at the Hadden House in Miami for being so shit about the useless internet connection – a dollar for 5 minutes of page loading and no actual internet – when I checked out the pool – a gorgeous marble art deco affair with fountains spraying out at one end – it made me feel like Esther Williams – and more importantly like I was finally “on holiday”. Even went for a dip at 7.30am on my last day – that’s how much I enjoyed it!

Art Deco Pool - I've come over all Esther Williams

On my last full day in Miami I managed to suss out the buses to downtown and the Seaquarium so I could do the mega tourist animal exploitation bit. Right after I’d completely touristed out and stopped at “Bubba Gumps Shrimp House” in the cool of a huge banyan tree next to the bayside mall.

Bubba Gumps. Life is just a bowl of spicy shrimps.

Only in the states could they name a restuarant and dedicate it to a fictional retard. However the “shrimpin dippin broth” (shrimps – which here are fucking massive prawns – take note UK – in hot creole broth with french bread rice and coleslaw – mmmm) and key lime pie (I had to do the whole Florida thing) were bloody lovely. the American food thing still stumps me – it’s like all the meals are developed by sulky children with ADHD (“Mom! I want a sandwich” “Ok honey what do you want?” “I want er ham and er chicken and er avocado and er mayo and er salsa and er salad and er cheese and er sweet potato and er jello” “OK darling coming right up!” “And I wan fries and potato salad and coleslaw and garlic bread and and and” “Anything you want sweety pie”). How do people in the US have fucking TREATS when their whims are so consistently catered to? And more importantly how do people in Miami stay thin enough to walk around in bikinis and pants all day everywhere. Is there a liposuction pipeline from Florida to Texas?

Miami Seaquarium is obviously the poor relative of Orlando’s seaworld but it was still fun to go around and see the manatees (big whiskery barrage balloons that float around all day munching on the constant stream of grub bobbing on the surface of their pool – apparently ancient sailors mistook these behemoths for mermaids – presumably after they’d become jaded from bumming everything else animate or not that they could find). The exploitative animal shows had a nice air of cheesy desperation (“Hey salty the seal, can you help the sea rangers find who took our conch shell and replaced it with their non-biodegradable trash?” “Ark ark!” etc.). Lolita the killer whale was hugely impressive, as were the performing dolphins (who rich tourists could pay extra to rape after the show), but whilst seeing these amazing animals up close was awe inspiring it just made you sad to see them repeat endless programmed tricks for our entertainment.

Free me!

After getting the bus back to downtown I got a scary taxi (Taxi takes off, Haitian driver says “So… you wanted a taxi did you” and laughs disconcertingly. Turns out he was just joking. Er phew!) back to the hotel for yet another swim and bath.

The next day I braved the indignity of yet another search at Miami International airport (I must look like a terrorist – it’s the bra that does it), before flying through the edge of Hurrican Dolly to San Juan on Puerto Rico (the passengers clapped when we landed – (including the rude yank twats who sat in front of me playing with their mobiles throughout the flight (if we’d crashed due to this I’d have wanted to kill them before I died) – mongs!) and getting a very cute old fashioned propellor plane that dive bombed itself into Tortola airport – where I discovered that someone had searched my checked in luggage (without putting a sticker saying as much on it) and helpfully left all the pockets and zips wide open. Never mind – I have 2 weeks of relaxing and drinking rum in paradise – although given my half sis says that drink-drugging is pretty rife here perhaps I’ll just stick to the relaxing. Wish me luck!