This is actually the second version of this post, the first having been lost to the suckiness that is the WordPress Android App . . . The app that has few settings, amazingly bad editing tools, and the ability to upload a lot of data (costing me money) and then lose it all (costing me more money).
Anyway, after two full days of enjoying sea travel . . .
We have arrived at the island of Antigua.
Antigua was formed by volcanoes, and the oldest settlements date back to 2400 BC. I’m thinking the BC means ‘before the zombie kid’ and not ‘before Columbus’.
Anyway, the popular things to do on a cruise (besides eating a whole lot at all hours of the morning, day, evening, and night, and besides laying around baking in the hot sun while eating and watching other people sunbathe and eat) is to go on excursions.
There are many reasons we don’t particulalrly like excursions. For one, you are held in captivity with a bunch of people not of your own choosing. For another, despite my best efforts to look aloof and unfriendly, total strangers still get the urge to start conversations.
Sometimes these strangers run around my defenses and start conversations with Melisa who, being nice, is all friendly-like, which in turn forces me to turn on my Italian charm, putting us in grave danger of making acquaintances.
That is awful . . . Acquaintances are the prelude to friendships, and we all know my feelings about friendships.
Regardless and despite the dangers, we have signed up for a few tours. The first one, in Antigua, is a three-and-a-half hours tour of the island, hitting a few popular places.
We boarded our tour bus nice and early, and began listenining to our tour guide (Tony, with dreadlocks) tell us about the island. He did this while driving on the wrong side of the road.
However, he mitigated the fact by being what in the US would be considered a rare animal; someone who knows exactly the boundary of their vehicle, and is able to navigate around moving and unmoving obstacles (both soft and hard obstacles) with inches to spare and without slowing down.
He told us Antigua has many churches, something that was rather evident within the first half mile of the tour, where we saw three different places of fleecing . . . er . . . worship, within the first half mile. That was downtown.
However, churches could be found dotting all manners of roadsides, some with totally unfamiliar names (the churches, not the roads; although the roads were also unfamiliar).
The island got its independence from the British in 1981. By then the once vibrant sugar trade had been supplanted by the equally vibrant, and more colorful, tourist industry. We passed a number of abadoned sugar factories that would have made perfectly good photographic subjects, but they were not on the tour, and moreover, they were behind sturdy fences.
Antigua has 365 beaches, one for each day of the year (there is a small one kept just for leap years). We, however, did not visit any. The first of the three places we visited was the Blockhouse Ruins. The name refers to one of the buildings still standing atop of a cliff. Blockhouse refers to the structure used to store gunpowder. There are also remnants of other stuff, like guns platforms, and officer’s barracks.
Here is the view from the place.
The brown structure atop the piece of land jutting out to the sea, according to Tony, is owned by Eric Clapton. It turns out the island is home to many celebrities, especially during the time they are not busy telling the rest of us how we need to live frugally and reduce our carbon footprint.
We were at the site for 10 mintues before a short drive to Shirley Heights Lookout Point. As the name implies, it was a post for the lookouts that sounded warnings when enemy ships approached. On the way, I snapped this shot of the officer’s barracks from inside the window of the bus.
These are, supposedly, in the middle of a reconstruction. I saw no evidence of it, but they did look nice.
The lookout offers a magnificent view of the harbor where eco-friendly celebrities like to moor their yachts.
I was pretty pleased with this photo until I saw another photo opportunity some fifty feet away. Ignore that one, and look at this one.
From here, a drive down to Nelson’s DockYards National Park. Built in 1725, the Dockyards served as the base for the English naval squadron patrolling the West Indies.
Frankly, we were not impressed, but here’s a few photos.
I was more impressed with the flowers. Some might have been fruits, but some were definitively flowers.
All the stops entailed about 5 minutes of hurried disembarkation and reimbarkation sandwiching about 15 minutes of actual sightseeing.
We made sure we got back to the bus early each time so as to avoid the looks reserved for the last ones to get back aboard the bus. Often I would snap photos as we waited for people to meander back to their seats.
Once back on board the boat, I took the time to snap a few photos from the ship.
A panoramic view from our room . . .
. . . And assorted other shots.
Soon, it was time to leave . . . We backed awaay from the dock, and did a 180 turning on the same spot , barely clearing the front and back of the ship (90 feet in front and back). These ships can literally turn on a dime.
Here’s a few shots of the dock receeding, and eventually fully to our side.
Meanwhile . . . Lots of people enjoying ship life . . .
We eventually got underway just after sunset . . .
And with that we made our way to the basement . . . Melisa calls it The Interntional Cafe’, but I prefer to think of it as the basement.
I got creative with the camera, snapping a different perspective of the decorations, and also had a snack and a late.
And then it was up to the Horizon ad Bistro courts, where food and desserts, respectively, could be found a-plenty.
We also saw a couple of the decorations made by the chefts during an earlier competition in fantastic food preparation.
After a hearthy meal, and before retiring back to our room along with some cookies and other snacks, we went back down to the basement for a sundae treat.
Nutella, Butter Pecan, and Vanilla ice cream topped with whipped cream, caramel and pecans.
Tomorrow, St. Lucia. If it goes like it went for this post (which I still don’t know if it will upload), you may not read about that day for another three or four days. As I am writing this, we are an hour away from leaving Barbados, St. Lucia already yesterday’s memory.
I am, in fact, half tempted to just wait until I get home as this has been mostly an exercise in frustration, and probably a waste of money.
We’ll see if this posts . . . Of course, if it doesn’t, you won’t know about it, but if you listen very carefully in the still of night, you might hear the echoes of my swearing.
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