Antigua, January 21-27, 2024

We left Austin for Houston on Saturday January 20 for an overnight at the airport Marriott to make a 07:45 Sunday flight to Miami for the final connection to Antigua.  By the end of the flight to Antigua, on the generally but not specifically troubled Boeing 737, we were both sorely tried by the agonizingly cramped seating.  The issue was exacerbated by the man in the isle seat who refused to take another isle seat with a vacant middle which were reasonably plentiful because the plane was only 2/3 full.  Lack of sleep and inertia kept us in our assigned seats until hour three when the solution dawned, and we each found an advantageous isle seat with a clear middle.  I sat down to an exclamation from another boomer woman sitting next to the window who said: where have you been!  Heidi in the seat immediately in front of me took this transaction with grace and so did the hopeful woman who quickly figured out I would not be her Island adventure.  Flattering to get a call out.

Our dear friend Marjorie met us with a thermos of rum punch for the 30-minute ride to her place on the “Peninsula” on the Northwest side of the island. She has a magnificent house on a ridge looking at the ocean from the front and back and with wonderful trade winds pleasantly blowing through every room and appropriately named the “Long House”.  The infinity pool looks over the bay and distant hills and mountains, with a westward cast for wonderful sunsets.

On our way to the Long House, we passed domestic cows and goats and wild donkeys casually walking over and alongside the road.  Large and small houses and shops painted in bright Afro-Caribbean colors graced the route.  The houses were relatively sparse, so the effect is rural and reminds me of Virgin Gorda in the 70’s before chartering and crowds found that bit of paradise.

Antigua is an island populated almost in total by people removed from Africa during the sugar plantation boom in the 17th and 18th centuries and kept in slavery, because the harsh conditions had either killed the native Caribes or repelled Europeans from indenturing themselves to do the harsh work required to supply the rum trade.  The African people obtained freedom from the British crown in 1834, inspired in part by several slave revolts.  Since then, the people have developed a well-regulated country with an economy that has continued to grow so now the literacy rate is 99% and you do not see homelessness.  It is an Island governed by the people and with a culture dominated by the pride of self-determination and accomplishment.  This is a country that requires respect from visitors.  It is not a cruise ship bubble of American or European daily life and in my opinion the better in every aspect for it.

Antigua, English Harbor

Antigua, English Harbor