DH and I are back from two blissful weeks in rural Antigua: the Five Islands area south and west of the capital of St. John's. Most definitely a side of Antigua that I'm pretty sure many tourists miss.
We had a wonderful time staying in a tiny resort of Caribbean cottages called Pinkshacks. It's set in a rural area, surrounded by farms with roosters crowing and cows accompanied by egrets and goats and horses: a paradise of palms and bougainvillea seething with hummingbirds and tiny yellow-breasted bananaquits which are just about as friendly as chickadees.
The Pinkshacks owner is marvellously hospitable and accommodating and kind! She provided us with an orientation tour of local Antigua our first day there: then we rented a car and set off on our own, driving on the left in a right-hand drive car, birding and kayaking and snorkelling and generally exploring the whole island plus neighbouring Barbuda which we visited by ferry. No kidding, Antigua has 365 beaches and they really are beautiful and uncrowded and warm and with sand ranging from powdery white through powdery pink . . . and waters striped turquoise and mauve and purple and deep blue. Glorious!
We visited the local magistrate court one morning and listened to four different cases: quite fascinating. Another day we spent a bit of time at the Antiguan high court and had a chance to chat with a local lawyer. Busman's holiday? We also spent a whole lotta time just relaxing and reading too: tons of junk stuff mostly!
You can see DH's camera resting beside him: he got some terrific bird photos, including those bananaquits and hummingbirds, and some great shots of the magnificent frigate bird colony on Barbuda and many pictures of the elusive green heron and innumerable other birds we'd never seen before (a bit of compensation for losing all his prior birding photos when laptops were stolen during a break-in at our house last summer . . . ). My binoculars were slung around my neck for most of the trip.
We shopped in the local markets and made most our own meals in the kitchen of the cottage: very nicely equipped . . .. The fresh fruits and veggies and lean protein that we eat most of the time.
So: not only could I pack my bag to go with "summer clothes" that all fit -- I've come home still fitting into my work clothes!
And our hostess at Pinkshacks, who wants to lose a couple pounds herself and who asked me early on during our stay "how I do it", told us that she has clicked onto SparkPeople. Just lurking for now and checking out the recipe and meal ideas. That was enough to get her weight down five pounds by the time we left!! If she decides to sign up and post a Spark profile, I'll let you all know so that you can all welcome her and encourage her!
OK, have all our laundry done and put away: and stopped at the grocery store to fill the fridge on the way home from work.
It was a busy couple of weeks and it was a busy day at the office too: but I'm feeling lots of energy and enthusiasm. Holidays are restorative for sure.