Despite having been awake for around 14 hours the day before, I somehow managed to wake up before 6am on my second day in Anguilla. The bright sun was what woke me up at first, but then the excitement of being back on-island had me practically leaping out of bed. Yes, I was definitely looking forward to seeing my friends again and hitting all of my must-do places in AXA (like Elvis’ Beach Bar, Smokey’s, The Pumphouse etc.) but I think the most thrilling part of a trip to this island for me is that I generally have no set schedule whatsoever.
I hadn’t made it to the grocery store yet, but real sustenance had to wait, because my favorite beach was waiting for me and there was no time to waste! So I munched on a granola bar and a snack or two provided by Country Cottage Anguilla as I got into my beach wear, grabbed my towel and headed out the door. In my rental car (while chanting “drive left, drive left, drive left” the entire time), I headed west all the way to Rendezvous Bay, which is my top choice for swimming in AXA. There’s something about having the most gorgeous stretch of beach and its stunning clear turquoise-blue water all to yourself to make you feel completely and utterly at peace. Ever since the first time I got a taste of that pure-relaxation, I’ve had an almost constant craving to recapture that feeling.
So here I was, finally back on Rendezvous Bay at a quiet hour of the morning. It was just as beautiful as I remembered, and it was perfectly deserted. I dropped my beach gear in the shade of a coconut tree and made a bee-line for the water. It was relatively early in the morning so the sun was not yet blazing hot, but the sea was perfectly warm. And so I swam…and floated……..and floated some more………..and………..bliss.
I stayed in the water for around 45 minutes, and I finally dragged myself out and onto the beach when my muscles were so relaxed that I felt very noodle-like. I reclined on my beach towel and just stared out at the water and gave thanks for being able to be there in the first place.
After about 20 minutes, I spotted a swimmer in the water coming in my direction from what must have been the opposite side of the bay, as I didn’t see him get in the water anywhere near where I was. (Then again, I may have been too zoned-out to have noticed…) I was impressed by his stamina and watched as he did the free-stroke almost effortlessly to glide across the water. He came to a stop at a shallow part of the bay where I had been swimming and sat on the edge of the sand allowing the waves to wash over him as he caught his breath.
He was an older gentleman, maybe in his sixties, who, when he spotted me almost hidden under the coconut tree, gave me a great big smile and a wave. He came over to introduce himself and, as I find it’s always easy to do with people in Anguilla, we began casually chatting about anything and everything. He said that he is a native Anguillian, but his family has spread out all over the United States and the Caribbean. He told me how he’s been around the world and has worked in all kinds of fields including law, health care, and teaching but that he ended up back in Anguilla because this is just where he belongs. It’s his home.
I told him a bit about myself too, and he was very interested to hear what I had to say. We had been to some of the same places in our travels and some of his past careers are related to what I do for a living, so he asked very informed questions and made some thoughtful comments that told me he knew some things about this world.
He told me that while he was back in Anguilla, he couldn’t just sit still so he was organizing a few projects for himself, including some law-based endeavors. He said that I had some very good professional skills that would be useful to his company and offered me a position if I was interested. Though it was the first job offer that I had ever received on a stunning, deserted Caribbean white sand beach, I politely declined due to my inability to relocate at that time. It made me smile, though, because I could tell that he was being both genuine and kind.
We ended our conversation when we began to feel the sun getting hot, even there in the shade of the palms. He told me where I could find him if I changed my mind about the job and we said our goodbyes. I headed back to my car and he walked off on the beach in the opposite direction.
Since I was on the west end of the island, I decided to swing by Meads Bay, one of my other favorite AXA beaches. It was also beautiful and mostly deserted, but since the sun was getting to be too strong for my taste, I snapped a few pictures and decided to head home. I’d have plenty of time to come back – it was only day 2!
I drove back to the cottage to shower and change and just as I realized that I was unbelievably hungry, I got a text message from a friend asking if I wanted to meet her for lunch at Valley Bistro in The Valley. I had never been there, but had heard nothing but rave reviews about it, so I thought it was a great suggestion. I quickly responded that I would meet her there, grabbed my keys and drove (on the left) towards the Valley.
When I arrived at the restaurant, my friend was waiting there for me at a table in the covered dining area. I had passed the Valley Bistro (right across the street from the Catholic Church in the Valley) about a million times and it was hard to believe that this was the first time I had actually stopped by. It is a casual dining spot that serves French themed fare at reasonable prices. I decided to go with the “Pan-fried Shrimp – Provencal Flavor”, but saw quite a few other things on the menu that I wanted to come back and try later. My shrimp dish was amazing and I’m not ashamed to say that I ate it all. Every last bit..and I don’t regret it for a second.
I was glad to have the chance to catch up with my friend over lunch, but time passed too quickly that afternoon and we both had to be on our way. I had to check out of the Country Cottage Anguilla and move all of my things to a friend’s house, where I would be staying for the rest of my time in Anguilla. This friend had been generous enough to allow me to stay at her home while she was traveling off-island and I was beyond grateful to her for doing that.
So my lunch companion and I said our goodbyes and I headed back to the cottage, snapping a few pictures on the way:
I got laughed at while taking the above photo of a horse, as described in a previous post. Personally, I prefer to remember it as the two of us laughing together about the situation but, in reality, I know she thought I was nuts. Crazy tourists take pictures of everything! In my defense, it really is a beautiful horse, isn’t it? (Just say yes.)
Checking out of the cottage was a very quick process. I had a very pleasant stay there, even if it was for just one night. It is definitely on my favorite lists of places to stay in Anguilla and I hoped to return again soon.
I navigated my way back to Seafeathers, and I was so thrilled that I was able to do it without a map! When I got to the empty house, I had started to unpack a bit when my lack of sleep over the past few days hit me like a ton of bricks. I decided that this had to be a stay-at-home night and that my energy levels would just not allow me to go out later as I had planned. But that was ok. This was only day 2 of my 10-day stay, so staying home to catch up on rest would not be such a bad thing.
So I cooked myself a small meal (with food left in the house that my friend said I was welcome to use), had dinner and eventually made it to bed. I’m pretty sure I fell asleep within nanoseconds of my head hitting the pillow, but that just meant that I had a great, jam-packed second day on Anguilla. I knew there was only more fun to come…