One night on my last trip to Anguilla, it was almost midnight when I was ready to head home after an evening of bouncing from one fun spot to another with a group of friends. I was well beyond tired, so when one member of the group said “My friend is having a party right now. Let’s go!”, I was not terribly enthusiastic about heading in a direction that was completely opposite of my bed.
My friends, who are always wanting to help me make the most of my time on-island, refused to let me go home and instead peer-pressured me into checking out the festivities. After a drive just long enough to contemplate the fact that I am waaay too old to be affected by peer pressure, we arrived at the party location, and it didn’t take more than a few seconds to realize that this was one event that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. What happened next was probably one of my favorite and most memorable events that I’ve ever experienced on Anguilla:
An old-school fish fry!
We arrived just in time to see some members of the party placing some beautiful freshly-caught fish (I believe they were red snapper) into a pot of oil over a propane-powered burner. (I’m told that if it were truly old-school, the fish would have been cooked over a built fire but, eh, who cares?)
The fish had been cleaned, scored & simply seasoned, and it didn’t take long for the smell of the cooking fish to cause us all to start drooling. I’m pretty sure that none of us stepped away from the circle surrounding the pot as we were perfectly content to just sip our drinks, bounce our heads to the music, watch the fish brown, repeatedly comment on how good it all looked, and vigorously agree when others said the same thing.
Soon enough, the fish were done:
Each person got a whole fish on a plate. That’s it. No utensils, nothing. It was perfect.
We all devoured our late-night meal using nothing but our fingers and we enjoyed every single bite. It was all so simple and yet, I have to say it was some of the best fish that I’ve ever tasted!
These truly understated and laid-back experiences are the ones that I always enjoy the most, and they just seem easier to come by in Anguilla. That’s not to say that this kind of thing couldn’t be recreated here at home, but I’m not sure the vibe would even come close to a real island fish fry.
I feel so lucky when I stumble upon memorable experiences like this in Anguilla. It’s the kind of thing that keeps me coming back again and again. I don’t exactly know how I manage to happen upon all of these good times, but that serendipity is definitely a big part of the charm that makes me obsessed with Anguilla. Well maybe it’s “serendipity”, but it could also just be the fact that I have really pushy Anguillian friends who don’t allow me to be an old fuddy-duddy! ;)