A Few Days In The Valley
The Valley, Anguilla
This morning I woke up and casually decided I wanted be in another country—I was there by lunch.
And just like that, I packed up my bag and jumped on a ferry bound for the British-controlled island of Anguilla. After clearing immigration, I scoffed at the woman managing rides for the waiting tourists/taxi drivers when she told me the fare to my guesthouse (Casa Nadine) would be an overpriced US$16. Then I got a little annoyed when I learned from several locals that there was zero bus infrastructure on the island. The rationale, explained to me later over a few friendly glasses of scotch whiskey and cranberry juice with the proprietor of Casa Nadine, was that with a total permanent population of around 10,000, there just aren't enough people to support it—bah! Please, if I ran a minibus operation here, people would ride it.
Stubborn as I am, I ended up hitching rides with two different cars and then walking for about 15 minutes to my destination instead of taking the taxi (that would have only saved me 20 minutes of time and cost almost as much as the room for the night).
I have again found myself in a place where life moves calmly, blending from one day to the next. I saunter down the rural streets slower than normal—at a snails pace. There's no rush, not much to do. I'm in The Valley, the capital city, but it's the kind of place where you'd end up cheering with parents at a local youth baseball game, just because it provided some entertainment. I would hardly call this much more than a village.
After walking around town, I ended up buying two hefty, used Tom Clancy novels from the library for only US$0.19. It would seem I'll need 'em here too, there's not much action out in this part of the island after the sun goes down. It's a good thing there's a nice selection to pull from, with no television or interesting guests to converse with, I'm already half way through the first of the two books.
Due to the lack of bus transport, I'm basically locked into this sleepy area of the island—unless I want to hitchhike, which seems to be a common enough practice. To the northeast of me is a beach where all the daytrip tourists go to frolic (and there are a lot of them); with the southwestern stretch of the island dedicated to hotels, timeshares, and the large homes of Hollywood actors (such as Chuck Norris, if you care to consider him one).
Mentally, I'm coasting gently downhill compared to the hustle and bustle of St. Martin/St. Maarten, which isn't such a bad thing for the moment. I'm back to using the familiar Eastern Caribbean Dollar; I'm staying in a massive room with warm water and common kitchen for US$20/night; the friendly owner of the guesthouse is knowledgeable on all things Anguilla, and is my personal, chatty historian; and with no nude beach nearby, I won't be tempted to expose my still-sunburnt butt to the world. I'll probably keep this pace through the weekend, and then head back to Esmee's place in St. Martin for the remaining days before my flight.