Saturday, January 16, 2016

Antigua mini-blog

Still in Antigua. Ricket's Harbor, Green Island to be precise. We've been hanging around so long to tend to a few more things. We're still spending time with friends as they come and go, and more or less just living here for the time being.

Our chores have taken us into St John a few times and as in most of the islands, the bus travel is a bit of a highlight. It's always at breakneck speed, and always includes multiple back-ups-into-alleys-to-pick-up-friends and/or stops in the middle of the road for chats with other drivers. It's a toss up whether you'll end up on a bus with a young driver (VERY loud music blaring from the speakers) or an older driver (religious radio stations) but they all seem to have altered their buses horns into something that sounds like it's out of a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

Waiting for a few more passengers....the bus isn't quite full yet!

My view from the middle seat, second row. The change holder flips up to become a middle seat front row. Tight fit.

The uncomfortable bus seats are rivaled only by the uncomfortable bus depot seats. 
Buses wait until they're completely full before leaving the depot. No schedules involved as far as we can tell. We've seen toddlers handed off from parents with too many packages on their laps, to sit on the lap of a stranger in a different row where there was more room. Baby carriages, with sleeping babies inside, are perched precariously between driver and passenger without any thought of restraint except for a parent behind the carriage with one hand on it.

The simple spoken request "Bus stop." gets you left off the bus where you'd like. The drivers must hear "Bus stop" in their sleep after listening for it all day long, day in and day out. Even the quietest request from the furthest row is heard. For the most part we know where we're going by now, but when you're unsure, the driver and other passengers will make sure you arrive safely where you want to go. The kindness of strangers is alive and well here in Antigua.

Our chores took us around town and the energy of the city was a nice change of pace from the quiet of the anchorages. The buzz of traffic and the shouts of the street side preacher with his megaphone. The chatter of commerce in the fabric store, full of notions and bright cloth. A view down an alley to the mega cruise ships waiting quietly after spilling their thousands of sunburned tourists out into the bewildering streets of St John.

I'll take this entire stack of batik please!
As always, a ride into St John takes us to the open air produce market - it's directly across from the bus depot and you can't NOT go there whenever you're in town. Avocados are in, and we loaded up on fresh turmeric root, ginger root, local tomatoes, greens, passion fruit, more sorrel and a few other things. Just FYI, between the sorrel and the turmeric - every dish towel on Saralane has either bright yellow or deep red stains on it now. Passionfruit, luckily, doesn't stain. Just tastes great.

A passion for passion fruit
There's more to say, but I'll leave it here for now. We're headed out of wifi territory temporarily but once we have another signal I have a Barbuda blog (almost) ready to go. Yep....the promised Barbuda blog. Soon.


Cindy B. said...

When you pick up your batik stash, bring me some. Don't know what I'd do with any of it but it is so gorgeous. It would just look beautiful stacked on a table in the sunroom! Liked this miniblog. Your view is so different from mine. Snow. That's what's happening out my window.

Bob & Janice said...

we really miss the fresh fruit - enjoy and think of us!! Love the memories of bus rides in the islands - they always are quite the experience