Friday, April 22, 2011

The People of Antigua are Simply the Best

We have really enjoyed our visit to the island of Antigua. The weather has been great (a little more wind to cool us off would be nice), the beach in Falmouth is one of the best we've been to and the locals have been absolutely amazing. They are some of the friendliest in the Caribbean. More than the Grenadians? That's pretty hard to beat so I'd have to say that they are tied for now and that's really saying something because the people of Grenada are legendary. Every day we encounter friendly helping people. Sure, most of these people are in service industries and since tourism counts for more than 60% of the country's GDP they really know how to make sure foreigners have a great time. But today, we met a large, local family that tops them all.

Today, being Good Friday, is the beginning of a four day holiday in Antigua. We start the day celebrating the 10th birthday of one of our cruising friends. A small party on the beach under the warm morning sun, surrounded by lots of kids and families, very nice. The day moves on but we don't. While some of the families have to leave, a small group of us remain at the beach into the late afternoon. The kids are having a blast in the water, the grown ups are getting quality socializing time, the sun is warm, the trees are shady. It's a perfect day.

The afternoon passes and the beach is filling up. As I think I mentioned, it's Good Friday and it seems every other family on Antigua decided to spend the day on the beach with us. It's getting crowded but so far everyone's just having a great time. The kids are having so much fun they play right through lunch!

Dinner time arrives and we manage to squeeze a few morsels into them. Then, a local woman from the very large family next to us comes over with a paper plate heaped with pieces of a dark, rich cake dripping white icing.

"Here, have some cake for da kids," she says and leaves the plate at our table. We're stunned. Not only was it very thoughtful of her but the cake is delicious! Not too sweet, not too heavy, not too moist and not too dry. It's perfect. We later learn that the guy who baked it is a well known island chef. As the kids (and adults) are still licking their fingers another woman from the other family comes over and asks if we want some food. She takes our stunned silence as an affirmative and leads us, kids first, over to their table to serve us up some of their local grub. We each get a heaping plate full of food. I'm not sure of everything we got but there was "chop-chop" (a steamed spinach dish), fish, yam, and fungie (pronounced "foon-jee"). Fantastic! The boys even found things that they would eat.

After the meal we sat around and visited with the family who had been so generous. The group was an extended family from all over the island. Some of them were visiting from their homes in the US. Apparently they usually spend Good Friday eating local cuisine with family at someone's home but decided to go to the beach instead this year. Lucky us!

Austin said that the experience was one of the tops for the whole trip. I'd certainly have to agree. Go Antigua!


  1. Awesome! Even Aidan ate something other than cake ?!? :) :)

  2. What a wonderful day. :-))
    When you're on the move all the time, it must feel great to be so welcomed and comfortable with the local people. We could sure learn from these congenial folk how to be more welcoming here in Canada.
    Any sign of Easter Bunnies?? or their droppings ==== the chocolate kind, that is.

  3. Easter this year was a little fishy. Stay tuned for the blog now that we're back in civilization.