Daily Archive for: ‘February 25th, 2013’

Caribbean Living…

Caribbean Living…

So someone I know decided to live out a dream and go and spend a month – a whole month –  chilling in the Caribbean! That is life! Her name is Barbara Makumbi, she’s a doctor, and she’s my new hero.  Read this feature for her beautiful Caribbean experience!

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I’m a junior doctor and after working hard (at the bottom of the hospital food chain) as an intern for 2 years, I decided its time for a break, a celebratory break, a time out to see the world.

So I put the next chapter of my career on hold and took a month off.

But when the world is your oyster where do you go?  Well, that was easy. My old childhood friend Fiona is living on the Caribbean Island of Anguilla. We’d been talking about my visiting her for ages. Perfect!

So, the time finally came to leave. I bid farewell to my old job, my old town, friends & family and headed off for my one-month adventure.

After a 20 hour flight to the USA, I landed in Las Vegas. This is where I met up with Fiona. Vegas was everything you would imagine it would be and now I know why they say, “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. So, moving on swiftly ;)



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3 days later, we were off to the Caribbean. We flew from Vegas to Miami, and then from Miami to the Caribbean Island of St Maarten, or as I like to call it… Paradise!!

St Maarten is situated in the north-west of the Caribbean.  It is divided into a French territory (the French side) and a territory of the Netherlands (the Dutch Side).

The St Maarten airport is located a few meters from Maho Beach.

Upon landing, one can look out of the airplane and see people soaking up the sun and enjoying the beach. The ocean is turquoise & crystal clear with white sands. This was a sight to behold from the air. I instantly became excited.  Regardless of how many hours we’d been travelling or how jetlagged we were, Fiona and I were going to hit that beach, immediately.

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A rush to our hotel, the Caravanserai Beach-Resort ensued. We dropped off our luggage and got ready for the beach. This hotel is located in the same vicinity as the airport and the beach. Everything we needed was in the same area. We had chosen our hotel very strategically. It was beyond convenient.

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Ready to go, Fiona and I were off to explore. We headed to Sunset Beach Bar, an iconic hot spot in St Maarten.  At this bar, you will get the best view of planes landing overhead at the airport.

The planes fly at such a close proximity that is feels as though they may land on the beach.  While viewing the magnificent sights, Fiona and I indulged in the island’s trademark cocktails.

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In the evening, we were keen to try some local cuisine however this wasn’t easy to find so we settled for a restaurant/lounge, called YOLO- You Only Live Once. This soon became the catch phrase for our trip together.

Dinner was fantastic, and with our bellies full and happy, it was time to paint the island red. We headed to a local & popular nightspot and danced the night away.

The next morning it was time to leave for Anguilla, the place I’d call home for the next 3 weeks.

Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory & located just north of St Maarten. It is a small island with a population of approximately 13 500 people.

We caught a Ferry from St Maarten to Anguilla, via the Anguilla channel, which separates the islands. Fiona had warned that me that Anguilla is the definition of island living. At the time, I wasn’t quite sure what she had meant. She tried to explain that, it would be like nothing I’ve ever experienced, as the city girl that I am.

When we arrived at the dock in Anguilla, friendly faces greeted us, so far so good. We disembarked and made our way to Fiona’s beach house. It was lovely. The sites and sounds were definitely the definition of island living. And I loved it!

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Fiona’s accommodation is literally 10 footsteps from the beach. I spent most of my days in her beach-backyard, lazing in the sun and reading. As well as meeting the friendly locals and tourists. It was heavenly.

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Getting my hair done

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The people of Anguilla are a beautiful people, inside and out. They were always willing to go the extra mile to make me feel welcome.  I felt right at home.

Anguilla has a wide array of places to eat out. From the restaurants, to the beach bars, to the local resorts, to barbeques and grills.  We did it all.

Below are my top 4 places to visit in Anguilla:

The Dune Preserve Beach Bar

The Dune Preserve Beach Bar is located on Rendezvous Beach. It has been ranked as the Best Beach Bar in the World by CNN. This charismatic bar is owned by internationally known recording artist Bankie Banks. It’s composed of tree house structure, made primarily of drift wood.

It’s an open-air bar, which boasts beautiful ocean views. There is a restaurant that serves delicious cuisine. And a well stocked bar which houses a Caribbean favorite- rum punch (a very potent cocktail). We spent many afternoons and evenings hanging out at the Dune.

They boast live performances regularly, adding even more to the amazing atmosphere.

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Viceroy Beach Resort

Viceroy is a luxury beach resort located on Meads Beach. This breathtaking resort is Fiona’s neighbour. A short , 5-minute walk down the beach and we were there.Viceroy has a host of restaurants, bars and lounges. We were regular visitors.Many a celebrity has visited this resort on holiday or business. And most recently Rick Ross, Wale and Drake filmed the music video for “Diced Pineapples” there. At Viceroy we enjoyed fine dining, DJ nights, buffet breakfast and spa facilities. This was the ultimate neighbour.

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Sand Bar

Sandbar is a beach bar located in the Sandy ground area of Anguilla. This beach bar is very upmarket with a sophisticated feel. They are renowned for their Tapas and Cocktails which are both very delicious. So you simply order a large number variety of finger foods and sip on cocktails. So fantastic. The best part about Sandbar is the tables and chair that are located in the sand, on the actual beach. (normal seating is available) The beach is majestic & catching a sunset at Sandbar is simply in one word… magical.

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Blanchard’s Beach Shack

Blanchard Beach Shack which is also located very close to us, is a very laid-back restaurant/ take out on the beach. We spent a lot of time here too. We would meet friends, grab a quick dinner and just hang out. Great food, quite an American orientated menu. Tables are located in the beach sand, surrounded by palm trees that are decorated with fairy lights. And just a stone’s throw from the water.

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I’m sure the waiters and waitresses knew exactly who we were by the time I was leaving.

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We went to a few clubs in Anguilla. The nightlife was exciting with a great atmosphere. Many beach bars and clubs host live music events regularly. Safety was never an issue in Anguilla. I was told that crime is a rare occurrence on the island. This was evident to me by the lack of fencing, houses with open doors, unlocked cars, & people walking around fearlessly at all hours of the day and night. If a pedestrian is walking in the same direction you are driving, you pick that person up. It’s the norm. It was so refreshing.

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During our adventures we met singer/recording artist- Omari Banks  & song of Bankie Banks (also a recording artist and owner of Dune Preserve Beach Bar). He is a former West Indies test cricketer. He broke off from his sporting career to pursue his passion in music. Omari Banks is the lead singer of his band called Eleven. The music they play can be described as- a combination of lovers’ rock & reggae infused with a mixture of jazz & R&B. He releases his debut album and music video later this week. Watch this space!

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Photographer- Bob Magee

Check the first single out on itunes:
Omari Banks – Unafraid
& his official website: www.omaribanks.com

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The day I had to leave Anguilla, I left with a heavy heart.  I had connected with this island on another level. The beautiful scenery, the wonderful people, the music, food and culture, I had soaked it all in.  Saying goodbye to paradise was so difficult.  Anguilla has definitely not seen the last of me!

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References:

http://www.bankiebanx.net/Restaurant.html
http://www.viceroyhotelsandresorts.com/en/anguilla/overview
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anguilla