Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Last Wednesday in Antigua (an-TEE-gah)

Yes, I have pronounced the name wrong all my life.
Beautiful morning!
Taken with my phone, but one of my favorite shots!
Old fortifications rise above the small shipyard...Antigua imports most everything its residents need except fruits and vegetables that locals raise and sell in the markets. Many houses have fruit trees in the yards, and garden land can be rented very cheaply in the interior. The farmers do not grow sugar anymore...it takes too long to mature (12-14 months), and the global market, even for "raw" or "cane" sugar is dominated by other sources.
Frigate birds wheeling overhead
Crazy Tony, our driver and guide
A public school...students on these islands attend school in uniform, uniformly. Also, camouflage clothing is forbidden here as it is on Bardados and St. Lucia. Interesting.
Lots of colorful houses in the Caribbean, and Antigua is no exception!
But we saw many chattel houses and shanties, as well.
Locals grow as much as they can, especially fast-maturing vegetables. Tony says if it doesn't mature in six months, they don't grow it. But they have been in a drought for two years. They are experts at storing rainwater...it is the main source of water on the island...but when it doesn't rain, well, times get tough. Water is being rationed now. There must be a local market for this cactus...
Beauty is abundant inland, despite the drought
Mimosa
A farm shack and coconut palms.
Residents can rent farmland on what were once sugar cane plantations.
Tony said sugar was a curse on Antigua...I agree.
They also manage to raise a large crop of butterflies...they were everywhere!
Antigua was born of volcanic activity, but has more grassland than St. Lucia
Grassland prone to fires.
Tony told us the roads are kept rough to discourage traffic in the interior farmlands.
We were in a modified Land Rover...or at least I think it once was a Land Rover.
Chickens are everywhere, of course
Sheep are prized for their meat.
Limestone and gravel are quarried here.
Tony called this a poor attempt to use the lovely green limestone.
Here is an older, excellent example of how to use limestone. Anglicanism is the predominant faith, but again, many religions and sects are represented.
This is an historic Moravian church
And a new school beside it.
This is a disgruntled cattle egret, lol!
Interesting architecture and paint job...getting freshened up for Christmas!
It is a Caribbean tradition to do "Spring cleaning" before Christmas, including as much new paint and as many new furnishings as one can manage.
Men are scarce on Antigua, as they are on St. Lucia. Our tour guide on St. Lucia joked that women never get a headache there...they can't afford to! Tony is a bachelor. He is father to a boy and a girl, and he loves them, but he says he just can't commit to any one woman.
We stopped here for samples of fresh mangoes and the island's small, sweet black pineapple (it's not black on the inside, but is darker on the outside). Tony showed us that it is actually more reddish than blackish, and he is lobbying for a name change.
Part of an old military complex, now known by a certain guide as Fort Tony
I love this building
Our vehicle, parked in front of a newer portion of Fort Tony
This lush bay and large estate looks to be a caldera from an ancient eruption
Now it is a playground for the rich.
A most beautiful playground, indeed!
The active volcanic island of Montserrat
Sea plane!
Humble pasture?
Not really...this is the cow's back yard
And she has a lovely view of Boggy Peak, aka Mount Obama.
Antigua has 365 identified beaches! Tony is looking for 366, as 2016 is a leap year, and one should have a fresh beach for each day of the year.
Caribbean blue...sigh
Juxtaposition: the heavenly blossoms in the foreground mask stark reminders of the hellish existence of slaves who worked to feed the insatiable sugar mill.
Our beach! We got about an hour to bathe in the cool (yes, cool...it is December, after all), relaxing waters of the Caribbean Sea! Monserrat in the background, pictured below.
Sheer. Bliss.
A tribute to the father of modern Antigua: Sir Vere Cornwall.
The magnificent St. John's Cathedral!
Back aboard ship, I watched a pelican feeding
May have gotten something...hard to say
Winging his way across the harbor
Captain Kate took us out of port before sunset...we passed this 18th century fort. Tony noted with pride that Antigua had never been taken from the British, unlike the embattled St. Lucia. It is now part of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda (a flat island nearby).
Thank you Antigua and Crazy Tony! It was a wild, wonderful ride! 



3 comments:

The Bug said...

Oh that Tony - what a hoot!

Catalyst said...

Thank you so much for this tour and I STILL think the island name should be pronounced an-TEE-gwa!

Pixel Peeper said...

Thanks for clearing up the pronunciation! Odd, the scarcity of men on the island...I wonder why that is. Are they just leaving? Dying young? Or is the male/female birth ratio just different there?