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It is turning colder here. My house spirits are enjoying their newly learned trick of playing with the thermostat. Mr. Man is about the warmest thing around, when MKL isn’t here. So I turn back to the Out Islands, which seem like months, rather than weeks ago. My mild case of breakbone fever, combined with the change of seasons, means my joints are painful and I am already dreaming of our next trip to someplace where there is sand between our toes and sunsets into the sea.
Great Exuma, Bahamas.
Quote of the day: “A journey, after all, neither begins in the instant we set out, nor ends when we have reached our door step once again. It starts much earlier and is really never over, because the film of memory continues running on inside of us long after we have come to a physical standstill. Indeed, there exists something like a contagion of travel, and the disease is essentially incurable.” — Ryszard Kapuscinski
Days that warm up to sunshine
A full tank of gas
That the Red Sox are winning
Plans and dreams
The Exumas were known for their salt production back in the 18th and 19th centuries. This Tuscan column, situated on a hilltop across from the salt ponds, was a marker to guide ships into the bay to pick up the salt harvest. The salt ponds are right across the road from this spot, and we could imagine how miserable the slaves who gathered salt must have been. The heat emanating from the water was unbelievable.
Little Exuma, Bahamas.
Quote of the day: “I don’t know much about being a millionaire, but I’ll bet I’d be darling at it.” – Dorothy Parker
Beautiful frost patterns
My day at the Place of Refuge on the Big Island was rather grey, but it made for some lovely images.
Puuhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park, Hawaii.
Quote of the day: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” – Oprah Winfrey
Politicians who dig their own graves
Finding a new mystery series (well, new to me)
Having Christine back in the office today
Two dozen roses and a little vase of snapdragons from people who love me
Or at least one of the views from Marina Cay. Every view is fabulous there, but I always love hanging out on my little porch. Guess I’m feeling a touch homesick for the islands.
Marina Cay, Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
Quote of the day: ”You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith.” – Mary Manin Morrissey
Housecleaning, even though it hurts sometimes
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
People walking their horses on a dirt road
Carib Beer is not available in my neck of the woods, so I have to indulge my fondness for it when I’m in the islands. As the leaves are turning, and the winds are blowing cool, and MKL even reported a dash of the “s” word tonight, I’m thinking about golden days on a warm beach.
Cow Wreck Beach, Anegada, British Virgin Islands.
Quote of the day: “I move in the university of the waves.” – Pablo Neruda
Flying flocks of pigeons
An empty I-25
Admiring other women’s shoes while being glad I don’t have to walk in them (literally)
Sunsets actually can look like this in some parts of the world. And I’m off on Friday to see just such a sunset.
Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands.
Quote of the day: “There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” – Nelson Mandela
That my niece is home for a while
A strong arm to lean on when I’m discombobulated
The man with the old high-wheel bicycle
People watching on the 16th Street Mall
I remember on an early trip to Jost van Dyke, I met a woman who was just addicted to coconut water. She walked up and down White Bay trying to find someplace she could get a fix of coconut water. I had never had coconut water – and she was frustrated when she couldn’t find it, since, after all, she was in the Caribbean, so what the heck?? – and I didn’t understand why she was so hooked on it.
I’d had coconut milk when I was a child and hadn’t liked it at all. I don’t like coconut in cakes or cookies, but I do like it in Mounds and Almond Joy. I had rum infused into a coconut at a wedding reception on St. John, and loved the idea of drinking out of a coconut with a straw, but it was waaay too strong (and if it’s too strong for me, you KNOW it’s strong.)
So on a trip to Tulum, when, after a Breakfast of Champions, one of cooks handed me a green coconut that he’d been hacking at with a machete during breakfast, I was slightly dubious. But I was game for anything. So I thanked him in my broken Spanish and put the straw to my lips, and…..found the bliss.
I walked down the beach sucking the last drops of water out of that coconut and craving more. It was one of the most wonderful things I’ve ever tasted – pure, light, luscious, rich, gentle, sweet, tropical. But more was not forthcoming on that trip. I would have to wait.
Now, some have said that coconut water tastes like socks – yes, you read right, socks – but I have to disagree. It’s really as I described it above, and the fact that it’s becoming a huge industry in the US proves it. Even Pepsi has invested in the craze, becoming a majority stakeholder in the California-based coconut water company O.N.E. In fact, it’s becoming so popular that the industry may already be facing supply issues.
Coconuts of different ages and from different countries offer water of different flavors – no differences so dramatic as one tasting like grapes and one tasting like tequila, but with varying degrees of sweetness and saltiness depending on their country of origin. We will ignore the fact that coconut water is actually liquid endosperm, which makes it sound really nasty. Instead, we will focus on the fact that it not only tastes wonderful, it’s a natural energy drink that is very high in potassium. Move over, Gatorade. And it can also serve as a substitute for IV hydration fluids when saline is unavailable. Remember that if you are ever in one of those MacGyver situations on a desert island.
My second fresh dose of coconut water was on Anegada. A gentleman was chopping the coconuts down from the trees at Cow Wreck so they didn’t fall on the heads (or the car hoods) of unsuspecting tourists, and he so kindly offered me one. I was in double heaven – coconut water AND Cow Wreck Beach.
Now back in the mountains, far far away, I have finally started finding coconut water in the grocery stores. The one I had today, in its little tetra bottle, wasn’t as good as I had hoped. It had taken on some of the flavor of the packaging and perhaps preservatives that must be in there with the water itself. (Nothing will ever replace the taste of coconut water out of its mother coconut.) I’m using coconut shampoo and coconut lotion. I probably walk out of the house every day practically reeking of the fruit. But I don’t mind. And those who catch that essence as I walk by will find themselves reminded of someplace warm and sunny that they have only imagined.
On one of my last island trips, a coconut deliberately put itself in my path at sunset. It just floated in on the water from who-knows-where. After a few days, my travelling companion and I decided that it wanted to be planted where it had washed ashore, and so that’s what we did on our last morning. And so I became a proud coconut mom.
I have often wondered whether the little guy survived the ravages of the hurricane last year. Is he still growing strong and study, taller and taller every day, near that little clump of greenery down the beach from Ivan’s?
I think I’ll have to go back to see.