St. Lucia: May 4-May 16, 2009

Click on the above thumbnail for a map during this time period


It rained a lot in St. Lucia too.  (See previous entry.)  But we had a good time.  Seaman's Elixir was still with us for much of this time.  (They have recently installed a Wii, and we often joined them for a bowling tournament.)  Receta was there.  Magus was there.  Drum was there for a while.  Leap of Faith arrived.  We had pizza with Seaman's Elixir at the best pizzeria in the Caribbean:  Key Largo.  We had yummy ribs with Elixir and Receta and Magus at The Charthouse.  We had another great meal at the Tandoori restaurant Razmataz with Receta and Magus and Tranquility, with expert Steve (Receta) doing the ordering for most of us.  We had a fabulous meal at a new Italian restaurant with Elixir and Leap and new acquaintances on Sea Wings and another vessel whose name has been lost to Mad Cow Disease.  Antonio is a hoot.  Originally from Sicily, he speaks broken English with a heavy accent.  Dressed all in white with a black bandana around his neck, he flirts outrageously with the women, and speaks with passion about his menus, his cooking, and his ingredients.  "If someone doesn't order my risotto with black squid, I will kill myself".  His gestures are broad, his gaze intense, and his face animated.  He is the only cook, but he cannot stay in the kitchen.  He must engage with his customers.  He must educate.  He must proselytize.  He must sell his dishes and then hear later how well they were received.  And they are.  His preparations are delicious.  Frustrated about the dishes his former employer at another Rodney Bay eatery required that he prepare, he recently opened his own restaurant.  Antonio's.  Authentic Italian dishes made with quality ingredients.  Just inside the channel that runs from the Rodney Bay anchorage to Rodney Bay Marina.  We hope he succeeds.  (Nearby Iguana has just shuttered their doors, as has Scuttlebutts at the Marina dock.)

Days later, we caught a bus to the nearby Caribbean Movie Complex for an afternoon showing of the new Star Trek, and on the way back impulsively stopped for an early dinner at Antonio's.  Still an energetic genius with an impish sense of humor.  Still dishes to die for.  Still pushing chicken livers as an appetizer, or perhaps a plate of risotto with black squid?

Does it sound like all we did in St. Lucia was eat out?  We did not just eat out at restaurants.  Oh no.  We also ate in.  One of the best meals we have ever had was on Magus.  Yani is a trained chef, and she says she enjoys cooking.  We believe her.  One night she (and Chris) had Receta and Tusen Takk II over for a six-course meal.  We brought the red wine.  Receta brought the white.  The rest was all done by Yani.  Holy mackerel!  The first course was cracked conch - lightly dusted with flour and cooked for 20 seconds.  It was tender and delicious.  The second was mango and pineapple gazpacho with cilantro and other spices.  Outstanding.  The third course was Tilapia served on a bed of something -- Mad Cow Disease -- with a rum & vanilla sauce.  The fourth was a salad to cleanse the palate.  The fifth was sliced duck breast on a bed of braised cabbage with port wine sauce drizzled over it and served with a puffed pastry. The sixth was mango mousse served in a martini glass with slices of mango for garnish along with a spiral of pastry.  Fabulous. 

We had rushed down to St. Lucia in order to attend the annual Jazz Festival.  There were events all over the island early in the week, but later as the acts became higher-powered the focus was on Pigeon Island right there in Rodney Bay.  Thursday evening's performance was rained out.  The organizers announced that Thursday tickets would be honored at the Friday performances.  Some cruisers had to leave, and so there were Thursday tickets floating around.  Chris and Yani (Magus) had purchased Friday tickets and Steve (Receta) had been gifted with two for Thursday.  He could use one, but Ann felt she needed to stay back and work on the almost-finished final editing of her second book, so I was offered the other.  (Barb was busy with her own projects and was pleased I could go.)  I was shocked by the size of the crowd.  Arriving well after my friends, I couldn't begin to find them.  So I pushed in under a tree off to the side a bit but fairly close to the stage, and watched KC and the Sunshine Band perform versions of their old disco hits that had been, um, jazzed up a bit.  Lots of athletic gyrations by young female dancers, sometimes joined -- with considerably truncated movements -- by the pot-bellied and no-longer-young lead singer who I took to be KC himself.  Strange performance for a JAZZ festival, I couldn't help but think.

And then, after an interminable set-up interval, the much anticipated appearance of Amy Winehouse.  Winner of five Grammies, I believe.  What a performance!  What a show!  What a disappointment.  Staggering on the stage.  Forgetting her lines and stopping in the middle of a song to apologize.  Hard to hear her lyrics, which were too low and slurred.  It began to rain heavily for a spell, and briefly all the lights on stage went out, although the stage was a protected amphitheatre.  Then, power was restored and the performance went on.  It stopped raining.  Amy fell down at the microphone, and had to be helped up.  Crowd frustration built and some began to chant "Rehab", a song she wrote but did not sing that night about her rejection of rehab for drug abuse.  Finally, probably when the boos could no longer be ignored, she abruptly terminated her performance early.  The next day, her press people put out the story that she had had to stop due to technical difficulties associated with the rain.  Yah, right.  That and the fact that she was stoned out of her mind.

At this point, with a disappointing and abbreviated headline act, the crowd might have gotten ugly, but they did not.  Fortunately, the rained-out Thursday headliners had been re-scheduled for a make-good performance AFTER Amy.  No dummy, that scheduler.  So in a mind-numbing neck-wrenching transition we went from bluesy jazz to loud and raucous and "raise your hands" Caribbean jazz sung (in Creole!) that was extremely well-received by the many Caribbeans in the audience.

We had our own tickets for Sunday's May 10 performance.  It started early in the afternoon, and it was hot in the sun.  Magus and Receta and Asseance were there, and saved us a spot in front of the sound mixer's shelter.  During the breaks between acts, a local pan band marched about the grounds and played.  At one point a troupe of celebrants paraded about in Carnival costumes.  It was a long day, but it was fun.  George Duke was there with a string of famous female singers, including Patti LaBelle and Chaka Khan.  Chicago headlined.  By the way, does anybody know what time it is?

Mad dogs, Englishmen, and jazz fans sit in the hot sun.

Lots of liquids are essential!

Chris and Steve can listen and play chess at the same time!

Carnival-costumed celebrants parade through the concert grounds.

More carnival types.

George Duke and a local diva.

Later, Heather (Asseance) rests her eyes.

Chicago ...

... was well received

When it wasn't raining, and we weren't eating or attending movies or a jazz festival, I managed to squeeze in a few boat chores.  Finally finished the interior varnishing, and even managed to get two coats on the outside cap rails in between showers.  Also received a box of parts through our mailing service in Florida, and therefore finally had the wherewithal to do some repair work on the guest head.  Barb seemed to think the latter deserved documentation:

Question of the day: why is head repair always a MAN'S job?