I owe you a heart-felt apology. I cheated on you. Please forgive me.
Her name is St. John. I don’t blame her, she is what she is. I blame myself. I was seduced by the newness of it all. A fresh offering, undiscovered delights. Yes, she flashed her new money at me, teased me with her alluring infinity pool and breathtaking views. She offered me the chance to live like a millionaire for a week, and I couldn’t resist. Honestly, who could? Here is where she beckoned me to stay:
With views like this:
And even a sexy outdoor shower attached to the trade wind filled, balconied master bedroom.
I did learn that sexy outdoor showers lose their appeal about day three, when your sun-kissed skin interprets the gentle island breeze as an arctic front that forces the water to spurt horizontally across your shivering gooseflesh. For added fun, try shaving your legs!
To be honest, St. John is filled with more action, activity and excitement than I have ever experienced with you, my dear Anguilla. She has mountains, verdant peaks of green with amazing views around every hairpin turn. Beautiful beaches, amazing snorkeling, flora and fauna (wild donkeys! Iguanas! Deer!)
She has glistening beaches with water almost as clear as you, my love. Sun, sun, sun… everywhere. Pristine, powdery beaches, but where is the shade? No umbrellas, no beach chairs, no beach bars? And getting to the beach? Pack for the day with towels, snorkels, sunscreen, snacks, drinks, books, and a map of St. John that won’t help you. The drive from hilltop villa to nearest beach is a good 30 minutes of confusing switchbacks, turns and traffic. Remember the early bird gets the parking spot and what little natural shade can be found. Arrive past 10 a.m. and you will baste like a Thanksgiving turkey.
St. John is a fantastic gateway to exploring many nearby islands: Tortola, Norman, Jost Van Dyke. I was able to put a check on my bucket list by visiting the famous Soggy Dollar beach bar, a boating mecca that reminds me a bit of party cove at Lake of the Ozarks. It was a fun day of exploring, but getting back in to St. John can only be compared to what it must have been like trying to pass from East to West Berlin in the good old days.
St. John’s main town of Cruz Bay is bustling, filled with people who look at you strangely when you give them the “Anguilla Wave” from your Jeep. There is a plethora of t-shirty shops and restaurant choices. As for quality, well, everything is fairly affordable.
Unlike the loose, Anguilla way of renting a Jeep (hey, we trust you, we’ll catch up), in St. John the rental company assumes every customer is a derelict and probable ex-con with a very limited I.Q. Written sign in Jeep “No sand, no wet suits, no pets, don’t take the top down (then why get a jeep?) Also a helpful DRIVE ON LEFT sticker on dash with a prominent <—- in case you still don't get it.
Friendly police officers line the main roundabout eager and willing to help visitors get a $75 ticket for driving without seatbelts, at the same time the town bars encourage binge drinking by offering $1 beers at happy hour.
Oh Anguilla, with your friendly, hand waving people, your goats, chickens, wonderful umbrella studded beaches, beach bars and the ability to step from bed to beach, will you ever forgive me? I long for your uncrowded shores, your roadside stands, your gourmet dinners, your relaxing rhythm of read, walk, swim, rest, eat, repeat. You are my true first love, the one I return to again and again. I can't promise there will not be another foray into unexplored territory, there is a lot of world to see, but I hope you will not hold these minor transgressions against me, and will welcome we back with open arms. I so appreciate your steadfast, quiet dignity.
Virgin Gorda does look cool, though…