We celebrated last night and even though I am a fabulous cook, and Doug loves being surrounded by family, he declared that “this was the best birthday ever with the best tasting food of his life!” We are currently in our morning spots. Doug is in his hammock, me in my lounger, we have absolutely savoured each moment of these last. We walked slowly from town last night with arms around each other soaking everything in with every pore.
We started yesterday with a walk down the bayside of the airport strip. The water is gorgeous here with its little strip of sand and many, many, little seashells. The heartier sea life and coral rocks seem to predominate our Caribe shore. We watched a dinghy come in and tie upon shore. We see this is another slice of Isla life-the life of living on the water. We came upon Casa Milegra that I had seen on a website built amidst one of the co-op marinas. The local we met there explained how they have kayaks that you can paddle to the snorkel reefs across the lagoon at the end of Sac Bajo. For me the well appointed kitchen, views of both sides of the island, the little beach and the seclusion were all attractive. We could see our Luna d'Meil from the roof top. From there we hopped a cab to mid island to make the hike along the bluffs to Punta Sur. Doug remarked how every piece of Isla has its own character and charm. He was happy to finally see the places where I fell in love with Isla my first time here. We sat under the canopy at the Iguana wall to eat our “left over” sandwiches. Made with rotisserie chicken, lime mayo, fresh salsa on the buns with a crust of honey on top. My foodey Doug declared that it was the best chicken sandwich he had ever eaten! There was no one at Garrfon & we predict that those prices will have to come down if they are to survive. The park was fully restored to its pre-hurricane glory. We’ve gotten the knack of where to catch a cab for the best price and hopped one back home. We had drinks and siestas before venturing out for our night on the town.
Our first stop was Bally Hoo for sunset. We had margaritas (my mango one was exceptional) and “fish and chips”. WOW. $4.50 for fresh fish lightly floured and seasoned with skinny perfect French fries. Doesn’t fresh fish dance in your mouth? The sunset from the harbour gave us a look at the sport fishing life. We had a captain from South Carolina scold a group of fellow Canadians from Ottawa saying that sport fishing must be kept very low key because in reality, the participants are taking another piece of what is regretfully the Islenos’ livelihood. Doug watched him expertly fillet two huge red snappers. Our second stop was for ice cold Bohemians and Shrimp Cocktail at Picus. We were surrounded by more fishermen and listened to their perspective of Isla routine. Doug counted 33 shrimp in our big glass chalice. We could determine the ingredients were cilantro, onion and ketchup but also a thick lime broth that we had not come across before. There was a little mix up with our bill i.e. double what we should have paid. We were relieved to find out that it was the cashier who had messed up and not our waiter who was hiding from his employers & chugalugging one beer after another.
Next stop homemade ice cream! We found Rosalie’s again and I had to have my coconut in a waffle cone. Doug had banana and speculated that there must have been four bananas mixed into the small scoop because the taste was so intense. Last stop L'Argentine to people-watch and have two for one Mojitoes. I first enjoyed these when I wintered in Cuba before I was married. My sisters renewed our enjoyment after last year’s trip and now we make them as summer treats at our cottage. The people watching was so entertaining. The new arrivals in their jeans pulling their luggage along, the mismatched couples of gorgeous scantily clad women with frumpier older men and the 50 year old woman who have put on their most slimming outfits and feel beautiful with their tans (I fall into this category). The enthusiasm of the young guys, one whose head was way too big for the white straw stetson he had perched on it, the equally enthusiastic young girls in their stylish skirt/pants and halter tops. We recognized many of the faces we had chatted with and seen over the week. As we sat on the street with our coffee this am-Doug asked, will the people whizzing by wonder where we are tomorrow?
I am overcome by what this place gives me and now my husband is equally enthralled. I now know that somehow, some way, Isla will always be a part of our lives.