Anguilla News: January 1997

News reports from on the island, as they were posted to the Net:

Zara's Restaurant, Shoal Bay

Pictured above is Shamash, the master chef at Zara's Restaurant on Shoal Bay, holding a giant lobster that was given to us by our neighbor Leroy Bryan. The lobster was so big that I couldn't find a pot large enough to cook it. So I asked Shamash to cook it whatever way he liked and serve it that night as dinner for four. He graciously agreed and the result was delicious, with large servings for each of us out of this single lobster.

Incidentally, Zara's at the Allamanda Beach Club is an excellent choice for gourmet dining on Anguilla. And I am not the only one who thinks so. Read this report by a recent visitor. Reservations are suggested at most restaurants during February. Telephone: 264-497-3229. Here is the new dinner menu at Zara's for this season (other restaurant menus):

Computers and Desks Fall from the Sky

A Canadian Forces plane landed at Wallblake Airport on Friday bearing 20 computers, numerous desk, chairs, and other educational supplies for Anguilla. The material was donated by schools and Rotary Clubs in Ontario, Canada, plus the Anguilla Association of Canada. The donations and the flight were organized by Gordan Cillis, a teacher at Albena-Lake Hodge Comprehensive School in The Valley.

ArBron Vacation Villa for Rent

To the east of Mangos Restaurant on Barnes Bay, near the end of the beach and next to Bean's walled compound, stands the two story white ArBron Villa--right on the sandy beach. If you are interested in staying in this villa, call 264-497-2606 /2656/3544/3288.

Two-Bedroom Apartment By the Day, Week or Month

A two-bedroom apartment overlooking St. Martin and with a view of St. Barths is available for rental by day, week or month. It is completely furnished, with cable TV and telephone. Offered at $100/day, $500/week or $1500/month. Contact Franklin Hodge at 264-497-6448 (or Nat at 4224).

For Sale: House Plus Guest House

Asheton Toland has put his main house and 2-bedroom guest house on the market, asking $350,000 for both. They are located on a hilltop overlooking Savannah Bay and are very nicely furnished. For more information, contact him at 264-497-4577 or Nat Richardson at 264-497-4224. When considering purchases of real estate on Anguilla, don't forget the Alien Land Holders License and the 17.5% tax.

What is Sham?

Children in Anguilla love an old-fashioned treat called sham: a mixture of finely ground roasted corn, sugar, cinammon and other spices. It tastes like the bottom of a sugared cereal box--very tasty.

We purchased our sham from the man selling home-grown vegetables by the side of the road just east of the new hospital. He also sells local egg plant, green peppers, potatoes, tomatoes and squash. You know he is "open" when his wheelbarrow w/scale is parked by the side of the road. Just park, honk and wait. He'll come out of his fields to serve you.

Visual Basic Course in Anguilla

The Anguilla Library Computer Club has just completed a four-day professional Windows training Course: Programming in Visual Basic. The course was taught by Tad Niwinski of Teta Software, Vancouver, Canada, who teaches Visual Basic at British Columbia Institute of Technology. About 20 people attended the course, including volunteers and facilitators of the Computer Club, plus MIS staff from Cable and Wireless, Anglec, Management Resources, Cap Juluca and Malliouhana. The course was held in the Library/Resource Center conference room, with 10 Windows PCs (1 per pair of students) and a PC plus large screen TV for the instructor. Facilities were arranged by Librarian Russel Reid, also a founder of the computer club.

The club has a web page with many pictures of the course. People who were able to attend all four days and graduated include:

Tad also gives lectures and seminars on motivation and self-development. Although now a Canadian citizen, he is originally from Poland and has recently published two best-selling books on the subject (in Polish!). Tad also presented a very well received free public seminar at the Library on Friday, Jan 10th: Recipe for Success. You can read more about his optimistic and enthusiastic ideas at his web site, http://www.teta.ai

The Computer Club is back in action after the Christmas Break, still meeting in the backroom of the National Trust building. Classes for adults are Mondays at 4:00 PM and children at 3:30 PM on Thursdays. Visitors welcome. This week the members were experimenting with a digital camera and you can see the results.

New Web Sites

Anguilla may be a small island in the Caribbean, but the number of Anguillian web sites keeps growing every month:

Ashley's Supermarket Expands

Competition between supermarkets is heating up in Anguilla. The IGA at Fairplay Center upped the ante when it opened with wide, well-lit aisles and a broad selection of standard US grocery items and produce. Now Ashley's Supermarket has struck back. Ashley's has almost doubled their space, adding many new sections and much more selection. The next week I noticed that IGA was now offering 15 flavours of fresh juice in their cooler (Orange-Mango, ...). What will Ashley's do next?

Ashley's is a place worth visiting for your grocery shopping. They have a wide variety of items, including the best value in coffee (Santo Domingo brand at EC$12.40), and many specialty sauces not available elsewhere in Anguilla. To find them turn north on Coronation Blvd at the traffic light and left again at the basketball court.

Public Holidays

Here is a list of the Public Holidays in Anguilla for 1997:

New Chinese Restaurant: The Landing Strip

The Landing Strip bar and restaurant has opened downstairs in the Clarita Mason Mall (where Java Rap and Rainbows are, across the street from the Old House restaurant). The food speciality is Chinese and the prices are reasonable. They have a buffet, but don't hesitate to order from the menu. We did. Three dishes plus 5 egg rolls was plenty for 5 hungry people (under US$40 including drinks).

1996 Ends With a Rainfall Bananza

Those who follow this news site regularly will recall that the first half of 1996 did not generate even the average amount of rain for Anguilla. However, the second half of the year has made up for it. The final figure for 1996 is 43.63 inches, the highest recorded since 1989. According to measurements taken at North Hill, rain fell on 72 days, with highest two days being July 8 (5.25 inches, Hurricane Bertha) and December 29 (2.9 inches).

Win a 4-Door Vitara Jeep

The Rotary Club of Anguilla is holding there annual raffle. Grand prize is a beautiful, green, 1996 4-door Vitara jeep, on display around Anguilla (at the Fairplay Center this week). $100 per ticket, only 400 tickets printed so you have a good chance to win. Proceeds go for community projects. In the past Rotary has built playgrounds for many of the villages. This year it is building another playground plus restoration of Ruthwell Auditorium and the addition of a pleasant gazebo.

The drawing will be held on Valentine's Day (Feb 14th). If you would like to buy a ticket, enquire at Scotiabank, Mr. Cool, Caribbean Commercial Bank, KPMG, or National Bank of Anguilla.

Increase in Postal Rates

As of 1997 the Anguilla Post office has raised the rates for letters off the island. Our rates were unreasonably low compared to the USA and Canada. Here are the new rates, in EC dollars:

Artist of the Month: Cheddie Richardson

Cheddie Richardson is an Anguillian-born and raised carver. He is self taught and works in mahogony, walnut, driftwood, alabaster, coral, and has done bronze castings of his work. His driftwood dolphin was presented as a national gift to the Queen when she visited Anguilla in 1994. For the recent "Hotelier of the Year Award", Cheddie carved a triple dolphin trophy, similar to the Anguillian flag (this was presented to Nigel Royden of the Malliouhana). On January 22, a show of Cheddie's work is opening on Tortola at the Sunny Isle gallery. You can find him at Cheddie's Carving Studio on the main road in the West End, just before the left turn to Sonesta and Cove Bay. Telephone: 264-497-6027.

Tourist Report, December 22nd, 1996

Here is a detailed trip report of a recent visit to Anguilla by zelly@con2.com:
Our Tower Air flight arrived too late in San Juan for our American Eagle flight to Anguilla. After a flight to St. Martin the next day we connected via Tyden Air and took a taxi to Budget, where we had reserved a car. When we checked in at Shoal Bay Villas they didn't charge us for the night we missed: "We don't charge you if you don't sleep here," said Caddis (the only Caddis on the island).

The facilities at Shoal Bay Villas were freshly renovated after being hit hard by Luis. Our second floor patio overlooked the beach which did not disappoint us. Our first meal was at Le Beach which was deserted at that time of day since we were the only patrons. The menu was limited, the service slow but we were grateful to be there. How could we have been unhappy? That Sunday an excellent saxophone player was working with taped accompaniment. As musicians we appreciated Leo's talent. We soon met Junior and his glass bottom boat which we recognized instantly from the photo on his web page.

Restaurants We Sampled:

We visited Mr. Jeremiah Gumbs at Rendezvous Bay after having spoken with his family stateside in New Jersey. He alone is worth a visit! Later we saw his picture on the cover of the Anguillia Life magazine.

We liked walking along Island Harbor beach, the salty sea air and I considered applying for a teaching job at the primary school right on the beach.

The gal at Budget Rent-a-car was very accomodating, and drove us to Blowing Point Ferry upon our departure.

We had hoped for more road signs on your island. We got lost countless times! Ordinarily, getting lost is an adventure, but at night coming back from Sandy Ground. we took a wrong turn at the roundabout and found (many minutes later) that we were almost at Shoal Bay WEST!!! It was a bit disconcerting.

General Impressions: Lovely people, lovely island, low-key, no gambling, best Internet access of any island, and we will return.

Cove Bay: Fun Place for a Picnic

Cove Bay is the only major beach in the West End without a hotel on it. Cove Bay faces St. Martin between Rendevous Bay (Sonesta) and Maundays Bay (Cap Juluca). To get there, turn south toward St. Martin at the gas station in West End, where the sign points to Sonesta Resort. Drive straight to the water and you will find a long, curved beach with fishing boats anchored on the left, the Dolphin restaurant and a watersports stand in the middle, and about a mile of beach to the right with no development at all. You can rent windsurfers and sailboats here.

Sometimes there is a day-trip boat from St. Martin with people playing on the sand, but it is a big beach. Cove Bay is a popular place for local picnics. Accomodations nearby include the Round House villa and Paradise Cove resort.

Three Questions About Pets, Phones and Ferries

The following three questions (pets, phone surcharges and ferries) could not have been answered without the help of Mimi Gratton, Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association. If you have questions about your visit to Anguilla, call her at 264-497-2944.

Can I Bring My Pet? You can bring your dog or cats with you when you visit Anguilla. There is no quarantine, but you should bring a report from your vet showing that the animal has had the appropriate shots and innoculations.

What About Phone Call Surcharges? Long distance telephone calls in Anguilla are expensive (about US$2.50 per minute to the USA), but local calls are cheap (EC $0.25 per call, no limit on time). And the phone company supplies the hotel PBX systems. So they tell the hotels what they can charge for long distance. And small hotels can't afford a PBX, so they sometimes don't have phones in the rooms.

In the past, hotels with a PBX could add 20% to each call, but this was not enough to cover the cost of the PBX. Now they have more flexibility. Some have raised the surcharge (Sonesta is now 40%), while others have kept it the same. Hotel guests are now free to use ATT calling cards, which reduce the charges substantially (local residents are not allowed to use these cards). Check with your hotel when you check in.

P.S. Cellular phones will work in Anguilla, but cellular coverage is very limited outside The Valley (i.e., at West End or Shoal Bay where a tourist is likely to be). Cable and Wireless is putting up a new cellular tower and switch in the West End right now and hope to have it functional by the end of February. You can always get a connection to the St. Martin cellular system because their transmitter is on a mountain. They will sign you up if you give them a credit card number, but the rates are even more expensive than in Anguilla.

Fly or Ferry from St Martin? The first ferry each morning is 7:30 AM from Anguilla to St. Martin, 8 AM return. Ferry's run every 1/2 hour until dark. The last ferry is currently at 7:30 PM from St. Martin to Anguilla. The fare is still $10 per person. It takes 15-30 minutes by taxi to get from the airport to the ferry dock. They can handle your luggage without any problem.

Franklin Conner's Link ferry goes to St. Martin three times a day and can drop off at the airport on any trip if it is arranged in advance. Departure times from Blowing Point can vary by about 30 minutes so phone Sylvanie on the day you leave to confirm time and your desire to be dropped at the airport. (Phone/fax 264-497-3290) If your flight arrival time syncs with one of their layovers, they can meet you with a placard at the St. Martin airport for a $15 surcharge. Just fax them your date, flight number, and arrival time and they will fax back whether they can meet you. For late arrivals you can charter them to pick you up for $250. The Link is scheduled to meet the Monday night KLM flight late (11pm) - contact La Sirena Hotel for details.

You can fly from St. Martin to Anguilla Tyden Air (1-800-842-0261) for $70 roundtrip (daylight fare). If your flight is delayed and you miss the last ferry, you probably have to stay in St Martin overnight. Or pay the air charter fare to Anguilla (about $300 PP).

Good Old-Time Music on Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is big deal in Anguilla. Lots of couples go out, sweathearts receive flowers and teddy bears, and the really hot guys receive gifts from competing girl friends. And this year it falls on a Friday, so the partying will be extra fun. For example, the Red Dragon Disco in South Hill is having two old-time string bands: Tanny and the Boys from St Martin and Anguilla's own Sleepy and the Allstars. With two bands to play off each other, the playing will be first class. Music should start around 10 PM. Tickets are $9 US in advance, $10 at the door. Put it on your calendar: Friday, Feb 14th. (Telephone: 264-497-2687)

Sleepy and the Allstars are a popular band at local restaurants and parties. Many Anguillans will only come out to dance for the Allstars. The band performs acoustic string music of a traditional Caribbean style. They can often be heard at the Hard Broke on Shoal Bay on Sunday evenings, at the Red Dragon disco on some Over-30 nights, and are available to entertain your party.

Members of the band:

For bookings or to find out where the band is performing next, call Sleepy at 264-497-2539 or Columbus at 264-497-2685.

Anguilla National Trust Home Page

The Anguilla National Trust is a local organization whose charter is to preserve and protect the natural and historical heritage of Anguilla. They now have a web site spelling out their objectives and current projects: http://web.ai/ant/

Visitors Who Liked Rendevous Bay

Here is another report that came in over the email recently:

Subject: Dreamin' of Anguilla

We visited Anguilla for the first time in September of 1996 and just loved it. Please pass on a cheery hello to Jerry Gumbs and Mrs. Gumbs at the Rendevous Bay Hotel [ed: telephone number is 264-497-6549], and give the dogs a pat on the head for us. Also say hi to Big Jim. We have tried to duplicate his barbeque chicken here at home but it just is not the same!!!

We managed to spend much time trekking around the Island, seeking out its natural beauty and the interesting and friendly people that made it all come alive. Some of our most enjoyable experiences were had by picking up hitch hikers that were local to Anguilla and talking to them about life on the Island.

We loved your island and hope to return some day soon. We have been telling our good friends all about Anguilla and wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

Kind Regards, Brent Harrow and Barabara Borchardt

The Heritage Collection

Historian Colville Petty OBE has written a number of books on the history of Anguilla, including A Handbook History of Anguilla and Anguilla: Where There's a Will There's A Way. Now Colville has organized his 20 years of collecting archaeological and historical artifacts into a museum and opened it to the public. Plus, the Heritage Collection has a web page, including pictures and directions on how to find it in East End: http://www.offshore.com.ai/heritage/

An entire room is dedicated to the Anguillian revolution, with photographs of all the particpants and the major events, plus one of the actual rifles taken from the St. Kitts police when they were expelled from the island (the action that is considered the start of the revolution). Other exhibits include Amerindian pottery and tools, household items from 19th century life in Anguilla, and a tribute to the salt industry.

Open Mon - Sat 10 am to 5 pm.
Phone: (264) 497-4440
Fax: (264) 497-4067
Adults: $5 US. Children under 12: $2 US

Another Glimpse of Anguilla's Frugal Past

The Clothes Line shop across from Cable and Wireless has a small exhibit of domestic and household wares and implements commonly used during the the first half of this century. Items on display include grinding stone, "Oh God" coal pot, laundry rub board, demijohn, and Calabash. Plus displays of local crafts for sale: ceramic fish, coconut birds, good luck dolls, brooms, etc.

Came for a Visit and Left with a Web Site

When Tad and Teresa Niwinski were visiting Anguilla last month, it was an action-packed "vacation". Tad taught a "Visual Basic programming course" and held a public seminar on "Recipe for Success". Their company is known as TeTa Offshore Personal Software Development and while they were here they also created a web site for it: http://teta.ai -- and still managed to take a four mile walk on the beach every morning.

The web site has a section devoted to their adventures in Anguilla, including a a photo record of a day spent exploring Anguilla's caves. The pictures show part of an enormous and tricky cave complex behind Old Ta and the Kavanaugh Cave. Kavanaugh Cave was the site of phosphate mining in the last century and is large and safe to explore. You reach it by taking the trail up from Katouche Bay (directions). The other cave complex is more dangerous, requiring you to crawl on your belly through a 15 foot passage and with many branching chambers. It should only be attempted with a qualified local guide.

Want to Taste a Trigger Fish?

The trigger fish is a beautiful tropical fish that is common in Anguillian waters. If you go snorkerlling you are likely to see many of them (picture). The local name is "Old Wife" and you can buy them freshly caught for dinner from any fisherman or fish store. But cooking them is tricky because they have a lot of bones.

Now you can try "Old Wife" without all the hassle because the Carib Cafe has Trigger Fish on the menu. Caught fresh locally and with all the bones magically removed. Carib Cafe is located in Long Bay village near the Malliouhana Hotel. Dinner only. Closed Mondays. Telephone: 264-497-6700.

Radford Richardson

Radford Richardson was born in Anguilla in 1930 and worked many years on St. Maarten. Now he is back in Anguilla and writing books. So far he has published two books, one a book of poems and the other a novel about travel. His web page can be found at: http://www.candw.com.ai/~radford [link dead]

Blue Waters on Shoal Bay West

Blue Waters Beach Apartments is a small self-catering resort on Shoal Bay West, which is one of the perfect curved beaches at the West End and not the famous Shoal Bay beach at the east end. They share this beach with Cove Castles resort and the Paradise Cove restaurant. Blue Waters has 2 two-bedroom apartments at $285 a night and 7 one-bedroom units at $185, plus 10% service charge and 8% tax. All units open directly onto the beach. Most of February is already booked but they have some openings for the rest of the season. Telephone: 264-497-6292. You can read a customer review posted on the Anguilla Tete-a-Tete bulletin board. Here are a few extracts:

Blue Waters was very beach front: our porch stepped right on to the sand, and the ocean was 15 feet away from there. After we had 4-wheeled on the left side of the road (with circles?!-very interesting) through The Valley, and arrived at the West end of the island, I was already in love with Anguilla. Everyone waved at us, even the goats along the side of the road were smiling. When we arrived at Blue Waters, no one was around--I knocked and opened a few doors, still could not find anyone. There was no office, signs, anything indicating if this place was even open. Finally Tony, Carolynıs son (owner) appeared and told us we were staying at unit 5 and the key was in the door.

We walked in, it was unbelievable. The little picture in the Anguilla tourism brochure did not do justice to this place. When you walk in, if you turn right, its the master suite-with a king size bed, 2 night stands, huge wall mirror with built in table, and ample closets enclosing iron/ironing board, and a safe deposit box, which you donıt need on this crime free island. The bathroom was also simple and elegantly decorated (everything was WHITE/cleanlines/very Calvin Klein), with its own ceiling fan (there is one in every room in this villa). On to the living area, the area is open and spacious. with full-size range, oven, fridge with ice maker. And most important, a coffee maker. The cabinets were fully stocked with all the gadgets and utensils you need to cook and eat in. We find eating out every meal on a vacation can be very stressful. Something about rolling out of bed and on to the kitchen, and to the beach "As Is" is very appealling.

Arts Festival and Competition

How is this for a fine idea? You as an artist come to visit Anguilla next summer, stay at one of our unique resorts at a bargain discount rate, soak up inspiration from our beaches, local culture, and tropical beauty, then create an incredible art work and win a $10,000 prize.

Sounds impossible, but this is the Anguilla International Art Festival, July 27th to August 3rd 1997, and it overlaps with the start of Carnival week. Entries are now being accepted by artists from around the world. Rooms will be available at a range of hotels, with rates as low as $25 to $35 per night. Activites will include parties, barbeque, workshops, tours, all giving a chance to interact with Anguilla's friendly local culture.

The competition is open to artists world-wide who work in two-dimensional media such as painting and drawing. Participants will spend a week on Anguilla producing or planning art with an Anguillian theme. The completed art work can be submitted to the competition between July 27th and December 31st, 1997, with the $10,000 first price and $5,000 second prize to be awarded in January. Works will be offered for sale during the tourist season and all art remains the property of the artist.

For more information, call 264-497-2949 or send email the Anguilla Tourist Board at atbtour@anguillanet.com.

Shoeshine, the Cap Juluca Mascot

A message and enquiry from Steve Donahue:
While in Anguilla a few weeks ago I learned that someone had adopted "Shoeshine" and taken her home with them to the States in December. If you don't know the background, "Shoeshine" was left at Cap Juluca 8 - 10 years ago as a puppy, and has been the mascot ever since. Many guests - like us - looked forward to seeing "Shoeshine" when we visited.

We would be very interested in finding out who has "Shoeshine", only to find out how she's doing in her new home. All we know is that it's someone from Virginia, and they left the first week in December. My wife. Suzan, grew very attached to "Shoeshine" over the past 8 years, and we just want to know that she's OK. Thanks for any help from anyone.

Cheers, Steve Donahue, steve_donahue@msn.com
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/STEVE_DONAHUE

Keesha Webster Wins Essay Contest

Seventeen year-old Keesha Webster of Island Harbour was the winner of the Easter Caribbean Central Banks 1996 essay contest. Along with the honour and glory, she won a $1000 Book grant and Personal Computer for the high school. The school plans to use the computer to give the students Internet access for the first time.

The Bardfield Villa Website

Dr. Louis Bardfield is our local eye doctor and operates the Anguilla Vision Center. He also has a villa for rent in Little Harbour and it has a web site: http://www.ai/axavilla/

Financial Cryptopgraphy Conference in Anguilla

During February, Vince Cate of Offshore Information Services is hosting a workshop and conference on financial cryptopgraphy (i.e., how do you safely and inexpensively send money over the Internet). The FC'97 conference has a web page too: http://www.offshore.com.ai/fc97/

Ian Goldberg (famous for breaking Netscape) is running the workshop. He was in the news again this last week for breaking 40 bit encryption in 3.5 hours.

Ron Rivest was one of the 3 inventors of the RSA encryption algorithm (best around) and also one of the founders of RSA Inc., the biggest computer security company. The "R" in RSA comes from his name. He will be one of the speakers at FC97 in Anguilla.

The meetings will be held in the Conference Room of the Inter-Island Hotel and attendees can stay there or in neighboring hotels. The Web site has good information on and pictures of:

Police Week

February 1st is the last day of Police Week in Anguilla, when the Royal Anguillian Police Force reaches out to the public and celebrates its achievements. Since this year marks the 25th anniversary of the force, there were more activities than in previous years. The Royal Antigua and Barbuda Police Band was here to liven up all the celebrations, 27 officers strong. Other highlights of the week included a fashion show featuring both male and female police officers in fashions from the island's boutiques. It is unlike any staid, proper fashion show you have ever seen or imagined. There was also a street jam and dance-a-rama, a gospel concert, and a play presented by the Police Drama Group.

February is Cultural Festival Month

Just as the Police Week activites end, the Cultural Festival starts. Anguilla's fifth annual Cultural Festival will run all through February. The theme is Celebrating our Cultural Heritage.. The Mayoumba Folkoric Group will have a concert on February 4th, children from the six primary schools will present drama, dance, poetry and song on February 7th, there will be a fashion show at Shoal Bay on Feburary 9th, and a local calypso extravaganza at Landsome Bowl on Friday February 21st.

Other activites include a workshop on medicinal plants, choral speech festival, a play, a concert by the high school teachers, a jollication, children's story time and a poster competion. The festival comes to a climax on Sunday March 2nd with an Anguillian food fair and traditional boat race at Sandy Ground.

The festival is organized by the Anguilla National Trust. For more information, call 264-497-5297 or email axanat@anguillanet.com

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