Exploring, Day 1

You could just go to the beach, snorkel, and snooze in a hammock with a good book while you’re here. But that, my friends, is not how I roll (or is at least only sometimes how I roll).

We rented a 4-wheel drive and took off to see what we could see. The island is long (about 30 miles, which varies depending on which source you read) and skinny (only a couple of miles across). It’s very hilly, and the middle is fairly thick forest with one paved road. At the far east end, the pavement stops and you have dirt and a restaurant considered by some to be one of the best on the island. Our destination.

On the way, there were lots of things to look at, including this abandoned Carnival cruise ship. (I kid Carnival. I’m sure it’s another line.)

Nearby, the delightful town of French Harbor – it doesn’t really have streets, more like “streets” – yielded this glorious storefront. CVS, please take note. You could be SO much more fun.

A little further up the road (and down a pretty long dirt road) is the Iguana Farm. The females run away, but the males hang out and let you rub their crunchy coats.

We were sad to see this little guy locked up, though apparently the alternative is to let him run loose and change his name from “Zuzu” to “dinner.” He reached his tail out – leathery like an old glove on one side, fuzzy on the other – and wrapped around my wrist for a while, then the Kid’s hand.

Then a hand and a tail.

We hung out with him as long as we could, hoping to provide our distant cousin with some temporary camaraderie. We wish him well.

Up, up, up we climbed as we headed east. Note that the next couple of photos have been jacked with a little as the camera was, unawares to us, on the wrong setting. But you get the idea.

We made it to the turn-off; we’d been driving about an hour. Once on the dirt road, it took us another hour to go about 15 miles. I should photographed the road, but I was too busy trying to appear outwardly calm. S, an intrepid and unflappable driver, maintained his composure throughout; I don’t think he cussed more than once. In any event, way, way, way out, we finally found the restaurant, La Sirena, which sits on this beach. Dude, you are at Land’s End here.

That’s the restaurant on the platform behind us.

The building, called a palapa, is a little hut that sits on stilts over the water, with a bar and two tables. Our host, Jimmy, is a restauranteur from Washington D.C. who fell in love with an island woman who can cook. Here’s the view over the bar.

I decided to try a rum coco as, well, chardonnay just didn’t seem right in the setting.

What you’re not seeing is me making my “yucky” face. How DO people drink rum? It tastes like, I dunno, peroxide or gasoline or….something. Uck.

I did better with the conch seviche, for which I made the “yum” face.

The Kid got a pork chop and mashed potatoes, which he normally hates but, in a New Orleans mufuletta moment, fell in love with. S and I splurged on fish and lobster, which elicited more faces in various stages of culinary transport.

Home just in time for sunset.

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