Monday, 7 November 2011

The Alphabetical Tourist: Anguilla

Prickly Pear Cay
My lovely friend Salty Dog will soon be heading back to Grenada, where she avoids our cold winters by living on a boat !  So, tonight,  I'm  heading off down to Plymouth to bid her goodbye with the help of hearty supplies of food and wine.  Soon she will return to her romantic but childless jet-setting life leaving me behind to fulfill my duties as a mum.  And yes, indeed, soon it will be a working one at that now my sick leave is coming to an end.

But for the next two weeks I too will be in the Carribean- in a virtual sense of course!  Today sees me on Anguilla, a tiny eel-shaped strip of land (hence the name) and some idyllic uninhabited islands like the one shown here in the Leeward Islands. This is a  British Overseas Territory which means our armed forces are responsible for defending it.  However there's none around at present as its a peaceful place and our soldiers,sailors and airmen are bit busy doing the bits and bobs that Mr Cameron and his team are finding them elsewhere in the world.

Now what's here?  Well there's lots that typically Carribean about this place,  a colonial history, the fishy diet, carnival, sailing, cricket, an abundance of beaches for chillin' on and rum with a variety called Pyrat made on the island.  It could be a particularly enticing spot to set up home if you're mega-rich as it's a tax haven with no direct or capital taxes.  In modern times the island isn't particularly fertile and much of its foodstuff has to be imported but once it was a lush tropical rainforest and attracted Amerindian settlers from South America. They lived here around 2,500 - 3,000 years ago and left evidence of their habitation such as this jolly dude!

Bankie Banx by Alan Turkus
Given the inevitable slave trade that's associated with the island's colonial past, the majority of the population are  of African descent and have had a major cultural influence since emancipation.  Robert Athyli Rogers, founded an Afrocentric religion on the island in the 1920s and his book the 'Holy Piby' was an important precursor to Rastafarianism.  And of course, there's reggae! This is the island's most foremost artists.  For all you oldies out there, like myself, don't be scared.  This guy doesn't trade in aggressive rap music and those arse-baring trousers beloved of the younger set.  Here's known as the Anguillan Bob Dylan and he comes complete with mouth organ on some tracks.  I'm so glad I turned up on his island home and discovered his lovely eclectic music which I'll be researching further on Spotify today.  Here's a YouTube link for those who are curious!

No comments:

Post a Comment