Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year’s Eve – or is that Old Year’s Night? – on the Wild Side (of Barbados)

For many years it has been a tradition among young Bajans, after the West Coast parties on New Year’s Eve - or Old Year’s Night, of course, as they know it in Barbados - to make their escape to the east coast to catch the dawn and sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean.

But what if you were over there already? It’s certainly a possibility. There is a good new place to stay on the Atlantic side. In early December the Atlantis Hotel in Bathsheba re-opened after extensive refurbishment. Backed by the people who created Little Good Harbour outside Speightstown, the Atlantis should certainly make its mark as a stylish getaway in an unexpected part of the island.

And the Atlantis will be holding an Old Year’s Night party. It will be laying on a meal and drinks and a DJ who will play Old School hits. Ok, not so wild – and the guests might not still be awake at dawn - but there will certainly be breakfast and a hair of the dog with a cracking view - with the morning sun glancing off the sea swell.

And if you don’t quite make it for a New Year breakfast, then the Atlantis is well worth a stopover on a tour of Barbados, which every visitor should do during a trip. Perhaps go for the Sunday buffet lunch (for which the Atlantis was known in its previous incarnation) – which has already got the thumbs up from friends on their Facebook page. With the guys from the Fish Pot at the helm it is bound to be worth including in a trip this season.

For more information, see the Definitive Caribbean Review of Barbados Boutique Hotels.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Merry Caribbean Christmas

As we look forward to a break for Christmas (well, except for our partners in the Caribbean, who can expect their workload to increase with the Christmas visitors, of course), we thought we would share our Christmas card with you. And for a bit of sunny Caribbean fun, see below.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Definitive Caribbean.

Here’s a Merry Christmas in the dancehalls of Jamaica – /Great Tidings from Natty Dread!/ - courtesy of Mike Dread TV and Jacob Miller.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The SandBar - Anguilla Beach Bar

Opening in time for this season in Anguilla is the Sandbar, a different type of beach bar in an island that pretty much specialises in beach bars. Set on Sandy Ground, one of the island’s liveliest beaches, the Sandbar is not the simple wooden hut that you might normally expect of Anguilla. Instead it is in a former house among the palms and has a rather different feel. It is more of a lounge, with upholstered seats around the bar as well as some attractive wooden chairs and tables on the sand at the front.

And it is different in atmosphere too. Instead of the regular beer or rum and simple food, the SandBar serves cocktails wine and also tapas. So, while you take in the Anguilla sunset you can share:

Chilled, roasted vegetables with white balsamic syrup and a goat cheese dip, pork wontons with a passion fruit hot sauce or a red cooked duck and savoury pancake with mango chutney.

The Sandbar has been created by Denise Carr, formerly the executive chef of Cuisinart. Originally from Alberta in Canada, she has worked in California and Dubai. Then she came to Anguilla and worked at Cuisinart for three years. She opened up the SandBar in late 2009. With its extremely wealthy clientele, many of whom know the sophistication of St Barths, there was certainly room for a spot where they could kick off the docksiders but still enjoy top wine and food.

That said, for all its different atmosphere, the SandBar is by no means formal. This is Anguilla (not St Barths). And of course the activity will be much the same. Many a corsair - or is that carouser - has been wrecked on the sandbars around Anguilla. Long may it continue.

For more information about Sandbar, join their Facebook Fan Page.

For more information about Anguilla, see the Definitive Caribbean Guide to Anguilla

Monday, December 7, 2009

Indigo, a new Tapas bar at Montpelier Plantation

Montpelier, the delightful boutique hotel in Nevis, has just opened a new tapas restaurant for the coming season. Indigo is set in the open-air lounge just above the hotel’s pool and will be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm to 9pm. It is the only place on the island to serve this style of elegant ‘light bight’ at the moment and so it adds a less formal option to the fine dining at Montpelier.

The menu at Indigo includes around 15 appetizer-sized starters and eight desserts, including sesame tempura shrimp, charred onion risotto with basil froth and chipotle pork tostadito, followed by a trio sorbet and/or a chocolate semifreddo. The tapas are designed both to be individual and to be shared and there is a long list of wines available by the glass, which can be chosen to accompany individual dishes of course.

Indigo will give guests of the hotel the opportunity for a lighter dinner and a change of scene, but for other visitors to the island - who should certainly include a visit to one of the plantation hotels on a trip to Nevis - it will also been an ideal reason to come and have a drink and something light to eat at dusk. The hotel is a lovely spot and it looks particularly good in the evenings.

The opening of Indigo has coincided with other changes to Montpelier. Around the pool itself the view has been opened out – the walls at either end have been removed so you can see the surrounding hills – and the murals, the scenes of Nevis surrounding the pool, have been changed. They now have a more contemporary pattern. This is in general keeping with gradual changes at the hotel, which are aimed to give it a more contemporary atmosphere all around. Finally, a spa treatment room has been created in one of the rooms and so massage services are now available to guests.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Jamaican Slang and Caribbean Proverbs

The West Indians have always been lyrical and laconic. And they have a lovely turn of phrase, using things that surround them to near poetic effect, even when they are cussing you out. For a bit of fun we have collected some well known West Indian expressions, proverbs and sayings. Some even make into calypsos. One which did is –

"The higher the monkey climb, the more he expose..." (or ‘the more ‘e show ‘e tail’ in Barbados)

The more you show off, the more your faults are visible to those around you, or the more successful you become, the more you are under scrutiny. But, in Jamaica -

"Monkey know which tree to climb."

The ambitious person knows where to apply their energy. And while on the subject of animals -

"Evah pig got a Saturday."

Everyone will pay for his deeds at some point. And -

"Horse dead and cow fat..." In a long story it is used in the sense of ‘and so on and so forth’.

And then you add

"...and donkey maugre."

For islanders there is particular significance in -

"De sea ain't got nuh back door."

The sea is not a safe place so you need to take precautions. And the Jamaicans again -

"Dem go together like batty and bench."

Two peas in a pod. It seems that crows get bad press in the Caribbean. The Trinidadians will have it that if -

"Corbeau pee on yuh"

Nothing will go right, you have a hex working on you. The Jamaicans call crows ‘John Crows’ and delight in referring to moonshine rum, distilled but completely un-aged and un-mellow, as -

"John Crow Batty"

"Well, Cheese on Bread!"

(Barbadian amazement!)
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