Saturday, September 12, 2015

Lunch at Shoal Bay and an Important Discovery

We rented a car on the first full day that we had in Anguilla, so that we could get out and explore the island a little bit.

Vacation is where Michael and I are practically polar opposites - give the man a soaking tub, a beach and some tropical drinks, and I think he would be content to spend all of his days orbiting among those three points.  But I always want to go out and explore, hence I knew we had to go check out at least a portion of the beaches and restaurants that this island had to offer.

Our first day out was hot, hot hot.  Anguilla is very dry and scrubby.  They really needed the tropical storms that were sweeping through the region.
  We drove through the Valley, looking for Ken's barbecue - but it turns out his shack was closed on Wednesdays.
 So we continued northeast, to the very tip of the other side of the island, to Shoal Bay.
Along the way, we drove by Scilly Cay, this little island in the middle of the water that houses just a bar.  Apparently you wave your hand once you get out on the dock and the owner of the bar would send one of his sons in the motorboat to come get you.  That seemed pretty cool.
 But on that day it didn't look like the bar was open for business, so we had to be content with just staring out at the water as we drove by.  But I am okay with that, especially when the water looks like this:
 Then it turned out the beach at Shoal Bay was amazing.

We were so hungry that we were practically drooling.  We went to the first beach shack we could find and immediately ordered some barbecue.

Then we sat back and learned the meaning of island time, which was: things take a while.  Food comes at its own pace.

Michael got the barbecued chicken, which was kind of dry.  And I got the creole chicken pocket, which was basically grilled chicken smothered in a ton of cheese.  But it was here that we made a discovery that would change our trip -- Matouk's!

It is a West Indies hot sauce that is light yellow in color, made out of papaya and Scotch bonnet peppers and it looks deceptively innocent, like a mild salsa. But it packs a crazy punch, all tart and spicy!  It made my lips swell up and my tongue go slightly numb.  We bought three bottles of it at the supermarket later that week.

After we ate, we went to bask in the sun and the surf for a bit.  Shoal Bay was an endlessly long stretch of perfect white sand and clear water as far as we could see.  There were hardly any people on it.

There's Michael.
And here's me.
With no one else in sight.  Paradise.

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