Caribbean Travel Roundup

Newsletter - Paul Graveline, Editor


Caribbean Travel Roundup
Paul Graveline, Editor
Edition 85
May 15, 1998

Last Update 16 May 98 1200ET

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1/ REGIONAL NEWS

ANGUILLA LOCAL NEWS FROM BOB GREEN

May 1, 1998

Little Anguilla Makes Big Splash at E-commerce Conference. . . .

Anguilla Looks Huge In Cyberspace

Anguilla  has  more web data per capita than any other country, but
of  course  there  are only about 8,000 citizens. Maybe that is why
Anguilla  had  such  a large attendance (second only to the USA) at
last week's On-Line Offshore 98 Conference.

Cayman  and  Bermuda have made E-commerce special national goals to
supplement  tourism  and  finance. But Anguilla proved to be on the
leading  edge  this  time.  Anguilla  may  be a small, quiet, rural
country  with  more goats than people but it isn't backward when it
comes  to  high-tech.  Not  only  did we have more attendees, Vince
Cate  of  Offshore Information Services was the only person present
at  the  conference  who  had  actually  done  offshore e-commerce,
completed   a   fiscal   year   and   made   a   profit,   although
representatives  from  Guernsey  ,  Bermuda  ,  Cayman  ,  and even
Seycheles Islands in the Indian ocean, had big plans.

Vince  also  presented  a  paper  on  his  software  product  he is
creating  as  an  infrastructure  for  secure  accounts  across the
Internet . Sort of a "MS DOS for financial systems."

There  were  two other speakers from Anguilla who presented papers.
Alan  Jones  and  Peter  Morgan  presented  Anguilla's  new on-line
system for registering offshore corporations.

Who  Knew?  We had no idea the speakers were so famous until we got
home  and  looked  them up. Such as Ian Goldberg of UC Berkeley who
broke  the  encryption  of  GSM cellphones last month. Or Professor
Lawrence  Lessig  of Harvard, appointed as technology master in the
"DOJ vs Microsoft" case.

Griffin  Webster  and  myself attended to learn about e-commerce in
connection with our new tech center on Shoal Bay . Opening soon!

Griffin  will  be  working  with  me  at  the tech center. He is an
electrical  engineer,  formerly  MIS manager at Cable and Wireless,
and  currently  software  engineer with my firm and project manager
overseeing  construction  of  the tech center . Definitely an over-
achiever.

The  On-Line  Offshore 98 conference was held in Grand Cayman -- an
amazing  place that has seen fantastic development. The mean family
income  is  now $75,000 US. It is hard to believe that 30 years ago
it  looked like Anguilla does today. But... it now has traffic jams
and not a goat in sight!

News Tidbits from Anguilla

Cap  Juluca  Fans  Strike  Back.  Almost immediately after a biting
review  of  Cap  Juluca  appeared  in  the Wall Street Journal (the
article  isn't  on  their  web  site  now), a question about it was
posted  to  the  Anguilla Tete-a-Tete forum and numerous Cap Juluca
guests  jumped to the defense of the resort. "I have just come back
from  spending  2  weeks  at  Cap  Juluca  and  I was also there in
December.  The  WSJ article was completely disgusting and obviously
not  representative  of  the  fair kind of journalism we expect the
WSJ  to  display.  Sitting on the most beautiful, white powder soft
sand  and  reading  an  article  that  said there was no beach, was
totally  humourous  to me and all of the other guests at the hotel.
The  rooms  are incredible as well as the food at both restaurants.
I  am  a  well seasoned, 5 star traveler and have already booked my
next  trip  to  Cap  Juluca  for August." Read the visitor comments
yourself.

A  few days later a worried honeymoon couple asked "We have paid in
full  for  2  weeks. Yikes! We've also heard about the article from
The  Wall  Street  Journal."  Again,  knowledgeable,  recent guests
posted  replies  such as "Just back from Cap today. I can't imagine
a  better  place  exists.  Go  and enjoy and read the WSJ for stock
quotes  and  news!".  You  can  read these exchanges on the Forum .
This  shows  the  power  of  the  Internet  to instantly respond to
inaccurate information.

Tae  Kwon  Do  Club  is  off  to  New York to compete. The coach is
Emmanuel  Laud  (black  belt)  and  assistant  instructor is Edward
Webster  (also  a black belt). Read all about the club on their web
site , courtesy of Danny Laud (Emmanuel's son).

Savannah  Savvy  is  the  name  of  the  newsletter of the Savannah
Gallery  .  You  many  want to to email them about getting on their
mailing  list.  The  Spring  1998  issue includes an article on the
vibrant  art  of  Haiti,  Cuckoo  clocks  with  Anguillian  themes,
Anguilla  and  the  Solar  Eclipse,  the "Hardanger Lace" of Irenee
Edwards  and  Stephanie  Carty,  and  Historical  Tours of Anguilla
during  the winter season: At 10:00AM every Tuesday in Sandy Ground
and  every Thursday at Wallblake House in The Valley, people gather
to  begin  fascinating  tours  of these two areas, sponsored by the
Anguilla Archaeological and Historical Society... learn about salt-
picking,  Homestead Houses, an 18th century ruin of a British fort,
among other fascinating gems of information.

New  Issue  of  Anguilla  Life  . As we were flying back from Grand
Cayman,  publisher  Claire  Devener  was  giving  out copies of the
Spring  1998  issue  of  her  magazine to startled passengers. This
issue  has  some  excellent  articles, such as the "Remembering the
Beacon",  "The  Role  of  Rain  in  Anguilla's  Past,  Present  and
Future",  "Cap Juluca Adopts an Iguana", and "Face Painting at Kids
N'  Karnival  1997" which goes with the great picture on the cover.
US$2 in Anguilla or you can subscribe

Haydn   Hughes   Wins  Scholarship.  Haydn  has  one  a  $4,000  US
scholarship  from the CHA foundation to attend L'Ecole Hoteliere de
Laussane  in  Switzerland.  Haydn  has worked at Cap Juluca for the
last  five  years  and  was  selected, along with Douglas Eckel, as
candidates  for  a  program to train future managers from the local
population.

Raymond of Skyline Sports

Raymond  is  one  of  the beach helpers for Skyline Sports on Shoal
Bay  beach  .  You may have seen their moving store that looks like
it  has not moved in 5 years and the beach attendants with the blue
T shirts.

Skyline  Sports  have a web page at net.ai/skyline for their rental
business  next  to Uncle Ernie. They rent everything you need for a
day  at  Shoal  Bay  (umbrella, snorkel, chair, raft, locker, etc.)
from  booth  on  wheels  or  their  beach  rep.  They  have been in
business  since  1987,  when  Shoal  Bay was empty except for Uncle
Ernie's bbq grill and the Shoal Bay Villas.

Their  prices  today  are the same as 11 years ago, except that one
item  has  gone  down in price! Their motto is "just bring yourself
and your suit, we can provide the rest." Telephone: 264-497-8644.

Opus II Villa

When  you  rent  Opus II villa, you get a bonus -- Molly Goodnow as
your  private  Anguilla  consultant. Molly talks with her guests on
the  phone  so  that they are prepared for Anguilla. Then when they
arrive,  she  has  three binders of information garnered over years
to  guide  them:  restaurant  menus  and  reviews,  excursions, and
background  on  the  island.  And  the  master  bath has an outdoor
shower with a view of the ocean .

Opus  II  is located in a neighborhood called "Sea Rocks", which is
between  Shoal  Bay  and Island Harbour -- sort of a United Nations
enclave  of  luxurious homes owned by people from Britain, America,
Canada,  Greece,  and  Anguilla!  The  villa  is  fully  appointed,
including  dinner  setting  for  12,  because  this  is her home in
Anguilla.

Rates:  2 bd $260 per day ($180 in off-season), 3bd $310 (or $210).
Plus  the normal 8% tax. Molly Goodnow, mgoodnow@top.monad.net 603-
352-7568.

Upcoming Events in Anguilla

The  Anguilla  Local  News  has  an  Calendar  for the year showing
events, holidays, and activities.

Start  planning  your visit to Anguilla for Carnival and boat races
this  summer. Read all about last year's events . Carnival opens on
Thursday,  July  30th  with a free show at the Carnival village and
continues with activities every day until August 10th:

July  31.  Band-O-Rama  Aug  3.  Afrika  Revisited Aug 7. Parade of
Troupes  Aug  1.  Intl Night Aug 4. Boat Race, Talented Teen Aug 8.
Food  Fair, Kids N'Karnival, Calypso Contest Aug 2. Youth Nite. Aug
5.  Boat  Races.  Calypso Monarch Aug 9. Champion of Champions Boat
Race,  Grand  Finale Aug 3. J'Ouvert Mornin. Boat Races Boat Races.
Miss Anguilla Aug 10. Last Lap street dance

New and Improved Ferry

The  newest ferry at the Blowing Point terminal is the Link Cat , a
large  catamarran  belonging to Franklyn Connor. It is licensed for
90  passengers,  with  a  roomy  lounge, plus bar and bathroom. And
there is a large sundeck on top too.

The  Link Cat was navigated from Florida to Anguilla by Lans Connor
.  He  flew  to  Florida,  added extra barrels of fuel on the roof,
filled   the   cabin  with  purchases  such  as  refrigerators  and
headboards,  then  took  Link  Cat  across  to Bimini, then Nassau,
Exuma,  down to South Caicos, across to Grand Turk. Then a 400 mile
run  to  San  Juan.  The Link Cat made San Juan in a single 25-hour
run, rested, and then on to its new home in Anguilla.

Franklyn's  original  Link ferry hasn't been retired. It now does a
daily  sheduled  service  between  Blowing Point and Julianna Intl.
Airport  in  Saint  Maarten,  leaving  Anguilla  daily  at 12:10am,
(12:30   during   winter  months).  Telephone:  264-497-2231.  More
details on their web site.

Did  it ever appear to you that the ferry and another boat appeared
to  be  racing?  Well,  you're  right.  Sort of a drag race between
Anguilla  and  St.  Martin.  Often  if  one of the charter boats is
getting  ready  to  leave,  it  will stall, waiting for the regular
ferry departure, and then the race is on.

Updates and Feedback

Feedback  on  Church Services: Saint Gerards Roman Catholic Church,
located  next  to  Wallblake  House,  has  weekly masses at 9:00 am
only.  If  there  are  any  other  churches that would like to post
their service times on the Internet, please email .

Update  on  Big  Jim  .  The walls are up for Big Jim's new bar and
restaurant  at  the ferry terminal. If you want to taste his award-
winning  BBQ  ribs while he still cooks them leaning out the window
of his temporary place, don't wait too long.

AT&T  Direct  in  Anguilla.  Here  is  an  update to our article on
Communicating  from Anguilla. AT&T offers a service called AT&T
Direct  in  many  countries.  This allows you to connect to an AT&T
operator in the USA. You pay an initial surcharge for the operator-
assistance,  but if then you pay regular USA rates. This could be a
big  savings  from Anguilla. The number, 1-800-872- 2881 works from
Anguilla,  but  only  the  pay  phones  at the points of entry (the
airport  and  blowing  point  ferry terminal), and from hotels that
have requested the service.

Feedback on Shoal Bay Villas .

"Thanks  so much for the recommendation of Shoal Bay Villas. It was
exactly  what  we were looking for. My mom and I visited the island
for  8  days. It was spectacular, and the people have not changed a
bit!!!  It  is  truely  a special place, and I found that you don't
have  to  stay  at an expensive resort to have a relaxing vacation.
Everyone  at  Shoal  Bay  Villas  made sure we were comfortable and
enjoying  our  visit.  We  especially  enjoyed  Ronnie.  We hope to
return again and again." Regards, BBC

Stoney Ground Primary School Gets a Face Lift

On  Sunday April 26 the Super Warriors Sports Club of Stoney Ground
were  out  in  full force plastering the walls of the Stoney Ground
Primary  School.  "We  have  adopted  this school", says the club's
fund  raising manager, Clinton Bryan. "We feel it is only fair that
we  put  back  something into the institution that has done so much
for us and our children."

The  Super  Warriors  has  been  competing  in  domino  tournaments
throughout  the  eastern Caribbean, the latest being in Nevis where
they  won  two  games  out of three against the two clubs that they
played.  The  club is organised like most social clubs in Anguilla,
with  an  elected executive and various committees including a fund
raising  and  discipline  committee.  The  funds  for  this  latest
community  effort  were  donated by "Jiggy" Gorge of North Side and
Watkin  Hodge  of  Stoney Ground. The club also collected donations
from anyone driving by while they worked.

=================================
April 15, 1998 -

  On  most  Caribbean islands, cricket is the national passion, but
on Anguilla it is boat racing . . . .

Easter Monday Boat Race - 1998

Easter  Monday  is  the first race of the season. From Sandy Ground
around  the western tip of Anguilla up the sourthern shore to Sandy
Hill  Bay,  around a bouy, and back the same route to Sandy Ground.
This  report  is  for  Joan  Waskevich , who wrote A friend of mine
will  be sailing in the Easter Monday boat race. He owns Bluebird ,
his  name  is  Carl  a.k.a. Shadra. Please include a picture of his
boat  in  your  next issue of Anguilla news, because of course they
will be the winners, ha ha.

Bluebird  came  in first on Monday, De Chan was second, and UFO was
third.  We  joined  the  race at the midpoint as they were rounding
the  buoy  at Sandy Hill bay. Bluebird was in the lead, but De Chan
was  close  behind.  On the return leg, De Chan took the lead for a
while,  but  Bluebird  regained the lead to emerge victorious. (see
the  second  picture above, which shows Bluebird touching the final
flag and De Chan right behind them).

There  was  a  new  boat in the race this year, Oliver Brook's Miss
Anguilla .

What  makes a boat race special in Anguilla? According to our house
guests,  it  is the spectators. Scotty and Jan were on their way to
a  sailboat  race in Antigua, and wanted to see an Anguillian race.
We  followed  the  crowd  all  around  the  island  in our vehicle,
trailing  a dump truck with a party of 12 in the back, jumping from
beach  to  beach  to  see  who  was in the lead. At the westernmost
point  of  Anguilla,  we joined a crowd of 200 at the end of a long
dirt  road,  crowding the cliff edge and arguing loudly about their
favorite  boat.  When  the  leaders  suddenly  had to tack to avoid
hitting  the  cliff,  the  crowd  let  out  a massive gasp and went
crazy.  We  reached  Sandy  Ground  just as Bluebird approached the
flag  (actually  an inflated J&B bottle!) and joined the huge crowd
of cheering fans.

News Tidbits from Anguilla

House  of  Assembly.  Read  about  the second sitting of Anguilla's
House of Assembly in the island's local paper, The Light .

Successful  Art  Show. Artist Lynn Bernbaum, who lives in Anguilla,
has  a  showing  this  year  at the Devonish Gallery in George Hill
Landing.  Featured  are a series of sepia Caribbean scenes, each of
which  is  highlighted  by  a single small splash of color which is
also  its name. The series is called "Spectrum" and has almost sold
out--only two remain. You can see the works on this page .

Visitor Feedback

Every  day  brings  new  email  messages about Anguilla. Here is an
interesting email message for April, 1998:

Date:  Sat,  04  Apr  1998 18:40:04 -0500 Subject: Beautiful Island
and Friendly People

We  have  enjoyed  really  enjoyed your news letter, and used it to
prepare  for our visit 2 weeks ago. We have been looking at various
islands  for  a place to rent for the winter. Anguilla was the last
on  our  list  and  everyone on the other islands told us you won't
like  it, really nice beaches but too flat. We arrived expecting to
visit  the  beach  and  go home. Well, the flight in from St. Kitts
changed  all  of  that!! We liked the geography of the island as we
circled  it  in our small Carib airline plane. It is great to be so
close to St. Martin and the other islands.

Clearly  the  other  islands  must be jealous. Anguilla does indeed
have  many  beautiful  beaches, but is also isn't flat and has many
nice  vistas  on  both sides of the island. It also has some of the
best  hotels  and  restaurants  of the islands we have visited. But
lastly  and  most  important,  it has some of the most friendly and
helpful people we have met anywhere.

We  decided to visit at the last minute and our travel agent booked
us  in  the lovely Malliouhana Hotel. It and Cap Juluca (Pimms is a
must  for  lunch or dinner by the water) are definitely first class
establishments.  We also made the mandatory trip to Shoal Bay Beach
and  Scilly  Cay  for lunch. Every where we went people went out of
their  way  to  talk to us, give directions, explain aspects of the
island.

At  this  point  we  were  hooked!  We  spent the rest of our visit
looking  for  rental  villas,  land  and homes for sale. Once again
thanks  to  your  web site we found a property which we really like
and hope to complete the purchase as soon as possible.

Just  to  illustrate  the  helpful  nature of the people, I want to
recall  an  incident  that  happened  just  as we were scheduled to
depart.  I  forgot and locked my glasses in the car and entered the
airport  with  wearing  my  prescription  sun  glasses. Only at the
airline  counter  did I realize my problem! I was heading to Europe
on  a  business  trip  without  my  glasses.  What  happened at the
airport was nothing short of amazing.

The  LIAT  staff  called  Island  Rental Car, Malliouhana Hotel and
several  other  to  provide  emergency  assistance. Together with a
constable  and  some  baggage handlers they verified that there was
no  way  to  get  into  the  car without a key or a lock smith. The
hotel  dispatched  a manager with her cell phone in full operation.
Island  Rental  rushed  off  to  the  far end of the island for the
backup  key and arrived in nothing short of record time. I travel 5
months  a  year  and  I  have  never  had  such sincere concern and
assistance  from  such  a  diverse  group  of people. Thanks to all
involved!!

You can expect us each winter!

Dave and Margaret Thomas , Ottawa, Canada

Read more email from visitors .

Vandalyn's Moving Market: Fruits and Vegetables

You  know  the  Caribbean is loaded with wonderful fresh fruits and
vegetables,  and  they  don't come sealed in plastic wrap. What you
really  visualize  is  a  friendly  person  bringing  you delicious
mangos  and  papayas,  and  passing your special requests on to the
small farmers.

We  have  such  a  service  in  Anguilla, Vandalyn Fleming's Moving
Market  .  She  sells wholesale and retail produce right out of her
pickup.

Vandalyn  distributes  fresh  fruits  and  vegetables from Dominica
(beautiful  bananas,  fantastic  grapefruit,  etc.), Seamoss drink,
Nutmeg,  Ginger,  and  other spices, Coconut, Yams (sweet potatoes,
Dasheen,   cush-cush,   tania),   baskets,  straw  hats,  mats  (by
request!),  and  lots  more  depending upon the season and customer
demand.

She  sells  wholesale  to  Proctors  Supermarket,  Ashley and Sons,
Hillstreet  Restaurant, Lynettes's Bakery, and many others. But she
will also sell retail to anyone who would like regular or even one-
time  deliveries  of  delicious fresh fruits and vegetables. If you
see  her  in  her  delivery  truck, don't forget to give a friendly
honk. Telephone: 264-498-4190.

Upcoming Events in Anguilla

The  Anguilla  Local  News  has  an  Calendar  for the year showing
events, holidays, and activities.

Sports Day

A  regular  event  in  Anguilla  is  the student's Sports Day, when
teams  from  all  the  primary schools and the "houses" of the high
school  compete  in  track and field events. The events are held in
the  Ronald Webster Park, which is next to the high school and also
has  the  cricket  field. There is a parade of the teams and a band
and the competitions last all day.

Spectators  are welcome, but there is a small charge. Sports Day is
usually  announced  on  the  radio  and  in flyers on the window of
Ashley's and Fairplay supermarkets.

On  the  recent  Sports Day during spring break, the winners in the
Primary School division were:

1. Stoney Ground Primary School


2. Road Primary School


3. Valley Primary School

Our  one  high  school  (Albena Lake-Hodge Comprehensive School) is
divided into
"houses"  (yellow,  orange, etc.) so that there can be competition.
The
standings after this Sports Day were:


1. Yellow House


2. Maroon


3. Pink


4. Orange


5. Purple

Requests for Information

We  have  had  three  requests for information this month that need
answering.

Public  Tennis  Courts.  There  are public courts at Ronald Webster
Park  and  East  End village. Are they open to visitors? What about
scheduling  conflicts  with  PE  classes from the school? Where are
some  good  places  to play tennis at night under the lights? Click
to send answers!

List  of  Church  Services. Anguilla has many churches and visitors
are  welcome  to worship along with church members. But, where is a
list  of  the churches, their locations, service times, and contact
phone numbers? Click to send answers!

Public  Comment  on Rocket Launches? I received the following email
from  the Virgin Islands recently, by way of the Anguilla Home Page
:  My name is Carl Holcombe. I'm a newspaper reporter in the Virgin
Islands   at   the  Virgin  Islands  Independent,  a  new  start-up
newspaper  owned by the 150-year-old newspaper, the St. Croix Avis.
Beal  Aerospace  is apparently coming to the USVI to build a rocket
assembly  plant.  I'm  doing  stories  on this and I'd like to talk
with  some  people  from Anguilla to see how they feel about having
the launch facility located there [on Sombrero Island].

Debate Team Wins Again

After  months  of  preparation  and  practice  ,  the Anguilla high
school   debate   team   travelled  to  Antigua  and  has  returned
victorious.  The  Anguilla  team  of  Tara Carter, Damien Harrigan,
Kishma  Bryan  and  Marlon Lake was travelled to Antigua with their
principal   Rodney  Rey,  teachers  Sharon  Richardson  and  Curtis
Richardson, and many supporters.

The  Leeward  Island  Debating Competition was once again of a high
standard  and very successful. The contestants were the pick of the
English-speaking  Caribbean's  students,  the future lawyers of the
region.

On  Night  One,  Anguilla  defeated  Nevis  -  topic - The Internet
should be regulated.

On  Night  Two, St. Kitts defeated Antigua - topic - CAPE is a step
in the right direction.

On  Night  Three,  Anguilla  defeated St. Kitts in the finals - The
main  reason  for  the  decline in West Indies Cricket is that West
Indians no longer understand the political importance of the game.

The  overall  best  speaker was awarded to Tara Carter of Anguilla.
This   was  the  Anguilla  team's  third  win  in  the  competition
(including  last  years  contest here on the island), and they look
forward  to  next  year's competition in St. Kitts. They would also
like  to  publicly  thank  everyone  who  donated to their trip and
helped with their coaching.

New Visitor Training Program

Here  is  what  you  need to know for your first visit to Anguilla:
Comfort  :  80F  day and night. Casual dress. No ties. No swimsuits
in  town. Airco not needed. Perils : Use sunscreen at the beach. Do
not  touch  coral.  Guard  against mosquitos. Money : Bring US cash
and  travellers  checks,  plus  your credit cards. No ATM machines.
Phonet/Net:  :  Reliable  but  expensive. Consider Internet-by-the-
minute.  Driving  : Stay to the left. Don't worry about horn beeps.
Bring  your  license.  Manners  : Say "good morning" before stating
your  business.  Wave  to  strangers. More Tips : Pets. Gratuities.
Ferries. Marriage.

Web Sites About Anguilla

Domain  Names. The Anguilla "domain" on the Internet is .ai and the
person  in  charge  of registering Anguilla domains is Vince Cate .
Vince  will  register  any  Anguilla domain name for your web page,
such  as  ccb.ai  for the CCB bank or Sue.ai for your personal home
page.  As  long  as the web page has some relationship to Anguilla,
the service is free. Read all about it at this web site .

Beachshack.ai,  Mary  Ann's  tropical  construction  page  has been
updated  with  another  month's  worth of building news , including
progress on the "Silicon Isle" technology center.

History  of  Anguilla.  Here  is  a  brief synopsis of the island's
history on the Expedia web site .

Scuba  Diving.  Two divers have set up a web site about there dives
around the world, including Anguilla.

Comments  on  Bali  Hai Vacation. Here is a visitor review of their
April  stay  at Bali Hai villa near Blowing Point. For links to all
villas on Anguilla with web pages, visit villas.ai

New  Stamps  Announced. This stamp collecting site has descriptions
of new issues announced by Anguilla, but no pictures.

The Overlook Restaurant

What   restaurant   has   great  seafood,  reasonable  prices  (for
Anguilla!) and a wonderful view of Road Bay and Sandy Ground ?

The  Overlook  is  the  new  home  of Cyril's Fish House, which was
previously  in  Island  Harbour.  They have the same staff, and the
same  chef,  Dion.  The  menu is expanded, but includes all the old
favorites  such  as  Garlic Crusted Snapper . They have been packed
since they opened last winter.

Directions:  Overlook  is  located on "backroad" along the cliff in
South  Hill. When you pass the Methodist Church going west and make
the  sharp  left turn, you can actually see it just down the cliff.
However,  it  is  on  a  one-way road that can only be entered from
further  west.  Take  any  of the turn offs away from St. Martin on
the  main road west of the Blowing Point traffic light, such as the
turn  off  for  Rafe's  BBQ. Then follow the cliff road to Overlook
and park across the street in their lot.

Overlook Restaurant - Menu

Soups  Chilled  Gazpacho  with Lobster or Crayfish medallions $7.50
Hearty  Conch  Chowder  with potatoes, spices and herbs $7.25 Zesty
Red  bean  Soup  with  vegetables  and  corn dumplings $6.95 Salads
Garden  greens  and  vineripened  tomatoes honey dijon vinaigraitte
$8.50  Baby  lettuce  and  Gorgonzola  with  house  dressing $10.95
Grilled  chicken  over  greens and warm balsamic vinaigraitte $9.50
Vine  ripened tomato and mozzarella with basil oil $10.95 Warm goat
cheese  with  poached  fruits  and  toasted walnuts $10.50 Starters
Crisp  golden  calamari  and  spicy tomato salsa $8.25 Tempura Fish
bites  and  capers  fines  herbs  $7.50  Morsel  of  Conch  stew on
homemade  flat  bread  with local condiments $8.25 Lobster Pancakes
$9.00  Medallions of Jerk-kingfish and smoked mozzarella $8.50 Fish
Entrees  Seared  Tuna  Teriyaki  with  pickled  kale  $21.50 Garlic
Crusted  Snapper  and  Sour  Lemon Mojo $21.95 Roasted Grouper with
Red  Curry  Sauce,  west indian sticky rice and mango chutney $21.9
Kingfish  creole  and garlic polenta $21.25 Mesquite mahi-mahi with
red  onion  marmalade  on  local  sweet  potato  fries  $21.95 Wood
grilled  whole fish with lemon grass broth and pimento aioli $19.95
Baked  Stuffed  Shrimp  with  Oriental  vegetable & Crabmeat $24.95
Grilled  Anguillian  Lobster  with  drawn lemon butter $35.00 Local
crayfish  broiled  to perfection $38.00 Chicken & Meat Roasted Jerk
Chicken  with Sweet Plantains $17.95 Shitake stuffed Chicken breast
$18.95  Herb  Crusted  Rack  of  Lamb  and Darphine Potatoes $26.00
Grilled  Black Angus and House Potatoes $24.50 Marinated Pork Chops
with  Candied  Sweet Potatoes $22.00 Pasta Penne in Sundried Tomato
Basil  Pesto  with  marinated  grilled  chicken $19.50 Angel Hair &
Lobster  Marinara  $21.95  Chefs  Vegetarian Special Platter $17.95
Desserts   Creme  Deluxe  of  Vanilla  Toast,  Poached  fruits  and
Cinnamon  Crust and Rosemary Drip $6.00 Chocolate Rum Cake in Grand
Mariner  Sauce  $6.50  Keylime  Cheese  Cake  with  Tropical  Fruit
Compote  $6.50  Creme  Caramel  Flan  with  Roasted Pineapple Sauce
$6.50  Commish  Lee's  Vanilla  Rice  Pudding with Candied Tropical
Fruits $6.50 Island Dairy Ice Cream $5.50

2/ JOURNEYS FOR MAY 15, 1998

ANTIGUA BY PAUL GRAVELINE, CTR EDITOR

Trip 4/98

The  last  time  I  visited  Antigua  was  in February 1996 and the
island   was   still  recovering  from  the  effects  of  a  severe
hurricane.  I'm  happy  to  report that the recovery is complete at
least  as  far as the tourist facilities are concerned. This time I
made  the  obligatory trip to St. John's and made my prime base the
Yepton  Beach  Resort  just  five  miles outside of the town. I was
lucky  that my visit encompassed the week between Classic Boat Week
and  the  world  famous  Antigua  Race  Week  --  probably the best
possible  time  to  visit  Antigua  as  many of the most attractive
yachts, boats and sailors in the world were there during my stay.

St. Johns

The  rebuilding  of Heritage Quay which houses the tourist oriented
shops  has  been  completed and the Quay is fully operational. Here
one  can  find  the  usual institutions dedicated to separating you
from  your  cash.  All the more well known Caribbean establishments
are  represented like Little Switzerland etc. So if you are looking
to  increase  your  personal  debt  or frequent flier miles on your
credit   card,  opportunities  abound.  In  fact,  I  succumbed  by
purchasing  a  Citizen Navihawk watch at good price. Since Thursday
is  cruise  ship day ( with 3 or 4 in port) you might want to visit
the  shops  on  another  day.  I  selected Monday and it was pretty
quiet.

St.  John's  is actually two towns: one extending a few blocks back
from  the  waterfront  and  catering  to  the tourist trade and the
remaining  part  which  provides  for  the needs of the locals. The
latter  is typical of many Caribbean commercial centers. While this
section  provides  significant  local  color, there isn't much here
for the visiting guest.

I  did revisit the Antigua / Barbuda Museum in St. John's. Although
somewhat  small,  it presents a brief history of the island and can
been  seen  in  20-30  minutes  if you look at the exhibits in some
depth.  They  request  a  $2  donation  for upkeep. It is certainly
worth a quick visit and donation.

  If  you don't want to be captive to hotel dining, there are a few
restaurants  in  St.  John's.  There's even a KFC should you have a
yearning for American fast food.

One  afternoon  I went to the King's Casino in downtown St. John's.
When  the  cruise  ship left at 6pm the casino was almost deserted.
Few  people  were  there when I left at 7 pm and a taxi driver told
me  that  the  casino is supported mostly by the locals. Not a good
sign.  He  also  said  the machines are tight and I'd agree. Prizes
didn't  seem that high either. The Royal Antiguan Resort right next
to Yepton Beach has a small casino but it didn't open until 6 pm.

Yepton Beach Resort

The  last  time  I  was  in Antigua, I stayed at Club Antigua. This
time  around,  I made my home the Yepton Beach Resort located about
5  miles  from  St.  John's.  I  visited  it briefly in 1996 and it
looked  like a nice property. This visit confirmed that notion. YBR
is  situated  on  a fine beach, which because of the way it is laid
out,  almost  serves  as a private beach. I saw very few non guests
on  the  beach.  It looked like the property was 50-70% full when I
was there in mid April 1998.

Each  of  the rooms appears to have a balcony overlooking the water
and  beach. The guests make good use of this feature. There were no
telephones  or  TVs  is the rooms but you could make calls from the
resort  office  which  was open from early morning till 11 pm. Each
room  had  an air conditioner but I rarely heard them going. I used
mine  to  extract  some  of  the  humidity from time to time and at
night  to make things more comfortable. The main lounge had a large
TV  which  got  the more well known cable channels. Not many people
watched  TV  though.  There  was  a  small pool in the central area
which  was  used from time to time by the guests. It's not really a
pool  for extensive swimming but you certainly can float around and
maybe  do a few short "laps" in it. The pool looked to be about 25-
35 ft. long with a depth down to about 9 feet.

The  property  is  well  maintained  and  very clean. The staff all
seemed friendly and willing to help if a need arose.

Since  my  first trip had taught me that Antigua's roads aren't for
the  faint of heart (especially at night), I was somewhat dependent
on  YBR  for  my  dining.  Fortunately this proved to be a pleasant
experience.  The  food,  primarily  the  luncheon and dinners, were
quite  good. A couple of nights they had an all you can eat BBQ for
$24  (  inclu.  tax).  These  were  very  well  attended by the YBR
guests.  In  fact,  even those guests with cars seem to dine at the
YBR  which  indicated  to me that they were very satisfied with the
YBR  fare.  There  even were some people who had come over from the
Royal  Antigua  for  dinner  and the bar. Breakfast was served from
about  7:30  to  10:30  with  lunch  from 12:00-2:00 then dinner at
either 6:30 or 7:00pm. The bar operated from 11 to 11 daily.

One  main  attraction  of  the YBR is the long beach on which it is
situated.  Most  of  the guests tended to cluster right in front of
the  main building but there was about 100 yards of pure sand beach
just to the right with virtually no one on it.

The  clientele  consisted of about 1/3 Americans and 2/3 Europeans.
Of  course,  that  ratio  changed  each day but the presence of the
Europeans  provided  an  good opportunity to exchange diverse views
on world politics.

One  note  about  prices.  Most of them are quoted in $US but a 10%
service  charge  and  an  8.5%  Antiguan tax is added. This is also
true  of  the  room  rates. So if you are booking a trip to Antigua
you  should  check  with your agent to see if the prices quoted you
include  these  tariffs.  Your  stay  might  be  18.5%  higher than
anticipated and that could be a big surprise!

Race Week

Next  time  you  are  in  the  presence  of a sailor play this word
association  game.  Say  "Antigua"  and  I'll bet he/she says "Race
Week".  Race  week  actually  begins  the  third week of April with
Classic  Boat  Week  which brings into Falmouth and English Harbors
some  of the most impressive ( and expensive ) yachts in the world.
Many  of the boats which I observed were over 100 ft. in length and
a  couple  looked  like they had 100 ft masts. There is then a week
when  the  big  boys  leave and about 250 smaller craft come in for
the  official Antigua Race Week. I caught the middle week so it was
pretty  interesting  as I got to see a varied fleet in the harbors.
Race  Week  is  the fifth largest regatta in the world and in terms
of tonnage, the largest.

The  local bars and eateries were populated with sailors exchanging
sea  stories about crossing this or that sea or ocean. Don't any of
this people have real jobs?

If  you  are  in  Antigua during mid to late April be sure to check
out  Falmouth  and  English Harbors. Better yet, plan your vacation
around these two events.

And  speaking of unique events, each Sunday and Thursday there is a
large  party  that  takes  place  at  Shirley Heights complete with
steel  band  etc.  It  is  usually  noted  in  the  travel articles
whenever  Antigua  is  mentioned.  I  attend the Sunday session and
there  was plenty to eat ( prices seemed nominal) with an excellent
steel  band,  Since  it  was  the week between the Classic Boat and
Race  Week, the view of Falmouth and English Harbor was spectacular
especially at sunset.

General Comments:

If  you  are  not  planning to do a lot of traveling around Antigua
cabs  may  be  your  best  bet.  Most  of  the  locals seem to have
graduated  from  the  Richard Petty School of Offensive Driving and
many  of  the  roads  have ditches on the side to make driving even
more  interesting.  These  depressions make it hard to recover from
an  error and you frequently meet locals walking on the side of the
road  in  the  dark.  This  makes  driving  especially dangerous at
night.

Every  AA  flight  in  the  Caribbean  seems to either be jammed or
overbooked.  Why  the  local governments haven't gotten together to
take  advantage of the region's popularity is beyond comprehension.
LIAT  proves  to  be  a poor provider and with the failure of Carib
Express  a  few years ago, AA has a virtually monopoly. A couple of
island  have  even  paid AA over a million dollars each for them to
continue  service to the island. Maybe someday they will smarten up
and get a good local air carrier.

ANTIGUA: SANDALS BY ANDI MONTGOMERY

Trip 4/98

Sandals Antigua

My  husband  and  I vacationed at Sandals Antigua in April 1998. We
were  extremely pleased with this resort and would highly recommend
it for honeymooners or vacationers.

Our  flight  was uneventful, and the airport transfer was painless.
You  must  go  through  Antiguan  customs  when  you  arrive at the
airport,  but  it  was  a snap. (We didn't have to go through their
customs when we left, unlike Jamaica.)

Our  check-in was slow, due to the fact that many travelers arrived
at  the  same  time  we  did,  and there weren't enough staff to go
around.  However,  we  received  our  welcome  champagne,  and took
advantage of the snack bar while we waited.

The  visitors  contained  a  mix  of  Europeans  (mostly French and
German),  Canadians,  and  US  citizens.  The  mix  was  about half
honeymooners,  half  vacationers.  Visitors  were  mostly  in their
twenties  and  thirties, but there were also some older couples. We
booked  a  second-floor  honeymoon  junior  suite,  which  included
concierge  service.  There  are  two  concierges at the resort, who
make   your   reservations   for   dinner  *  all  three  specialty
restaurants  must  be  booked  one day in advance, book your tours,
and  assist  you  with  any needs. I truly enjoyed the suite, which
gave  us  robes, a daily-stocked wet bar and a more luxurious room.
Antiguan  water  is  not  very good, so if you have booked a suite,
make  sure to ask the daily suite restocking service to add bottled
spring  water  to  your  wet  bar. It's not standard, but they will
happily accommodate your request.

We  had  a gorgeous mahogany canopy bed with a lovely sitting area.
We  were  located  right  next to the main pool with a swim-up pool
bar,  which was fantastic. The noise from the pool didn't bother us
at  all,  because  the bar closed up at a reasonable time, and very
few  people  used  the pool after sunset. We had a semi-ocean view,
but overall, we were extremely pleased with the room location.

If  you  are  looking  for  good  TV, however, beware. Although the
resort  has  satellite TV, reception is poor and available channels
depend  on  your  room  location.  We had HBO, Cinemax, and all the
major  networks  except FOX (19 channels in all), but several other
couples  we  spoke to didn't even have our selection. But, who goes
to a resort like this to watch TV, anyway?

The   weather  was  beautiful  the  entire  week.  The  temperature
averaged  around  85 degrees, and there was always a breeze to cool
you  off. The humidity didn't bother us as much as we expected, due
to  the  breeze  and  the  short  thunderstorms that tended to cool
things  down.  All  guest rooms had A/C units, which we only had to
use  during  the  afternoons.  Once  the sun set at 6:30pm, we were
able  to  open our balcony door and sleep with the evening breezes.
You  will  hear  sounds  of  nature  the  entire night, which was a
pleasant experience.

We  did have a minor problem with the room * the water pressure was
poor,  and  hot  water  was  scarce. However, we tended to take our
showers  in  the  middle  of the day, which alleviated some of this
problem.  When  you  take a shower after hanging out at the pool or
beach all morning, you prefer cooler showers, anyway.

The  maid  service  was  fantastic, and they were very friendly and
efficient.  However,  cleaning  services  took place at a different
time  every  day.  Sometimes  they  would  arrive before 9am, other
times,  they  wouldn't  clean  our  room until lunch time. Sleeping
later  than  8am  is  not recommended. (But, you don't want to miss
their  fabulous breakfasts!) One day, we forgot to exchange our wet
towels  at  the  water  sports desk, so the maid exchanged them for
us.  This  was  a  real  show  of  their level of service * doing a
little  something  extra  to  make  the guests more comfortable. We
also  had  a  nightly  turn-down  service, where housekeeping would
refresh  our  towels  again  and  prepare  our bed. (Yes, you get a
mint.)

The  resort  was immense and beautiful. Don't worry about hurricane
damage  *  all  damage  caused by the 1995 storm has been repaired.
All  staff  were  friendly, from the grounds keepers to management.
We felt comfortable and very much at home.

The  grounds  were  beautifully  landscaped.  A  nice touch was the
addition  of  little  signs along the paths indicating the types of
flowers  and  trees  you  were viewing. Also nice were the speakers
placed  inside  fake  rocks, piping soft music along the paths. You
will  notice few bugs (although I did get attacked by a mosquito in
the room), but lots of geckos.

The  beach was clean and white. The water was warm and shallow, and
areas  were  sectioned  off  for  swimmers. We didn't mind the fact
that  the  beach was public, especially since we were aware of that
aspect  before  we  arrived.  The vendors were much less aggressive
than  in  Jamaica. We ended up buying several mahogany carvings and
some  island  jewelry  right  off  the beach. And, Antiguans are so
friendly! Even the non-vendors said "hello" whenever they saw you.

Lots  of  water  sports were available. Snorkeling at Paradise Reef
was  a  little disappointing, though. We only saw about five or six
different  varieties of fish, and the reef was not coral, but rock.
We  had  one  of  the  staff  take us out on a catamaran, which was
really  fun,  and  we also tried a kayak. Scuba diving was included
for  licensed  divers,  or  you could pay extra to be certified. We
chose  not  to  try  this.  If you like to water-ski, that was also
available.

Onto  the  food.  We  weren't expecting the best food after reading
previous  reviews,  but we were pleasantly surprised. Breakfast was
buffet-style,  in  the  Bayside Restaurant (the only restaurant not
requiring  dinner  reservations).  Don't  be  surprised  if you are
joined  by blackbirds at your morning meal. The meal included fruit
(but  little  papaya,  which  I really wanted), cereal, yogurt with
toppings,   pastries  and  doughnuts,  bacon,  sausage,  daily  hot
dishes,  and  made-to-order eggs. The eggs were wonderful * hot and
made  just  as  you  like  them. The only drawback to breakfast was
that the coffee and orange juice were very weak.

Lunch  was  also  buffet-style,  and  delicious.  Fruit  was  again
available,  and  a  salad bar was added. There were cold pastas and
specialty  salads  on  the  bar, but many were overly salted, so we
only  tried  them once. The hot food line offered a wide selection,
with  at  least  six  or  seven  items  to  chose from, and a daily
carving  board  or  specialty item. There was also a daily pasta on
the  hot food line, and a daily fish. All were wonderful. To top it
off, you had your choice from about seven desserts.

Dinner  quality varied based on the restaurant you chose. Actually,
our  favorite  was  the  Bayside  Restaurant,  which  was  the most
casual,  and served international food. Although items were usually
selected  from  a menu, they also have an international buffet once
or  twice  a  week.  We sampled the buffet on our last night, which
had  king  crab legs, jumbo shrimp, scallops, carved roast beef and
other fine treats. Service was also the best at Bayside.

Il  Palio, their Italian restaurant, had the worst service, but the
food  more than made up for it. They offered daily specials, and we
chose  the  lobster/shrimp  shish  kebabs  with a lemon cream sauce
that  just  melted  in  your mouth. They also had cappuccino, which
satisfied my strong coffee craving.

The  OK Corral, their southwestern grill, was our least favorite of
the  lot.  The  sirloin  was tender and cooked properly, but not as
tasty  as  steaks  my  husband  has had at other places. My seafood
shish  kebabs  were  mostly marlin * they serve a lot of marlin, as
that  is  their  island fish * and were overly salted. Other guests
who had the fajitas said they were much better.

At  Kimonos, you watched as an entertaining chef prepared a variety
of  items  on  the  grill,  and then you sampled everything * pork,
beef,  chicken,  scallops,  shrimp, and of course, marlin. The pork
was  my favorite; however, everything was really over-seasoned. Too
much  sauce  for my taste. If you get Angelo as your chef, you will
really  enjoy  him.  (He  is the chef pictured in their brochure at
Kimonos.) He made our dinner extremely enjoyable.

Several  other things I didn't specify * desserts were available at
every  restaurant  after dinner. At Bayside, you chose your dessert
from  a  variety  of  selections  on  a  table. At OK Corral and Il
Palio,  desserts  were ordered off a menu, and at Kimonos, everyone
got  the  same  thing. Most were very good. One other thing to note
was  that  margarine,  rather  than  butter,  was  served with your
dinner  rolls,  and  all  rolls  needed salt! We commented with the
other  guests  that  we  had  to salt our rolls before we could eat
them,  and  we  really  wish  that  butter  was  served  instead of
margarine.

You  can  also  have snacks most of the day at the Courtyard Grill,
which  served  several  types  of grilled sandwiches, French fries,
pizza,  nachos  and  frozen  yogurt. Even if you missed a meal, you
never went hungry.

To  make  a  long story short, although some food was over seasoned
and  some  was under seasoned, overall, food quality was very good.
Casual  dress  was accepted, even at Il Palio, where they "require"
pants.  It was a very laid-back environment, which was exactly what
we wanted.

The  bars were really great. There are two bars on the resort * one
in  the main resort area, and the other at the largest pool. If you
want  good  beer, don't expect it. Only Red Stripe and Wadadli were
available.  However,  the  mixed drinks were great, and the blended
drinks  were my favorite. Don't expect to get weak drinks. In fact,
I  think  their drinks had more alcohol in them than normal. If you
like  creamy  blended  drinks,  ask for a Banana Sipsup * it tastes
like  a  strawberry  banana milkshake, and is just great. The Dirty
Banana  is  similar  but without the strawberry flavoring. The only
thing  I  didn't like was that once lots of people started ordering
the  same  drinks, like the Sipsup, they began using the machine to
make  them.  Not  as  good as handmade, so I often just asked for a
new  blended  drink,  which  they cheerfully made. Many were drinks
that  had  no names but were made up by the bartenders based on the
ingredients you liked.

We  didn't  participate  too much in the daily activities, although
lots  of  things  were  available.  There was a great gym with nice
equipment,  and  fitness  and tennis pros were available. The water
aerobics  were  my  favorite.  One thing that differed from Jamaica
was   that   you  were  not  forced  by  the  activities  staff  to
participate.  If  you  wanted to, there were plenty of group things
to  do.  If  you  wanted to lay back, you could do that, too. A spa
was  available  as  well, but most services had high price tags, so
we never tried them.

Tours  were available each day, but we thought they were overpriced
(anywhere  from  $44  US  per  person  for a three-hour sightseeing
tour,  to  $80  US per person for a special day-long excursion). We
did  take a shopping trip to St. Johns ($5 US per person), but that
was  a  disappointment.  Don't  expect  to  get  any  great jewelry
bargains  in town. However, since we didn't see much in the stores,
we  spent  some  time  in  the  Casino,  which is right next to the
shopping plaza.

If  you  stayed at a Sandals resort previously, you will be pleased
to  note  that  you are treated extra special on your return visit.
We  received  complimentary  Sandals Antigua t-shirts the day after
we  arrived,  and were invited to a special returning guests dinner
party,  which  was fabulous. We even received a complimentary 5 x 7
group picture.

Overall,  we  had  a  wonderful vacation, and felt like we had been
away for longer than a week. Of course, Sandals Antigua is couples-
only,  which  is  the  only type of resort we will visit. Our total
stay  came  to  $4900 (including airfare and travel insurance), but
it was well-worth it.

ARUBA BY STUART SHARPE

Just   returned  from  a  wonderful  week  at  our  Sonesta  Suites
timeshare.  Great  weather.  Lots  of  relaxation.  Not  a  lot  of
activity  for  us:  the  obligatory  trip to the Rock Formation and
Natural  Bridge.  We did spend a marvelous afternoon sailing on the
73  ft. Monsoon with "Captain Jan." He's a Dutchman who fulfilled a
lifelong  dream  to  sail  the  Pacific  on  his boat and now gives
tourists  like us the benefit of his talent. For $50 per person, it
was  the  best  entertainment value on the island. We sailed up and
down  the  leeeward  side  of  Aruba, stopped for an hour at Marmok
Beach,   enjoyed   sandwiches  and  conversation  with  this  truly
pleasant  man whose only interest, besides sailing, --- seems to be
making  sure his guests have a great time. Monsoon is docked at the
pier in Oranjestad next to the Seaport Casino.

Our  daughter  and  her  college  roommate  were  with  us and they
enjoyed  places  like  the  Cobalt Club, Senor Frog's and Cisco and
Charlie's.

If  you  are looking for jewelry, we recommend Bijoux downtown Main
Street."Vick"  and  "Jugie"  are  really great people and with some
negotiating the values are very good.

Restaurants:  Porto  Bello in the Seaport Marketplace --- still one
of  our favorites Carlo makes everyone feel at home and the food is
delicious.  A  new  place for us this year turned out to be superb.
Flying Fishbone in Savoneta features outdoor dining ON the beach --
  or a patio if you don't like wriggling your toes in the sand. The
food  was  marvelous,  the  service  very  good.  Menu  is limited,
depends  upon  the day's catch, but it is on our list for next year
again.  Our favorite is still L'Escale. Wonderful food, a beautiful
room,  strolling  string  trio -- a truly memorable evening. Chalet
Suisse  is  still  very  good, but more "Americanized"; fewer local
seafood  dishes.  We  enjoyed a lovely dinner at the lighthouse. We
were  seated  --  immediately without a reservation inside; a table
on  the  patio  with a gorgeous view of the island at night is only
available  after  9  PM, unless you make a reservation at least two
days  in  advance.  Mama  Mia,  across  the street from the Crystal
Casino,  was  "just  OK"  in my opinion, but the girls loved it and
went  back another night for pizza. We ate, also, at Buccaneer. The
entrees  were  delicious,  but  the  accompaniments -- cabbage with
cheese  and  twice baked potatoes were awful, in my opinion. Unless
you  eat  shellfish, the menu is very limited. The tab for four was
$75  including  tip,  the  most  reasonable  of  all  the places we
visited.  We  had lunch several times on the square --- downtown at
Bananas.  Peter  and  his partner, a couple of delightful young men
offer  a  terrific  selection  of salds, sandwiches on French bread
and  drinks  which  we  enjoyed  in  the  shade of the canopies and
surrounding  trees. A huge salad for $3 and large sandwiches at $5-
$7 were the best bargains we found; we ate there 3 or 4 times!

4  door  Tercels  wit  a/c were available for $200-250 per week. We
rented from Aruba Rentals for $216.

As  usual  we  had a marvelous time and are already looking forward
to  next  year.  This was our third trip --- and it gets better all
the time.

Ooops,  almost  forgot  to  mention  the  walks each morning to get
bagels  at  Bon  Bini Bagels. Owner Alan Lavine (a transplanted New
Yorker)  was  a  fount  of  information  and  a brief chat with him
always  started  the day off right. And the bagels, while not quite
the  same  as  at  home  were  a  daily treat, with coffee (that we
brought from home) on the balcony overlooking the ocean!

ARUBA BY MIKE MELLUM

We  are  a  family  of  four  -  boy 17y/o and girl 15 y/o. We left
Portland,  OR  at  6:30AM  and  arrived in Aruba at midnight - 1 hr
late out of San Juan on AA.

We  stayed  at  the  Amsterdam  Manor room 203. It had two bedrooms
with  a  kitchen,  dining  area, lanai, Jacuzzi tub and two TV's on
cable.

We  rented  a  Suzuki  4x4 from Economy and went to Ling & sons for
groceries.  They take VISA and Hong King doesn"t. Ling and Sons had
a  lot  of  locals  and  the  aisles  were  narrow causing a lot of
steering  problems. Hong King was more like home grocery stores but
we didn't go there often because we wanted to charge.

We  came  back  to  our hotel and spent our first day on our beach.
They  issue  lounge chairs and towels. We plopped ourselves down by
a  divi-  divi  tree  on  the beach. Noticed some of the women were
topless.  I  guess  our  hotel  caters  to  the Europeans more than
Americans.

We  went  into town and checked out Boonoonoonoos but found nothing
our  kids were interested in and the cheapest entree was about $25.


We  went  to the El Gaucho to get reservations for the next day but
they  said  come on in. We ate there and had 3 Churassco steaks for
about  $20.  My  daughter couldn't eat that much so she got a plate
and  veggies for $10. The total was over $100. We thought the meals
on  this  island  were  good  but nothing to rave about as has been
done  on  this  BB.  The  prices were comparable to other Caribbean
islands  where  food  is  imported since nothing grows there except
some  tropical  fruits & fish. The meals in Anguilla and St. Martin
were far superior for the price in my opinion.

The  second  day we snorkeled at Malmok Beach where all the snorkel
trips  tie  up.  There  were  some schools of grunts and other fish
like   box   fish,   puffer   fish,  tang,  trumpetfish,  angelfish
(Fr.),flounder  lobster  and a school of eight squid. There was not
much  coral and visibility was so-so. My son and I played golf at 2
PM  at  the  Terra  Sol  golf  course. The driving range was at the
highest  point  and  windiest  point  on  the golf course. the golf
course  was  in  excellent shape as far as the greens and fairways.
The  lake  they  show on the score card has dried up. They say that
they  have had no measurable rain since November 97. We played golf
with  Alex who runs the Tamarijn Hotel. Nice man who told us to eat
at  the  Red Parrot which we did later. He said it was hard to fire
people  here so the service was not up to par. We noticed that in a
lot  of  restaurants.  We  finished  in  time  to  watch the sunset
through the cactus. Very pretty.

Back to the hotel to clean up.

Went  to Carlos & Charlies for dinner. We weren't ready for dancing
on  the  chairs and stage but did it anyway. While we were up there
they  took  our  plates  away  half  eaten  along  with our drinks.
Wouldn't  recommend  this  place.  We  thought our kids would get a
kick out of it but didn't.

On  our  third  day  we  drove  to Baby Beach to sit in the sun and
snorkel.  The  surf  was  rough  and  there  was no sun so we drove
around that side of the island. Very barren.

We  saw  the Aruba Golf Club which must go down as one of the worst
golf  courses  in  the  world. They said you hit off of rubber door
mats  to  sandy  dessert  and  on  to Astro turf greens. We did see
parrots  there.  We talked to a couple who played the course coming
from a cruise ship. They said the course was interesting.

We  ended up at Charlies Bar in San Nicolas. We had lunch there. We
had  two  garlic  shrimp  dishes, 2 beers and 2 cokes for over $50.
Nothing  to rave about food wise and way overpriced. The bar itself
was  a  classic  of memorabilia stapled everywhere like a Foxy's or
Bombas  Surf  Shack  in the BVI's. The bar tenders and waiters were
nice  and  helpful.  Tried  snorkeling  back at Baby Beach. We went
through  the opening but found mostly dead coral and some fish. Not
good.

Baby  beach itself was nice if you didn't have to look at the smoke
stacks  of  the oil refinery. We moved so we didn't have to look at
them.  We  found  an  area of sand that was pink in color much like
Bonaires  Pink  Beach. We jumped back in the Suzuki to look for the
Natural  Bridge.  It  was  nice to see. Took some pictures and went
back to the Gold smelter and explored it.

  We  ate  at  the Buccaneer restaurant by an aquarium of fish. The
kids  enjoyed  watching the puffer fish play in the bubbles. We had
shrimp  in  Madame Janette sauce (local habanero pepper) and shrimp
provencal.  My  son  had the swordfish meuniere. We all enjoyed our
meals  except  mixed  on  the  spinach  in  the  half shell and the
cabbage  roll.  I  personally  liked them both. My daughter had the
fettucine  alfredo.  Meal came to over $100 again. It seems all our
dinners were over $100 and lunches over $50.

We  spent  our  fourth  day  shopping in Oranjestad. No bargains on
jewelry  or clothes, but we did buy some T-shirts and hats. We have
no  sales  tax  at  home  so  Nautica,  Tommy Hilfiger etc. were no
deals.  They don't seem to have the big gems found in St. Thomas or
St. Martin.

We  ate  at  Senor  Frog's  for lunch to give the kids a treat. Bad
food  and  $4 for a 6 oz. Corona. We went back to Palm Beach to get
some  sun.  the walk to the Costa Linda and back was very nice. The
beach  is  wide,  white  and  nice to walk on barefoot. We tried to
walk  it  every  day. That night we ate at Twinklebones. I guess we
weren't  ready  for  the  conga line and doing soca dancing. We had
just  got  our food and they wanted us to dance again in the middle
of  our  meal. The music was good and the people were energenic and
tried  to  please  but at the time I was hungry. The food was so-so
and again over $100.

We  played  Adventure  Golf by the Black Hog Saloon. This was not a
very  good  minature  golf  course.  The only hazards were rocks on
every  hole.  It  got  boring not seeing different hazards The next
day  we  went  to the California Lighthouse to look around and take
pictures.  Nice  view  of sand dunes and golf course. We found Hugh
Lamle's  house.  It  looked  like a nice place across the road from
beach.

We  then  signed  our son up for a beginner class in board sailing.
He  really  enjoyed  it. This a great place for beginners. You sail
parallel  to  the  beach  so it is hard to get stuck out at sea and
the  water  is  around  3  feet  deep.  The  people  at Windsailing
Vacations  were  great. That night we got Big Macs for the kids and
we  ate  at  the  Red  Parrot.  The  food was good. My wife had the
coconut  shrimp  and I had a seafood rigatone. The service was very
slow.  We  ate  50  minutes  after we ordered. They have a nice bar
nearby  with  music  and  dancing  under the stars. Enjoyed it very
much. The surf is right there.

The  next  morning  we  had  breakfast at the Ruinas Del Mar at the
Hyatt.  Great  grounds  and  landscaping.  Lots  of birds - macawa,
coccatoos,  toucans, Amazon parrots, black swans, scarldet ibis and
a  white  egret.  There are lots of iguana if you look closely. The
food  was OK but the ambiance was great. the service was also great
there.

We  decided  to  go  back  to  Malmok Beach  and snorkel out to the
wreck  Antilla. We took a used orange juice bottle to warn boats of
where  we  were. It was a long swim but well worth it. My kids will
never  forget it. The wreck is covered with beautiful coral and has
lots  of  fish  of  all  sizes  and  shapes.  It would be worth the
snorkel boat trips just to see the wreck.

We  sat  on  the  beach the rest of the day and went to Iguana Joes
for  dinner.  I had the KeshiYena there for the first time. I liked
it.  My  kids  like  Iguana  Joes  better than Carlos & Charlies or
Senor  Frogs.  A  huge  163  foot  yacht pulled in to a slip by the
Seaport  Casino. There was all kinds of speculation as to who owned
it. We were told that the casino owns it.

Our  last day was spent at the driving range (still windy) and sail
boarding  at the Fisherman Huts. My son and I both sailed there for
a  half day and thoroughly enjoyed it. The people there were not as
nice  as  Sailboard  Vacations  but gave us a better board than the
one  my  son  took  lessons  on.  Watched the sunset from the Hyatt
pier.  Very  nice  but a little windy. They play t