Hubs and I had an adventure. We loaded up our suitcases, packed our swimsuits and snorkel gear, hopped in the car and sped off on a dark Friday night to…. Buffalo, NY. We left our amazing wheels (a 1993 Honda Accord named Betsy- a stick shift, of course), amidst a sea of other Ontario licence plates and jetted off to our exotic cruise port destination of…… Baltimore, Maryland- where we met up with Hubs’ family and caught our boat. In case you didn’t realize, yes- you can take a Caribbean cruise from Baltimore, and because there’s really not that much to do on a giant boat, it was a surprisingly great way to relax and unwind and get all rested up. Three days later and ready to rumble… er.. explore? we arrived in Tortola, B.V.I.
I wish I could tell you that I had brought my camera along with me on all of the excursions we took. Alas, due to an extremely dramatic and vivid imagination I had clear visions of epic camera disasters. Needless to say, it stayed safely tucked in on ship. There are a thousand images I wish I could have captured- here are some of them:
The anticipation of my first time sea kayaking- being pushed off from the dock to land with a splash in the warm ocean water. The stillness and calm of an ancient mangrove swamp- birds chirping from hidden vantage points. Deserted beaches and brilliant aqua waters. Elation when hubs and I got our kayak stroke just right and in sync.
Careening through the Antiguan rainforest, attached to a single wire, feeling what it surely must be like to fly… then attempting to go even faster.
Enjoying a much needed double espresso break in Marigot at a wonderful little restaurant/cafe. The charmingly cute waiter who, not realizing he was still in our full sight line in the open kitchen, peeled off the previous night’s going out shirt and changed into his proper work tee, then glanced up with a blush of realization at his unintended exhibitionism. Grinning, he shrugged it off, walked over and chatted us up for a nice bit of conversation.
Our afternoon on the crowded, but in that perfect retro postcard type of way, Orient Beach. Splashing and swimming like children in the warm water, then letting the salt bake into our skin under the warm rays of the golden sun.
Sailing on a pirate ship in St. Thomas, then diving in to snorkel amidst happily eating sea turtles, rays and a grumpy barracuda. Imbibing in copious amounts of rum punch on the journey back to the dock then spending the rest of the day speaking like pirates.
Wandering the cobblestone streets in the Old City of San Juan, stumbling across the most wonderful cafe- with soaring glass windows, locally grown beans, an espresso machine from Florence, and the coolest music playing in the background. Getting a table there, savouring the moment, soaking it in. Enjoying.
Spending our last day on land lazing on a beach in Haiti, sipping dangerous fruity beverages. Willing time to slow down.
Eating too much potato and white rice, hoping for a really good meal. Like the chickpea salad we enjoyed on the first day on ship. We looked for it everyday afterwards, and it never re-appeared. Until we came home and recreated it. Only better- because it was with our own ingredients- nice oil, organic dried beans, fresh wet celery. Salty sweet umeboshi vinegar and crisp red radish sliced paper thin. In the comfort of our cozy home. Quiet. Relaxed. Glad to be back.
Simple Chickpea Salad
3 cups cooked chickpeas
3 radishes, sliced thin
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 cup celery- diced small
2 tbsp umeboshi vinegar
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp tahini (optional)
In a bowl combine the finely diced red onion with the sliced red radish and the umeboshi vinegar. Massage with your hands, then cover with a smaller bowl or plate. Put something heavy on top to allow the red onions and radish to press for 20 – 30 minutes.
Combine the red onion, radish and pressing liquid with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and serve.
It’s super tasty the next day with left over rice mixed in. And vegenaise if you want to be especially decadent. Like on vacation.