Wander Guide | Anegada & Virgin Gorda, The British Virgin Islands

Every time I sit down to write I get stuck. It’s spring. It’s snowing. I was gone all winter. It was really weird and cool and I did neat stuff that I’ll tell you all about. Later. After all that business of winter, which was hard work, we ran off to the end of the earth, to Anegada in the British Virgin Islands together. With nothing between me and Africa but sea, I read a book. A real book. I haven’t read a real book in ages. Always blogs, cookbooks, snippets and bits. Here and there. Because I won’t give myself the time to read a book, which is something I very much love to do. But I just sat on the beach beneath a straw hat and read Gabrielle Hamilton’s Blood, Bones, and Butter. It was grand, and we ate grilled spiny lobster, fresh out of the sea with a machete to it’s head, every. single. night. We kept a room at the little Anegada Reef Hotel, and every morning we walked down the beach to Pam’s Bakery and ate fresh baked cinnamon rolls with free coffee by the hyaline water. And during the day we ate local fish with tons of bones in creole sauce and largely subsisted off of conch fritters and virgin frozen drinks, Piña Coladas and Daiquiris and banana coconut drinks with lots and lots of fresh nutmeg. I put hot sauce on whatever I could & tied the stems of maraschino cherries into knots with my tongue in a very non-sensual absent minded way.

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He wore slacks and a blazer on the beach, beneath an umbrella always, reading Romantic poetry and Carl Jung. Essentially he did what he always does but with more sand and water around him and me so very happy. He tried to swim once. It was endearingly funny in a tragic way as he stumbled out of breath on the dead coral heads. He can swim fine, but still he’s like a fish out of water but the opposite of that. Part of why we’re going to Ireland (we’re going to Ireland in May) is because I feel I owe him a drabber climate after he so graciously went to the beach with me which is, I assure you, not his element. We smeared SPF 110 on each other every morning, and went to bed early every night.

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Our days were spent at Loblolly Bay watching the waves crash in furious monotony on the reef for nothing. We got coconut pie at Dotsy’s Bakery in the settlement, and I took hundred of photos of everything everywhere. We sat up nights talking to Bozo, a local fisherman & engineer extraordinaire, about the right way to clean intestines for cooking and secret shipwrecks while the mast lights bobbed in the bay, and we rode in the back of the taxi driver Courtney’s truck to pick up his son from school in the afternoon. The next morning he took us past the spindly “garbage cows” (as the local calls them) gnawing on the shrubs and past where the road ends and turns to sand (which is really every where and quite often) on the backroads, behind the salt ponds where the flamingos live. The Anegada air blowing in your face as the truck bumps heavily along the sand roads smells of sea and sulfur, of cow shit, fuel, and grilled lobster. It’s my favorite place on earth.

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We came home. Work again. Only I felt stuck. Frozen. I could cook. I could snap photos. But I just couldn’t write. Can’t write. I think it’s because there is so much, so much to say. That I can’t say anything. I left this space on a strange note to leave a space on, a heavy note, but a hopeful one. I thank everyone, every single person for their comments, and I’m sorry I couldn’t respond to them all. I’m getting back on it now that I’ve returned to the internet realm. So I really don’t know what to say to you all. I worked hard all winter, and I came home. I went to the beach. We’re going to Ireland in May, and I turned the guest bedroom (which just really a repository for everything I didn’t know what to do with) into an office/studio, a real live room of my own to work and write in. I’m going to get plants. Cacti. Succulents. Hearty things that don’t mind my neglect. I’m going to tape things I like to the walls and throw out all the old wedding photos that have been nesting in here like spiders. It’s a sort of pale aqua room. I painted it that back in my early 20’s when a pale aqua room sounded like a good idea. I’m not really a fan of it, I’m a fan of white everything now, but then I think strange, strange things like “It would make a good nursery color”, and then I don’t even recognize myself in the mirror. So I was away, then I went to the beach. I’m going to go to Ireland, and I have a room and sometimes I think vague disturbing things about having children because. Because I’m awfully happy and everything’s wildly wonderful even when we’re living off of nothing but flour, water, and yeast for a week because we maybe kind of spent everything on plane tickets. I’m not going to have babies, so no one freak out. But for the first time I think my brain and body have evaluated my situation in life as hospitable to new life forms. And that’s a great thing.

So. Hi! I’m back. If you haven’t seen it already and you’re in the mood for more food less beach (I wouldn’t blame you), check out my piece for Food52’s “Halfway to Dinner” feature, One Loaf of Bread, 6 1/2 Dinners. I’m very excited about it and still quite flattered that they asked me to in the first place. Also, since we’re currently broke due to what you’re staring at living off of bread is something we’re adept at. I’ve been cooking away these past few months (contrary to popular belief, my own included, things that aren’t on the internet are still real), and I made you some cookies (chocolate, salty, spicy cookies…) which I’ll share in the morning, and I even have pizza and some ugly tortellini and pretty Irish brown bread and a very 80’s looking salad I might share in the near future. Who knows! But tonight I’m sharing these photos, photos are of my vacation, like one of those slideshows someone would have done in the 80’s in their wood paneled basement after a dinner party. At least I think people did that. I don’t know. I was a baby eating crayons or something back then.

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