Meet hot chick in Antigua And Barbuda

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Welcome to CN Traveller. This site uses cookies to improve your experience and deliver personalised advertising. You can opt out at any time or find out more by reading our cookie policy. Before Christopher Columbus the island was called Wadadli. Now on maps its name is Antigua - Columbus just liked the word - but some people around here still say Wadadli. When Columbus cast his doomy eye over this luscious bymile Caribbean mound inhe thought it was Japan. Centuries before him, Amerindian tribes had arrived by canoe from Venezuela, smoking hallucinogens through pipes and living richly off each other and spiny tailed lobsters.

But with Columbus came the fall. First the British furiously fought for it, and then the French, and all the guileless cannibals were slaughtered and disease took most of the rest. Buccaneers arrived looking for a place to hide their Colombian emeralds sacked from Havana. Horatio Nelson pitched up to build a dockyard from which to 'chase ye pirates'. And in the meantime there was sugar, and sugar meant moullah, and it grew well on Wadadli, but with it came decades of heartbroken slaves and mass insurrections and emancipations until in the s, no more sugar and, inindependence.

That's a lot of history for an island not overly fond of change. In the south-east of the island is English Harbour and Nelson's elegant and protected dockyard, where the yachting set descend with an atmosphere of super-efficient prosperity, the harbour's walkways and gangplanks full of beautiful South African teenagers and leggy girls from Surrey, employed as crew for a year before college or marriage, hurrying boxes of treats from the Epicurean supermarket, dragging cases of Champagne and Chateaubriand for dinner parties, polishing brass and checking out their sunburn streaks in the gleam.

But away from the races and regattas, the billionaire Swedes with their two-masted schooners, the club presidents and their pink wives, Antigua is fervently eccentric, hilariously wild.

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The extent to which the Antiguan lanes can feel like late-August Somerset is something I will never forget: here an occasional stucco cottage hidden in wisteria, there an old grey stone church with a graveyard bearing tombs from the s for Beatrice, Ethel and Agatha, the in-leaning weeds, the slumberous light.

But then you'll round a bend and find a gigantic aloe vera plant, or a flamboyant tree dotted with black hummingbirds, or someone selling spinach mashed with sour fish oil next to 5ft piles of miniature Antigua black pineapples - native and unique to the island and really the most delicious things, so sweet your head swims yet try to smuggle one out of the country and they turn to dust and ashes in the suitcase every time.

A walk through the market in the town of St John's can be staggering. The roar of life! It's impossible, sometimes, to move for the boxes of mint bush and basil, the Antiguan mottled-green oranges, and avocados hefty as cannonballs. I've seen grannies with John Lennon caps tipped coolly to the side, their ears and arms dripping with gold, parading around using long umbrellas as walking sticks, bargaining loudly over strange brown roots. Beside a vertiginous wall of pumpkins, a dreadlocked seller fries with a grizzled fork the snapper he bought from the fish market just over the way, from Stephanie who sloshes buckets of bloody water over bonefish all day long.

Hand-painted s are everywhere. Not even dog get the bone'.

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She knocks back Tong ginger beer, her hair immaculately woven into what looks like a thousand spiked and trembling horns. Hair is a big deal on Antigua: every second shop is a barbers or a braider. That morning, on the way into town, a woman got on the bus with a do that rose into a mist of little silver be, as though its summit were occluded by low cloud.

Buses here don't look like buses, more a van you wave at in the hope it might pull over. When you want to get off, just yell 'bus stop! Ah, the beaches. The sand oyster-white, the water sweetly Meet hot chick in Antigua And Barbuda. All of them are public and so a nicely egalitarian feel prevails: it's far less 'them and us' than other Caribbean islands. Mooch along the coast and for all Antigua's 80, residents you'll still find an empty stretch.

Catch a boat off Harmony Hall to deserted Green Island and sit in the white-budded scrub waiting for the heat to pass - for some merciful chink in the hard blue sky - watching pelicans hulking over the sea, occasionally diving with swept-back wings for snook. Up and down the sand people loll and chat, combing the salt out of their hair, kids hawking ice for a dollar, groups sitting in the shade of sea-grape trees drinking fruit nectar out of cans. Friday is payday on the island, and the night out. By lunchtime, roide stalls are selling Mannish water - a treaty, rich goat soup - cornmeal and conch stew, ochre, red-bean rice and saltfish cakes, fried plantain, Antiguan yams that look like delicate new potatoes.

The night draws in, and up cranks the music, people moving in a bouncing, milling stream, parties in houses, parties in restaurants, a party in De'Envy beauty salon or the curry house on Fort Road, the crowd getting larger and louder outside Higher Vibez One Stop Shop and Drinks Depot where, by a pyramid of cans of Vitamalt and mackerel in the back room I found an actual tomb from with the inscription: 'Here lies the body of Johnno who departed this life in July.

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Friday nights in Antigua always end the same way: waking the next morning in a creased shirt and sandcaked sandals, like Keats' Knight at Arms on the cold hillside, wondering how and why, yet again, you had been so easy to bewitch. But talking and dancing really are the only things to do on Antigua, if you're not passed out in the sun. Talking out in the road, talking in bars, talking in the interminable queue at the bank, where everything takes hours due to endless paperwork, the love of forms and duplicates, and the dogged cross-island rejection of computers, which means you have to apply for everything at least three times before it actually happens.

One of the nicest things about Antigua is its zero tolerance of high culture. One year someone brought in the RSC to do Hamlet and all the great and the good turned up and snored through it.

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And then back to talking again, the island tugging you down deep into what can feel like an irresistible hotbed of pirates and scoundrels, stories of businessmen who've pitched up and behaved with slippery villainy, cricket matches that triumphed and those that didn't because the grass in the new stadium came up in dehydrated tufts in the first over, and all the usual gossip about husbands and wives doing the dirty under the eternal Caribbean sun.

Even when you're really trying not to, it seems impossible to set off for the day and not run into the guy who once panned for diamonds in the Kalahari. Or meet up with Paulette at her stall selling boiled sweets and get drawn into conversations about how goats look mysteriously like sheep on Antigua which they do: the spitting imageor happily submit to the retelling of favourite myths about a gangster called Spaghetti and his friend who lived in a shipping container, or hear how someone has just - right this minute - come from playing dominoes with cricket legend Viv Richards up at the golf club.

The highest compliment an Antiguan can pay? Everyone living here firmly believes you can never fully leave, and why would you? Ah, sighs the priest, he hadn't thought of the challenges of priesthood at 20, when he was ordained, but now he does. Everyone laughs with sympathy. Sitting behind a steel band and wearing the glazed look of altar boys the world over, one catches my eye and smiles.

The young boys on the island are infinitely sweet, far more approachable than the beautiful teenage girls with their hair pulled into ballerina buns, dressed in bright green school pinafores, undulating disdainfully along pavements. On the way home I stop at a junk shop off Fig Tree Drive and find a dried baby crocodile dressed for a Mayfair high tea and holding a paper parasol.

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At its feet, in a cardboard box, a book of commemorate stamps for Charles and Di's wedding and a defunct electrical hob with a sticker from a youth Meet hot chick in Antigua And Barbuda in Grasmere. This is a mad place, completely cuckoo.

Later that day, in the rainforest beneath al Hill, I come across the remains of a red-bricked Victorian dam, its plant-curling ramparts staring Ozymandias-like towards Rendezvous Bay. Like the tumbledown 17th-century sugar mills that dot the island, it is a flash-vision of a whole history of strife, of a distraught and complicated hinterland. Afterwards, when I try to show someone precisely where it is, their map is different to mine and they merely shrug and conclude, with a swirl of the hand, 'Oh, it's all a bit mixed up.

Wadadli versus Antigua. But that afternoon slips by just like all the others, and don't ask me what I actually did most of the time because I can't seem to remember, apart from there being big nights out and small nights out, and some short days and some long days in between. And on time rolled until the sun slanted low through the bougainvillaea and I realised it was 5pm again, and I was undergoing an important lesson taught by the unending summer warmth and sea winds: that tomorrow might look a little like today or last week and that it's wise to just go with the flow and never fight the passing of time.

Going for a wander, I come across some children fishing in a pond opposite the police station in Freetown and sit with them for a while. Rahim, Naeem and TJ dip their lines into the water and lift out small white fish as easily as though they were picking apples from a tree, out of water dotted with violet orchids. His face wears the frown all year-olds have. Walking on further, my he lolls with the fragrance from late-blossoming jasmine.

A cloud of cabbage whites explode into the sky, as though I'd disturbed a hive. The legendary Elaine Francis sells the best homemade iced passion-fruit juice and guava jam from her Culture Shop stall half way along Fig Tree Drive, cutting up from the south coast through the island's jungly interior, just before the turn-off to the remains of a forgotten Victorian Wallings dam. Delicious late-night roide BBQ opposite the Rasta Shack, run by Momzy, who uses a head-lollingly complex, home-made hot sauce you just might be able to convince her to sell you.

Smuggle a jar through customs, and blow the brains of friends back home.

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This is the best place for local products gooey island-vanilla cookies; bunches of wild lemongrassunusual books, be and gold, madras-lined burlap bags, plus plenty of town gossip. There's cold beer, jerk chicken and rice, hedges of orange blossom and deep green water. Clamber beyond the rocks to the secret mud baths. Outdoor dining on Redcliffe Quay right in the centre of town.

Mango Daiquiris, fried ochre, excellent bull-foot soup. Staff give great advice on what to get up to locally that night. It burned to the ground last year but has risen from the ashes. Rhythm and reggae, best fresh snapper on the island, served with rum drinks. Launching in November, from the women who started Jacqui O's Antigua. Coconut shrimp, stunning homemade lasagne on Thursdays, great vibe but also a secluded courtyard for the more romantic. You are highly likely to meet Errol Flynn's son-in-law at the bar. Best value pub food in town; beautiful yacht girls and boys dancing to a great playlist.

Incredible views of the island, terrific shrimp and lobster and the best curried goat on the island: no question. It's lively, friendly and on a terrific beach. Overlooking Body Pond, this has local beer specials through the night and, if you're lucky, an appearance from DJ 'Wooden Foot'. Right next door to the Cocobay hotel, the daybeds here fill up excitedly for Sunday brunch, out come the magnums of Chateau Minuty and on goes the chilled Ibiza soundtrack. At nighttime it's a little more low key with twinkly fairy lights and tapas-fuelled suppers on the decks just above the crashing waves.

The smartest beach club on the island with its pretty limewashed wood and rattan lights, this is where you come for lobster salad with your feet in the sand. The yachts of Falmouth harbour bob in the background and hammocks swing between the trees. A classic hangout for European islanders craving duck-leg confit or veal Milanese whipped up by Swedish model owner Cecilia. Moments from the airport, this is a clever spot for a last-blast lunch before the flight home. Roosting cosily on a Meet hot chick in Antigua And Barbuda peninsula, the 72 rooms and suites of this long-established hotel are absorbed into a tropical grove with meandering pathways and what feels like whole walls of honeysuckle, dotted with tiny crested hummingbirds.

To one side, a beach so calm it feels like walking into a just-run bath overlooked by a couple of quiet restaurants, and an excellent spa but to the other side, a much more dramatic stretch of sand, the Caribbean ever-pounding against it, a sound as energising as it is lulling.

Meet hot chick in Antigua And Barbuda

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