Monday, January 18, 2010

On This Day a Year Ago - Antigua and Barbuda one more time

On this day a year ago we were driving around the island of Antigua. Why? Why not. Renting a car was easy and straightforward. The Dollar rep came to our hotel with all the necessary paperwork. She was on time, like all Antiguans working in the tourist/hospitality business that we've encountered.

Because international driving permits are not recognized on Antigua and Barbuda, we had to purchase a temporary local driver's license (US$20.00). The rep simply copied the info from our foreign driver's licenses relying on and trusting our translation of the Japanese text. I found it only slightly amusing. We were honest, but we could have shown her any piece of paper with a photograph on it claiming it was a driver's license from some odd country, and she most likely would have taken our word for it. 

The car was a Nissan automatic, the traffic in Antigua is the same as in Japan, so no problem there. It was a fun day trip.

Drivinginantigua x500

We read numerous warnings about the sorry state of the roads in Antigua, but honestly, they were no worse than some of the pitiful paths we have to drive on in rural Japan. 

Village x500
In many of the villages we passed, we saw either brand new or completely renovated houses. And most of them had signs about room rentals and advertised in-door plumbing, fans, and running water, plus the distance to the beach.

Roadside cafe x500

Roadside cafe with conch shells for sale.

Bay 2 x500

The views were spectacular.

Roadside church x500

Renting a car and doing a self-drive tour was a much better idea than just sitting on the beach. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against sitting on beaches. I love it as much as the next person. But I also love to get around and see stuff.

Valley road sign x500
The car rental rep gave us road maps and we only managed to get lost twice. Yes, I know, one road around the island and we still managed to get lost. What can I say? We're speshul.

Fortunately, most of the major sights were marked on road signs and the locals were helpful and friendly when it came to giving directions.

Jah x500
"No wonder they're so friendly," husband said, "they're all stoned out of their minds."

Drinking donkey x500
At the end of the day we felt just like this donkey - hot, tired and very thirsty.

Bay x500

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