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Residencies

Antigua

I arrived at about 2pm in the VC bird Airport, stepped off the plane and my coat and long pants immediately felt ridiculous. My bag weighed 49.5 pounds and it was a bit too heavy. I thought I could walk to the Wind Chime hotel, but it was too hot! I took a taxi there.

I think I was the only person staying there! The people were quite nice and suggested I go to downtown St. John’s for the evening. Unfortunately they must have thought I was interested in duty free shops. I had no interest in buying a watch or fancy cologne. But I enjoyed wandering around and soaking in a bit of the texture.

There were a handful of stray dogs. In Brooklyn, we seem to accept stray cats, but not dogs. I enjoyed the weathered and saturated patina on many of the buildings. The music was half global pop, and half great tunes that I never heard before. I felt an odd mix of money, leisure, poverty and    work.

I learned the phrase Wadadli, which is the name of the local beer. When I ordered one, I learned that it was the original name for the island, before Columbus decided to name it “Antigua.” The meaning of the word seemed similar to the South African word “ubuntu.”

I watched all the cruise ship folks mill about and look at the duty free shops. I marveled at the huge size of the Queen Elizabeth ship. When the shops closed at about 6pm, this area cleared out and, like ants, the cruise ship folk walked up the long pier to board the ship. You have to wonder what version of Antigua they carry away with them. Duty free zones are non-places, areas that are legally outside of a particular definition of a governed body. The shops are definitely not local Antigua owned companies either. It was nice to watch the ship slowly leave the harbor. There were little camera flashes from the decks of the cruise ship as people took photographs and the sun was setting. Most of those flashes were because of the automatic setting on the camera and the setting sun, an accidental engagement.

A local man asked “Did you miss the ship?” and I laughed and said “no.”

Afterwards I had some food at the Big Banana and called the husband and wife taxi team that had been taking me around. They brought me back to the hotel where I got plenty of sleep to prepare for the flight to Barbuda the next day.