June 2012

beach, feet

Just Chillin’ in the BVI

I’m sitting in the head of our chartered sailboat, enjoying the sound of the Caribbean sea as it flows below me, when suddenly I am flung onto the unlatched door and find myself peeing on the floor of our sleeping berth.

“JIBE HO” whoops a voice from the cockpit, about 5 seconds too late.

Thanks for that, I think, trying to pull up my bikini bottoms while literally bouncing off the walls.  I grab HK’s shorts to wipe up the spillage.

HK and I are on a 40-foot monohull with 2 friends, spending 8 days sailing through the British Virgin Islands, or BVI.  We knew in the early planning stages we would face certain challenges. Do the math. 4 people on a 40-foot boat. Actually, less space if you consider that the area below deck is tighter. Assuming that’s about 300 sq. feet of living space, that gives you 75 sq. feet per person.  Right.

It is officially hurricane season in that neck of the woods. As we get closer to our departure date, several tropical storms develop. “Looks like an unusually early and active season,” the meteorologists declare.  Finger’s crossed. All eyes on the weather map.

We are 4 very strong, very distinct personalities.

‘Nuff said.

3 days before our trip, our 14 year-old terrier undergoes emergency surgery. Depending on how he responds, it could be a deal-breaker for me. The surgery is successful. Kismet comes home the day before we leave. I fully trust my house/dog-sitter, so the trip is on.

The day before we are to fly out of Atlanta, one of the friends has a passport crisis. It’ll just be 3 of us until that can get straightened out. Which, fortunately, it does the next day. Thank god we live in a city with a US Passport Agency. We pick our friend up at the ferry dock in Tortola, ready to begin what will either be an excellent or disastrous adventure.

HK is the captain, and I have graduated from “beer wench” to first mate. We all share time at the helm, among other duties, and the potential personality clashes remain non-existent. With the exception of a few “Oh Shit’s” and spilled beers,  bumped knees and bruised thighs, we avoid calamity.

It is of utmost importance, prior to a sailing vacation, to choose a pirate name, and stick only to that name during the trip.

My name is “Tiguan”, named, actually, after a make of car I like. It represents a cross between a stealth tiger and an iguana. (What, exactly, an iguana brings to the picture I’m not sure, other than it is a Carribbean reptile).

“Zephyrus” represents the Greek God of the west wind.  Following a couple of beers, Zepher decides last minute to join me on a swim back to the boat. Just as she runs full-on into the surf,  I point directly in front of her at the jagged rock shelf. It’s too late.  She busts her ass and cuts her foot open. Her heel squirts blood. The sharks circle. (Not really, but, hey, it could happen.)  I swim as fast as I can away from her, toward the safety of the boat.

“Hawkeye”  has the best vision of all of us, and takes his duty of watching out for fish traps very seriously.  His propensity to fall in to-or out of -the dinghy is impressive, both to our crew and those on shore.

“Bo-Diddy” is a combination of “boat” and “Diddy” (the puppies name for HK).  Running a long stretch of beach before making a graceful “dolphin-dive” into 6 inches of water leaves sand-burns along his forehead and cheek, yet he continues to smile and pretend it doesn’t hurt as bad as it looks. As our Captain, he threatens us with walking the plank lest we so much as giggle at him. (And yes, there was some plank walking-video to come soon).

From feasting on 3-lb lobsters on the beach at Anegada to endless games of Password (yours truly is grand champ) and belly-aching laughter, our 8 days in paradise ranks as one of our best trips yet!

While I put together my photos and more memories of the trip, take a few minutes and enjoy this clip.

Do you like street food? Have you even had street food? If you live in the South, chances are you haven’t.

Well, that is all changing, now. For the past several Thursdays, I have made the 8 block trek from my home in Midtown, Atlanta to the street food trucks that gather across from some of Atlanta’s high-rise businesses.  Finally, I feel like we’re living in the “real world”, and have more options in dining besides the myriad of over-priced sit-downs or crappy fast food restaurants that we have relied on for a meal out.

When HK and I travel, especially out of the country to parts of the world like Asia or Latin America, we love to immerse ourselves in the throngs of locals who order from a free-standing vendor, then take our meal and sit somewhere nearby to catch a glimpse of the community vibe.  OK, there have been the few occasions when the cuy perhaps wasn’t so fresh, or the kanom jeen a bit ripe, but for the most part, out experiences have been positive.

Roasted Cuy

Asian Food Stall

Atlanta’s local permitting process seems to have had some glitches, and some (most) food trucks were forced to close up shop at the Atlanta Food Truck Park, although none of the closures had anything to do with food safety. (It was a bunch of bureaucratic bullshit, according to at least one vendor.)

Anyway, I’m thrilled that we are catching up to the rest of the country (and world) in finally getting what I think is gonna be an Atlanta tradition.

food trucksAtlanta Food Truck Park