Ground Control to Major Moz

Trip Start Dec 03, 2005
Trip End Jul 19, 2007

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Flag of Antigua and Barbuda  ,
Thursday, January 5, 2006

GC: Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to locate any incoming fresh flesh.
MM: Mission accepted. I have located and locked on to target. ETA seven hours from now.
GC: Noted. Please leave marks on target for easy identification on arrival.
MM: Trademark red spot used in usual position.

What is it with mozzies these days? Are they becoming the superior species? I'm sure they sent out a scout for the plane to Antigua as I had 2 bites before even stepping off the plane!!! Unfortunately all the window seats had already been booked so I had to entertain myself somehow. The fruit of this is that I have now become a sudoku champion even managing to complete the advanced level!! Soy un genio! You may think it weird that I wanted a window seat for a flight that would only see the Atlantic, but I thought I might catch a glimpse of all the rowing boats on their way to Antigua. Yeah yeah, I know, a tiny speck on the ocean from 30000 feet, but miracles have occurred!!!!

Getting there was an experience to say the least and I would certainly recommend anyone with a connecting flight in a US airport to leave at least 3 hours for all the customs/control/baggage that you need to do. I am now on the US wanted list and have been fingerprinted and photo'd (or is it eye-scanned?).

The Caribbean really is like those ads for Malibu show - totally laid back a relaxed with very little stress. The people in Antigua are just fantastic. They are so friendly and it has even rubbed off on the people who have moved there. I think I can say with confidence that I felt safer there than in Reading! It has now taken first place for the friendliest country that I have been to, with New Zealand and Canada moving down one to second and third respectively.

Driving seems to crop up a lot on my list of things that I notice about countries and Antigua didn't miss out on this. I found it a tad strange to see left AND right had drive cars in the same country. "Me Ma" had braved a 2 week holiday with me in the Caribbean and we decided to rent a car to see the country as taxi prices were extortionate. Driving there was a bit like driving on a Mario game - you come to the crest of a hill, the car jumps over it like in Starsky and Hutch and you don't know which way the road is going until you're pointing down again!

I'm delighted to say that the mozzies plan doesn't seem to be working so far as I have so few bites compared to what I thought I would have. Or maybe it's just that they have found "Me Ma" to be a tastier target? I'm not sure whether I'm happy with that or not, I always thought I was attractive to something, even if it was just mozzies!??!

Unfortunately, Dave and Glynn are a little behind schedule with the start being delayed and winds going the wrong way. So we have decided to have a look at another island, St Kitts and Nevis (I'm convinced they named it after me but just got the spelling wrong as it's pronounced Niamhus). Will be back on the 13th, fingers crossed they make good progress between now and then.

Some things I learned

Antigua is volcanic to the west and limestone to the east. Betty's Hope (one of the mills managed by the Codringtons) is located near the boundary of the limestone region and the central plains.

Barbuda was linked to Antigua by the Codringtons who owned up to 9 sugar mills in Antigua. They were the governors of the Leeward Islands in their time. They leased Barbuda from 1677 to 1870 for the rent of 1 fat sheep, if demanded by the crown. Later the Codringtons resided at the magnificent estate at Dodington (Gloucestershire) from where they managed their estates.

As the sugar cane industry was labour intensive and there were insufficient people on the island to cover it, people were brought over from Africa as slaves. Work hours for slaves was from sunrise to and hour before sunset with an hour at noon off for their meal. Sunday and Christmas were their only holidays.
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