Cap Juluca

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Racing a squall

You can see the squall coming in behind the sailboat. Photo by David Lansing.

I love Caribbean weather. The way it changes so quickly not once or even twice but sometimes three times a day. When Luscious and I went to Sandy Island there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. An hour later, you could see a squall coming in over the water. The wind picked up, sand blew. Then the rain started. I thought to myself, what a lousy day to take a boat trip to a little island. The return trip wasn’t for several more hours. We’d be stranded in the storm. But within 15 minutes, the rain was gone, the wind died down, the sun came back out. All was tranquil and calm again.

Last night it was the same. We were out on the Cap Juluca boat for a sunset cruise. When we left, about 5, it was gorgeous and clear. But on the horizon you could see the dark clouds. Moving our way. We sat there, sipping champagne, watching a sailboat try and outrace the storm. You could see the rain coming down over the water right behind it. I thought for sure they were going to get soaked. But they outraced it. And by the time the sun was just setting, the sailboat was anchored just offshore, the storm having moved on, and the crew was enjoying their sunset cocktails. As were we.

The boat at anchor, the storm gone. Photo by David Lansing.

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Another shell collector on the beach at Cap Juluca, Anguilla. Photo by David Lansing.

Last night I swore I was going to get up in time to have breakfast with the rest of the band. I didn’t make it. By the time I got down there, everyone else had already eaten and left. But T-Bone, who had been wandering along the beach collecting shells, came over to keep me company.

When the waitress came over I told her I’d have a pot of coffee and that T-Bone and I were splitting an order of bacon. The waitress laughed, knowing that T-Bone is a vegan. “Give me an extra large order and put it right between the two of us so she can have all she wants,” I said.

T-Bone gave me the sort of placid look you’d expect to get from Buddha if you asked him how long he’d been sitting under that tree but she didn’t say anything.

While we were waiting for our bacon, she showed me what she’d been collecting on the beach. Most of it was brain coral. I told her it was probably illegal to take shells or coral out of Anguilla and if they caught her she’d get a huge fine. She thought I was joking.

“No, really,” I told her. “I’m not sure about the shells but for sure with the coral. That’s a real no-no pretty much everywhere in the world.” Then I told her a story about taking a couple of lava rocks from Kauai once and how it almost ruined my life. “I definitely wouldn’t take any coral from Anguilla.”

Still, you could see that T-Bone didn’t really believe me. So when our waitress brought out our bacon, I asked her if she knew whether it was illegal or not to take shells and coral off the island.

“Yes, sir,” she said. “It’s illegal and it’s just plain bad juju.”

T-Bone looked at me and raised her eyebrows.

“There you go,” I said. “You don’t want to take a luggage full of bad juju home with you, do you?”

“I guess not,” she said. I smiled and offered her some bacon. She declined. Then she went back to the beach and threw the coral in to the surf. But I noticed she held on to the shells. Maybe she just needs to think about it.

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A Blue lunch

Cap Juluca beach

The beach in front of Blue at Cap Juluca. Photo by David Lansing.

I am having a hard time getting out of bed every morning. Is it the heat of the day? The air-conditioning at night? The cocktails? You’re right—probably the cocktails. By the time I make it down for lunch (breakfast is impossible), everyone else is finished. Bail-Out has staked out a lounge chair on the beach and is working on his tan. T-Bone is walking along the shore collecting shells (I hear she gets up by six every morning, which is just crazy). The Man—I never really know where The Man is. And I’m not sure I want to. Only Luscious and Mrs. Poopsie are still at our table in Blue, working on a glass of champagne or a rum punch.

I order a lobster roll and a Carib. Luscious and Mrs. Poopsie watch me eat. No one says anything. It’s…just…so …relaxing.

The restaurant closes. The servers come by and take away the salt and pepper shakers, the condiments, our placemats. The bar is closing shortly, they say, would we like anything else?

We look at our watches. It’s almost four. Dinner is in three hours.

“Do you want another rum punch?” Luscious asks Mrs. Poopsie.

“Are you going to have one?”

“I was thinking about it.”

“Well, if you’re going to get one I might as well, just to keep you company.”

“Give us a round,” says Luscious.

“You too, sir?” the server asks me.

“Sure. Why not.” After all, it’s almost five.

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Cap Juluca

Pimms and Spice restaurants at Cap Juluca. Photo by David Lansing.

“Linda is hosting cocktails up at the Main House around six,” Luscious told me. “And then dinner at Pimms.”

She didn’t say Don’t Be Late, but I knew it was implied. Linda is Linda Hickox. She and her husband Charles own Cap Juluca, where we are staying, or most of it. The story Luscious told me is that they were staying on Anguilla back in the early 80s and happened upon the white sands of Maunday Bay (where there was nothing but a fisherman’s hut or two) and decided to build a luxury resort. In 1988, the first of 18 villas was opened for business.

After that the story gets a little cloudy. The Hickoxs took on some business partners, who basically took over the resort, in 1997. Then there were some bad loans, a default of payments, and in July of 2011, the group that had taken over Cap Juluca failed to make final payments to Charles and Linda and so defaulted on the loan. Or something like that.

In any case, Charles and Linda are basically back in charge and have spent a small fortune to upgrade the resort and bring it back to its former glory. And I have to say, she does look marvelous.

Leslie Caron

Anyway, I arrived early for cocktails and when the owner arrived, stood and shook her hand and said, “You must be Leslie…I’ve heard so much about you!

Linda Hickox

“My name is Linda,” she said, shaking my hand.

Of course. Linda. Only an idiot like me could make that mistake. “My apologies,” I said. “I think I called you Leslie because when you walked in, I thought to myself how much you look like Leslie Caron.”

“You’re full of crap…but that’s not bad,” she said, smiling.

After that, Linda and I got on famously. And you know, she really does look remarkably like Leslie Caron.

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An Anguillan pumpum

Lloyd knows just how to handle an Anguillan pumpum. Photo by David Lansing.

“What’s that pretty flower called?” Luscious asked Lloyd.

“Which one?”

“The little purple one.”

Lloyd picked the flower and held it delicately in his hand. “What do you think it looks like?” he said.

I think Luscious had something in mind but she didn’t want to say it, so I said it instead: “It looks like, you know, a lady’s private parts.”

Lloyd nodded. “Uh-huh,” he said. “Usually only the women figure that out.”

He held the flower closer to Luscious so she could have a good look. “Ohmygawd,” she said, “it does!”

“It’s called the pumpum flower,” said Lloyd. “You know why it’s called the pumpum?”

We all knew but none of us were going to say it.

“Because that’s the island nickname for clitoris. You tell an Anguillan woman you’ve just seen a beautiful pumpum and she’s either going to blush or slap your face.”

We headed back to Cap Juluca for lunch at their beach café, Blue. I sat down and Gloria, who likes to tease me whenever she can, came over with the lunch menu. “Did you have a good morning?” she asked.

“I did,” I told her. “I saw the most lovely pumpum.”

Gloria jumped back like she’d been electrocuted. “You what?” she said, laughing.

“I saw a gorgeous pumpum. In fact, I’ve got a photo of it on my phone. Would you like to see?”

“No, sir,” she said, shaking her head vehemently. “No, sir, I would not.”

“You sure?”

“I am.”

And with that, she went off back to the kitchen, giggling and mumbling to herself.

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