Nov
11
2008

  Cooling Off After Breakfast

Although I had originally intended not to sit inside with my laptop until the warmest part of the day, it's a bit warm already.

The sunrise here is around 6am. A few days I've woken up that early and watched it from the patio-- we're on the east side of Anguilla, and the sun rises over the mountains of St. Martin. It's really beautiful. One morning the sun's reflections turned the ocean orange, which was stunning, but I haven't seen that effect since.

Most days I'm asleep until breakfast is served, which is around 8:30am. We eat on the patio, and although it's still relatively early in the day it's already quite warm. Terry and I moved the table over more towards the wall a few days ago so we're sitting in the shade since it was just way too hot sitting in direct sun.

Breakfasts here are quite nice. Our maid comes into our suite before breakfast time to set the table, make the coffee, etc. Let me take a minute to explain the liviing setup here, since it's not like a large resort.

We're staying at the Sheriva villas in Anguilla's West End. They're owned by Sheraton, but they're not really like a hotel at all. There are three large villas, and a separate building with the main lobby. They're building a separate kitchen up toward the front of the property, but I haven't heard any construction noise.

We're in what they call a "grand suite pool villa" or smoething like that. The "Mystique" villa is the only one with one-bedroom suites available, and ours is on the ground level. I think our rooms are something like 1200 sq ft. We've got a kitchen about the size of our NJ condo. The adjoining dining room and living room are larger than our apartment's. There is a door off the living room to the patio, so the "public" part of the suite is completely accessible without disturbing the bedroom, which is behind a door off the dining room. The bedroom is large with the bed smack in the middle of the room, in front of a dividing panel/wall that has sconces and the electronic controls for the lights, TV, and fans. In front of the bed are two arm chairs with a side table, and tucked into an alcove is the TV and DVD player. Behind the dividing wall is a small desk and chair. The bathroom is behind the bedroom, and it is enormous. Larger than some NYC studio apartments. It's got an infinity-edge tub in the middle and a two-sink vanity (with actual drawers to store your toiletries, something sorely lacking in most accommodations) along one wall. The opposite wall is almost fully lined with windows capturing the view of the ocean and St. Martin. The shower is in one corner; it is the size of a walk-in closet and has two wall-units of showerheads. I'm not sure how else to put it-- there is the main showerhead like usual, but then also about six little showerheads down the wall you can also turn on. It's really nice, Terry and I would get that for our own shower if our well had enough water pressure to power it, but I fear if we installed one the water would just dribble pathetically down the wall instead of washing us all over like a carwash. Anyway, there are two of these wall units in the shower. They're a little far apart to use both for one person, and Terry and I haven't been in such a hurry that we've needed to shower at the same time, although it would be convenient if we both had to wake up and shower quickly in the mornings. There is a toilet and bidet in a small room off the back of the main bathroom (also a toilet off the living room). Oh, and there is also a divan in the bathroom, between the wall of windows and the infinity tub. Terry has moved out there to sleep if my breathing machine wakes him up in the night.

Then there is the closet. It's really an entire room, about the same size as the bedroom. It's got a couple armchairs and a table in there, as well as a full wall of closets. And a dresser. And the closet even has its own walk-in closet, where extra linens and pillows are stored. We could easily store all our clothes from both VA and NJ in this "closet". What's especially nice is that there is a hamper, and the maids wash your clothes every day so we don't have to travel home with dirty clothes. Very nice.

Finally, we've got the patio. It's at least as big as the entire indoor suite. The area adjacent to the rooms where the dining table is set is probably about 75% the size of our screened porch in VA. But then there is a bit of a garden with a path out to the pool. The pool is full-size. As large as would be in someone's back yard at home. The patio around the pool is larger than in most people's yards. There is another dining set out there, two umbrellas with two chaises and a side table under each, and a lounge area with a loveseat, two armchairs, and a coffee table. And another couple chaises without umbrellas. There is a hot spa attached to one side of the pool. There are tall shrubs around the fence surrounding the pool area to provide privacy from the other parts of the villa. There is another pool suite on the ground level, and the suite on the 2nd floor has its own pool up there on their patio, but it is infinity-edge, and I'm sure they can see St. Martin from their pool (we can see it from our chairs, but not while we're actually in the pool).

Now that I've described the setting, perhaps you can better envision breakfast. The table on the patio seats eight (it is quite large), but fully half of it is taken up by our place settings and platters of food. The maid sets the table with rather elegant tableware. The orange juice and water are in pitchers, the butter, jelly, cream cheese, etc. are in neat little round covered dishes with coordinating utensils. She also serves the meal and cleans up after us. Breakfast starts with beverages (coffee, orange juice, and water), and then we each get a fruit plate. The fruit is always decoratively carved or sliced, so it's a beautiful presentation. I'm especially impressed since it's different every day, although the selection of fruit is fairly consistent (pineapple, mango, melon, grapes, some kind of tropical apple-y sort of fruit (although it doesn't really taste like apple). Then the rest of the breakfast comes out, which includes bacon, sausage, eggs, and a bread basket. Some days we get french toast, others yogurt. It's always more than we can eat.

We usually take about 45 minutes to eat, start to finish, and have become quite warm from sitting outdoors. So Terry and I come inside to the air-conditioned rooms to cool off and plan our day. It happens that we've already planned our day, so I took this opportunity to blog a bit about our accommodations. I've been inside over an hour now, and am about ready to go out and float around the pool.

I missed a few spots when I applied sunscreen our first day, so now have a somewhat uneven tan. Today, since we're staying around the villa, I'll work on evening that out by applying sunscreen first only in those places I got burnt the first day, then after 10 minutes of evening-out I'll apply sunscreen everywhere and spend most of the day in the shade.

I find I get the most even tan when I'm in the shade. I guess I pick up sun from reflections, or something. Terry can spend lots of time in the sun (with sunscreen) and not burn, in fact he's got quite a tan already. While I turn beet red if I'm in direct sun for too long, even with SPF 50. But I've been "sunning" myself in the shade for enough years now I'm used to it, am satisfied when my skin turns from ghostly white to normal skin color (my version of "tan"), and when I'm just dying to enjoy lying in the hot sun I do limit myself to 10 minutes. It's usually enough for me anyway, too much heat tires me out.