So when a group of fun-loving regular visitors proposed a North Caicos pub crawl, I was happy to join in. It’s research, you know.
We started in Whitby at Big Josh McIntosh’s, a gang of seven whose numbers would increase through the day. Josh paused from fixing a plumbing problem to open the bar. Our first drop-in, Randy, said he had to work and couldn’t join us, but insisted that a proper island pub crawl needed a rallying conch horn, and lent us his. It was a ragged beginning. Lovers of the grape Vickie and Heather were disappointed that there was no wine and had to make other choices. Sharon and Tracy declared themselves no ready to drink yet and had sodas. Come on, girls, it’s after eleven already!
Stop Two, Shadow’s. It was cooler in the shade outside, but the sand flies were fierce and the Off! got passed around. Addison explained TCI politics, and of course offered no bias. Yeah, right.
Stop Three, Barracuda Beach Bar. Markie served us lickety-split, but when I looked around I saw all these heads dipped to phones, as people took advantage of the wi-fi. I rolled my eyes and asked Markie to teach me how to blow the conch. Dave joined us briefly and said he’d show up again later. Vickie offered the day’s first hiccup.
Stop Four, The Aquatic for lunch. Sasha, calm and cheerful as ever, handled the orders and cooked, directing her boss, Alpheus, to provide the drinks. Best laugh was when Vickie asked Dale, “It is up, honey?” Suuure you were talking about a Facebook post.
Stop Five, Last Chance Bar and Grill. Howard’s place was in its post-lunch/pre-dinner hiatus, but he opened for us to enjoy the pleasant deck overlooking Bottle Creek. A high point was seeing a ray swim by in the clear water below us. By now, I was getting better with the conch and it became our signal to move on. “When she blows, we go.”
Stop Six, Dar’s, aka The Pink Squeeze even though the real name is The Two Sons. While we drank we learned Dar was home but wouldn’t come up because she was cleaning fish, but Dale and I insisted on saying hello and picked our way down the rocky hill. I now understand why Dar never worried about customers invading her home … any more drinks and Dale and I would have been literally smashed on those treacherous rocks.
Stop Seven, The Princess. The group swelled with the arrival of Harold, Patti and Howie, and the return of Dave. Someone suggested starting the crawl all over. Um, no. Then it really would be a crawl!
Stop Eight, Titters and the addition of Gabi and Rachel. The notes I’d been making about the day ended, along with any good memory. There was dancing. There was hilarity. And oh my, there are pictures! Eight bars in one day are more research than I can handle, it seems.
I must also admit that it wasn’t quality research. Conch-blowing and hilarity aren’t much compatible with listening. I fear that any writing seeds blew off in the breezes. Lesson learned: Writing has always been a solitary pursuit, and spending time with lively people, though fun, isn’t going to take the place of getting beyond your comfort zone to find something worth writing.
But you never know. People of any sort are fascinating material. Maybe some day a conch-blowing, wine-drinking, early-retiring, widowed character with a penchant for politics will find its way into a story.