A Weekend in the British Virgin Islands

We’ve been in BVI less than 3 hours and my husband announces that we’ve exhausted Tortola and it’s time we return to our Hotel – Lambert Beach Resort. The car almost gives up on the ‘hill’ approaching the resort – and each journey requires one of us to ‘floor it’ to make sure we don’t roll backwards. Whilst the studio is basic it’s spills out onto the stunning Elizabeth Beach and as it’s low season, I suspect we’re the only ones here. When I wake up at 3am – worried about how close the waves sound, tsunamis and if I’m going to loose the flip-flops I left by the door, I decide to take a solitary walk on the moonlight beach. As I walk my mind is calm and for the first time in a while I’m lost to silence. The following day, my husband tells me BVI is like a Utopian car pool, as the queue of cars stop to pick up hitch hikers. You don’t even need a car, I say. He mumbles something like it’s closer to an unlicensed taxi service. We’re not picking up hitch hikers, he tells me. Not at all, so don’t even think about it. By the time we leave 3 days later, we’ve given rides to: a pastor; a farmer and his chicken; a doctor on call; a funeral party; the captain of a yacht; and lastly Kevin. Kevin is in 6th grade he tells us as soon as he opens the car door. As though he’s just made some right of passage but found himself stuck with two English people. Right, I say. How was school today? He looks at me as though his oxygen intake is more valuable than a response. The Virgin Islands were first settled by the Arawak from South America around 100BC, he says. Fascinating, I say. We share a queen, I say but, Kevin quickly interjects with and a judicial and legal system. Is that right? I say, more aimed at my husband. Kevin then proceeds to give us an encyclopaedic recital of the history of the islands and then fires Magnus Magnassun type questions at us ranging from the Scottish Referendum and it’s constitutional implications for the UK, to the economic effects of tube strikes on the British economy. By the time we drop him off (miles out of our way and half way up a mountain dirt track built for a 4×4 not our feeble Toyota saloon) I feel like I’ve just failed my citizenship test. Until we meet again he tells me in Italian. You’ve got to be shitting me, I mumble to myself. My husband responds in what is actually Latin and Kevin extends his hand through the window and exchanges a firm hand shake. Kevin looks at me, then nods sympathetically at my husband. Floor it, I tell my husband, and don’t even think of picking anyone else up.

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