Where are the goats?

For the past eight years my wife Linda and I make our annual trek to our secret hideaway, St. James Club, on the island of Antigua.   We fell in love with this tropic paradise and each visit brings us back to a life that is stress free and simple.  All the trials and tribulations of our life in New Jersey seem to fade away if only for a brief time.

One of the first things that usually greets us on the short drive from the airport to our destination at Mamora Bay are the goats that seem to graze effortlessly on the banks of the winding roads.    For some reason on this drive we saw no goats.  That was really strange.   What happened to the goats?

One of the reasons we come back here every year is that it’s always as we remember it,  Beautiful beaches, wonderful friends, good food and a feeling of belonging.   The days are simple and relaxed and the evenings are even more calming.  What more can one ask for.  No hassles  or problems to deal with.

Over the years we have seen subtle  changes but none that completely changed the ambience we have always cherished.   At home life changes at a pace faster than we want.    Here at our island retreat change is not something we want or anticipate.  Although change is inevitable no matter where one resides its amazing as we age how we just want things to remain the same.

I developed a routine many years ago that fit our island life style.   I would get up about 30 minutes before sunrise to take a nice walk to the top of a mountain and watch the sun come up.  I would then head back to our villa and place two towels on lounge chairs at our favorite palapa where we would enjoy the rest if the day.   This year we brought our good friends with us so the routine was changed slightly to include four lounges and towels.

Our leisurely morning always includes fresh made coffee on our patio overlooking the beach then a leisurely stroll to a fine breakfast buffet. We then walk back to our villa to enjoy the day under our palapa on the beach without a care in the world.

Well change sometimes happens when you lease expect it.  When we arrived back at our  Palapa last week I felt as if all of the coconuts in the tree above hit me in the head.  Apparently someone wanted to stake claim to our spot so our towels and personal items where taken and dumped to the side and they moved in.   Mind you this is an exquisite island destination not the Jersey Shore.   When I asked the invaders that blatantly laid claim to our spot what they did, all I received was attitude . No remorse, no apology…..nothing.   Needless to say I was VERY UNHAPPY!

I felt the stress level climb and the blood pressure rise.   Here I am thousands of miles from home having to call security.  Remember this is supposed to be a vacation not a turf war!   Security handled the situation wisely by bringing us more chairs.   I still lost the palapa for the day. I would of preferred the squatters being banned from the island; but that was just my anger brewing.

Has change finally worked its way to this remote corner of the Caribbean?  Has the place that has served as our peace and serenity retreat for all these years gone to crap?   Has the change in towel policy contributed to this  chair stealing problem? And/or perhaps there are not enough chairs for the amount of guests visiting the resort? Maybe I’m just getting older and cranky.  Today my personal space is violated. What will be next?

Seems we weren’t the only ones this was happening to.   Many of our island friends shared similar stories.   We all come to this island resort year after year because we have been made to feel special and would never expect anything like this to happen.

After a few days we all cooled off and our island adventures calmed.  We became more alert and guarded our spaces with a bit more precision.  Now in the morning our spot was reserved with a giant blow up killer whale.  Hopefully this was a sign that said “Don’t ____ with my space” .  I think the message was received.  No more issues .

I guess nothing stays the same and change will hit us when we least expect it.  Will this change how we feel about our peaceful hideaway?  Maybe a little, but we will be back.   You never know,  sometimes things change for a reason.  Sometime change can bring about better things and every once in awhile a change can make things go back to the way they were.   These are the things that make life an adventure

On the next to the last day of our trip I was returning from my walk down the mountain and I heard a familiar sound.  I turn and looked down the road and there they were, a huge heard of goats.  I came in close for a look and for that moment I felt reassured that even with change something’s can stay the same. 


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