Welcome! Tally ho!

Our B.V.I. Adventure is designed to give our family, friends and any other interested followers a look into the life of two expatriates making their way on the island of Tortola. Tortola is the largest island in the British Virgin Islands.

So, why did we move 2,000 miles away from our home in Knoxville, Tennessee? Michael accepted a position as the director of retail and international sales for a Caribbean clothing brand.



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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 145: It's That Time Again...

...for haircuts, BVI-style!

Laura came over Wednesday night to give us our haircuts - I can't believe this was only her second visit in 145 days! By the look of Michael's cape it was badly needed - not just because his hair had become unmanageable - but because Charles had started to lecture him daily about how horribly the long-haired hippies had treated him when he returned from Vietnam.

Laura did a great job and to make sure, Milly kept close watch. She stood right there underneath the chair the entire time!

One of the great things about getting your hair cut at home is being able to go about your routine...
I made gumbo and after Laura was finished, she joined us for a bowl. Being from the UK and not having traveled Louisiana before, she had never had gumbo. She said she liked it! And we liked our haircuts, so it was all good!
Sunday, April 25, 2010

Signage Sunday

This week's Signage Sunday isn't coming from the island of Tortola - nor is it coming from the coast of Texas as it would have you believe. 

This sign is located on nearby St. John, part of the USVI!  That's right - JJ's, Texas Coast Cafe is on the coast of St. John - it makes perfect sense if you think about it...  Okay, I just thought about it again and I'm still at a loss.  According to TripAdvisor, they have a great breakfast, kind of like Texas, so that's a good thing! 

Michael and I went to St. John on Day 125 (last Saturday).  We grabbed lunch at High Tide.  It was delicious!  Check out Michael's fish tacos, with a side of Blackberry, of course:

While my mahi mahi sliders were wonderful, I was in the mood for crab, after these two crustaceans welcomed us at the ferry dock as we arrived in St. John:

We thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon on St. John.  We also ran into some of our long lost friends over there.  Kate was there, as was Lilly, Shep, Ian, Milly and who can forget Smathers and Branson?  If you're a shopaholic like me, you've probably figured out that these "friends" we ran into were in the form of clothing brands.  (Kate Spade, Lilly Pulitzer, Shep & Ian of Vineyard Vines, etc...)  We were in heaven at an adorable boutique called Nell!

It was a great trip and a reasonable ferry ride - only 25 minutes from West End.
Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to Charles!

Friday night at the pub was no ordinary night!  It was Charles' birthday!   

We had such a great time!  That's Davide on the left - he and his wife founded Brandywine Bay, a beautiful restaurant here on Tortola.  Michael and I are ashamed to admit that our first time at this gem of a restaurant was just a few weeks ago.  It's delightful!

Charles was in great spirits and friends stopped by through out the night to wish him "Happy Birthday!" and share a rum swizzle, a West Indian cocktail. 
A few rum swizzles later and we were dancing (think Charleston-esque moves) to some jazz music on the iPod!  What fun!  Happy Birthday Charlie T! 
Sunday, April 18, 2010

Signage Sunday

This week's Signage Sunday is brought to you by the BVI Nurses Association: 

While HIV and AIDS are no laughing matter - definitely not as funny as infants playing with champagne flutes - this sign is one that 100% of our guests notice and comment on...particularly the letter "c".  So, for those of you who've yet to visit, I thought you might want to see it too!   
Friday, April 16, 2010

Day 124: Meeting the Pilots of the Caribbean

Friday nights at the pub are usually pretty predictable - a whole lot of fun, but expected-fun if that makes sense.  You know, the regular crowd shuffles in, to borrow a line from Billy Joel.

Well on day 124, we went to the pub to see some people we'd never met before.  And not just anybody, these people happen to be from my hometown, Orange Park, Florida!  We quickly found out that is not the only thing we have in common...

If this were a blind date, you could say that my dad set us up.  He and Bob (top right) are golfing buddies.  They're both graduates of the U.S. Naval Academy as well. Bob and his wife Jenise (bottom left) are chartering a boat here in the BVI with some friends over the next week.  {That's Pam and Hershel next to Jenise - they live in Orlando, Florida.}

We had an absolute blast together!  Charles enjoyed having some Navy pilots in the pub with whom to swap stories.  We had some stories of our own to swap...

Not only did we have the Orange Park connection, Bob and Jenise's two sons went to St. Johns Country Day School, just like me and my sister, Whitney.  I can't believe my dad and Bob never put that together!  We were all about four years apart from one another, so I guess I can see how it was overlooked.

Bob and Jenise actually figured it out just a few days before their trip.  They received their edition of the FYI alumni magazine for St. Johns and guess who's on the cover???   

They were kind enough to bring a hard copy to show us.  I had been told by family and friends that we had made the cover, but I had no idea just how much of it we occupied!  ALL of it!  Ha!

Here's the article on the inside - my sister is featured too!

Okay, back to the pub...
It was so great to be with people from home - Pam and Hershel's daughter is actually a student at the University of Florida, my alma mater, so a few "Go Gators!" had to be exchanged!  Not too many though because Auburn and Tennessee were also represented at the table.  At least it's all in the SEC!

What a great night!  And to the "Pilots of the Caribbean" - their group name for the sail through the BVI - thank you for such a fun night!  It was wonderful meeting you and we hope to see you soon.  Fair winds!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Exit Survey: Michael's Parents, Sharon & Dennis

Sharon and Dennis were so kind to escort Michael's grandparents to the BVI for the trip of a lifetime.  We think they had as much fun as anybody...Check it out!

Of the five Pusser's locations, which ones did you visit on your trip?
Answer(s): Road Town Pub, Marina Cay

True or False: By the end of your trip, you were used to seeing cars drive on the left side of the road.
Answer:  Absolutely NOT!!!  Weird, weird weird!!!
I guess that's a "false" then?  :)

How often did YOU use the phrase "back in the states"? 
A) hardly
B) a few times
C) at least once a day
D) at least as much as Amelia and Michael
Answer: C) At least once a day!  I actually said it FOR Amelia and Michael!

Favorite restaurant experience on the island?
Answer: The very best was Amelia's kitchen!!! A close second was Pusser's Road Town Pub! Air conditioning was a plus!

What was the strangest thing you saw on the island?
Answer(s):  Memaw crossing over two boats to climb onto Willie T's so she could jump off and get a tattoo!  HA!  Other strange sightings included: the cat under my chair at The Last Resort. I think we saw a dog and a chicken too.

What was your favorite BVI experience?
Answer:  We absolutely loved snorkeling The Indians and of course the Spring Regatta where we danced to Mustang Sally!

I think their time at Smuggler's Cove had to rank pretty high up there too - check out this group shot:

Sharon and Dennis, thanks for such an amazing time!  We sincerely hope you'll be back this summer. 
Love you!

Exit Survey: Memaw & Pepaw

We had such a wonderful visit with Michael's grandparents. This was their first trip to the Caribbean and from their answers in the exit survey, I think they enjoyed their time! 

Now to the questions and answers...

What surprised you most about your time in the BVI?
Answer(s):  We just couldn't believe the view from Amelia and Michael's house.  

What was the name of the gynormous hot dog, served at the Pusser's tent in the Regatta Village at Nanny Cay?
A) the big dog
B) the fried masterpiece
C) the great dog
D) don't remember, but it was gooooooooooood!
Answer: C) the great dog
They are correct and here's a photo to prove how "great" it is:

Approximately how many cruise ships did you see go by Amelia and Michael's house during your stay?
Answer:  At least 10 cruise ships and some really nice sailboats

Here's proof!

What was your favorite BVI experience?
Answer:  Drinking bushwackers {see below} especially the Brazilian bushwackers at Willie T's!  HA!  We loved it all - the mountains, The Last Resort, meeting Charles at the pub, and seeing the Michael Beans show on top of Marina Cay.

Memaw and Pepaw, we loved having you here - I know we packed a lot into your BVI Adventure! 
Thanks for making it down here.  We hope you come back soon!!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Somewhere Over the Rainbow...

Isn't this a beautiful rainbow?  It showed itself over the west end of Tortola last week...we were poolside at Long Bay Beach Resort with Michael's parents and grandparents. 

Here are some additional shots...

{I spot a Pusser's t-shirt on the guy in the bottom left!}

Don't they just make you smile?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New Series: Signage Sunday

We're starting a new series here on Our B.V.I. Adventure called Signage Sunday.  We see so many beautiful things here in the British Virgin Islands... If you've been following our adventure so far, you've seen the beautiful beaches, magnificent sunsets, and impressive sailboats, just to name a few.  Well, this series has nothing to do with those things. 

Signage Sundays will give you a peek at some of the crazy signs around here.  From street signs, billboards, advertisements, Signage Sunday doesn't discriminate, more like derides.

Michael and I were on our way to brunch at Tamarind Club this morning, when we passed a sign for a children's clothing and toy store.  Something caught my eye, so I asked Michael to throw the car in reverse.  Sure enough, what I thought I saw was in fact on the sign...do you see it? 

The cute baby playing with the colorful blocks and champagne flutes?  Seriously?  If you're a parent, I'm sure when you went shopping for your baby's car seat you picked up some crystal too.  Grab some greeting cards and perfume while you're at it!

Unfortunately, the inclusion of the photo of champagne flutes isn't the only thing amiss on this sign...notice the puncuation of DJ's for example.  The apostrophe is misplaced and gift shop is now one word.  I also love the fact that "Infant - Teen" wasn't enough of an explanation, that "New Born - 14 Yrs old" was needed as well.

This week's Signage Sunday is really a two-fer.  Check out the black and white sign below the one for DJ's. 
My favorite part about this sign is the lack of key information.  Unless DJ's is also offering credit support, the name of the company is not on the sign, nor is the phone number to call when in need of such support!  (There is a shopping center behind this sign where we think this credit institution is based, but it's not all that obvious, is it?)

So what do you think?  Should Signage Sundays become a fixture on the blog? 
Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 112: Easter Sunday

Some of the ladies who work in Pusser's Company Store in Road Town also sing in the choir at The Church of God of Prophecy in Huntum's Ghut.  We accepted their kind invitation to attend their church for Easter services. 

The service started at 10:30 a.m.  The lady you see there in the above photo welcomed us and took us to a reserved row of seats. You see, Michael's father was a pastor and an overseer in the Church of God of Prophecy before starting Grace Community Church in 1990.  The ladies were very excited to meet him and made every attempt to make us all feel at home. 

The service included an energetic and spirted hour-long praise session and a lyrical dance (above).  We sang songs from the hymnal, contemporary songs, and even a new one that the ardent leader taught us on the spot.  The church has a full band, complete with drums, guitar, bass, keys, and a choir of tamborines!  That's right - many of the church members bring their own tambourines and when the spirit moves them they shake and clap that tambourine as they move up and down the aisles.  Y'all know I've never met a tambourine I didn't like!  I thought  to myself, "Now, I can get behind this!" 

The preacher, referred to by members of the congregation as "Bishop", delivered a powerful message.  We were then introduced to the church as guests - they had us stand to be recognized. 

Three hours later, we emerged!  They even gave us parting gifts: a bottle of sparkling cider, a daily devotional and some candies. 

Happy Resurrection Day!
Saturday, April 3, 2010

Day 111: Memaw & Pepaw Do Willie T's

There's a boat in the Bight
Where it's crazy all night
It's the infamous bar, Willy T
Watch out for your daughter
She'll jump in the water
Without a stitch on!  You'll see!
- Julian Putley

This one is for the history books...

We rented the Contender from Island Time on Saturday and headed out to Jost Van Dyke.  We had been warned that the waters were choppy on the other side of the island, but we wanted to see for ourselves.  They were right!  Michael turned the boat around and we headed back to the much calmer Sir Francis Drake Channel. 

We stopped off at Norman Island and enjoyed a nice lunch at Pirate's Bight.

Then we headed over to Willie T - I'm not sure what we were thinking...I warned Memaw and Pepaw that we might bear witness to some lewd and lacivious behavior.  And sure enough, as soon as we pulled up, Willie T lived up to its reputation...remember the clothing optional part??? 

Here's a G-rated jump:

In spite of the crazy ladies jumping from the boat and William Thorton's numerous attempts to give Memaw a temporary tattoo, we had a good time.  Our last stop was the Indians.  We had been here before, but hadn't been able to snorkel because of the weather.  It was unbelievable!!!

I will have to get an underwater camera to show you what it looks like under there!!!  Or better yet, come on down and see for yourself!!!  It's absolutely stunning!!!
Friday, April 2, 2010

The Band

Our friend Adam is an amazing guitarist and he sings too - I've blogged about the private concerts he's given us before, but he's gone public!  Adam and Pier started playing each Sunday at the Tamarind Club.  Pier is a muscian in his own right - playing with one of the most popular bands on the island, The Edge. 

Adam and Pier invited Michael to join them on the drums.  (He played a few songs with the band at The Last Resort a few weeks ago, so he wasn't too rusty.)

On day 105, the newly formed band took their place in the corner of the Tamarind Club.  Tamarind is a really special place - it's a boutique hotel and restaurant.  They're known for their amazing Sunday brunch, refreshing pool and swim-up bar.

They did a great job, considering they played without one single rehearsal!  Let me clarify, Adam and Pier have rehearsed quite a bit; Michael went in cold, bless his heart.  He held his own though - I was really impressed!

There's only one problem...the band doesn't have a name.  There are a few different ones in the running, maybe you can help them out and vote for your favorite name.  (See the top left of the blog to cast your vote.) 

Shopping Island-Style: Expect the Unexpected!

So I'm walking through one of our local grocery stores, that has Wal-Mart leanings when I stumble upon this:

Golden chicken feet protruding from one of the shelves!  I just had to see what was on the other end.  Can you blame me?  It turns out it's a Thanksgiving-inspired wall clock!  Haven't seen this type of decor since our first (and last) shopping experience at  the Island Department Store.

This particular store also caters to the Nadya Suleman's of the BVI with Cheerio tupperware sold by the dozens!  Okay, okay, the ones to the right ar sold individually but still - I thought it was funny!
And last but not least, if you're having a bad hair day and need a new do, they've got that too!  Take that Wal-Mart!

To redeem itself, this particular store does carry a wonderful selection of fresh produce and in the beauty aisle they even have Revlon products! 
Thursday, April 1, 2010

Day 109: Regatta Village and more

Before hitting the beach, Michael met us for lunch at where else?  But Pusser's Pub in Roadtown! 

We enjoyed a delicious lunch of fish and chips, jerk chicken and mahi mahi sandwiches (or as Pepaw calls them Maui Maui, or better yet, dolphin dolphin sandwiches!)   Our next stop was Nanny Cay, where the Regatta was well underway. 

We stayed into the evening and watched the sailing teams return to the marina, listened to the live music and tasted the offerings of the food vendors...