January - February - March 2018
|Nicolle (our hostess), Patrick, Luci (sv Illusions) and Tom|
There is a cute, young ex-pat couple raising their daughter in Bequia and trying to make a living so they can stay year round. Nicolle and Nate have come up with some unique ways to generate some income, help the community while having fun.
|Nate (our host)|
They are doing Rum Shop Tours. They organize and set up transportation as well as host.
Each Rum Shop Tour focuses on a certain area of Bequia. NOT the touristy waterfront that we all know or even the rum shops in town but areas many cruisers never travel to.
|George, Sabrina and Tom - name of the bar? Bar.|
BTW - Rum Shop Tours are really just a great way to see and learn about other parts of Bequia, as well as meet and interact with locals, other cruisers and ex-pats. You are not required to drink rum. In fact you don't have to drink at all. We drank beer. Others drank rum and or Coke or water. Whatever.
|Some were literally shacks|
The first Rum Shop Tour - we went on was to the south side of Bequia, near the airport. We met in town at the Rendezvous Bar. We piled into a school bus that actually was still picking up and dropping off a few students. Nicolle passed around a bottle of homemade Sorrel rum, which was really yummy to get us all in the mood. The bus was playing some jammin' Caribbean tunes. It turned out to be Christian Rock. Not the sort of music I thought we would have on a Rum Shop Tour but hey, whatever. "What would Jesus listen to on the way to the rum shop?" WWJLRS t-shirts? I know, needs work. We had to hike up a very steep hill to go to the first Rum Shop because the bus could not make it up there. We had a drink there and took in the fabulous view. Then we walked to the other Rum Shops.
|Kurt (sv Imagine) and Patrick (sv Illusions) checking the bingo cards|
The highlight was Toko's Bar. We liked it so much, we went back several weeks later. We also learned on this tour that there is a lobster processing plant (gift of the Japanese Government - roll eyes). We went back a couple of weeks later to buy lobster there and got a tour by the plant manager. The Rum Shop Tour ended back in town. We hung out a little longer with Nicolle and Nate at the weekly street party. Fun time.
|George (sv Wild Cat), Patrick (sv llusions) and Nicolle (hostess)|
|George at Miranda's - who knew?|
One of the stops was Miranda's Laundry. Nearly all the cruisers use Miranda's Laundry for laundry service but NO ONE knew she also has a bar on site. Her brother runs the bar and plays the music. It is a tiny place in front of her house and next to the laundry but it works. It was so fun, we went back again a couple of weeks later on a rainy Friday night. Oh, and on this Rum Shop Tour, we had homemade bingo cards to find Bequia things - A mango tree, a goat, Eli, Rachel, a washing machine, etc.....a fun way to "discover" more about Bequia.
|The gang with Eli - he gave us all loofah's and bundles of fresh herbs|
The third Rum Shop Tour -was in Lower Bay. We again met in town and bused down there. Once again, these were small, lesser known places (especially to us cruisers). One, Maria's, we planned to go back to for lunch at a later date but sadly never made it there.
|One of the Lower Bay Rum Shops|
The last Rum Shop we stopped at was run by a beautiful local woman and her mother. In the off season she is a backup singer for two different bands and travels the world. I noticed her signing to a local sitting at the bar. It turns out that is her cousin who is deaf. She learned sign language as a child so her cousin would have someone to talk to. She told us a funny story of seeing a group signing on the subway in Munich while on tour. They didn't think anyone knew sign language but them. She surprised them all by jumping in to sign them directions and remind them that they are in public and you never know who can see what they are saying. We all laughed. Such an interesting woman.
|Run by the backup singer|
|Backup singer, Nate and her cousin|
Some of us carried on to Keegan's in Lower Bay for the Full Moon party. We had dinner and then went down on the beach to the bonfire. It was all good until the wind picked up and tiny embers started blowing around and in some cases, on us. Poor, uber polite and proper English cruiser Mike didn't know what to do or say when an ember landed on my chest. "Um....oh...Sabrina.....um, yes, right.....you have a amber, um... just there.....on your....well.....oh my, um....just there." as he started to brush it off but then hesitated, then tried again, then hesitated....all the while as it sat burning on my boob without my knowledge. You probably had to be there for it but it was SO funny. Luckily it was tiny so no injury or damage.
|Bennett and Susan (sv Praqutic) Cindy and Rob (sv Aaventura)|
|"It is ok for you to touch another woman's boob's if she's on fire - Sandy explains to Mike|
As I said above, the Rum Shop Tours are not really about rum but about seeing new places and meeting new and interesting people. Nicolle and Nate are fabulous hosts herding us all around and sharing their adopted island in this unique way. $20 EC each is their fee. More than fair. As word spread, more and more cruisers and land people visiting on holiday joined in. Right after we left, there was another Rum Shop Tour. Supposedly 58 people went - two buses. WOW! They had one yesterday as well.
|My favorite chair at Toko's|