A funny thing happened on the way to the grocery store….
Even though we’ve been released from quarantine, we do still have things here that need our attention. On our first morning of “freedom”, we put on our walking shoes and went out to the wilderness. The wilderness is an undeveloped area with a dirt road grid (of sorts). The areas between the roads are made up of canals, mangroves and swampy areas. The wilderness is connected to the North Sound and functions as a nursery for baby fish and other saltwater animals. One year we saw hundreds and hundreds of jellyfish in the shallows alongside the dirt roads.
This is a typical road back there:
It takes awhile to learn your way around in the wilderness. We were originally guided through it and learned our way around it with our condo friends Ann and David. Through them, we also learned about a few “secret spots” back there.
Most people might walk right by this side path….
Those who’ve been shown…and maybe those who stumble across it… will find this surprise a short stroll down the trail:
There is a large dock (it goes further to the left in this picture) overlooking a big saltwater pond. No one seems to know who built it and why…but there was a time when the government was trying to establish a National Park in this area. Most of the wilderness is privately owned, but not developed yet. There are some pockets of government owned land, so we can hope that some of that will be preserved when “progress” arrives -which it will.
We took a bit of a shortcut this day because it was our first time getting out there. As we looped around and were heading back toward our condo complex – we could see the water off to the side here and there on the road called Sand Road. These spots are used by locals to park in and enjoy the view, or sometimes get chairs out and sit on the beach.
We didn’t switch over to walking the beach as we tend to keep to the roads on our morning walks. Walking in sand takes a lot more energy when wearing shoes -and this isn’t an area where we’d want to walk barefoot very far. The beach through there is nice -but a lot of flotsam and jetsam gets washed up on it and isn’t cleaned like our condo beach is.
Mike’s tradition after our morning walks is to go straight to the pool and jump in. This time of year I think the pool is too cold to use, but he doesn’t seem to care. He swims for a short while and then gets out and sits in the sun until he’s dry. I usually keep him company for a while (depending on if I swim or not) and then go inside.
While he was still drying, I wandered off to see if I could find George (our “superman” on the property) to say hello. On the way to his work-shed, I took a picture of our balcony from the “other side”. After two weeks spent up there, it was fun to see it from the outside looking in!
This tree is growing right outside our living room windows. I think it looks really cool.
After breakfast and showers, the next thing on our list was a visit to the grocery store. As it turns out, our car’s license/registration had expired about 10 days ago. In order to renew the registration, you have to have the car inspected -either at the government facility which is across the island from us or at an approved auto shop. The first year we had the car inspected, we drove halfway around the island to the government facility and got lucky to not be in a very very, very long line. After doing that, we found out that Andy’s Car Rental has a repair shop for their rental cars, but also does repairs for the general public. It is only a couple of miles from us and they are an approved auto shop for inspections. We had them do the inspection last year for us.
So as we were getting into our car to head to the grocery store, we decided we should go by way of Andy’s and see what days they inspect for licenses…(we think it’s only done on certain days of the week) and also talk to them about a few issues we’d noticed with the car. We expected our stop there to be brief and that we’d need to make an appointment to go back another day.
They said they could take us “now”. We ended up sitting there for around two hours while various issues were addressed. We had asked for an oil change -and as is always our luck- they didn’t have the right oil filter in stock and had to send someone to the NAPA auto parts for one. Of course NAPA didn’t have one either. (That’s the first place we went when we needed a car battery -if you remember that story where we started at NAPA and got our battery four stops later!) They found one somewhere, but from Andy’s to NAPA is easily a 20 minute drive one way… so we waited awhile.
They finally got everything done. Our car passed inspection -yay! So we were finally off to the grocery store. After we checked out there and took our groceries to the car, we were both feeling a bit sorry for ourselves because other than our walk in the morning -our day had been sort of wasted. We agreed that the only way to redeem the day was to rush back to the condo, put our groceries away and head straight to XQ Pizza for their happy hour pizza. That made everything better!
I’d make a terrible instagram-er type person because I am sometimes so busy being in the moment, I forget about the pictures I might want to have for the blog -especially food pictures. After we’d placed our pizza order, Mike noticed that XQ had a crab cake appetizer on special – and he loves crab cakes. He has his preferred restaurants for them, but will try them almost anywhere. This crab cake was plated with a “smear” (I think that’s the right cooking term?) of remoulade to the side, but it also had some lagniappe that Mike has never seen before on a crab cake. (Lagniappe is a southern word for “something extra”. Like if you order twelve donuts and get a baker’s dozen -13- that’s lagniappe). The crab cake came with a spoonful of mint/coconut sorbet on it. Mike said that he’d been a bit skeptical about the idea of putting sorbet on a crab cake…but that it was absolutely delicious. The crab cake at XQ’s is now rated as the best one he’s ever had. He told the bartender that whoever thought up putting sorbet on a crab cake was a genius!
I finally remembered to get a picture just before his last bite. The lighting wasn’t the best:
Our pizza was also delicious. As you arrive at the restaurant, which is upstairs in a nondescript building that houses a liquor store on the ground level, you walk right by their brick pizza oven. It is a small, somewhat overlooked place, but the pizzas are great. Here is the picture of our pizza at the point when I remembered a picture might be nice. Ha!
Our moods were greatly improved as we headed for the car and made our way back to the condo!
I had seen on line earlier in the day that the moon that evening was the official “Wolf Moon” for January. It was bigger and very orange-y compared to the night before. I tried to take pictures again with mixed results.
On Friday (day 2 of freedom), it was super windy when we woke up and it looked like it might rain at any minute. That’s my sign to stay in bed and snooze some more. Mike told me it wasn’t going to rain and that he was going to go out and do some running and see how far he could go. And off he went.
My goal for the day was to get our car licensed. The Caymans’ system for this is that all pertinent paperwork relating to your car is stapled into a folder called the “log book”. Everyone has to keep the log book in their glove box. The log book has the registration info, the insurance info and other paperwork relating to the car. Registering can be done on line and I thought I would take care of it that way, but I wasn’t sure I had the proper paperwork from the car repair shop to scan to send it on-line. We needed the car registered “today”… so I jumped in the car to do it in person at the nearby satellite office for the Cayman version of the DMV.
Why is it that DMVs around the world all seem to have the same operating procedures??? The office is tiny. They had 12 chairs in there for people who were waiting for service -and one person working. My number was #39 and they were working on #32 when I got there. I was there for well over an hour. Once my number was up -the deed was done pretty fast. So that’s one more thing crossed off the list -and we’re no longer scofflaws driving our unregistered car around! However, correctly doing “instant math” to convert miles (speed limit signs are posted in miles here) to kilometers (our car is from Japan -so the speedometer shows kilometers) while driving around is another story!