After all the activity on Cinco de Mayo, Seis de Mayo was pretty tame. Which is not a bad thing on a Caribbean island. We again awoke to humid weather (a common thread that spanned the entire vacation), but I was intent upon visiting Magdahl Beach. It was touted for being off the beaten path (truth: we got a little lost trying to find it) and it’s rocky shores were said to offer good beachcombing (no, I did not beachcomb. I simply looked at the shells and other interesting things and left them lying where they were. Pinky swear). The one thing I failed to take into consideration was the aforementioned humidity. It was a dripper.
The husband quickly pulled up a rock in the shade. I lasted only a short time along the shore before returning to his side. I could have shaken myself like a dog fresh out of water. It didn’t take long to cross Magdahl Beach off of the list.
The western side of St. Thomas is largely residential and it’s doubtful that we would have seen that part of the island if not for the Plantation Crown & Hawk Botanical Garden. Impressive name, huh? I have no idea what it’s supposed to mean. PC&HBG is on the western side and is where we headed after leaving Magdahl Beach. Yes, I am fully aware that we had visited a botanical garden the day before. But, really, is there a such thing as too many botanical gardens? Not in my book.
PC&HBG was a fancier garden that Phantasea. And larger. And, lucky for us, high enough on a hill to allow for a delicious breeze. We wandered the well-tended paths until we decided we had seen it all. Or, enough to call it good, and then climbed back in the Jeep.
The husband suggested dropping down into Charlotte Amalie for lunch, which I hemmed and hawed about a bit until he said we should find someplace Caribbean (bitten by the roti bus was he). That sold me. I hopped on Yelp and began trolling while he drove us towards town. We lucked out on parking (I can imagine that Charlotte Amalie must be a beast during high season, or when there are multiple cruise ships in port. Somehow, we dodged the cruise ship bullet because the Friday, Saturday and Sunday we were on St. Thomas there were no ships in port) and walked down the street, around the corner and down a little alley to Gladys’ Café.
Gladys’. Allow me just a moment to return to that cool (AC), welcoming old brick building that served amazing food.
Gladys herself was behind the bar, as I understand she often is. The long, glossy wood bar top was scattered with bowls heaped with passionfruit and habanero peppers. Gladys, in addition to turning out passionfruit punch and callaloo soup, makes hot sauce, which you can purchase on-site. There were three medicine-esque bottles of various flavors on our table. Eyeing the habaneros I dripped the teeniest drop on my fork and tasted. Awoooooooga! Gladys is not kidding about her hot sauce. I tried one more with similar results and quickly threw in the towel. As our meal progressed I found my attention drawn again and again to a woman sitting at the bar (obviously a tourist…and a loud one, at that) who kept raving over the hot sauce as she added more and more to her food. I suspect she may have had a tough night.
Let’s get to the food. I ordered Caribbean lobster salad served on avocado.
The husband ordered chicken curry.
Oh, wait, first there was the callaloo soup.
I almost didn’t order it because it was a warm day and hot soup…well… However, I really wanted to try it, so ordered a cup to share with the husband. Ohhhhh…..callaloo soup. How I love thee…. Ms. Gladys’ callalloo had okra and spinach and some kind of lentil and some other stuff in a rich turkey-based broth. I would have crawled into the bowl if possible. The lobster salad was really good, too. Not overdressed and perfectly paired with the creamy avocado (big avo…not those puny ones they sell ‘round here). The husband’s chicken curry was also swoon-worthy. Bone-in. Served with peas-n-rice, mac-n-cheese and “provisions” (cooked slices of starches like sweet potato). He was in starchy heaven.
After a most enjoyable lunch we wandered about a bit more and struggled to be impressed. Charlotte Amalie is likely a cruisers paradise. There is an entire street. Both sides. As far as the eye can see. Filled with jewelry stores. I get it. Duty free. No tax. But, that’s a lot of jewelry stores when one is not shopping for jewelry. We didn’t stay for long. Partly due to lack of interest, partly due to running out of time in our parking spot, partly because….dang! we were hot and it was past beach time!
Our beach for the day? Sapphire. Located just a hop-skip down the road from our condo. The snorkeling was decent. The beach was nice.
Unfortunately, all of the immediate facilities were closed, but we kept seeing people show up on the beach with cups of tropical delights. We watched a bit and then traipsed between a couple of buildings to discover a little bar offering what we needed: lime n’ da coconut and a painkiller. After we’d had our fill of the beach we headed back to the condo for some pool time and a relaxing evening.