I had the beach all to myself or so I thought but then I heard this voice behind me. Would I like a piece of grapefruit? That’s very kind of you, thank you. She peeled the grapefruit and then each segment individually. Expecting a sharp flavour, I took a small bite and found it surprisingly refreshing in the heat. I couldn’t believe my luck, was this an apple substitute? No. She and her husband ran a restaurant and since the storm a couple of years ago which felled all the palm trees and destroyed much of the coral, there were fewer visitors to the beach (Soufriere – St Lucia) and business at the restaurant wasn’t so good. Would I like to eat there this evening and she pointed to a wooden shack behind us. Her husband would fetch me in their boat and return me to town after the meal. Of course I wanted to help a local business and I’d never arrived at a restaurant by boat before (until I led for Ramblers Worldwide Holidays walking in the Galapagos) but what if? I weighed it up and agreed to dinner.
Sipping a rum punch as the sun lowered itself into the water, it was easy to spot her husband in a small dingy with an outboard motor coming to fetch me. It was a short journey back across the bay to their ‘restaurant’. They gave me a rickety table on the verandah and I was able to look out across the bay and watch the moon on its journey across the night sky. I was the only diner that evening but even so the meal took a long time to arrive. It would obviously be freshly cooked. To go with the rum punch cocktail they produced thin slices of toasted coconut lightly salted. Delisch. I’ve added it to my repertoire. And the meal was pleasing but not memorable. I was duly delivered safely back in town where the regular tourists looked at me with a ‘What’s he been up to out there’ look on their faces.