A Travellerspoint blog

A night at the watering hole

A little bit of SA on our island

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PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN

PROUDLY SOUTH AFRICAN

As you may have guessed from our first blog, “the great trek”, BVI is really far away from South Africa and quite different in many ways! So needless to say we’re a little homesick! We’ve met a couple of “SAFFAS” on the island and every time we hear a South African accent we get quite excited.

So imagine our delight when we found out about a South African bar called “the Watering Hole”.

THE WATERING HOLE AT NIGHT

THE WATERING HOLE AT NIGHT

Yes, even on a tiny island miles and miles away from home, South Africa is represented! We tried it out last night and were not disappointed! We invited some of our new mates and introduced some pommies, Americans and even a Mexican to our home drinks. They serve lots of “Proudly South African” drinks including Savannah’s, Castle’s and South African wine.

A TASTE OF HOME

A TASTE OF HOME

It’s such a great little place and what is even better is that just next to the bar there is a shop that sells South African products. We utilized our lunch break today to go and check out the shop (yes, we actually take our lunch breaks here, unlike at home!). The shop was filled with South African goodies – Ina Parmin sauces, All Gold Tomato sauce, Mrs Ball’s, Nestle chocs, Brutal fruits, Ouma rusks etc etc – everything you guys at home take for granted!! The shop was obviously quite pricey – a chomp costs the equivalent of R7 (when you can get them for R2 at home). So we didn’t splurge on any home delicacies as yet but are sure to succumb one of these days.

THE SOUTH AFRICAN STORE

THE SOUTH AFRICAN STORE

Posted by Tashley 09:39 Archived in British Virgin Islands Comments (0)

Work Life versus Night Life

The office here is slightly different to that of JHB. Coming from an office in an estate with actual animals as well as approximately 1000 people, BVI’s office is a small two storey house with a total of 15 in audit. Everyone here has a pre-assigned desk and the laptops are left at work unless you need to take them home (like we will do for Facebook and Skype). No Facebook at work unless you want to use the public computer which resides outside the Managing Partner’s office….guess we’ll leave our Facebook antics until home time. We have been told that during the busy season we will work late nights, most weekends and public holidays. Upon quering when the busy season is, we were told February until July…and here we were thinking the work couldn’t possibly be worse than JHB.

The night life here is quite booming for the BVI. There are lots of pubs and even 2 clubs! On Friday, we went bowling with a bunch of work mates which was fun.
Bowling

Bowling

Tash attempting a strike

Tash attempting a strike

Ash attempting a strike

Ash attempting a strike

We then proceeded to a bar called “The Dove” for some delicious champagne cocktails. It is a small island and everyone seems to know everyone so we get to meet quite a lot of the other ex pats residing here.
The Dove

The Dove


After the Dove, we walked along to one of the Clubs, Le Grand Café. When I say club, I mean it has a hut which serves as the bar and a concrete slab on which to dance. It is right next to the road so when it gets full, which it was on Friday, the “limers” (jollers) filter out onto the grass by the road. Was good fun as finally we found a place that plays English tunes and they were even recent! Had a few dances and some more drinks until the alcohol started catching up with us and we headed home.

Tashley on first night out

Tashley on first night out

Posted by Tashley 07:37 Comments (0)

Our First Proper Scuba Dive

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SCUBA DIVING

SCUBA DIVING

A bit of background to start….. We did our scuba certification just before we left for BVI. Our qualifying dives were done in Bass Lake (just outside of Joburg) where the visibility is nonexistent, the water is brown and we saw only one mutant fish over 3 dives. The weather was horrible and Ash had to go up early as she was too cold to continue! So lets just say it wasn’t the dream start to our scuba career.

On our first weekend in BVi, one of the guys from the office – Dany, invited us to go scuba with him. So we got up at 7 on Sunday (neither of us enjoyed that bit) and met him at the office and then followed him to the scuba place. Our boat was scheduled to leave at 08:30 but that meant we left at 09:30 (BVI time is pretty similar to African time in that no one is ever on time!!).
ASH AND HER MINI WETSUIT

ASH AND HER MINI WETSUIT

We travelled by boat to our first dive spot – Soldier Bay by Norman Island. The weather was gorgeous (resulting in both of us returning home quite burnt) and the water was so clear we could see the bottom from the boat. Quite a change from Bass Lake!! We were diving with a family from Niagra Falls, 2 guys from New York (such cool accents) and Dany (he’s from Lebanon). So quite a mixed bunch!
ASH AND DANY BEFORE THE DIVE

ASH AND DANY BEFORE THE DIVE

First dive saw our first backward roll from the boat – this feels really cool and we managed to not make fools of ourselves in front of the more experienced divers. Once under we were truly in a different world! The visibility was amazing and the fish and coral were vibrant and colourful. We saw a juvenile turtle (so stoked as we were very keen to see turtles), lobster, lots of tarpin (a large silver fish that looks kind of prehistoric) and loads of smaller fish in a variety of colours. It really was a surreal experience to be part of the underwater world for a while – dreams of being a mermaid finally came true!
TASH DOING A BACKWARD ROLL

TASH DOING A BACKWARD ROLL

Our second dive was at a spot called Black Forrest (a 10 minute boattrip away), it was just as awesome as our first dive (though no more turtles unfortunately!) and we managed to stay under for longer as we learn to use less air underwater (although Ash was affectionately given the nickname “Air Monster” as she consumed much faster…nerves) . After the dive there were refreshing beers waiting for us on the boat and even though neither of us drink beers they tasted delicious!!
WITH OUR INSTRUCTOR

WITH OUR INSTRUCTOR

We returned home happy, sunburnt and really stoked we didn’t see any sharks!
This is how diving should be done!

Posted by Tashley 05:28 Archived in British Virgin Islands Comments (0)

A little bit about BVI thus far...

As I am sure you can see from the photos, it looks just like paradise. Go into town and this paints a slightly different picture. It is actually quite built up for a small Caribbean island, i.e. quite a few 3 storey buildings aka “skyscrapers”. There is also a highway here…a double laned road…I kid you not. The island is also host to 2 robots and one roundabout. Although these, along with stop signs and the like, are merely suggestions and no-one seems to oblige to them here. There are lots of varying aspects of the island from parts that look like the Bronx to the white sandy beaches. The food here is quite different…mostly all frozen goods so the dinner ideas are hard to come by. Eating out is very pricey and generally the same thing in most places so we are being quite diligent and being mini Nigella Lawsons. The booze here flows as freely as the water and is not badly priced considering the price of food. For example, a bottle of wine here was only $1 more than our bottle of milk…cocktails for breakfast? Thinking we come from a drinking country, we were proved wrong quite quickly upon watching our first drink being poured. No measuring allowed – the alcohol is poured into the cup until it reaches AT LEAST ¾ or more and then the remaining space after the ice is topped up with your mix. We ordered a pitcher of rum punch the other day and they brought us a gallon of the stuff and boy is it legal…not sure how much a gallon is in litres but see below…
DSC04267.jpg

We learnt quickly that pacing yourself is necessary and that the stomach needs to be properly lined before “liming”, a Caribbean expression for “going out”.
The weather here is super hot and humid! Definitely need to have loads of dips in the ocean! The locals, however, wear jerseys and long pants and complain about how cold it is – insane!
One thing we quickly learnt was “BVI time”. Basically, if you want people to arrive at 6, you invite them for 4. Nothing runs on time and patience definitely needs to be exercised!

Posted by Tashley 05:11 Comments (0)

A note on the wildlife in Tortola

(Tortola is the island we live on)

There are two species of “wildlife” here that try their best to ensure that we do not settle in well on this island – Roosters and Mosquitoes!

TORTOLA'S ALARM CLOCKS

TORTOLA'S ALARM CLOCKS


The streets are filled with the sleep-depriving roosters who roam around like they own the place – they are everywhere and they crow all day, beginning as early as 3am! Our sleep is often interrupted by these little pests and although we both consider ourselves to be animal lovers we often dream about performing some hit and runs to lower the population! The locals refer to them as “Tortola’s Alarm clocks” and assure us that we’ll get used to it. A week into our stay and this has still not happened! At least they ensure that we’re not late for work!

NEXT WEEKS DINNER!!

NEXT WEEKS DINNER!!

The mosquitoes are also adding to our sleep disruption – we are covered in bites even though we sleep with fans on and have those machines you can plug into the wall to keep them away. It’s really not pleasant (especially when you’re sunburnt and have been bitten! The locals assure us we won’t get used to them, sigh….

The birds here are pretty cool – there are lots seagulls and pelicans in the sea that dive in to catch fish and then sit with their heads in the water looking for more. Quite scary sometimes as they dive quite close to you when you’re swimming!

Other than that we’ve seen a goat, some more chickens and although we haven’t seen them we’re convinced we have rats in our roof! Not really in the same league as the big 5!!

POTENTIAL HIT AND RUN VICTIM

POTENTIAL HIT AND RUN VICTIM

Posted by Tashley 09:20 Archived in British Virgin Islands Comments (0)

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