Extended Family in BVI
“Have you heard about the earthquake?” was the BlackBerry message my friend and colleague Nadeige received when we touched down in Tortola.
The 7.0 earthquake that devastated the nation happened while we were en route from San Juan to the British Virgin Islands. We had arrived for the official launch of the first-ever BVI Go Green Festival, slated for June 2010.
Nadeige received a slew of bbms now. She was desperate for news as both sides of her family are there, her younger sister, her fiancé’s family too. She was frantic. We cleared customs and immigrations and entered the arrivals hall.
Melissa, the airport greeter for Rosewood Little Dix Bay was a welcome face and she gave Nadeige a strong hug. Kelly, the shuttle driver did the same. Familiar faces in such a difficult situation do help. So does rum punch. We board the resort’s ferry and Terry, the boat captain, handed us each a glass of the pink drink, a slight reprieve for Nadeige.
In between a couple of meetings, hours of CNN and endless Facebook posts searching for loved ones (all of her immediate family was OK; but many still searching for extended), Nadeige and I tried to manage to enjoy the facilities the iconic beachfront resort had to offer. The staff certainly helped that effort. This wasn’t our first time here and it showed. The third person in our party kept saying, “How do you remember everyone’s name?” Manager Martin van Wagenberg is one of the region’s best hoteliers. Ask for Chef German Villatoro (he always remembers my love for avocado!). Juanny, Clinton, Steadman and Vitalis are at the bar shaking cocktails. Magdalegna seats you in the dining room with a smile. Glenn, Hyacinth, Yvette…the list goes on; it is like an extended family that we have at Little Dix. Exactly what Nadeige needed when she couldn’t be with her own family in such a difficult time. Book an upper floor junior suite (#40 is my favorite). Try the Virgin Gorda Goat Milk & Honey Wrap at the Sense Spa.
About 15 minutes away from Little Dix, Gino and Pallina welcome you in bel mondo at Mango Bay resort, a darling spot on a seamless stretch of white sand beach. Rock Café, Chez Bamboo and Bath & Turtle all have live music on select evenings. The party just migrates from one place to the next each night. Join the A-list crowd at Giorgio Paradiso’s new wine restaurant (Reservations: +1 268 495 5684). Order the pecorino cheese selection smattered with silky sweet Tuscan honey, then the Sagni pasta with duck ragout, parmigiano-reggiano shavings and Alba truffle…and accent it all with a 2004 Brunello di Montalcino Castello di Camigliano.
To donate to Haitian relief efforts visit Sow a Seed.