Friday, July 10, 2015

Antigua & Barbuda - About

So, last week Anguilla teased me with thoughts of sun and sand.  This week it's Antigua & Barbuda, an island nation in the Lesser Antilles islands of the Caribbean.

I actually wrote this post and cooked this meal back in March while I was still in Chicago.  Chicago's March is, in my opinion, the worst month of the whole Windy City year.  It's usually not the coldest.  That usually goes to Janurary.  It's not even the snowiest.  But by the time March has come, all Chicagoans are just SICK of winter.

So when I saw all the beautiful beaches, great kayaking, snorkeling and rum, I was ready to go!  Average ocean temp is 79 degrees in March and the land would be around 83F.  In July it's 88F, which isn't too bad.

Can I go there now?

Barbuda only has two resorts.  Antigua controls most of the tourism.  It even has a harbor large enough to accommodate cruise ships.

Hum, a cruise would be okay too.

Okay, enough about my vacation fantasies.  But those chairs do look pretty lonely...

Sugar is grown on both islands, but as you can imagine by those pictures, tourism is a major industry.  So one more picture.

Antigua was named by Christopher Columbus himself after The Virgin of the Old Cathedral (La Virgen de la Antigua).  The Brits ended up getting the islands and it remained a British colony up until 1981.  Now it's independent but is still in the Commonwealth.

The vast majority of the inhabitants are descendants of slaves.  96% of the population identifies as African decent.  Antigua was the first British colony to completely do away with slavery.

When I hear "Carnival", I think of Rio's Mardi Gras, but in Antigua & Barbuda, it's a 10 day celebration of the abolition of slavery in July and August.

The official language is English, but most people speak a creole.

Most people are various type of Christian but some practice Obeah, which is similar to voodoo and descends from a conglomeration of various West African beliefs.

Many dishes are reminiscent of last week's Angola, which makes sense because many of the dishes were transplanted along with the people via the slave routes.  These foods include okra, eggplant and the polenta-like porridge, fungee.  Fungee is very similar to Angola's Funge, but it's made of cornstrach instead of cassava flour.


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