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2023 - St Lucia - Day 1

Our first night in the all-inclusive Coconut Bay Resort was disturbed by a call on Karen’s phone at 5.48am. We didn’t recognise the number and whoever it was calling stopped the call when they presumably recognised the foreign ring tone. That set off a frantic search of trying to reverse search the mobile number to see who it was calling to no avail.

We rarely give out Karen’s number on anything and so it is extremely rare for her to get any spam calls and so we were a tad concerned. St Lucia is not covered on any call packages, and to receive or make a call starts at £1.49 per minute. So, we were reluctant to just call the number without prior investigation. We were on the verge of doing so though when we got a message through from Karen’s brother to say he had just had a call to be told that their Mum had had another fall and so we presumed it was the Care Home trying to contact Karen. We had thought her being in a Care Home would stop us being disturbed but we were wrong. The Care Home though were only doing their job in trying to inform us and fortunately she was fine. At least now we don’t have to deal with the fall itself and she is safe.

So wide awake we laid in bed reading our phones before getting up and heading down for some early breakfast and then to explore.

We went to the buffet restaurant and were soon seated. It wasn’t very busy. There were plenty of lovely attentive staff. In the background the soundtrack was being provided by songs by Rhiannon to which all the staff were singing along and dancing as they worked.

The food was plentiful and of a wide variety. It was all of a high quality, although if I was be awarding stars just on the standard of the scrambled egg it would get the first ever minus score. The silver tureen said scrambled eggs on the outside but when I first opened it I thought it was just a mistake. It looked more like noodles and was a weird white colour. I have never seen anything like it. I gave it a miss and went to the hot bar where they were cooking fresh eggs benedict which was not bad at all.

Following the filling of our bellies we headed outside to explore and to try to get our bearings. Disappointingly it was cloudy and overcast but still very warm. The sea looked choppy and grey. The beach was also nowhere near as golden as the photos had portrayed.

The resort is made up of three parts. The left had side is the family area with a waterpark and apparently a petting zoo. Then in the middle is the lobby, restaurant and many bars. On the right-hand side is the Adults only side where we were staying. That side was noticeably quieter. The third part of the resort at the back is the ‘Luxury Suites’ section for couples only. I think the rooms are somewhat bigger but you cannot see the sea from there.

We found a sun bed overlooking the sea on the adult side and laid for a while. Normally I find sun beds uncomfortable but the luxury ones this side for the adults were actually fine for me. I was also pleased that the Wifi was still working in this area.

We were not there long before a large black cloud came over and it rained proper Florida rain for about 5 minutes. We ran back to our room soaked and sat on our balcony for a cuppa. By the time we had got back there the rain had stopped and dried up almost immediately. We decided to change into our swimwear as we had spotted a large Hot Tub next to the sea we wanted to try out.

The Hot Tub was Hot, very Hot. So much so that it was like getting into a hot bath in that you had to do so slowly. It was also very big and we were soon joined by a couple of guys from Long Island. As with all Americans they were very chatty. One of them was celebrating his 84th birthday today, he looked at least 20 years younger than that to which he put down to his second wife being much younger. He had been a ski instructor before he retired amongst other things. The other guy still works at a New York University as an Engineering Professor. He had a handfuls of PhD’s and degrees. His name amusingly was Dr Moriarty (Kevin). Now I quite fancy being a professor but I think is an honorary title given out by academia so unlikely to happen. I this Professor Karl has quite a ring to it.

Anyhow one thing they told us was the Luxury part of the resort was the real place that Charles & Camilla got married. I queried this but they had been told that the first and real ceremony took place here whilst the civil ceremony was then in Windsor Registry Office and the ceremonial blessing afterwards in St Georges Chapel. I was and still am very sceptical of this and later could not find any reference to that online. It did mention though that Charles had visited this resort back in 2019 though.

So far, we have also not found the plaque that commerates the fact that this is apparently where Gemma & Joe spent their honeymoon.

We then joined in the Hot Tub by a couple of Divorce lawyers from Indiana to whom the New Yorkers took great pleasure in detailing the tribulations they had been through with their various divorces. We just listened drinking our frozen daiquiris as we did so.

We took that as our cue to go and find some lunch somewhere. It was good timing as on our way there was another slightly longer shower. We went to Flipflops snack bar which was outside and seemed popular. The food was being prepared fresh. Karen had a Caesar Salad whilst I had the same but in a wrap. It was very good.

Then heading back to the sun beds, we had abandoned in the rain this morning we got some more cold drinks and laid there for a while reading our Kindles. After a while in the heat, we needed more drinks. I opted for a ‘Dirty Banana’ this time. This is a cocktail with a whole banana blended with coconut milk, brandy, rum, and a few other ingredients I cannot remember. It was delicious and I am sure counts as one of my 5 a day.

Even though the sun beds were not bad I still can only take so long on them and so eventually we headed back to our rooms. On the way we found the coffee bar and I got Karen a proper coffee whilst I had a proper tea. They were both much needed.

We sat for a while on our balcony before changing and heading out for the Caribbean Carnival Evening by the pool. We were seated right on the pool edge opposite where a steel band were playing. They were very good but being unappreciated by the audience who were more interested in eating the Caribbean buffet. After letting the queue for the food die down we went to get our food from the various tureens.

The food was interesting. There seemed to an awful lot of Goat Curry on offer which most people ignored. We also avoided that as we did anything we were not sure what they had done with it. Caribbean cooking seems to be either add jerk and peppers to everything or just add fruit to it. Who decided that Goat Curry was even a thing alone a good thing?

The Tuna from the BBQ though was magnificent. The Jerk Pork was not very flavoursome but the Jerk Chicken was however hot hot hot. My lips were still burning an hour later.

Anyhow after we had filled our plates and sat down the heavens opened again for about 10 minutes. The servers were great though in moving us all undercover.

By the time we had eaten it was dry again and so we moved back outside poolside. The steel band finished their set and handed over to a compere. She was not very good. It seemed like we were at a Butlins camp as she just kept getting kids on stage doing what did not seem very age-appropriate Caribbean dance steps. All very odd and not at all entertaining. This was followed by some Stilt Walkers. Now they were talented enough but after seeing them dance to one song there is not much else, they can then do to sustain the act much longer despite trying. It was a good job our wine glasses were being topped up constantly.

The final act was a band doing Bob Marley covers, which was almost bearable. By this time though the jet lag and 5.48am phone call had got to us and we were in bed asleep by 10pm.

So, I had survived my first whole day in the all-inclusive resort and not called it a big prison camp once in my mind so far. Let’s hope that continues.

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