Searching for sun in the Turks & Caicos...Amanyara resort is outstanding
PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos – Talk about optimism. It’s been blustery and cool and windy and cloudy and nearly miserable here for the last two days.
No sun since early Sunday, a run of nearly 72 hours. You'll laugh back home, but 20 Celsius with no sun and a howling, 35 mph wind is nothing to sneeze at down here, where folks are dressed in warm sweaters and hoodies. Even a Canadian journalist who shall remain nameless was forced to wear a thick towel over his exposed legs during lunch at the beachside restaurant on Monday due to the fierce wind whipping off the water.
It’s not a huge deal to me, of course. But to folks who invested their hard-earned money into what should’ve been a warm holiday, this cold snap is a giant pain. It was, however, a good day Monday for the folks running the spa at the sumptuous Amanyara Resort here, as the pool was deserted and the beach a dead-zone. It seemed pretty dismal all around, but when I got to my room after a 4 p.m. massage (yeah, I know, tough life) there were two small bottles on my work desk; one of sunscreen and another of after-sun care. Suddenly my heart raced. Had they seen a weather forecast I hadn’t? Would we get a wee bit of sun after all?
It was too much to bear. I pretty much chalked it up to naivete, but when I left the hotel restaurant after dinner I looked up and saw…stars. Not clouds, but stars. The wind had died down and you could see big breaks in the clouds. This morning it’s back to cloud. But much less of a thick heavy cloud than the last few days, so maybe the sun can break through a bit and keep the tourists happy. It now looks like there are a couple of bright spots, and it's definitely warmer than yesterday. Hopefully it's the same in Toronto.
We don’t hear a lot about Aman hotels/resorts in Canada. They have a property in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and another that just opened on the Utah/Arizona border, apparently RIGHT on the border with different time zones for different parts of the hotel? (At least that’s what I heard last night). Their only other property in North America or thereabouts is this one, tucked way up on a corner of Provo, as folks call Providenciales.
It’s very minimalist and very, very, very private; with independent villas set among the local vegetation. Very spread out. But beautiful, beautiful rooms and public buildings and the best hotel food I think I’ve ever had.
I had a terrific (but small) serving of rack of veal with mushroom risotto and crispy Serrano ham one night. For lunch yesterday it was an incredible beef rib that tasted like it had been slow-cooked since 2008. You could’ve cut it with a feather – or maybe by holding it up in the wind. Asian-inspired, it also had a great Thai dipping sauce. And on the side was coconut rice with slices of fried garlic; an incredible combo.
On Monday they encouraged me to try the Chang Mai chicken curry. And I damn near died of happiness. It had big chunks of chicken in a creamy yellow curry with coconut milk, lemongrass, kaffir lime, fish sauce (I think), chiles and coriander; smooth and rich and spicy and sweet and savoury and utterly delicious. Apparently the head chef used to buy a curry mix from Miami but now makes his own base, which is the key.
If I’m ever put in front of a firing squad, I want this as my last meal. (Sorry, honey; I still love your lasagna.)
SPEAKING OF WEATHER
They're having big problems at Cypress Mountain in Vancouver due to warm weather and rain. Usually that's not a big deal, but Cypress is where freestyle skiing and snowboarding will take place during the Winter Olympics, WHICH START ONE MONTH FROM TODAY.
Apparently they've shut the mountain down for today. Folks say they can make snow if they have to, but they still sound more than a little concerned.
More than 60 millimetres of rain fell Monday on the North Shore mountains. Another 30 is expected today. Yikes.
The final phase of the Vancouver/Whistler transportation plan is supposed to be unveiled today, as well. THAT should be interesting, especially for locals.
FEAR OF FLYING
A USA Today/Gallup Poll taken Jan. 5-6 reveals that 27% of those who've flown round trip at least twice during the past year are more likely now than in the past to travel by car, train or another mode of transportation to avoid the inconveniences of flying.
Not surprising given all that's happened lately. I'm flying from Providenciales to Miami today so we'll see how that goes.