Monday, February 16, 2009

So, why Saba?

Bruce and I used to travel quite a bit.  Every year we tried to go somewhere:  out West… Spain… Italy (although we never did make it to Capri.  Sort of.)  But after Bruce died I kind of lost interest in, well, in everything, actually, but especially in traveling.  I finally pulled it together a few years later to drive cross-country, though, which started a run of events that led directly to Broadway.  How it led there is another story for another time.


After that, while working in the theater and in porn, I did little else but travel;  either while working (touring for almost two years with one show and 12 long months with another) or for work (flying back and forth between New York and California regularly to shoot a movie.)  So when I wound up living up here in the woods I became a major homebody.  In part because I was tired of so much traveling, but also because I just  love where I live.  Both the area and my house in particular.


Last summer, however, I was in the middle of working on my latest, greatest and—apparently--ultimate house project and was fully aware that when I was finished I was going to need a big dose of R ‘n’ R.  I just love doing all that carpentry/ renovation stuff and this last house was, I could tell, going to be my Piece of Resistance.  Everything about it was turning out better than I had imagined.  My schedule for most of the project was 7 days-a-week, 10-12 hours-a-day.  I’d wake up at 5 AM and would have to kill time at home so I didn’t get to the job site too early as I was always conscious of disturbing the neighbors.  I’ve never worked so hard in my life.  I just loved seeing that house come together! 


But I knew at its conclusion I was going to be T-I-R-E-D.  And, what’s more, that I would need a little break amid new surroundings.


I didn’t want to go too far because I didn’t want to take more than a long weekend.  I figured I’d be through by October 1st so by then I’d also want someplace warm.  But nothing with a scene.  And maybe even a place where there was nothing in particular to do so that if I decided to do nothing for five days I wouldn’t feel guilty.  I Googled “quiet Caribbean” and came up with Saba.  Not only had I never heard of it, I didn’t even know how to pronounce it.  (It’s pronounced SAY-buh.)  Sifting through the (very few) choices of places to stay on the island I came up with El Momo Cottages.  The photos made the place look extremely relaxing and a little hippie-dippie.  And cheap.


Exactly what I was looking for.  I booked the first weekend in October and proceeded to finish the work on the house.  It went on the market October 1st.  The last three houses I did were on the market for:  one week, three weeks and one day.  This one?  Uh…  But that, too, is another story.


My connections from JFK to St. Maarten were flawless.  Even the harrowing landing on Saba was not as bad as I was led to believe.  There was one other passenger on the final 15-minute flight from St. Maarten.  She was a Saba native and filled me in on a lot of the history.  It’s been Dutch almost since it was first settled.  No indigenous people were tossed off the cliffs here—no one really wanted it.  There’s one road on the island and it goes from the landing strip to the seaport on the other side, with a couple of small arteries halfway across at the settlement of Windwardside (which is where I’ll be.)  The island juts high out of the water and most of the population resides at a lofty altitude.  (The island residents like to refer to their home as "the highest point in Holland.")  So, scorching as it’s likely to be when I’m there, it should be a wee bit cooler than the resorts back on St. Maarten.


I’ll write more about El Momo later on, but when I finally caught my breath after climbing the (what felt like) million steps up from the road to the hotel I knew I had chosen right.  It’s not for everyone, to be sure—it’s very rustic—but it was exactly what I was looking for after laboring so hard over the summer.  And, apart from scuba diving and hiking to the top of the mountain there really isn’t much to do on the island.  So I spent most of the weekend lying around the pool and the only work I did was on my tan in a bathing suit that I really should have been ashamed to be seen in (but wasn’t.)


Patrick and Sophie (much more on them later, too,) the temporary caretakers of the place were so welcoming that by the end of the weekend it just felt like I was visiting friends on Saba.  I had shown them the page with the photos of the house and they were very complimentary.  “If we get to take the place permanently we want to do some work on it.  Maybe you could come down and help!”  they joked.  “Oh, yeah, sure!” I kidded in return.


Hah ha ha ha ha.


We’ve kept in occasional touch since last fall and shortly after New Year’s I mentioned in an e-mail how things had changed so radically and unexpectedly in my life and that my future was pretty much up in the air.  I closed with, “and what’s going on with you guys?”  And that’s how they thought to extend the offer of coming down to help them with what is now their permanent gig managing El Momo. 


Insert the cliché of your choice here:  ______________   (Please include the words “door closes” and/or “mysterious ways” .) 


1 comment:

  1. Speedo, indeedo.

    God works to close one door and open another in mysterious ways. Is that it?

    I'm certainly wishing you the best on this new adventure. It's exciting just reading about it. I can't imagine being you and actually doing it.