Saturday, 07 June 2008
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It is not often that I open an email that starts with This is an order. I don't recall that happening very often if ever.

Well actually, if you follow this blog you will know that me not remembering something is not unheard of.

But back to the subject. Obviously my interest was piqued. What could this be?

Capture the island and hand it to the British in exchange for the post of the Governor, an endless supply of Puerto Rican rum and some pretty local females?

Sabotage hotel operations in a way that would require the special services of the man from U.N.C.L.E, ah excuse me, C.U.R.A.C.A.O?

Watch all the games of upcoming Euro 2008? I was actually hoping for some sort of mixture between options 1 and 3, alas it was not to be.

As it turns out, it was the following:

Make absolutely sure to go to Duffy's Love Shack!!!

Peace and Love

God Bless John Lester

And that's it! Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight, now what the hell does that mean?

If you know, you're smarter than me, which again might not mean all that much what with the alcohol prices here and my subsequent intake. Let me also say that the sender of the email outranks me by several levels and usually communicates in coherent sentences and has been described as a cool operator.

At this point I know 2 things: I better go to Duffy's Love Shack and also that I need to pay closer attention to events involving the Boston Red Sox. I had somewhere come across John Lester before but as it involves memory and brain activity, the chances of me remembering were, as always, slim.

However, no need to worry, Google knows everything. As such Duffy's is a hospitality establishment here on St. Thomas (www.duffysloveshack.com) and John Lester is actually Jon Lester who in turn is a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox (that is a Baseball team for all you ignorant European Cricket followers) who has recently overcome cancer and is now playing again.

Now, I do not like to lead men into battle based on such poor intelligence (and without any military training for that matter).

So, after several emails back and forth, the real orders are this (and I'm slightly paraphrasing):

Go to Duffy's Love Shack in Red Hook on St.Thomas and bring back some of the glasses they use there as we plan on introducing them in one of our outlets. You are encouraged to not just steal the glasses (which is not unheard of in this industry). Instead, you are authorized to order the drink that comes with the glass and consume it as well. Try not to make an absolute fool out of yourself like you did at the managers' Christmas party. He actually did not say or write the last thing, but I know that he was thinking it.

Be that as it may, for the next 2 days I was trying to recruit some backup for the upcoming mission. I might not have any military training, but I have read Sun Tzu and many many spy and military novels to know that is the sensible thing to do. While Duffy's is definitely somewhat of a well-known institution on the island, I could not persuade anybody to accompany me. This already gave me a sense of foreboding....

Eventually, it is Saturday night and I set off on my reconnaissance/capture mission. Red Hook, where the place is located, is on the East End of the island whereas the hotel is in the south. So, it involves a taxi ride. As I find out, I have quite underestimated the size of the island as it takes almost half an hour of admittedly very cautious driving to get me there.

Once there, I can report that the place is literally nothing more than a shack. How it survives the occasional hurricane here is beyond me. Hula BoolaIt is Saturday night about 9pm and the place is reasonably busy, but nothing out of the ordinary. While it might not be elevated, I find a place at the end of the bar with a good view of the combat zone, ah sorry, a view of the bar and dance floor. I also begin to study the cocktail menu intensely. Not every drink is in a special glass, so every move needs to be considered in the tactical environment. After a while I settle on a Hula Boola, which I order from one of the 3 bearded bar tenders.

And so it starts....  I am provided with the drink as well as a sticker that says I got laid at Duffys (which still puzzles me, because if if that really happened I'm pretty sure I would remember) and a plastic Hawaiian necklace. The drink is not bad but nothing special. The glass is mine to keep. At this point I make my second mistake (where is the first mistake you might ask, more about that in a minute). I order a Mai Tai, which as it turns out does not come in a special glass but in a paper cup. D'oh! I also realize that I won't get very far without eating anything, so I order a burger. Now let me say right here that the burger was outstanding and probably the best I have had this year. The fries that came with it were just about average, maybe not even that. But, this is obviously not part of my assignment.... So, on to the next drink. I chose a Bikinitini (yes, really). Bikinitini Again, the drink is nothing special, but it certainly contains a good deal of alcohol.

With nothing else to do and with possibly being the world's worst conversationalist, I observe what is going on in great detail. The 3 bearded guys behind the bar seem to know what they are doing, but there is no showmanship or anything. This I find strange. Whatever, everybody else seems to love it. God knows, in the right company I might have a real good time here.

If I put my beancounter hat on for a minute I would say the place must be the license to print money, at least during the season. There is 3 guys behind the bar, 2 servers and I guess one chef plus some sort of kitchen help. Maybe they have a cleaner. I would need some more observation to have a halfway decent revenue guess, but with the liquor prices here, I guess they are nearing retirement levels now . There seem to be no locals as guests and I guess it dies down considerably during hurricane season, so I'm not even sure if they are open all year round....

However, the most intriguing thing is the crowd... There is hardly anyone in my age group plus minus 10 years. The people are all either around 18 to 20 or above 45. The one thing they have in common is that they are all behaving like they are on SpringBreak, i.e. doing Jägermeister-Shots and so on.

While I have done so myself on numerous occasions and might get carried away on occasion (something I always regret the next day), I always find it peculiar to see people who could be made parents get absolutely shit-faced along with all the embarrassing behavior that comes with it.

Sure, there were also people who slowly and good-humoredly drank themselves into oblivion (which is what I would do and plan to continue to do), but they were a minority. For the majority it is more of a competition.Painkiller

While I'm not about to join, I have to get a move on. Lots more glasses needed! How I put myself at peril for some people!

The place is somewhat at the end of the world, I'm by myself and need a taxi, and most importantly, I have some rather big plans the next day. This I consider my major mistake. I am doing this thing but I will need to get back in one piece with some precious merchandise AND I have to get up the next morning.

Very poor planning. I would not survive very long in the real mean world out there...

All this knowledge does not stop me to make my third mistake: Intrigued by the glass, I order my next drink. I don't order it by name, but just ask for whatever comes in the skull. It turns out to be the aptly named Painkiller. Well, it is pretty potent and also pretty awful. I had actually counted on having another drink in a cool shark glass (no picture, sorry), but I quickly discard the idea. Instead, I buy three more glasses and take my leave.

After some prolonged negotiations, I convince a taxi driver to take me back through the mountains for a rather sizeable amount of money. It might have taken me half an hour to get there, but I'm back in 15 minutes. If the guy would have driven any faster we would have traveled back in time. He was on the phone most of the time and performed the most hair-raising (if applicable) overtaking maneuvers imaginable. Getting out of the taxi in front of the hotel cradling my glasses, I think you could have driven a sizeable blade into me without getting a single drop of blood out of me.

Anyways, I won't be accused of not following orders and if you want to pay me for getting some beverage holders for you, just let me know. I have experience.

Saturday, 07 June 2008 06:02:05 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Disclaimer  |  Comments [0]  |