Santa enjoys SabaJoel and I escaped the big winter storm in the Northeast, just in time to experience Christmas in Saba!

I figured that even though Christmas is old news at this point, it would be fun to share our experience this year. I thought this year would include more of the same from last time, but I was wrong on that account. Saba is full of surprises and we had our share this time!

You may recall our first Christmas in Saba, when we went down to the Saba airport to greet Santa, who gave his reindeer the day off and flew Winar to Saba instead. If you recall growing up with department store and Mall Santas, having one fly in by plane is quite a sight. I’d imagine the children of Saba feel quite special to have St. Nick comandeer a whole plane just to visit them for a day.

Hey Bananas on a Leaf!Today is Joel’s birthday and he’s been singing “You say it’s [my] birthday!” all morning so far. In fact, last night, he started talking about his birthday like a kid the night before Christmas. I’m not sure what all this excitement is, because he’s usually pretty low key, but I’m humoring him and joining in with his festive spirit.

You know from our previous post about my birthday that we had a nice lobster lunch. Well, Joel decided he didn’t want a lobster lunch for his birthday and since he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do, I got him a little present. Keep in mind that there are only a handful of SCUBA shops with t-shirts and one gift shop on the island. The gift shop has many nice things, although they are not up his alley.

You also know that I’ve been doing a lot of hiking. What you might not know is that during these hike, I get a lot of great ideas. Or at least they sound great while I’m hiking – some of them lose steam by the time I get home and tell Joel about them! Anyway, it’s my time to dream and be creative, while enjoying the sights of Saba.

Daphne Cottage on SabaJoel and I are almost fully recovered after the hacking of our virtual server. And guess what? I got a new website! A whole new look and the first wave of my new marketing content – it’s like my birthday all over again! The new website was Joel’s idea because I’ve had my eye on this design for a few months now. I think he did a great job on the design, although I know I’m biased! I still have to add some new product and service lines – including retreats in the Caribbean – right here in Saba.

One of the things I learned from this experience is how great a team Joel and I make — he does the web design and hosting, I do the marketing. The next step is to give Joel a whole new website as well — he too, is due for one — and since his birthday is tomorrow, it will be like a present for him. Besides doing the content and marketing for his website, wait until you see what his “from Saba” birthday present is (more in tomorrow’s post)!

A Week In Our Life – Come To Saba — We’ll Be Renting Our Cottage!
Each retreat package will feature a week in our life — tailored with the goals you want to achieve! Joel and I are going back to the States for a couple of months in the summer for some business trips and weddings, so we decided to rent our cottage out while we are gone. Our cottage was set up as a rental when we bought it, so it’s fully stocked with all of your needs, including books, CDs and DVDs! We will still be writing this blog while gone, since we are WAY behind on the happenings of Saba and have plenty to tell you!

Manny & His VanYesterday was my birthday and Joel & I had a great celebration! But I’ll talk about that in a moment — first, I want to introduce Manny, one of the interesting people in Saba. Manny is one of the friendliest people on the island — I call him “The Mayor of Saba.” He always has a smile, wave and greeting for you whenever he drives by. Manny has a taxi, which is a blue van that says “You’re behind Manny…cool out!” on the back. It is in this van that he drives all of the Sea Saba customers to and from Fort Bay, where we meet the diving boats. On a trip with Manny, he will tell you all about the history of Saba and point out the interesting sights. After 2 years in Saba, he still tells me something new on each trip. Guess what else Manny does?

Getting Ready to VoteFriday was election day in Saba! It started with car horns honking at around 6:00 am — just to get the excitement going! All day on Friday, while the elections were taking place, there were car horns blaring as cars drove around with flags for either the Orange or Blue party. The Orange party is the Windwardside Islands People’s Movement (WIPM) and the Blue party is the Saba Labour Party (SLP). The two parties present a combined total of 10 candidates for 1 seat in the Netherlands Antilles Parliament. Since Saba is a small island, everyone knows all of the candidates — this makes it an interesting election process. It’s not like in the States, where we often don’t know the candidates and must rely on websites, televison, newspapers, debates, etc. to find out as much as we can.

Santa Leading Parade to The BottomToday was a big Christmas celebration on Saba! Santa flew in on Winair (the tiny planes that land in the Saba airport) to see the island children. Everyone met Santa at the airport – he came out in full regalia (yes, even in 80 degrees, Santa wears his full red & white winter suit), ringing his bell and ho-ho-ho-ing.

Most of the people on the island celebrate Christmas. We went to our first Christmas celebration today.

Song & Food
About 200 people showed up, mostly locals with a sprinkling of expats and tourists. We sang Christmas carols and the real (imported) Christmas tree was lit. Joel did his usual sampling of foods – beginning with dessert first, he had a vanilla cake. They make it more like a pound cake with no frosting. Frosting isn’t big here, probably due to the moist air (it would be a melted mess, presumably). He followed this with Caribbean croquettes.

Croquettes are traditional Caribbean fare and while there are several versions of the recipe, most contain meat and some type of starch. The meat is sautéed and mixed with starch (typically potatoes), then formed into potato-sized rolls and fried crispy brown. These had potatoes and meat (we aren’t sure what type of meat, and Joel didn’t care much!). Not really healthy, but very tasty just the same!