Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Trip To the Beach Without Leaving Your Couch

In case last week's 100+ temps weren't enough to convince you, let me state that we are deep in summer now.  When the mercury soars, my thoughts turn to the beach.  Turquoise water, palm trees, fruity rum drinks....too bad I'm stuck at my desk for another 31 days until my beach vacation.  But there is a solution - take a virtual vacation.  And this week's pick - An Embarrassment of Mangoes -will absolutely transport you.

Ann Vanderhoof and her husband decided to take a break from their careers and move onto a 42' sailboat.  Even though Ann wasn't a sailor at all.  For two years they sailed around the Caribbean.  They stopped at 47 different islands, and you get to read every sun-drenched, rum punch-soaked description.  You'll get into the rhythm of island life, shopping each day at the local markets for fish.  I dare you not to laugh at loud at her description of trying to prepare conch (which ended up with conch and shells covering the walls and ceiling of their tiny galley).  And if her descriptions of Caribbean cuisine have your mouth watering, she even included recipes in the back of the book.  Their are a few harrowing storms, and some adjusting to leaving their lives behind, not to mention living in such a confined space.  You'll experience festivals and parades, the realities of life on a boat and the rich traditions of the Caribbean islands.

The amazing openness of islanders to visitors, they way they welcomed these Candians into their homes or onto their boats without a second thought, is heart-warming.  This is the perfect beach read - or the perfect book to sustain you until you get to a beach.

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