As we sailed into Union, we were met by a flotilla of small and colorful boats offering their services of ice, beer, gasoline, etc. We immediately recognized our friend Boutique from our previous visits and exchanged greetings and promised to meet up on shore later. Boutique works hard for a couple of hours each day hustling boats in the harbor. When he pockets enough cash to pay for his rum and fuel, he calls it a day. Who can argue with that logic?
Boutique and his buddy Rodrigue invited us to a party at a “nightclub” owned by their friend Stress. We couldn’t turn down such a fantastic offer so we told them we would be there at 5:00. At 4:55 Boutique was waiting for us at the dock beaming with his toothless grin (years of moonshine and cokes will do that to your grill). We walked with him through a goat strewn field to the Stress Hideaway Bar and Lounge. This “nightclub” was mainly a brightly colored shack with a large mango tree and several picnic tables. However, there was a disco ball! The “kitchen” was a small Magma grill on the ground surrounded by big stones and conch shells and covered by palm fronds.
We were served the local “strong rum” (180 proof) with Coke. Yikes! We feasted on grilled lambi (conch), Blackfin Tuna, Spanish Mackerel, Chicken and salad. All was very delicious. For this feast, we went back to the basics. The setting: a picnic table. The china: tin foil. The cutlery: your hands and teeth. Pirate and Cajun were quite used to this, but all Dad could say was “this is interesting”.
While we were eating and mingling, the music got louder and the weed smell grew more pungent. The local cops came buy, but we think it was to grab a bite and a drink instead of breaking up the festivities!
It was truly a local experience. A menagerie of kids, cats, dogs and goats were running about. Several high and drunk men were fussing. A gaggle of women were bunched under the tree gossiping and dancing to the tunes. A trio of guys looked over the grill. Every so often a new person would show up with a fresh caught fish in his hand to throw on the fire. It was sensory overload for us to say the least!
Fancy dining at 5 star restaurants is great, but we will take a lambi party with our Union Rasta buddies over a white tablecloth establishment any day. But that might be the strong rum talking….