Who Put the Pepper in the Vaseline?

Ever had a yearning for Pomacanthus paru or a Chaetodon striatus?


Ever had a yearning for Pomacanthus paru or a Chaetodon striatus? Those are the Latin names for the French Angel and Banded Butterfly tropical fishes, in case you didn’t know. Exotic tropical specimens range from US$1 to $75, as you will find out when you visitTom’s Caribbean Tropicals Inc. Be assured, they say, that “Everything is Guaranteed Live On Arrival . . . ”

If you’d prefer to have the fish on your plate rather than swimming around in a tank, spice up your dishes with Busha Browne’s authentic Jamaican sauces, jams, jellies, and condiments. Specialities include award-winningBusha Browne’s Pukka Hot Pepper Sauce, Spicy and Hot Pepper Sherry, and Original Twice Boiled Guava Jelly. If your love life needs spicing up, think about having some Spicy Tomato Love Apple Sauce.

Barefoot Man and Band pump out “heart-pounding calypso beats, gentle reggae rhythms, catchy lyrics and smooth ballads” at the Holiday Inn on the beautiful Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman four nights a week. Best known for his risqué lyrics and island insights, Barefoot offers RealAudio sampler tunes on his website, from Rum and Coconut Water to his own creation Who Put the Pepper in the Vaseline.

If Jamaica can have a bobsled team, Wisconsin can have a Steel Drum Band. The Od Tapo Imi Steel Band is an eight-member ensemble that plays live performances in the midwest and even had a successful European tour. Check the website for reviews, their performance schedule, and to order the CD Big Bamboo. If you’re dying to know what the band’s name means: Oil Drums That Are Pounded Out Into Musical Instruments.

Sailors will enjoy a virtual vacation with Ginny’s Catamaran Sailing Guide To The British Virgin Islands. “Sailing in the BVI is sailing in paradise: wonderful weather, fair winds, beautiful, clear, warm water, good snorkeling and diving, great food, lovely people, and lots of amenities. Sailing here has been the delight of our lives.” Ginny includes valuable insider tips for visitors, such as this note on Ginger Island: “Alice in Wonderland is one of the most enjoyable dive sites in the area. Look for huge mushroom corals and abundant fish life. Take the buoy furthest to the west and start your dive going east.”

Or on Carrot Bay: “Sugar Mill Restaurant, pricey but one of the finest restaurants in the islands . . . be sure to get a copy of their cookbook. We can recommend the tomato ginger wine soup, prime ribs, key lime pie.” In Road Town, Tortola: “Spaghetti Junction — Truly fine Italian food, great sauces, good service, try the seafood pasta with cream sauce and chocolate mousse . . . Another of our favorites. Tell Owners, John and April, the Wildcat sent you.”

Erik Staley pens amusing anecdotes from his travels: “Been There, Done That: Summaries of places I’ve been in recent memory (which extends to the past few years). US, Mexico, the Caribbean and Brazil . . . The Good! The Bad! The Unspeakable!” If you’re not faint-hearted, have a look at Erik’s Tales of the Yucatan or Tales from the Caribbean: What happens on a Carnival cruise? (OK, what doesn’t?) Read on! Topics include San Juan, Puerto Rico/The Fun Ship/Grumpiest Old Men/St Thomas & St John/High Stakes on the High Seas/St Maarten & Sunken Treasure/Dominica, the Rainforest Isle/Barbados and Jolly Roger Rehab/Martinique, The Friendly Isle/The Tale of the Thrice Bumped/South Florida/What’s Recommended/What’s Not Recommended”.

There are his less than pleasant experiences in Martinique, and practical recommendations like: “Visit: Old San Juan, PR; St. John, USVI; Rain forests of Dominica (esp. with more time on your hands!); Barbados beaches; snorkeling just about anywhere (but ask if the ship-sponsored ones require life vests and “herding”). Buy: Rum (PR, USVI or Barbados), or homemade flavored rum (yum! St. Maarten); misc. handcrafted trinkets (Dominica) & handmade jewelry (Barbados). And bring that rum aboard to make your own drinks!”

  • Tom’s Caribbean Tropicals: http://www.divertom.com/
  • Busha Browne: http://www.caribplace.com/foods/bushab.htm
  • Barefoot Man: http://www.barefootman.com
  • Od Tapo Imi Steel Band: http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/7001/
  • Ginny’s: http://edumall.com/catamaransailing/caribbean/BVINOTES.HTM
  • Erik Staley: http://home.earthlink.net/~eee/cruisin/taleocar.html