Antigua and Barbuda is strongly associated with probably the best beaches in the world - white sand and the azure Caribbean Sea attract tourists and investors from all over the world! Of course, everybody knows it is better to live by the sea...
However, this island nation is not only beach and sand. You will find here beautiful lush hills and rainforests, ruined picturesque sugar plantations and the capital of Antigua and Barbuda - the city of St. John's!
I'm here for nearly three weeks... and finally it turned out to be a perfect day to discover the urbanity of the island! First because it's weekend; secondly, it's Saturday and locals are also hanging around giving me the chance to watch their real life; and thirdly, the sky is covered by clouds since lunch time, the sun is not trying to kill me, and so is the time to wander through the streets!
Europeans and fans of ancient history unlikely will be inspired by St. John and find neither sweet nor comfortable, especially at the first glance. There are no great monuments of architecture, no urban aesthetics: the city center (actually it was quite difficult for me to understand where are the boundaries of so-called center) is pressed up with 2-3 storey buildings, the most lovely are painted with nice bright colors. Sidewalks are narrow, dirty streets... I found there some things for which I love in Bangkok and even felt the familiar smell - stinky tropical city! The Cathedral rises in the middle, it must be majestic, but is currently in ruins. Signs "closed for renovation" inspired a great hope!
But still St. John can not be called the poor town - there are good restaurants, a whole street hosting banks - international, regional, offshore, any kind of bank your business needs! It was first time in four months I saw the Porsche Panamera with a very prominent wheels! The cruise port, the main sea entrance to the city, surrounded by tax-free shops with diamonds and brands.
It was a Saturday and Market street was crowded with people, stalls with cheap consumer goods, fruit sellers, loud music screamed on every corner. Turning on a quiet street I met nothing scary (most of the guide books promise us the opposite!), however I decided to leave St. John's before the sunset.