Happy New Year!
Below is a tale I wrote in 2007 about a party I attended sometime in the 80's at the world famous Foxys on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. The only way to attend the party was to arrive by boat or parachute. In those days I worked and lived on boats afloat, so I was a frequent visitor to this remote island and friends with Foxy and his family.
I remember my first time at Foxy's New year's Eve party, um a few decades ago (mermaids are ageless). Those were some wild days and the BVI, at that time, was comfortably disorganized about the whole affair which made for an even more bizarre event. Anything goes, or it did in that day and time. By midnight, the beach was crowded with dinghies tied to palm trees, tied to each other and anchored in shallow water.
Some brave sorts had sailed over on small catamarans, like 10-14 foot Hobies, and dragged them up on shore. A few people hired a plane and sky dived into the event, landing smartly on the beach, just before sunset. Others brought in tents and set up in the yards of local friends and still others were in the coveted hammocks, or lounge chairs or a chair at all. Large rocks were strategically placed up and down the beach, serving as nature's stools.
Tired folks could be found sleeping on the beach, some in a dinghy or on the trampoline of their Hobie Cat, others in the sand, some had spread a sarong or towel out to sleep. A few drunks were making love in the dark bushes, oblivious to the crowds wandering around them. And all this plus more was going on all before 10pm.
After midnight, things roared to life again, as nappers found a 2nd wind, and everyone huggy kissy over the New years and so on. Still others passed out on the beach, in the bushes, in a strangers bed or bunk and so on. Many small bars had already been forced to close due to lack of inventory and the food ran out long before. This was back time, and Jost didn't even have electricity at the time.
Foxys old diesel genset was grinding away, the band had another generator to keep them powered up. You had to pee in the swamp out back, or for ladies only there was a lone shack down a path, thrown up with sticks and woven palm fronds, with a door on uncertain hinges made of rope. The roof was open to the sky, and you could go inside (one at a time) and squat over a wooden bench with a large hole dug below it, outhouse style. The line for this was very long indeed, so most opted for the swamp. Other ladies used the bush behind the outhouse while the line of women waiting, kept cover for them.
Down the beach, it was palm tree to coconut tree full of people dressed in Tuxedos, expensive evening gowns, sarongs, suits, bikinis, tattered shirts, faded shorts, yuppie tourist stuff and even a man in a diaper as the New Year Baby. He was 50-ish but had a big round baby face, a massive pot belly and custom made large diaper. Someone had written in glitter on his bare front and back "New Year's Baby" and he wore a decorated Top hat that wasn't cheap. A few other assorted costumes were sported, so everyone assumed my costume was a mermaid and never realized I was for real.
I traversed the beach meeting friends, dancing with strangers, groped by the lascivious, pursued by the island boyz and thoroughly enjoying people watching. I remember some women arriving in expensive evening gowns, stiletto heels, perfectly applied makeup and not-a-hair-out-of-place coiffures. Their jewelry was worth more than the cost of my first home, I can tell you that. Their escorts were in Tuxedos and they all looked a tad bewildered as they came off the ramshackle wooden dock (was that the year it collapsed from too many people on it at once?) and they stood there in the sand, looking around, like:
Um, did we take a wrong turn somewhere off Broadway?
Back in those days, there wasn't much publicity about Foxy's except that his New year's Eve party was made world famous when Time magazine had it listed as the top three places to be worldwide, on Old Year's Night. So now a whole new well heeled trendy crowd flocked to the islands, to attend this must-be-seen-at world famous party.
I followed the evening gown dressed women around, in the shadows, it was so crowded and they were fun to watch. I had seen one of them in a movie before, but in those days and times, I hadn't seen a TV in over 10-15 years, but sometimes caught an odd movie, so all of them could have been movie stars, for all I knew.
I think their dresses were probably worth well over 5 figures and the hottest thing off 5th Avenue and one-offs no doubt. Now that is something I rarely get to see here, is the latest high fashion.
Oh yes, we have lots of high fashion in the islands, but it's a very different kind of high fashion. Many folks here make their own clothes or hire a seamstress or tailor to make them custom outfits. Then others simply buy the most outrageous colors or styles and make up their own sense of style, not to be seen anywhere else. Then we have cultural dressing with cultures from around the world represented. Some culturally dress from cultures they aren't from, but because they like the style and this is the islands where different is expected, eccentric the norm and few strive to follow a set clique.
These gorgeous ladies and their stilettos were sinking into the sand, making it nearly impossible to walk. The lovely long sequined and feathered gowns were starting to drag on the beach and the winds were whipping their hairdos into hair-undones. A quick sudden 2 minute downpour, transformed their faces and in less than a half hour, the sand, the winds, the slight shower, and now they barely resembled their original selves when they had arrived all glamorous.
I couldn't believe they weren't willing to take their shoes off and go barefoot. I could have made money selling flip-plops outta my backpack. After awhile, realizing that THIS WAS IT, the crowd of Tuxedos and Gowns headed for the bar, traipsing through the sand to fetch drinks. The men's Italian shoes were dusted in sand, the women walked as if severely handicapped as their stilettos sunk with every step.
Finally one lady, having enough of this ridiculousness, slipped her shoes off and passed them to her escort. So this Tuxedoed man is trying to juggle his drink, pull out his wallet to pay and hold his lady's three thousand dollar shoes by the straps with his pinkie finger. His happy date, now roamed freely, barefoot, the long gown hiding the bare feet and no longer cared she was leaving a trail of sequins down the beach as the hem of her gown began giving way.
Her hair was already blown out of place, the sudden rain had rearranged her makeup and THIS WAS IT.
THE PARTY to be at.
On a beach, on a tiny island, in the middle of nowhere, tragically stuck without a lighted makeup mirror within five miles.
A few drinks later, a thousand yards down the beach, I ran into the same couple again and the man was still carrying her shoes on his pinkie by the straps. From the look of his and her faces they were getting quite smashed. I tried not to laugh but maybe he saw the smirk on my face of one who is about to burst out laughing for the sheer helluvit.
Someone was flirting with his date and he looked at me, in my casual silk sarong, dripping with every piece of gold jewelry I owned (probably all together worth about the same as one of his fine Italian shoes). He studied my swishy mermaid tail, glanced at the seashells woven in my hair, while I smiled at him, trying not to laugh as he stood there in this lavish Tuxedo, holding these exquisite stiletto heeled shoes in his hands.
He looked at them, back at me and burst out laughing. While his date was turned the other way, he drew his arm back pitcher style and flung those stilettos so far and high, that we actually thought we heard a splash as they landed in the swamp out back. Then he carefully made a beehive down the beach and didn't stop for about 500 feet.
This left his date looking around for him and the place was so crowded, it took her hours to find him again. I ran into him down the beach and he asked me to dance. Since he wasn't sporting a wedding ring, I had quite a few dances and drinks with him. Meanwhile, he removed the jacket and hung it on a seagrape tree, then the bow tie, and now the ruffled shirt was loosened up, but he kept on his shoes, and top hat, saying they would make a fun souvenir. The sand was grinding into the polish and leather and by morning, those shoes would look well worn as if found and worn for years on end by a street urchin, not by a movie star on New Year's Eve.
I saw an islander go by, study the sea grape tree, then he pulled off his faded T-shirt, grabbed the tux and tails jacket and bow tie, put them on, then sported it down the beach, dancing side to side excessively, barefoot and complimented by a pair of long tattered faded jeans. I said nothing to my dancing partner. If he could afford to throw his date's shoes into the swamp, without a care, then what the heck if some skinny island boy danced away with his jacket.
Later, when he saw the islander coming back down the beach, dancing away shirtless in his lavish tailed coat and bow tie, having the time of his life, my new friend merely laughed heartily and bought the guy a drink. Thousands of people came and went up and down the beach, drinking, dancing, walking, flirting, partying. The harbor was packed to the outer limits with boats and yachts represented from around the world. Bands played all night long. Dinghies seemed to make endless trips back and forth. Many people had altered their outfits by now, or added to them with silly hats. Inappropriate shoes were abandoned, all over the docks, in the dinghies, in the bushes, in the swamp. People made love in the bushes, and on the beach while others snored loudly nearby them.
I danced to maybe 40-50 tunes with many partners, sweating out the drinks, smiling and laughing, ringing in the New Year.
It was a fun time and I had an absolute blast. Glad I did it when I did it and don't regret it one bit. I've been back since, but this story, was just memories from my first ever trip there.
You've just got to dance barefoot, on the sand, by the ocean's edge, under the stars, on a faraway island at least ONCE in your lifetime, even if only just to savor the memory that life is good.
And if you've made this far in life and never done that, I truly feel so sorry for you.
Life is for the Living and Live it Up you should!
visit Foxys website
Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy your New Years!