When we people who live in cold climates entertain fantasies of the Caribbean getaway, there are few visions that are more alluring than lounging with a cold beverage on invitingly warm and soft furniture while watching the sun descend below the horizon.
This fantasy is so alluring, in fact, that there is an actual name for the cold beverages involved in the fantasy (“sundowners”) and that these Caribbean sunsets feature heavily in promotional literature meant to sway those of us on the fence about whether we want to fork over boatloads of cash to watch the sun (that large, warming, ever-present sun) take its daily sojourn across the sky toward its final, breathtaking drop into the Caribbean at dusk.
I am here to assure you that, yes, it is worth it.
It is so worth it at Villa Salentein that pretty much all normal activity — whether work or play or meal preparation or reading or swimming — ceases for the time between 6 and 7 p.m. (18:00 to 19:00 for our European friends). Electronic devices are set aside. Sundowners and snacks are prepared. Laughter and conversation abound. Then, as the sun gets close to the horizon, devices are hastily retrieved. Selfies might be attempted, as well as inexpert group photos with the sunset as backdrop that result in mostly silhouettes. In our family, I would hazard a guess that a large portion of phone memory is taken up with attempts to do the Salenteinian sunsets photographic justice -- a notoriously difficult feat!
Sunset time is jealously guarded no matter the day or the sunset condition (save for the rare day of full-on rain). Though it seems counterintuitive, some of the most lovely sunsets are the ones in which there is an aggravating-looking bank of clouds at the horizon making it difficult to even see the sun as it closes in on its destination. And yet the sky afterward becomes streaked with oranges and yellows and reds that gradually fade to purples in a glorious technicolor show that goes on long after the sun is down.
The Villa Salentein sunsets represent our family’s daily tradition on Bonaire of slowing down, disconnecting from machines and connecting with each other and nature. Sunset is the best part of the day, every day.