Above: Mazinga on the Bay (All photos by CJ)
By Alexander Britell
ST EUSTATIUS — It was toward the end of a long afternoon, that hour in the Caribbean when the sun hasn’t yet made up its mind on when to set and the rum calls and the waves lap a little slower.
St Eustatius, or Statia as it’s known here, is a particularly quiet island, meaning it’s not always easy to find a place to unwind at such an hour.
Heading back to my hotel on the Gallows Bay section of the island, I was fortunate enough to spot a beautifully-restored 18th-century brick building with a pirate outside.
It said Mazinga, and I could spy through the arched doorway what seemed like a scenic patio on the sea.
What I had found was an oddity — this wasn’t a bar, or a restaurant, or a lounge.
What was most certainly the calmest, most picturesque, most unforgettable spot on the island was actually a gift shop.
It had beautiful brick architecture that you won’t find anywhere else in the Caribbean, a style that is plentiful on this Dutch Caribbean island. (Indeed, it’s the kind of architecture that could make the island’s capital, Oranjestad, one of the region’s most beautiful towns if restored and developed properly).
This place called Mazinga has been around for three years, following the three-year-long efforts of husband-and-wife owners Tony and Leontine Durby to painstakingly refurbish the building.
Here you can find just about everything, from souvenirs and postcards to rhum agricole from Martinique.
But, most importantly, at this hour, I was able to find absolute tranquility.
Just waves and a setting sun and a cold drink.
The perfect gift indeed.