I started out the day with my usual Soufriere breakfast; I went down to the town square and picked up some saltfish and fresh fruit from the vendors there. The fishermen had got a large marlin, it had been cut into large slabs and you could see the body was over 12 inches wide; there was also some yellow fin tune and a wheelbarrow full of ballyhoo, it’s times like these I wish I had a self-catering room. After breakfast I made my way down to the beach at the Hummmingbird hotel, where I planned to spend the day. The sun was out in full force and by mid afternoon I could barely stand to walk on the sand from my towel to the water, a big difference from back home where a friend said her dog would only keep three feet on the ground at a time when she let him out. There is a little rum shack located just past the dive shop, Dai-Dai’s; I stopped occasionally for a cold Piton and some shade from the trees out front. I had brought a bottle of Chairmens Reserve with me and poured myself the random rum shot to laze away the day. When I started feeling hungry I headed back towards the town, along the waterfront rather than the road. I passed the area where some of the fishermen keep and repair their boats and ran into Chili, a water taxi driver whose lower end unit is in need of repair. He was there with some of the other guys including Aheem, Trendy’s son. I had some extra plastic cups with me so we chatted a bit while finishing off the Chairmens, some rum is a great way to meet people. I decided to go to the Creole Waterfront Restaurant for a chicken roti, it’s a little place upstairs in an old building just opposite the commercial dock; the food here is good and cheap. By the time I was done eating I was in need of a short nap, so I headed back to the hotel. When I got up I did some internet, it’s free at the hotel, and sat on the balcony for a while watching the world go by. Dinner was at Skippers, which is right next door to Archies, the fish was tuna, no doubt some that had been caught that morning. I then went over to Sandy’s bar for a couple drinks; she went to see Boomer that day, they had moved him to the hospital in Casteries, he was in rough shape but is expected to make it. I stuck around for a few bottles of Guinness and then called it a night.
Jan. 25: Soufriere
Today was pretty much a repeat of yesterday, breakfast from the square then a little relaxing in the small park on the waterfront near the customs dock. I stopped at Debby’s store to pick up something for Kim; she sells these pictures that are painted on banana paper, a fully local handmade product. Each painting is a signed original and unique; I chose one titled Marigot Inspiration the colors were just right and it reminded me of some of the many sunsets we had seen on our trip. The pictures are only 50 EC ($20 US) and that seems like a good price for a one of a kind painting. I then stopped at the café located above the store, it has been here less than a year and is just what Soufriere needs. In all my visits here the only place I’ve found for real brewed coffee was the Hummingbird and that is a good walk form the hotel just for a coffee. I sat out on the balcony and marveled at the intricacy of the gingerbread woodwork done in a past era. It is a great vantage point to watch the people going about their lives in this quaint town. A fisherman set up on the corner just below with a wheelbarrow of fresh ballyhoo, they looked so sleek, blue and silver and all shiny, if I only had a way to cook. I made my way down to the beach again, there were some clouds out so the sand wasn’t as hot, the water still felt good. I watched as the cliff divers jumped into the sea from the side of the cliff as tour boats came into the bay and let off their passengers. The divers all mob the boat as the tourists are getting off and it must seem very intimidating. You would think that the tour guide would tell them you don’t have to tip each of them, just give a dollar to one lad or another, and if the person in front of you tips this on you tip that; they really depend on these tips to buy their dinner for the day. Shortly before 1:00 I got a text from Boomer, he was going to have surgery and was asking if I was going to be able to visit him; I had though about it earlier but was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get a bus back to Soufriere in a reasonable fashion. I phoned Trendy and he assured me that being Friday I wouldn’t have any problem. I walked down to the square to check on the bus situation, the Castries bus was nearly full so I decided to give it a try; I let Trendy know so he could meet me in town and show me where the hotel was. It worked out good too in that Dan had phoned me earlier to say I left my US phone and charger plugged in at the nav table, I had told him I would get it from him in St. Maarten, but since Trendy was at the Ocean Club he ran it over to him to bring to me. The buses in St. Lucia aren’t as crowded as the ones in St. Vuncent; they only put three people per row, whereas it is four per row in SVG. One thing I will say if you are faint hearted don’t sit where you can see out the front window the roads are steep and have many sharp curves, guiderail isn’t a big thing in St. Lucia and I compounded my anxiety by looking at the condition of the tires prior to getting on the bus. I met Trendy at the market in Castries and we took a bus over to the hospital, all was good until we saw that we had missed the afternoon visiting hours. Waiting until the evening hours would cut it short on getting a bus back so I called Boomer to let him know our situation and told him I would see him next month. He sounded good and appreciated that I had made the effort to come visit him. Trendy and I had a late lunch at one of the stalls at the market and then I headed abck to Soufriere. When I got back to the hotel, things were starting to pick up in town as everyone prepared for the upcoming weekend. I sat on the balcony with a beer taking it all in, and I realized just how much I loved this town. Rodney Bay is fun and if you’re on a short holiday and want to beach all day and party all night it’s the place to be; but it could be anywhere really, if you want to get a feel for the real St. Lucia Soufriere is where you want to go. There were trucks driving round advertising the weekends events. If you remember in the Blues Brothers movie where Jake and Elwood are driving around the countryside with a large speaker mounted on their car announcing their show, well they still do that in St. Lucia. The message in this case is prerecorded and the announcer very enthusiastic. Diner was at skippers again, then back over to Sandys for some drinks until it was time to call it a night.