Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 5 -- St. Lucia

Day 5 of our trip was a visit to St. Lucia.  What a day we had.  We got off the ship, went to take photos, and the humidity fogged up the lens immediately.   We were planning to spend another lazy day on the beach, but getting a taxi to the beach was not really working for us (which was fine because it was overcast that day)....In order to get a taxi we had to "wait for a group"...and after waiting a while, and watching the locals walk around with signs that offered "tours of the island" we decided to change plans and take a tour.
The first lesson in this island adventure --- the men with posters, and photos of "you will see" these places, fail to mention that you will see them via your van window.  They don't actually stop at many locations (unless there are locals in the middle of nowhere trying to sell you something).  The good news was we got in the van, headed to the back and each took a window seat (left and right so we'd catch all views).

The second lesson -- all fees are negotiable in the Carribean......thus, our $40 - 4 hour tour, became $30 and 5 hours....

 We took the most photos on this island, because we didn't spend the majority of the day touring.....

 The first thing that struck us about the island.....Never ending poverty....
 Miles into our trip, with nothing around, you'd come upon locals who were selling various items.  The driver would stop and ask if we wanted any of the goods.  At this stop was a woman selling sugar cane, and others selling warm bottled water.
 One of many homes we saw along the route.  Smaller than a garden shed (or most US bathrooms), no plumbing, no electric.....
 The banana plantation
 One of the wealthier homes on the island.  We were told to build a home on the island, the cost was $5 per square foot.  In some nicer areas it would be $30 per square foot.   This was a nicer home amongst the poverty stricken homes we'd been seeing.
 Driving in the Carribean we learned, #1 they drive on the opposite side of the road, they honk constantly (one driver told us it is a form of conversation with other locals), we could tell our "tour driver" wasn't really fond of tourists and as we came around a corner saw the name of this particular road "Massacre Ridge".  Luckily we made it safely there and back.
 The police following us along part of the tour
 An islander standing along the side of the road with a live snake.  When I asked the driver why the man had a snake, we were told that they make money buy allowing tourists to take a photo of them with the snake.  We take a photo of him, and have to pay him for doing so.  I opted to take a photo out the window as we drove off.
 A river that runs through one of the small towns in the island. 
 A furniture delivery truck on the island.
 Julie and I, along with a Canadian couple voted this gentleman the wealthiest man on the island.  Why?  Because, he has building at the top of his driveway (that you see in the photo above), along with a small parking lot, where all of the tour buses stop.  Being as it is one of only a few restroom stops along the way, he charges $1 per person to use his washroom.
 View from the "rich man's" deck with the bay at the city of Castries in the background
 A huge landslide occurred during a hurricane that hit the island a few months prior to our arrival.  The slide killed families and took out several roads on the island.
 The landslide and a home that survived.
 The famous twin Pitons where several movies have been filmed --- Scenes from Superman were filmed there, Dr. Doolittle was filmed in the village you can see along the bay, and The Bachelor was filmed at a resort close by as well.
 This is where we learned lesson #3.  This local gentleman was selling necklaces, and then came up to the van window and I took his photo (he posed).  Afterwards, he tried to climb into our van and insisted that I buy a $5 necklace.  Other tourists had to push him out of the van and close the door.
 A church in the small town of Soufriere
 A lot more poverty along the streets in Soufriere, many people we saw did not have shoes...
 While in Soufriere we toured the local volcano on foot.  The sulfur smell was overwhelming....
 Waterfall near the volcano, the locals refer to this area as the baths.  Further down the road were pools that you could pay to sit in the sulfer water
 A photo of the rain forest just outside of the volcano
 Another road side stand.  Several of the tourists in our van bought bottles of "banana ketchup" from this woman. 
 They had livestock tied to something in the field, there were no fences to keep their cattle in a pasture.  We were told the owners walk them to open land, tie them up, then come back in the evening to collect them.
 Empty boats in the bay of the fishing village where Dr. Doolittle was filmed
 Julie paid this guy $1 to have her photo taken with his snake (his boa constrictorwhich was HUGE that he got from the rain forest on the island!!!).  He offered to let her hold the head and she declined the offer.
 View of one of the bays and the sheet metal shacks that went all the way to the beach.
 The tree the island is famous for.  They make maracas, bird houses, etc from the fruit of this tree.
 Stream/river that runs to the sea.  There was a woman bathing in the river as well as people washing their laundry in it.
 Another view of the muddy river and the laundry hanging on the line
 The colors of the homes along the bay were gorgeous
 School children on their way home from school.  All of the children at the public schools wear uniforms.  They color of the uniform is different for each school.
 Our last stop on the way back to the port.  The bay and the marina.
 There were some wealthier homes in this little area.  The bright yellow home you can see, along with a home being built just below it, complete with turrets.  At $30 per square foot, you can afford to build a castle on the island.
 Of course, this was the other bathroom stop of the trip....and as the sign says, you have to pay to use it!  You could also pay $5 for a tiny ice cream sandwich or pay $2 for a beer, or sample free shots of rum (they have their priorities on the island you know!!)
 Julie and I waiting to get back on the van....  I think at this point we were thinking just take us home please!!!
The "famous" cliff we were told in the photo....It looks like a high heeled shoe.  Can you see it?

 Leaving port, we took photos from the ship of the side of the island we didn't get to tour.  We decided this was the wealthier side of the island.
 This is the house I wanted......
 Port police escorting the ship from port
 Another house along the cliffs
 Homes along the airport near port
 Me and my Marge Simpson hair thanks to the wind...

 There is story behind this photo ---  It was again, another dress up night.  I bought the blue scarf prior to the trip to wear with the little black dress.  When I showed the scarf to Matt he said, "Well, it is GREAT if you are 80" (referring to my lack of fashion sense).  So, that night getting ready I told Julie the story and she was laughing at me.  We headed out to a show in the theater before dinner, and the theater was cold so I wrapped up in the scarf and she decided she "had to take a photo for Matt".  I was just happy it doubled as a blanket.

Escargot was on the appetizer menu that evening......Surprisingly delicious!!!

 Our leisurely bunny
Julie and I with our towel bunny that evening

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