Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jump Up , Gros Islet, St. Lucia

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Friday night and it's time for a Jump Up at Gros Islet, a tiny community just north of Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia. This small village successfully transforms itself into a outdoor

bar/restaurant/stage once a week and lots of people come, both local residents and many of the tourists on the island. There are several all inclusive big resorts that bus in guests and many come from the boats anchored in the harbor or at the marina. Our new friends Jim and Lara York on "Antipodes", a Yachtsmith 55' trawler built in Nova Scotia, invited us to join them.

Two other couples, both from Nova Scotia themselves, came along - Michelle & Alan on "Tarentela" and Evangeline & Alan on "Bon Chance". We walked over, only a half mile away, and after a few deserted dark blocks found a welcoming committe and blocked off streets. We were early, the party doesn't really start jumping until after 10 PM - it was 7. Frankly Scott and I aren't night owls any more and Jim & Lara felt the same. So we enjoyed the light crowds and talking to the street vendors, who were themselves cooking and setting up their bars.

Scott struck up an interesting conversation with one of the taxi drivers, see the photo. People were very friendly and the atmosphere felt really safe. Everyone sat together at the long tables and chatted.
Many homes just put a bar on a table out front, others had carts.

Many BBQs lined the streets with "meatcycles" (Jim's phrase) of beef or chicken. Several big buffet tables were lined with steam trays of pork, chicken, ribs, fish, rice, lentils, red beans, macaroni & cheese, lo mein, lasagna, potato salad, fish salad and ground provisions.

You grabbed a plate and asked for however much of whatever you wanted that would stay on one plate. This cost $35EC or about $12. Picnic tables lined the streets waiting for diners. We ate around 8 PM and it was delicious.

Down one street a little ways away from the hubbub the strains of hymns wafted out from the open doors. An arch of flowers welcomed church goers and a full mass was underway. Later I returned to get a picture of the painting over the alter. It was a young Jesus learning carpentry from St. Joseph, The Worker. This is the first time I've ever seen such a domestic theme for a church! It's really charming.

A number of the small homes and buildings had Victorian trimmings, all either now had or once were painted bright colors, and the faded signs made me think of pictures of old Havana. Craft artists also had set up stands and one small dress shop was open that intrigued Lara. She almost fit into a cool pair of plaid shorts! At a street stand I bought two dolls for my granddaughters.

One end of the main street was set up with a DJ and a stage for bands later. Up and down the street were bars all lit up and starting to be filled with people. Just beyond this was the dock and fishing boats. Out beyond that were the lights of anchored boats. There were many children around, a surprising number of men with their kids - maybe their wives were serving up the BBQs. I chatted with a fellow shown above in two photos at a makeshift wooden cart labeled "King's Mobile Bar". King was a good name for him. He had an amazing physique and two charming children.

Another father sat on the curb with his two kids, all eating nuts. I asked permission of anyone I photographed and they were happy to have me do it. Only three teenage girls said no.
This was early in the evening so we were surprised to meet at least one man who would have been charming if he wasn't so drunk and over the top. He assured us he had just come from church! He was dressed nicely and sure having a great time. He bummed a beer from Scott and then made me balance the beer bottle on my head. I'm not vain as you see - given I'm posting this shot of me with four chins! It's too much fun not to include. Jim could see this guy was starting to bother me so he gently suggested he leave. Not long after they saw him strong armed away from the party.

Scott and I had some dinner at the buffet and not long after the four of us walked back to the Marina. Scott has a long day tomorrow, hopefully finishing up the plumbing work on the boat. We'd like to leave on Sunday but it may be Monday before everything is completed (or even Tuesday).

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