Friday, December 01, 2006

James' Visit - St. Lucia

After that great evening we continued celebrating James' birthday by renting a car and driving down south to the Pitons. This area has been decalared a World Heritage Site. Two volcanic piers stand 2500 ane 2600 feet high only a short distance apart - tall and steep, they don't look as though anyone could climb them, although it has been done. Just before them the charming town of Soufriere spreads along a white beach. We drove down the narrow road from Rodney Bay and passed more hairpin turns than we've ever imagined.
   This first view was taken at a popular photo spot where many St. Lucians on vacation were waiting to have their pictures taken. The foliage is very green and dense with flowers everywhere. Once down off the mountains we stopped at a lovely hotel, The Hummingbird Resort, to have a cold drink and walk the beach. It was a Sunday and everyone was out, swimming and enjoying the beach. A little girl was building a sand castle with her father and I stopped to talk to them. James and Scott were up ahead walking (our next picture). The walk took us into the town where a big political rally was occuring. Being British, they have a parlimentary system and the government has been dissolved and an election is imminent. The two main parties are the Labor (ruling) "Red" and the Workers' Party contesting "Yellow". Hundreds of people in yellow and red shirts were milling around in town and a big march was forming. Since then we've had these rallies almost every night.

It was very interesting to us to talk to people about the election and everyone was very open about it. Vans were roaming the streets with election music and campaign speeches and many people were wearing the colored Tshirts with their party colors and slogans. Still most of the people we've really had talks with are discouraged with the existing partys and more pragmatic about what need to be done.
We have enjoyed being part of that process, but another destination was calling. We had heard about the Dasheen Restaurant at the Ladera Resort from many sources, but they all had been unanimous - it was fantastic. And so it was. Our definitive guide book says "it has the most awesome view of any bar in the Caribbean; just to walk in is unforgettable. And they are right. Added to this is the Sunday, all you can eat, Buffet and you've got perfection (especially for my meat eating men, Scott and James).

The table looked out on the two Pitons and the beach between them from about 1000 feet up. A wonderful local band of 70+ year olds who have been making music together for a lot of years played down below us. We had a nice discussion with them about the music and they had all, at one time or another, lived in the States. A buffet of salads, vegetables, and a lot of grilled meat was arranged out in front: a roast pork leg, lamb chops, pork chops, several fishes including tuna, and a host of various sauces - each more delicious than the last. After that the dessert table was spread out attractively.

We ate are all too much but the lovely endless edge pool beackoned. We inquired from the hostess and spoke to the manager, and were allowed the use of the pool. We all changed into our suits, jumped into it and then laid out in the lounge chairs facing the view - and ordered expressos. What a life! By the time we left it was late and it was hours before we returned back to Rodney Bay.
 On the way through Castries we saw a wonderful sunset. It also marked our last night with James and it was bittersweet.

The next morning was hard. We woke up early and had a good breakfast. Although we thought we'd left early, the "rush hour" traffic was much worse than expected. We arrived barely on time and James was rushed into the gates. We know that it will only be a few weeks before we'll see him again. But the hardest part of what we do is missing our family and friends.

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