Trip Start Feb 19, 2004
85Trip End Jan 20, 2005
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An early shuttle bus to the airport where the queues quickly disappeared. We went through customs with no questions or problems whatsoever - all they wanted was our green cards. The food was lousy at the airport and American Airlines had a choice of pretzels or bust! We spoke to an interesting bloke who was a man of the cloth who'd recently started medical school in Saint Lucia despite the fact he is over 50! 3 hours later we were on the ground in the Carribean. We ate our first meal of the day at the airport - some tasty Creole nosh served up by a giant local woman (at least 6 feet 4 we reckon). Our taxi drive, Stan, took us the 35 miles and 90 minute journey to the opposite end of the island (27 miles long and 15 miles wide) through big banana plantations and lush dense undergrowth and tropical rainforest. Our hotel is great and the food here very good with lots of alternatives in walking distance
Wednesday 5th January, Saint Lucia
Last night we found out that the noise we thought was a car alarm was in fact frogs shouting out. The rain from yesterday had clouded over but still no sunshine. We hit the supermarket for alcohol and breakfast supplies and had a quick introductory showing of the hotel and it's grounds. After walking past the all-inclusive places down the road we're more than happy where we're staying. We walked to the beach down the road just in time to get caught in a tropical downpour - fortunately in beach wear it didn't matter too much. As the rain kept coming we had a drink watching English football live (!) on the telly for the first time since last May!
Thursday 6th January
The sun came out today. We headed for the local beach which was by far the most crowded beach we'd encountered all year (but it wasn't 'crowded' like at home). We got badgered by local salesmen/wide-boys calling themselves Mozart and trying to sell cheap jewellery
Friday 7th January
We walked to the marina about a mile up the road this morning - it's a little place called Gros Islet - they don't bother too much with footpaths around here which isn't a problem - unless there's been a rainstorm the night before. There was a typical Caribbean feel in the town with corrigated iron fences, open drains, rum bars and local kids trying to climb coconut trees. By the time we got back it was starting to rain again. It didn't let up all afternoon so we consoled ourselves with alcohol and television and waited for tomorrow.
Saturday 8th January
To Sue's surprise Derek was awake bright and early this morning. She soon discovered that they're was live FA cup football on the box. Later, a taxi took us under the raindrops to the market in Castries
Sunday 9th January
At last the sun was shining once more. So we headed to the poolside here at our hotel to soak up some rays away from the tight spaces and activity of the beach. Come mid-afternoon though and the showers were back again - they don't give too much warning - it just starts pouring down. Still it was nice to leave our hotel to walk to the Indian restaurant up the road - it did rain again (!) as we walked home mind you.
Monday 10th January
We won't even mention the weather today. We got a taxi to the nearby Pigeon Island national park. It's not actually an island any more as they've filled the bit in-between. Most of the history of St Lucia being fought over by the British and the French is here with the military barracks and Fort Rodney lookout and the twisting climb of Signal Peak. It's a small place though so we were done by lunchtime and ate the very tasty local roti (bread). We were accosted by an Aloe Vera salesman from Essex (!) who helped us find the bus back whilst we helped him with his need for bread.
Tuesday 11th & Wednesday 12th January
Two days of relaxation by the hotel pool with the incessant rain finally easing off. We had a very nice full body massage at the spa next door when the showers finally kicked in. We also discovered a great little restaurant called 'The Doghouse' with excellent Tex/Mex cuisine and a country music theme. Yep, it's true that in St Lucia outside of rap and reggae, country and western is really popular with the locals!
Thursday 13th January
We took a tour of the west coast in a taxi today. We had our own ideas about what we wanted to see and first stop was a viewpoint of Castries harbour and the docked cruise ships that reside there. Even though all taxi drivers on the island are supposed to be knowledgeable our man about the Garden Falls. We walked the last 400 yards up a muddy lane to see the almost waterslide like falls. An old sugar mill which has been closed since the 1960's (they switched to bananas instead) had lots of photos of other Caribbean islands sugar production efforts. The extremely twisting roads had plenty of roadside dopey dogs and underfed cows. We had lunch in the town of Souffriere which is actually sitting on the side of a once active volcano albeit many moons ago
Friday 14th and Saturday 15th January
Even though it's supposed to be high season at the moment in St Lucia, we end up wondering how many 3/4 empty restaurants survive from year to year. It's great for the beach though where we've spent the last couple of days relaxing and taking it easy (with some fun for us on fast moving inner tubes hauled along by a speed boat). We met the manager of our hotel at the rum party the other night and it turns out he's Irish and has been living here for the last 27 years aftering moving here with work and then meeting and marrying a local woman (sounds familiar!).
Sunday 16th January
The day started with rain but soon the sun was beating down on us
Monday 17th January
Nearly a year after we left home and Derek is finally officially a year older. On the warmest day yet in St Lucia we headed once more to the beach where we indulged again on the inner tubes experience and followed that up with a ride on a jet-ski.
Tuesday 18th January
Sue's ear infection from way back in South America has come back to haunt her - hopefully this time she's been to the doctor (this morning) early enough so it doesn't get like it was back then. We spent our last full day relaxing by the pool. At the 'badly described menu' Italian we went to tonight, we were served cough sweets with our bill - perhaps they were trying to tell us something ?! Tomorrow we will catch a taxi to the airport for an evening flight which gets back to London at 9am on Thursday morning.