Colourful houses in blue , red and yellow, clean streets, for the size of the island an amazing number of seemingly good restaurants and other shops and boutiques.
Although the rain has been following us for almost 5 days now, it is still fun walking through the little streets and off to the beaches.
The other interesting fact is that
the biggest naval battle ever fought by the French and the English
was just off Les Saintes, where on 12th April 1782
Admiral Rodney defeated heavily the French squadron under the command of Comte de Grasse ,
and as a result laid
foundation to the era of British maritime supremacy.
It also gave most of the islands to the English ( 1783 , remember ! ).
Nevertheless, Les Saintes always stayed French.
my thoughts are still with the
Island of Dominica.
Wow, and what an island that is !!!!
Columbus saw it later in the month of November in 1493, and because it was a Sunday,
he called it Dominica, the latin word for that special day.
Today there are 70,000 inhabitants on 751 sq km, an average of $400 USD income per capita per month,
7 volcanos instead of one like in the other islands , a lot of rain-showers and therefore
rainforest, rivers, waterfalls, and a very lush vegetation.
Columbus described this place to the Court of Spain by crumbling sheets of paper together.
Nature can be amazing , and here is the untouched place !!!!!
and you have an island that has not changed since its discovery.
This is probably the reason why "The Pirates of the Caribbean" had seven 'shooting locations' here.
And I am truly impressed after the disappointment from Martinique.
Dominica is poor but pure !
And the people here are nice as well !
What a relief.
looked after by the Government.
The rainforest is dense and quiet, and of course what else happens in the rain-forest than
Almost no animals in sight, in fact Domenica has no wild animals with the exception of the
Boa Constrictor and the Iguana, the first on the ground, the second in the trees.
Difficult to see both anyway, so no bother.
I hate snakes !
But the true reasons to come to Dominica lie in the fact that here,
in all the beauty of nature, with its tremendous amount of various and beautiful flowers,
the range of spices, vegetables and fruits including wild Coffee, Cacao, Cinnamon, Mango, Melon, Pineapple,
last remaining true
Caribs in the Caribbean.
Dominica is home to the last remaining former fearsome people of Kalinagos , originating from the Orinoco river , pushing the ( north-american) tribes of Arawacs out of this region,
and fighting heavily the incoming european settlers.
And Dominica's history is full of battles between these factions ,
of treachery between brother and brother ( one white, one half Carib , the Warner brothers ),
and of resulting massacres on both sides,
where today only the name of villages and beaches remind us of the sad events.
I am always surprised by our ( past ???? ) western arrogance,
when it comes to invading other people's countries and then deciding to either
"wipe them out" or "pacify them" ,
depending on whether they resist or not.
What is worse is that we often mean with pacifying
" putting them into reservations ",
and I have seen some in New Mexico, Arizona, and Australia.
The encountered apathy and lethargy , the unemployment, alcoholism, and often "unlawful relations" ie incest,
will stay in the memory of any visitor for ever.
So I was somehow reluctant but also curious to visit
the " Carib Reserve", an area of roughly 2000 hectares.
And to my surprise it was a beautiful experience.
There are roughly 3500 Kalinagos left, but only about 300 of "true Carib stock".
Although that indicates to me some "unlawful relations", I did not see any evidence of it .
In fact the Caribs like the rest of Dominica's population, is of a healthy and gentle kind, very open to visitors, almost curious,
and they are 'beautiful' people.
and when you have travelled the world, you will understand when I say that the people you see make you believe you are either on Hawaii, Vanuatu or even Japan.
It is fantastic.
And they are not isolated in this 'reserve'.
They just live here, in small dwellings, select a 'Chief', but are also represented in Parliament.
They are farmers, lawyers and accountants, ie they have the opportunity to get well educated, and go about it like anybody else.
But they are seemingly " at peace with nature" .
Our guide , half of Carib and half of african descent, was a typical example. He called himself
so you can only see him when the sun shines !
His knowledge about the flora and fauna of his island was seemingly unlimited.
They use all the existing herbs for medical purposes, cook and eat what they find in their "paradise", and I even met a Carib waiter, who was dreaming about
"culinary events" ( his words !!!!!!!! )
with only local ingredients as an offer to the small community of tourists who happen to find this place.
AND FINALLY, AS IF I HAD BEEN WAITING FOR IT, I ALSO MEET 'MY LONDONERS' !!!!!!!!
a song performed by Eric Burden and the Animals.
By the way , I used to meet him around Notting Hill and Portobello Road, surprise surprise.
Because half of London "lives" in Notting Hill !
And 'the other half' in the Caribbean !
You should really know by now !
want to know
how the pineapple grows,
how cinnamon can help you getting over your ligament,
if you want to see how coffee beans look like,
how the mango grows,
and the lemon grass smells when you rub it in your hand,
in fact you people,
if you want to experience true nature, positive, non violent nature that is,
and want to give something to your children that they will never forget,
then there is only one solution :
VISIT THE ISLAND THAT COLUMBUS CALLED "SUNDAY"
I CALL "PARADISE".
....and it is still raining.