|Melville Hall River|
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Last night, I had trouble going to sleep. I kept thinking about how much Dominica would be missed. As I reclined on my front porch, the Full Moon that had met me on my arrival was bidding me farewell. The breeze was rapidly cooling my body and memories of my many experiences were replaying in my head. Mentally, I am not prepare to venture back into the New World. I almost feel like an astronaut that has been in outer space and must physically adjust to the gravitational pull of planet Earth. I have been free for these past few weeks, but soon I will be pressurized by the system of the western world. However, I am refreshed and ready to do what is required to live a purpose driven life. I thank God for sanctuaries like Dominica that allow one to hide away from what is modern and get back to the bare essentials of life. I take with me more passion for life and the positive energy that resonates from the natural life of plants and trees of Waitikubuli.
I awaken at 4:30 am to make the hour to hour and a half ride to the Melville Airport. I am flying LIAT airlines to Puerto Rico and as always LIAT leaves up to its name (Leaving Island At anyTime). My flight was scheduled to leave at 9 am, but we departed at 10:40 am. So I had a chance to take in the Melville Hall River which runs parallel to the airport. It becomes a calming source for my nerves and I hear it telling me, we hope to see you soon. Indeed, Dominica will see me soon. I hope you have enjoyed my 20 days in Dominica blog and I invite you personally to experience one of the last unspoiled paradises in the Western World very soon. For more insights on Dominica visit PoeticIsland.com.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
As I prepare to leave Dominica, I always try to say good bye to my friends. The time always passes so fast and then its time to go back to the rat race of America. In the morning I make my way to Henry's house. The cool thing about Henry's home is that it is over 100 years old and has been in his family since it was built. He boast at the fact that his father was born in this house. The home sits on the Shillingford estates which is comprised of more than 200 aces of land. It has not been declared a heritage site, but it is my hopes that one day it will. The roadway consists of stones embedded in the soil of the ground. It is primarily made of wood and this only add to the charm and rustic environment of its inside. I have a cup of coco tea and we engaged in a conversation of current events. Henry is always in tune to worldly events and his radical opinions and thoughts are always entertaining.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
To get some natural rest and relaxation, I stay two nights at the Jungle Bay Resort and Spa located near of the village of Delices. For over 6 years the Resort has offered visitor a wonderful place to get get away from it all. There are daily yoga sessions and daily tours available to many parts of the island. However, I was unable to go on a tour due to the heavy rains in the area for the last two days. I arrive around lunch and go straight to the restaurant to find a cure for my hungry. I decided on the tuna melt with a side of salad plus a cinnamon ice tea. It does a great job of energizing my body. The lunch menu incorporates many local dishes and puts an upscale spin on it. The menu also caters to vegetarians and very health conscious people.
|Main Restaurant Hall|
|The View from my cottage|
|My Bed in the Cottage|
|Outside Shower of Cottage|
|View from ride to Roseau from Delices|
Monday, August 8, 2011
During the last week of July and the first week of August, Dominica celebrates its emancipation from slavery. A part of this celebration is the Nature Island Literary Festival. This 3-day event brings some of the most talented authors, poets, storytellers, and artists of the Caribbean and the Dominica Diaspora to perform, inform, discuss, and highlight Caribbean culture, history, and oral traditions through the written word. I have participated in many literary festivals, but this one consistently offers a wider variety of literary platforms with more diversity amongst its presenters plus its totally free event. The theme for the fourth annual festival was “Hooked on Books”. I believe this theme sends a powerful message about the need to make reading an addiction, to make learning an essential part of life and giving young people an opportunity to witness the skilled authors and poets within the region.
Five of the highlights for me are the comical MC Franklyn Moses who never leaves his crowd with a frown; the calyposian King Karessah with an in depth discussion on the meaning and value of calypso music, the morning workshop Issues and Concerns which looked at the influence on the spoken word in both the Caribbean and America; and Trinidadian poet Keegan Maharaj powerful and conscience spoken word to call participants to wake up, take a stand and be truthful throughout the land; and a poem performed by students of the Grand Bay Secondary School that focused on gang violence in the schools and made a strong call for students to really think about what they are dying for. Overall the variety of artists and the full day agenda caused no room for boredom. There were poets, singers, children book authors, open mic calls, literature experts offering there critics, discussion, storytellers, and issues that made you aware.
Each year the festival continues to raise the bar for the quality of presenters and the diversity of literary genres presented. Also, the festival always hosts a book fair in conjunction to the festival. This year the Festival committee had several Book exchanges to basically promote reading by bring a book and then exchanging it for another book. These book exchange initiatives help to create more awareness about the festival and again the need to get hooked on books. I truly give my sincere thanks to the members of the committee that put in countless hours to make this truly one of the best literary festivals of the Caribbean. I am never disappointed in this festival and look forward to returning next August to play apart in the 5th Annual Nature Island Literary Festival. To see the complete list of presenters check out http://www.dominicalitfest.com/.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Today I ventured to Portsmouth to visit the Indian River. The Carib Indians used this river many times as their primary source of transportation, and today I will re-live their experience. Portsmouth is a one hour drive from Roseau and the bus fare is $10EC. On the Indian River,hand rode boats allow you to experience the Old World from the perspective of the Carib Indians. My tour guide today is James Bond. His name is not actually Bond, but in Dominica almost everyone has a nickname. From his first introduction, I immediately feel his passion for informing visitors about Dominica. I trust that my tour will be interactive and informative.
There are no motor boats allowed on this river, so no worries about loud boats passing you by. Peace and quiet are the only expectations in mind. The Indian River is the only river below sea level and therefore is composed of salt and fresh water. Its sea level also makes it the only still river on island. The tour is approximately 3/4 of a mile and the breeze is unforgettable. The temperature is perfect and the ancient trees are protecting this place from the rest of the world. I just wish that the river was a little longer because their is a magical and mystical feeling consuming my heart as I reflect on life before the modernization of man. The time just flows by so quickly and the essence of nature makes me yearn for more time on the river. I can't understand how so many people cannot make time for the simple pleasures of nature, and many rarely find time to breathe. I can see why James enjoyed his job and has been satisfying visitors for the last 20 years. During the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3, Johnny Deep and Orlando Bloom were his passengers when they had lunch at the Indian River Bush Bar which is at the end of the river tour.With his big kool-aid smile, he says that Johnny enjoys calling him James Bond He also shows me where they filmed Calypso's house in the swamp. After the trip down Indian River, I am feeling a little hungry.
|View from the Back of the restaurant|
|View from the Indian River Restaurant|
Friday, August 5, 2011
Today was extremely hot in Roseau. For the first time all I could think about was the modern comforts that the air condition brings. So I started to think about all the places in Roseau were I could enjoy the coolness of AC and relax for a while. Upon entering town, the first spot located is SUBWAY. I decided to stop in and get a sub and help relax my sweat glands. I hardly visit American franchises in Dominica, but today I will make the exception for my physical needs. Within one hour my body is feeling overheated again, the Orchard is the next stop. I get two large glasses of passion fruit juice and the cool breeze takes all my sweat away. My mind tells me to never leave the comforts of this air conditioned environment, but I have things to do and explore so this pleasure will not be enjoyed for the entire day. I start thinking about how many other places have AC and this is what I came up with: Rituals Café, KFC, Whitchurch Supercentre, The Muslim Store, Premier Computing Services, Perky’s Pizza, Pizza Hut, Subway, The Orchard, Piwi Ice Cream, and all the banks.
Towards the end of the day, a strong urge for something sweet comes over me. Piwi Ice Cream offers ice cream, cakes, cup cakes, popcorn, candy, and juices. It is my number one choice for ice cream when I am in town. They have two locations to service you, and it has air conditioned which is definitely a plus on this hot day in Roseau.
|PIWI Ice Cream|
|PIWI Ice Cream|
Thursday, August 4, 2011
|View from Morne Bruce|
One of my core beliefs is that if you see a need and it is in your power to give then you should give. By being a frequent visitor of Dominica I have developed friendships and I am always quick to lean a helping hand if I have the ability too. So for a few days I helped with the VF Inc Youth Series, which was a 5-day program designed to inspire young people to be their best. The program was held in Morne Bruce which just a few minutes from Roseau but is on a high mountain above the capital city. At this point the natural landscape brings a peaceful spirit to the place. I presented a workshop on Preparing for the College Environment and helped in doing some mock interviews with some of the participants. The program had over 150 students in attendance and I was happy that the organization has asked me to play a part.
|VF Inc Youth Series|
|With one of the presenters Franklyn Moses|
I do plan to fully participate in this intellectually stimulating weekend.
For more information about the Nature Island Literary Festival visit http://www.dominicalitfest.com/
|Some participants of my Workshop|
It’s moments like these that you want to thank God for all the blessings he has bestowed upon you. All of us are blessed with certain gifts and talents that need to be shared outside the workplace. As an eco-tourist, I believe that if one wants to have an authentic experience in a new culture, one must find a way to make a contribution at the visiting destination. So I would challenge anyone coming to Dominica to find a way to contribute. There are always events, workshops, or educational programs taking place on the island. One great source to find out what programs are occurring during your visit is to check out dominicanewsonline.com. Here you will often find contact information of organizations hosting a variety of events. It is best to contact the organization before your arrival so that the needed arrangements can be made for your voluntary donation of time and knowledge. Another option is the “Leave a Book Beyond” program currently being facilitated by the Jungle Bay Resort. The program simple requests that tourists leave a book beyond on their visits and this book is donated to the local school’s library. It is a simple yet effective way to make a powerful contribution to your vacation community. There are so many ways to give back, if you have any creative ways eco-tourists can give back to Dominica please contact me at Olivia@poeticisland.com.
Monday, August 1, 2011
Today, I thought I would take a causal walk to the Macoucheri River. It’s about 4 pm and the sun is beaming so I know the river will definitely hit the spot. The road to the river is relatively flat which is not customary in Dominica, my body is sweating profusely and it seems that my 15 minute walk feels more like an hour. I arrive and take a few minutes to take in the sights surrounding this river.
|The Mango Tree|
Sugar cane, mango, and native trees keep this river secluded from the rest of the world. A Rum factory name in honor of the river is the Macoucheri Rum. It is a favorite among the locals. As I prepare myself for this delight, I look into the heavens and feel sprinkles of water drops coming across my face. I think to myself this is only temporary so I found a cool spot near a mango tree and wait it out. There are ripe and spoiled mangos on the ground. I look through a few and fin a few just ripe mangos and enjoy the sweet fruit.
The rain gets harder so I must find a better shelter. There is cricket field just a few minutes away that has shelter for players during the game. Under the protection of the shelter, I locate a bench and lay down to enjoy the refreshing rain. My body temperature is no longer hot and a short nap would give me the needed energy to make it back home. Relaxing on a bench on the edge of a cricket field, I feel the cool breezes of the rain calming my nerves and although I did not get my river bath deep inside I still was able to meet my goal.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Today I visited Trafalgar Falls in the village of Trafalgar; I prefer to call it Twin Falls. There are two reasons for preferring this name: (1) there are two waterfalls and I cannot recall any other place on island that has two falls, and (2) there is both cold and hot water for bathing. Before taking a bus to the village, I stop by a local restaurant to get my favorite callaloo soup. The soup is made of a green leafy plant called callaloo, and it is filled with smoked chicken, dumplings, provisions, potatoes, herbs, and local spices. If you are in Roseau on a Saturday, soups and broths are the main entrees. There is the red bean soup, pigtail soup, pumpkin soup, and a local favorite is fish broth. So now that my tummy is full and ready for a river bath.
The bus fare to the falls is $5EC and you must purchase an ecotourism site pass to access the falls, the fee is $13EC which $5US. The trail to Trafalgar Falls takes about 15 minutes and has locally made steps until you reach a built platform that gives you a great opportunity to take group photo or to get a great picture of both falls.
However after you leave this platform, the rest of the path is full of rocks and requires the appropriate shoes so that you don’t slip and hurt yourself. I have known tourists to hurt themselves due to not having the right shoes and underestimated the rock’s surface texture.I make it safe and sound and I immediately submerge myself into the cold bulging flow of the river. The coolness of the water brings youthfulness back to my skin and although I am cold my body feels more refreshed than ever before. There are many pools of water to enjoy and at different heights some closer to the mouth of the fall which means more rock climbing however, the lower pools are moderate in rock climbing and so water proof shoes are recommended if this is your first time.
There are rocks all over from very small rocks at the floor of the river pools to massive rocks at every location shaping the variety of swimming pools. I shouting “OH, OH”, because the water is really cold, but it feels so good so all I can do is allow some of the coldness to come out in my voice. I take a break from the river by finding a nice rock to sit and enjoy the sun’s heat and look up and view the forestry of trees shielding the entrance of this oasis. Just another cool place to mediate and allow the stresses of life to leave you for a moment as you rejuvenate and feel mental clarity making you well both mentally and physically.
Once my body is fully satisfied with the cold water, I know cross a few rocks and make me way to the warm sulphur pools. The warm pools have called me to be healed. I believe these pools should be called healing pools, because I do feel healing taking place. I observed the way the plants and trees have organically made their homes in harmony with their rock friends and feels so surreal. Luxury resorts spend millions of dollars to recreate these warm pools and import plants and flowers to attempt to meet nature’s ultimate standard. I wish every person could experience the powers of these water. I find a nice rock to rest my head on as I lay under the warm of the sulphur. I close my eyes and for a moment I feel eternal peace flowing all over my body. My body is healed for the day.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
It is said that Wotton Waven is the center of hot sulphur springs in Dominica, and there are a few commercial locations available for the visitor or resident to enjoy the hot mineral pools. The spot chosen today is Tia’s Bamboo Cottages and Sulphur pools. Tia established the first commercial hot pools in Wotton Waven and since that humble beginning has built 5 cottages from local resources that can comfortable accommodate 14 persons.
So as I alternate, it is hard not to meditate on the simple delights of nature and allow the heat to release the stresses of the day away. If food was served inside of the private pools, I may find myself staying in the hot water all day due to the therapy being given to me. One way to conclude a hot sulphur bath is to immediately hydrate your body with water and schedule a message at Glam Experience to put the icing on the cake. This is truly the most natural medication for a good night sleep. The pools are also excellent for muscle pain incurred from hiking on the island. The cool thing about Wotton Waven is its’ short distance to Roseau within 2 miles to be more precise. The bus fare is $3 EC. Tia’s landscapes are relaxing and calming to the spirit and truly aid in total body wellness.