Poetic Island

Poetic Island
The wonders of Dominica

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Returning to the New World- Day 20

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.

Melville Hall River
 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

The Day Before I Leave - Day 19

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.
100 Year old house in Loubriere

I make it to Roseau shortly before lunch and stop by a few more friends places of work to say my good byes. The question always being raised, " When will you be returning?". I sometimes reply jokingly, "Never", but they know that that is a lie. It is always sooner than never.  Dominica is a place that I always must visit if only once a year. En route to my bus stop, I hear jazz music coming from the second floor of a building. I decided to check out the source of this music. I walk in Bedneau Enterprises, a musical instruments and electronics supply store. I never knew Dominica had a musical instruments supplier online, I guess you learn something new everyday. Mr. Elwin Bedneau has been delivering instruments for the last 18 years and been actively in the music business for more than 35 years.  They offer professional audio equipment and all of the basic musical instruments required for a band. I also was informed that Dominica has the highest per capital of musicians than any other Caribbean island. So finding local entertainment on the island is not a problem. Actually, I like hanging out t the Anchorage Hotel on Thursday Evening's, because they have the band Shades of Green perform and showcase a local poet weekly.

General Manager Lennox

Owner Elwin

After my visit, I stop to purchase some fresh bananas and watermelon. After 4 pm, usually there are two trucks close to the bridge that exits the Roseau to the north and they sell bananas and watermelon right on the back of their trucks. The cost is $2EC for a slice of watermelon or for about (5) bananas.

It's now time to head home, and the beautiful sunset is a perfect way to end my last day in Roseau.
I have also include a little footage from my bus ride back to Mero. The footage is mostly of Canefield.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rain in the Jungle - Day 17 & 18

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
 After eating lunch, I will make my way to cottage #29. The restaurant is near cottage 15 so I will have a short  5 minute hike up hill to make it to my resting place. My body sweats a little as I finally reach my nature retreat.  It's about 3 pm now and after riding for over an hour from Roseau to reach Delices, I intend to take a nap. Then the rains pour down, down, and down. The time flies by fast and at about 6 pm the rains have taken a short break. So I stroll casually down to the restaurant with my hotel issues flashlight and umbrella to ending an evening dinner among other resort guests. My waitress Jo-Ann was extremely hospitable and immediately made me feel right out home. The service at Jungle Bay is truly 5 star. After completing my callaloo and house salad with a cup of coco tea, am ready to go back to my quarters to relax once again. Within 20 minutes the rains began to flow roughly against my cottage. I go to my outside shower and take a warm shower to prepare for the best sleep. The best sleep is that of the pouring rains producing melodies that put calms your body for its much needed rest.

The View from my cottage

 I lie down and with a few minutes I am fast a sleep. The entire night the rain bit and hit the walls of this rustic dwelling and I am feel with serenity and and nature's powerful forces are working to bring my body into harmony with the power surrounding me. Sweet sleep is all I feel with my body and mentally the rains powerful energy are releasing stresses that were deep inside of me. I am totally relax and I have the rain and the jungle of jungle bay for healing me.
My Bed in the Cottage
Outside Shower of Cottage

View from ride to Roseau from Delices

Monday, August 8, 2011

Nature Island Literary Festival-Day 16

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

Portsmouth's Indian River- Day 15

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.

 Once I make it back from the tour, the Indian River Restaurant & Bar is my dining choice today. It's a little after 3pm so the lunch crowd is gone. Therefore, I have the restaurant all to myself. The menu for today is curry chicken, rice, vegetables, provisions, and salad. The food is delicious. My stomach is full and now I will prepare for journey home.

View from the Back of the restaurant

View from the Indian River Restaurant

Friday, August 5, 2011

Finding AC in Roseau-Day 14

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

Giving Back to Dominica-Day 13

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
 Additionally, I presented a workshop for the Nature Island Literary Festival entitled” How to Successfully Self-Published your Book”. In January of this year, I release the book “Poetic Island: Refreshing Expressions from Waitikubuli”. The objective of the workshop was to take the participants through the process of creating a book to marketing and selling a book. I had a lot of fun sharing my knowledge and the feedback of everyone in attendance indicated that they received very beneficial information that will aid them in publishing their books. The Nature Island Literary Festival is in its 4th year and the content and quality of the program creates new standards each year. They have wealth of programs line up for the weekend of August 5-7.
 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

Macoucheri River - Day 12

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

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.