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A wet day in Dominica

My second day in Dominica started much the same way in that I went to go take a bus into town. This time, I actually took the bus. I breakfasted at the Fort Young Hotel because it was early Saturday and there weren't a lot of other options on my walk. It had a decent continental breakfast buffet, but in general, the breakfast wasn't worth what I paid. The exception was the really good, thick, natural yogurt. From there, I just hopped downstairs to the dive shop to get fitted for gear. I haven't used a wetsuit to dive in ages, but the water was cold enough that I needed one. The boat left from the hotel with 3 guests and picked up 2 more at another hotel further from town. For the day, we had 2 dive masters, 5 divers, and a boat captain. It was a pretty good group. The divemasters and captain were all pretty funny and the other couples and I were all trading dive stories. We had a good time on the boat. We also had a good time diving in the marine preserve. The coral was amazing- possibly some of the best coral walls I've seen. There were a ton of fish, but they were pretty tiny. The highlight though, was being able to swim with the Hawksbill turtles. One of them let us get really close to it. After the dive, I grabbed a quick lunch at Cafe Desiderata, which is actually a windowless back room to a store that was lit and decorated to make it feel like it was outside. The food was ok, and the golden apple juice was really good. Then, it was back to the hotel for my afternoon tour pickup. This tour took us on an inland water adventure. It was ok that it was raining all afternoon because we were soaked anyways. We first drove through the botanical gardens that I had walked yesterday. This time, I had commentary, but it still wasn't that much greater than before. Our first actual stop was Titou Gorge, where we got to swim up the river that was used for some of the Pirates of the Caribbean scenes. The swim was short, but the current was pretty strong as it was raining and so the river was high. The gorge was gorgeous. Next, we went to see Trafalgar Falls (but didn't go in them). We stopped at some nearby hot springs, which we did go in. Unlike yesterday, these were more natural pools formed by rocks and not man-made. The pools were smaller and they were accessible via a short hike. It was wet, but flip-flop hiking was the way to go. Also, the tour guide shared a lot with us about Dominica's hydroelectric plants. Apparently, a significant portion of the island's power comes from hydro. There is a ton of water coming down the mountains anyway, so they put it in wooden pipes (the sulfuric content would mess up metal or other pipes) and send it to various hydro stations. The last stop on the tour was Screw Spa, which is actually very close to the hotel I'm staying at. These spas are very man-made. There are various pools that you can stand in or sit around the edges of. Each of the pools has different temperature mineral water. If you want to know what minerals are in there, they have an “ingredients list” at the front that you can check. Supposedly, these waters are good for curing all sorts of diseases.There's not much to “do” at the spa, but it is very relaxing. Calm reggae music was wafting through the air, the woods surrounding it made the place seem peaceful, and even the children there weren't making a ruckus. After a while though, it was time to go. The spa recommends taking a dip in the cold pool to “close your pores before leaving and the guide and other people on the tour did. I went in to do so, but it was way too cold for me, so I hopped right out and went under cover to dry off as it was still raining out side. Once we were out and dressed, we got some local fruit as a parting gift and were on our way. After a day of being wet (ocean, rain, pools), you'd think that the first thing I'd want is to get dry. Nope- I wanted a shower, badly. After the shower I did want to get dry.After I was cleaned and dried off, I headed back into town for dinner. When we got close and the bus driver asked where I wanted to be dropped, I said “by some good food.” Another passenger told him where he should drop me, and he did. I'm glad I relied on the locals. Really, that's the way to go as they know better than anybody. The place they had dropped me at- Old Stone Bar and Grill- was a nice restaurant with tropical décor and a tropical menu (breadfruit, plantains, dasheen...). I can say that the callalloo soup was delicious and the rest of the food I got was good, but could have used some sauce. After dinner, I headed to The calypso show. Each year, a new calypso king needs to be crowned to rule over carnival. Tonight happened to be the first round of the finals, and everybody had told me that I should go, so I did. Getting there wasn't easy though. First, somebody told me it was at the stadium. Then, somebody direct me out of town across some bridge. Next, there was a hill climb, and then there was the confused man who didn't think the show was tonight. Also, I met my first rude Dominican- there always has to be an exception to the rule. The lady at the gas station was closed and wouldn't even give me directions. Finally, I got directions the rest of the way and headed towards it. I also got my first on-island marriage proposal from some loon who decided that it was a good idea to tell me he wanted to marry me. Obviously, he hadn't met me and didn't know me very well. I finally reached the calypso show, and it was expensive- $70EC! However, after all that walk and hassle getting there, I paid it, got a ticket for about 30 seconds, and turned in my ticket for a wristband at the door. I think they're reusing the tickets or something the way they took it and wouldn't let me keep it.The show was supposed to start at 8, but in true Caribbean fashion, at 8:30 the band was still setting up. I walked around to check out the food vendors- popcorn, fried stuff, Jamaican patties, beverages- and found a spot near the front as the crowd was just starting to arrive.The show started with the junior champ. She was really good. She sounded much older than a junior and had a really good song. Next up were some soca and other artists. One of their bands has a female lead singer, which just caused me to realize that St. Kitts has all males in the bands. I wonder why. Anyway, between each act, the emcees were telling all sorts of jokes, many of which you had to be aware of Dominican politics to understand. When they weren't telling inside jokes, they were actually pretty funny. Finally, the calypsonians started. Overall they were pretty good. The songs had some interesting topics that were relatively universal- down with the drug dealers, why are the poor kids in jail but the rich kids not?, and one stand-out about women's equality. Actually, when the woman singing about that came on, a whole slew of ladies in the crown held up flags that said “I am a woman of worth.” I was jealous and wanted one.At some point early in the show though, I got tired. I had had a long day and it was getting late. By this time, the place was packed. It took a while for me to get out, at which point I asked somebody where I could pick up a bus or taxi. The guy looked at me like I was crazy and pointed the way to town, insisting that it's short and safe. Fine. I walked into town and up to the place I knew I could get a bus and took the bus from there back to the hotel. It was nice that the buses were still running and weren't charging more for night time.

wooden pipes

wooden pipes


Trafalgar Falls

Trafalgar Falls


Turtle on scuba dive

Turtle on scuba dive

Posted by spsadventures 16:00 Archived in Dominica

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