Last week was pretty uneventful. I finally stopped by the park in my neighborhood. It's small and nice.
Again, a relatively standard week, although it rained a lot more than it usually does. The ladies at work did keep bringing me tropical foods. I got to try jujubes and a monkey cherry, finally made my mango chili, and was introduced to cocoplum. I still haven't been able to break open the stinking toe I was given the other week. I've banged on it with big pots and it just won't break. I need a hammer.
This Friday, I went liming with a friend from work. We started out at Cloud 9 in Port Zante. For some reason, they had a 10EC cover charge. While that's super-cheap compared to the US cover charges, I'm not sure why they had it. It could be because there was a band playing- I don't know. The band was fun and the dancing was fun, but at some point we wanted to check out the band playing at a bar on The Strip. On our way out of Cloud 9, we ran into another friend from work who was going to head over to The Strip as well.
When we got there, a little after midnight, Patsy's was relatively empty. There were a few people there, including a coworker's son (who is about my age). The kitchen smelled great, and my friend got a burger. The band was having a great time, and the energy was starting to infuse the small crowd. When the band started playing a Caribbean version of "Born to be Wild," one of the girls started doing somersaults on the floor. When our friend who had started celebrating at Port Zante showed up, she got right up in the band and danced there- right in the middle of them. For a while, she was even dancing with the guitarist. I think she might have been quite toasty, as she had a super-sized mug from Fat Tuesday, that had been refilled many times that night. I don't know if she was celebrating that she just got a promotion at work that day or if this is how she parties, but the beer kept coming. However, at no point in the night did she do anything that a stereotypical drunk US college girl would do. She never got to the point where she was stumbling, slurring, stripping, puking, or doing anything super-embarrassing. As the bar filled up, more and more people my friends knew showed up. A couple of them seemed surprised that I could dance, asking "who taught you to dance like that?" I find this question, which I got asked a couple of times when I previously went dancing, hilarious. St. Kitts "dancing" is not too much more than wagging your tushie and moving your hips. Nobody expects you to find something to do with your arms/hands, or even really move your feet. It's so much more laid back than going clubbing in the US, Europe, or other places I've been.
I was having a good time, when the band suddenly stopped at 3am. The party was over, but it was pouring, so nobody was leaving and everybody was still hanging out. Eventually, the rain let up enough for us to run to my car without getting completely drenched. We decided to swing by another place that a different friend of mine is always telling me to go. He is always telling me that it's open later than every place else and that we should stop by after we're done elsewhere. It was closed. There was no music and everybody was leaving. I drove my friend back to Port Zante, where she had left her car, and it was pouring again. When I say pouring, I mean that she would have been drenched like she jumped into a pool getting from my car to her car, which was 5 feet away. We had a nice chat while waiting for the rain to let up again, and even got to hear it thunder and see some lightning. By the time I got home, it was 4:30 am.
I had decided just to stay up the extra hour and a half between when I got home and when the Saturday market opened, pick up some food, and then go to bed for the night. Haha. I passed out as soon as I got home.
I missed the Saturday market entirely. I barely woke up in time to go to water aerobics. What didn't help was my run-in with the weevils. I was scrambling to grab breakfast, so I finished off one box of cereal and was going to go open another, when I noticed the box was a little eaten up and there were tiny holes in the bag. Weevils had gotten into my cereal, which sucks because cereal here isn't cheap. What also sucks is that I store all of my dry goods in big tupperware containers so that the weevils can't get in, because I was forewarned about them. My infested cereal was in the same bin as some pasta, flour, crackers, and other goods that I now have to throw out. I hate wasting all that food, but I'm not willing to take chances and want my big rubbermaid container to be nice and clean so that future food doesn't get infested. Grrrr.
My water aerobics class has now been moved from the pool at Sugar Bay to the ocean by Timothy Beach. The class was very different in the ocean, as the water was pushing me around a lot, there were rocks in the sand at the bottom, the bottom was pocked with holes so that the water depth was unpredictable, and the salt kept me floating a lot more. It was different, but not necessarily better or worse. I'll have to make a better analysis when I get used to it and can be more impartial.
Afterward, I was tired and hungry, so I stopped by Bobsy's. Bobsy's is a stand in Frigate Bay that specialized in chicken wings and Caribbean soups. They also have (unspectacular pre-frozen) fries and (unspectacular) barbecue sauce. After that, I napped most of the afternoon. When I got up for dinner, I was too lazy to cook and didn't have a lot of food as I had dealt with a lot this morning. I picked up dinner from Formosa Garden Restaurant in the Fortlands area of Basseterre. The price was reasonable for the US, which is to say great for St. Kitts. The restaurant looks very fancy, but I just showed up for takeout. The food was ok. It was better than the Chinese food at most other places on the island, but not as good as a lot of places in the US. I'd probably get food from there again, partly because it's close to my house.
Sunday, I dove with Kenneth's Dive Center again. This time, Vijai was the divemaster. He was really good. We were diving with a bunch of Ross students who had just been certified and hadn't done any dives since. Vijai asked us to stay really close to each other. Honestly, it was a little too close for my taste. But, he must have had this experience before. 2 of the Ross students were irresponsible and ran out of air. One of them even said that when they went diving before he ran out and used the one girl's air, as if it was standard and he planned on running out. It was really good that the guys who ran out were near other people at the time. Fortunately, I was partnered with a tourist who had dove before and neither of us had any issues on either dive.
We dove Challenger's Beach and Camps Reef, both reef dives. As usual, the reef was very cool, filled with nice bright corals and fish which my crappy underwater camera doesn't capture very well. We saw a few stingrays under the sand. We saw a field of garden eels. They were very cool because they just looked like seaweed until we got close. As we got near, they ducked into their burrows and hid. We saw a very cool blowfish, nice and up close. There were a couple of other rare species that we saw, and Vijai had a nice little underwater slate which he used to identify them, but I'm not really a fish person and don't remember what they were. We also saw quite a few lionfish, which are an invasive species. Because they're messing with the ecosystem, people are encouraged to remove them from the ocean if seen in these waters. Both Vijai and one of the Ross students were prepared. They had little spears and a bag to put them in. Some of the Ross students were talking about frying the lion fish up for dinner. I'm not sure they got quite enough fish for that, but I guess they could try. Overall, it was a very nice morning of diving. I hope to dive with Vijai again soon.
In the afternoon, I met up with a friend in Independence Square. He took me around the west side of the island. It was fun to just lime at a street bar. I met some of his cousins and friends, and enjoyed the scenery. For those who haven't seen the street bars, it's basically a little bar/convenience store, but it doesn't have room for more than about 2-3 people to sit, so everybody brings the party outside. There were people playing a card game, people drinking, and just generally hanging out on the street nearby, enjoying the music. There was one girl who was making a bit of a spectacle of herself. She was wagging her tushie and jumping on the car with the exact same expression as one of my close friends from home (not mentioning names, LSR). She definitely made me miss her. I was also extremely amused when a certain pickup truck pulled up. In the back, they had put some wooden slats to act as a sofa. The family (including two little girls of about 2 and 6) pulled up waving. They reminded me of people 'bashing in Terre Haute. After we were done hanging out at the street bar, I got taken on a wonderful culinary tour. It seems that the reason they don't sell certain foods at the market is because everybody grows them in their yards. We stopped by a friend's house and just pulled 2 jellies (young coconuts, so the meat doesn't harden all of the way) off the tree. If we didn't they weren't really going to as they had enough. We stopped by a different friend's place and got a soursop. Again, he had an excess and was letting some go to rot as he couldn't possibly eat them all. It reminds me of zucchini season in the states when everybody has so much that they can't even give them away for free. All of the yards we visited were these gardens full of mangoes, monkey cherries (aka cashew nuts), dasheen (aka taro), peanuts, coconuts, and other exotic (and edible) tropical flora. In the end, I had enough fruits and veggies to last quite a while.