Monday, February 16, 2009

Dominica - Or Can Suzanne Regain Our Trust

When I last left off in the journal of our trip to the Caribbean, I planned to be back in a day to continue the saga. I had a minor diversion in handling employee questions after the corporation from which I derive my income filed Chapter 11.

But, I'm back and ready to resume. If you remember, Suzanne, the "guide" we met at Bacardi and who gave us a long list of things to do at each stop, wasn't exactly in our good graces after St. Martin's. Not a great recommendation of things to do, but
we decided to try again in Dominica. Suzanne recommended we call a certain guide
service and ask for Dave. He would give us a tour of Dominica, taking us wherever we wanted in his taxi-van for a flat fee. Sounded all right, so one of my fellow travelers called. Three men were going off on a zip-line adventure under the rain forest canopy, while the wives decided to trust our day to Dave.

Dominica looked gorgeous from shipboard. Gorgeous town tucked under towering volcanic peaks. I couldn't wait to explore. After breakfast, we went ashore to find Dave. We found his scheduler, Jou Paul, instead. I was ready to scrap Dave and go with Jou Paul.

Eventually, Dave arrived and we bid fond farewell to Jou Paul and to the pirate ship in the harbor. (At first I thought it was a prop leftover from filming Pirates of the Caribbean, but it sailed off into the sunrise. Silly me.)
We wound our way up the volcano to Titou Gorge, where we were able to swim though a cave to a waterfall. Mountain water is cold! After Titou gorge, we went back down

the road, picked up a hitchhiker Dave knew (more about him in a minute) and went to Papa and Mama Falls for photo ops and lunch.

We talked with our hitchhiker for nearly half an hour. I learned so much. Turned out Elvis (yup, real name) was a biologist with a grant from Clemson U mapping biospheres on Dominica. He was a fountain of knowledge about the flora and fauna and we picked his brain mercilessly.

Sadly, we had to say farewell to Elvis, dropped him off, visited the falls, and found a small restaurant for lunch. The three mouseketeers, Tara, yours truly, and Michelle, posed for a windy picture while waiting for some of the best curry I've ever eaten to be put on our tables.

Our last stop of the day was at a sulphur spa. Heated by dormant volcanoes, the pools were so relaxing. We had been told the name of the spa, but didn't believe it. Would you? Yes, it is called Screw Spa. And this is Mr. Screw. It's really his name. My friend Michelle wasn't quite sure of Mr. Screw, but a second cup of rum punch helped change her mind!

We did have to leave, but it was hard. I could have stayed for many hours, but the ship had to sail. We did stop for a picture along the road. Even Dominica had a large poster of hope. With that image fixed firmly in our minds, we bid a sorrowful farewell to Jou Paul, Dave, Mr. Screw and Dominica in general. Suzanne was redeemed. We loved her recommendations, both Dave and Mr. Screw.

Next port of call: Grenada.

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