Monday 12th – Friday 16th September 2022
As is typical of many a holiday, just as the house-sit draws to an end, so we begin to gather new friends and discover new places. This week we’ve been to a different local bar, eaten out, met some more local people, visited a beautiful beach and swam for the first time in the Caribbean Sea.
This all came about as a result of last Friday’s venture up to Roses Bar – there we met Roger (King Charles) who offered to cook a meal for us at his girlfriend’s bar. So this happened on Monday evening – he asked his friend Ian to come and pick us up and it was a short but very uphill drive to Delphia’s bar, which is a roadside hut opposite her family home. Delphia is lovely and it was great not to be the only female – naturally we chatted loads. She works at the local hospital during the day and opens up her bar, mostly for family and friends, on weekend evenings, or at special request like that evening. Roger cooked us the most delicious meal of pork in a sauce, chicken with potato, plantain, a root vegetable of some kind and salad. And there was wine! Ian is Delphia’s uncle and what a good chap he is – he drove us home afterwards, despite the beer consumed.
We’ve grown to know that there are no rules here … and indeed they find it hilarious that the UK has so many ‘dos and don’ts.’ Well, there are laws but they absolutely take no notice of them … even the Police turn a blind eye. Drink and driving being an obvious one. When we were at Roses Bar last weekend, numerous customers drove up in their cars to purchase blood sausages, fitting in a swift double rum before jumping back in their cars and speeding off. And then there’s the bar opening times – they simply open and stay open whenever and for how long as they please. They do have to have a liquor license though, surprisingly!! We mentioned how surprised we were at the lack of smokers … they giggled somewhat and explained that the St. Lucia population grow and smoke their own kind of narcotic … obviously have been hiding that from us – not for sharing!! And definitely not illegal.
It turned out that Ian was on leave from his job with the Electricity Board for a few days so he offered to drive us the following morning to a beach in the next town – Laborie. An incredibly kind offer – he wanted nothing for it … it was like he felt sorry for us being stuck in the house – didn’t like to explain to him how palatial it is, with swimming pool and lots to amuse us. Still, we weren’t going to turn down an offer to explore new places. He turned up in a beautiful Lexus – turns out as a sideline he imports cars from the UK, via Ebay, and he loves this car. He told us that Lucian people will spend all their money on a good car, even it means they can’t eat or afford to pay rent or buy a home. The car is priority apparently and certainly we can see that as we walk around. He said he would pick us up at 9.00am after he’d dropped his son at school.
As I’ve explained before, nothing happens on time here …. at 10.30am we’d given up hope and had just settled by the swimming pool when we hear a beep of the horn and Ian arrives. He was able to squeeze us in after dropping his Mother-in-Law at the hospital and picking her up again. And so we got to Laborie beach which we’d heard about and enjoyed immensely. The sea was incredibly warm and the three of us swam and floated around for an hour, just ‘liming’ as they say!
And as we bobbed around in the incredibly salty warm sea, we got onto the subject of ‘laws’ again … Ian mentioned that because he was busy that morning, he let his 14 year old son drive himself to school … and that wasn’t the first time! Apparently he learnt to drive when he was 7. Although the legal driving age is 18, this is not policed! Neither is the use of crash helmets on the high speed motor bikes and quad bikes being driven.
But the funniest of all was when we were discussing taxes. There apparently is a ‘house tax’ in St. Lucia but the common way around this is to not quite complete the building – this means you are not liable for payment. And so Ian explained that most Lucians will just leave one wall unpainted – priceless!!
On Wednesday we had a day at the house – catching up on chores and Royal News. Just as it was getting dark we had a power cut – all felt a bit scary. Luckily there was still enough light for us to scrabble around and find candles, matches and torches – we had no idea how long it would last. We were able to phone our new friend Ian who confirmed it was the area and not just our house. But, with no fans working, we sat down to a very sweaty dinner in the dark – at least we have a gas oven and the meal was already cooking when the power went.
It was getting pretty unbearable after a couple of hours so we relocated to the verandah and were contemplating a swim to cool down when the electricity suddenly returned. But it was another beautifully starry night and the trees by the pool were bustling with fireflies so we decided to take a dip anyway … and a skinny dip at that! What larks!! So we spent a fabulous hour floating in freedom and looking up at the constellations and fireflies … oh, and the bats that were increasingly dive bombing! It was magical.
And so, the last 5 days have passed with a lot more variety. We’ve had our regular wildlife visitors with a few new ones too …
It’s Friday afternoon and we’re about to take a wander up to Roses Bar for the last time – have a few beers and be home before dark (6.30pm). We have 6 more sleeps now before we head up North and we’re going to make the most of every day.
It will be an early rise for us on Monday in order to catch the Queen’s funeral live – but we would not miss it. Will be thinking of you all back home.
So, just off out to see if we can break a law or two … and feel like we’re really local.