I want to write these entries to entice you, to bring you into the world that’s mine. I want to encourage you to log into a travel portal and book a ticket to one of the most untouched country in the world. I want to introduce you to the nature island, the isle of beauty and splendor… A country that’s mine and isn’t but for now I will just let you in on what a fabulous time I’ve had.
Yes, I’m skipping quite a few but it’s because I sort of ran through st. Croix quickly… To compare: St. Croix is much more lively and connected however Dominica has more of a laid back experience. The next few days in St. Croix were spent meeting my friends and heading to the beach. Then, just like that, I was in Dominica. I left Sunday June 29th to the Commonwealth of Dominica through Puerto Rico. While in the airport, I didn’t expect to meet anyone that I knew BUT guess what!? I did. I met with Gloria Shillingford, the woman who used to be the Principal of the high school that I attended almost 15 years ago. She said my face looked familiar (but anyone who knows any of my family members usually think we look familiar).
I reminded her of a day when she stopped me at school because she thought that I was wearing make-up. We weren’t allowed since the school was Methodist. However, I have a natural black line around my lips that make it seem as if I wore make-up. She chuckled at the story, then I said very nice to see her and dismissed myself. I had lots of thinking to do before I got on the plane and my anticipation was growing.
As we neared the island memories came rushing back in. I remembered when we took private planes (hated those) between Dominica and St. Croix during the summer when my parents first moved away. The rides were always bumpy and we did dip a little with turbulence (which is expected when you pass through mountainous terrain). I knew I wouldn’t have any internet connection so I just tried to capture as many images as I could to record each memory.
The experience was much different now that I’m naturalized as American. I went to the international line in Melvillehall airport when we landed around 2PM, I got stamped and proceeded to retrieve my bag. I ran into a cousin (I realized that I would be running into quite a bit of relatives all over the island from then on). The room wasn’t very large at all. I walked out to meet my father (I had convinced my dad months before to schedule his trip with mine so he came a day before I did). I welcomed the reunion since I had seen him only nights before in St. Croix with my youngest sister. He was happy to introduce me to some of his friends lingering at the airport (some worked there).
He rented a jeep (right-hand steering since they drive on the left in Dominica just like St. Croix).
I proceeded to the river next to the airport to take some photos. I remembered getting freshwater mollusc when I was younger. They attached themselves to rocks and we would pick them and make delicious meals. I believe that they are bivalves but I might be wrong.
Then my dad and I left the airport to head towards Wesley.
Immediately I started pointing out differences and things I remembered from childhood. There were updated road signs that weren’t there 15 years ago. Being a designer, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by each sign. Unfortunately didn’t get many photos of them:
I think this means left turn or left bend. I do need to do more research on these but beneath the arrow was two cars which most likely meant double lane (the roads are quite narrow on the island so it’s necessary to remind people that they share the road with the vehicles traveling in the opposite direction).
First close views of the Atlantic Ocean in Dominica.
Nearing Londonderry… seeing the banana trees and plastic coverings reminded me of my childhood.
I wasn’t too fond of this sign but I liked that it listed the population. Only 1,700 people? Definitely less packed than NYC!
We drop up to my grandfather’s house where I dropped off my things, said hi to my uncle and tanty who happens to be around 96 years old. Her mother lived to almost 115. There’s a monument celebrating her life in the center of the village:
Typography isn’t their strength but it was great seeing this. I’m sure most of the family is proud. I can’t imagine living through 3 centuries… late 1800s, 1900s to early 2000s — just amazing.
My dad drove to his friend’s house so I took photos overlooking the area:
I was fascinated by some of the wooden houses because next to the concrete buildings, many of these houses stood the test of time through hurricanes ever since I could remember!
Less than an hour into my trip and I got two mangoes from childhood friends Nica and Brady… unfortunately those are the two mangoes that I consumed on my trip (I know, that’s quite sad).
After awhile, we went on our way to my grandmother’s house. On our way we passed the Catholic burial grounds.
I remember when I lived with my grandparents (age 7-11) I used to be so afraid of the dead that I would run past the cemetery at dusk when I ran errands… The folklore shared on the island is meant to scare children. It’s almost not fair… however, being agnostic, I can’t help but be fascinated by many of the stories now that I’m older. I will write about some of them later.
This picture was taken on our way when we got close to my elementary school (I didn’t attend kindergarten or daycare), I don’t remember what color it used to be but it seems improved. I did remember the beatings that I got there as a kid for getting in late. I blame Heman and the Masters of the Universe… it always came on in the morning and I couldn’t miss it before I went to school!
We stopped by a childhood friend’s house but she is abroad. However, I saw her sister and her new baby (on this trip, I realized how much I love babies — even if I am unsure of having any).
I have a story of when I had a pet goat… that my dad tried replacing with a sheep. I was 5 years old. I will post it one day but I saw these near my grandmother’s house and I had to post it.
After the brief visit to my grandmother (my dad had to return to his guesthouse in town), I went back to my grandfather’s house where I saw some guys playing basketball. I used to play when I was younger so I changed my clothes and joined them. At the end I was so exhausted, I called it a night… I hadn’t played basketball in years!
I will write about the upcoming days as soon as I can now that I am back in NYC — I have just been ridiculously occupied!
That’s the 5th day!