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Published: July 13th 2019
Friday July 12 - Another ridiculously early morning. I woke up at 4:15 and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up at 4:30. Two days in a row - terrible. And today is my birthday. Perhaps that’s the problem? I’m an old woman now. Alas.
My thoughts about this bedroom were pretty right-on. The people in the other room got up around 5:30 and made some tea before an early departure around 6:00. They were not loud, but I would have woken up anyway, with the lights and sounds.
After some food, tv and packing my daypack, I met Ale (one of my hosts) at 6:30, so she could drive me to the ferry. I asked her if I could change rooms and she said she would talk to Sara and get back to me tonight. I was pretty sure that would never work, since by the time I got back it would be too late, but what else could I do?
We arrived at the ferry by 6:40, twenty minutes earlier than the 90 minutes early I was supposed to be. And that in itself would have been too early. I spent some time reading
about St Vincent and Grenada for the millionth time, and I need to decide where to stay and for how long. The ferry left at 8:30 and I spent much of that time rereading I Contain Multitudes, a biology book about microbes that we’ve assigned our incoming 11th graders to read over the summer. It’s super interesting and I highly recommend it, even if you’re not into biology. It’s cr-azy.
The destination for today was Montserrat, a British-owned volcanic island. Part of it is dry, part is rainforested and much is now in an exclusion zone following a volcanic eruption in 1995 that went on with pyroclastic flows and eruptions and covered the entire capital Plymouth under 40 feet of mud and ash. And this started only 6 years after the devastating hurricane Hugo destroyed many of the buildings as well.
Once I passed immigration, I met David Lea, our American tour guide for the day who have been living on the island for 40 years, as well as Catherine and Ken, a British couple who have been living and working in Antigua for 17 years. They have just retired and will be moving back to Britain in
the fall. He is also a filmmaker and has made several movies about Montserrat. He also filmed the volcano through several stages of the eruption. His son Sunny does the tours normally, but he is on vacation right now. David is a true hippie from the right era. His tour was totally relaxed and may or may not have been the same one we signed up for. He showed us all of the new houses that have gone up in the north of the island, told us the stories of people who left for Britain to start their lives over, brought us back to his coffee shop to watch a 20-minute movie about the volcano while we ate brownies. His wife Clover is also a perfect hippie. They married 4 days after they met. He took us to the exclusion zone and we walked amongst some of the ruined buildings. We saw pictures of what the town used to look like from where we were standing at different points. It looked like one of the nicest towns in the Caribbean, and now it is all buried. We went into a hotel where they still have registration forms from the 90s
on the counter. It was totally bizarre. We didn’t stop for lunch but at the end of the tour David took us to a place near the ferry to some food. I declined since it was almost 4pm, but the others had some food that they took away to eat after we checked in with the ferry.
I spent the second ferry ride reading and closing my tired eyes for a bit. I think it was the seasickness meds more than the lack of sleep. I hate feeling like that.
Sara picked me up to drive me home after immigration. When I asked about changing the room she said I should have asked yesterday. Oh well. I figured it wasn’t going to work out. Back in the apartment the front door was unlocked, so my new roommate obviously doesn’t care. I tried to start cooking but there was no gas, so Sara and Ale had to change the gas canister. While I cooked, my roommate came home with a friend. She’s here for a wedding at the Sandals, and came to change for the reception. They were loud, playing music and talking with the door open. Eventually her
friend came around snooping and saw me and was surprised. They didn’t realize I was there? Then he was walking around, checking things out. He opened the door to my room and looked in, and I told him it was my room. Then he was trying to look into the room through the curtains, probably not figuring out it was the same place. They left and I tried to point out that my door is crap and she better be quiet when she returns. Unlikely. She also didn’t lock the door when she left. I looked in her room this morning before she arrived, and it would have been a better room for me. Real door, backside of the house so it’s quiet, a more functional closet. Such a bummer. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.
I had a bunch of lovely notes from friends today, so that was great. Overall, not a bad way to have a birthday.
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