Although it rained heavily in the night and the frogs pretty much sang through till dawn, I slept well and awoke with the alarm at 07h00 (that’s 12h00 BST!).
The first task of the day was to make coffee, provided by the hotel in my coffee maker. Not too successful as four cups of water only seemed to produce one cup of coffee and I suspected that the mechanism was proving alien to my bleary attempts at caffeine injection! Still, a very nice coffee emanated, albeit smaller than anticipated.
After a cooling shower, I headed across for breakfast. Slices of watermelon came first, accompanied by a drink of fresh orange and tamarind. More coffee appeared and was joined by a very nice omelette (with onion), bacon and ham.
Back in my room, I prepared to head out into the sun and, well, headed out into the sun.
Even at this hour, the mercury was already nudging 30C but, being a bank holiday, few people were about. I opted to wander aimlessly with a purposeful air, making my way around houses in search of the sand and sea. (VIEW ROUTE.
😊) On this side of the bay, large houses
with big cars seemed to be the order of the day.
On reaching the beach, I was greeted by one of the many Rastas. He offered to fly me across the bay using copious amounts of ganja! Harmless though he was, I replied that my feet would be staying firmly on the ground and that I was accompanied by Shanks’s Pony. He sidled off to his barbecue leaving me to wander, feet in warm sea, up the beach towards the sounds of Reggae.
Back on the road, I stopped at a Jazz Lounge and sampled a liquid lunch. The owner, a very laid back local called Quentin, informed me that today was his first day open and apologised for the lack of food. I suggested a pot of peanuts and he responded by offering me a bottle of local beer on the house. Several beers later, I had also wheedled an invitation to his official opening later in the week. Sometimes life is tough, but today, what more can a man want than cold beer, cool jazz, warm hosts and hot sun.
Before too long, I continued my wanderings heading back to the hotel and continuing along
to Gros Islet. Big yachts filled the marina whilst the houses abutting the water clearly belonged to the locals. Some were brick but many were wooden and had probably received their last (and only) coat of paint shortly after paint was invented. All the time, the sounds of Reggae leaked through windows. Children too leaked through the windows and played in the road.
Shortly, I was back at the beach. Unlike Reduit Beach, this was clearly for the locals. The sand was not as good but the atmosphere was certainly carnival-esque. All along the edge, folk sat under the trees, drinking fruit juice whilst children played in the sea. The smoke from the many barbecues lining the sand mingled with the sweet smell of the Rasta weed, though nowhere near as potent as that experienced last week in Amsterdam!
Back at the hotel, I was informed that the manager of one of the sister hotels was having a cocktail party and I was invited. I only had to be in reception by 18h30 and would be provided with transport. Even in this heat, I reckoned that I could be ready … and I was!
Shortly before 18h30,
I made my way to Reception and waited outside. The sun was beginning to set and beautiful orange clouds clashed with the bougainvillea in an effort to gain attention. A black cloud hovered and a light rain fell.
The minibus arrived and I climbed aboard. John, a Romanian and the only other passenger, was already seated. He was not a hotel guest but lived close by, having emigrated from Romania as soon as the Iron Curtain came down. During the short drive to the cocktail party, I had already ascertained that he had wanted to emigrate to the US but had only made it as far as St. Lucia! I can see why!
Once at the Resort hotel, we took our cocktails and sat down amongst a group unknown to us. Ed (an American) had retired following a high-powered career with Intel, whilst Chris (a Canadian) was enjoying his retirement from a similar role. Anne and Sheila were the respective partners whilst my neighbour, Lydia, hailed from Torquay and, although retired, had just sailed across the Atlantic in an old, accident prone yacht. She was intending on writing an article about her adventures. Somehow, I had managed to
get amongst the rich, sailing set!
Rum punches flowed and the conversation ranged from sailing to the fall of Communism, interspersed by the arrival of copious finger food. A band started, the singer proving very competent, and Ed and Anne got up to dance to the various songs. John and I made our apologies and headed for the 20h30 minibus back to the Inn.
There, I bade farewell and, as if I’d not had enough, headed out to the Jazz Lounge for some more entertainment. Even at this late hour, the temperature was 28C.
Sometimes, life’s tough, but sometimes, one just has to grin and bear it!
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