Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Counting Chickens Before They Hatch

Last summer, a season which seems like a dream right now with the umpteenth snow falling in Connecticut, Jay and I discussed chickens.  We had a backyard flock of twelve, eleven hens of various breeds and one awesome Cochin rooster named Aslan.  We had lost two hens during the summer to unknown causes.  Lucy the Rhode Island Red and Righty, a Silver Spangled Hamburg, were found dead in the coop.  Our coop isn’t big enough to handle a lot of chickens so our discussion centered around replacing the hens we’d lost, not adding more than two. 
I love having the pale green eggs laid by our two Easter Eggers/Americauna’s, Faye and Flo, but they are going on five-years-old and don’t lay as often.  I reasoned that if we were going to add another hen, she should be an Easter Egger as well.  Jay suggested we hatch our own chicks, but I was not sold on the idea. 
We have two Silkie hens, Mumbles and Beeker,  who seem to always be broody.  Silkies are known for being broody which means they feel a need to sit on the nest for weeks at a time with few breaks in an effort to hatch whatever may or may not be underneath their bodies.  Silkies are often used to hatch eggs the natural way (no plug in incubators).   I had read that hens which are Easter Egger crosses will still lay green eggs which would be our case; Easter Egger/Cochin mixes.  If we hatched our own, the ideal would be to get one or two female chicks who grew to look like their father, but laid green eggs.  The worst case would be hatching another rooster.  That’s the risk of hatching your own eggs as opposed to buying chicks that are already sexed.   We have a no-kill policy with our flock so gendercide was out of the question. 
I wanted to wait and go to a poultry show to buy chicks from a breeder where I could be guaranteed of the gender.  The coop is small, so adding males would only take up unnecessary space.  Roosters are not needed for hens to lay eggs and I was afraid of them fighting each other.  If we were to add chickens, they really needed to be female.  Also, since our Silkies had hatched eggs before for a friend, I’d learned that the chances of getting viable chicks were slim.  It’s heartbreaking to watch an egg hatch only to have the chick die before it can exit the shell. 
So I compromised.  We’d try to hatch our own and if it didn’t work, we’d go an upcoming poultry show and buy a sure thing, a young pullet or two.  This gave our birds almost a month to produce home-grown chicks (hopefully little girls). 
Faye and Flo cooperated and gave us two eggs each, two days apart, then went on their merry ways.  Most hens just lay the egg and go, trusting society to raise their children, or not.  They don’t care.  I wrote the laying date on each egg with a Sharpie so I would know when to expect hatching.  Beeker and Mumbles were both broody so I put two eggs under each hen.  Twenty-one days later, two eggs were rotten, one hatched a dead chick and we got one live chick.  The live chick came out of the darker green egg which told me that Flo was the biological mother.   I was skeptical, but Kelsey said she’d had a dream about the chick; it was a girl and we had to name her Penelope.  Kelsey was often clairvoyant when she was younger so I felt somewhat reassured.
Newborn Penelope hides under foster mom Beeker
 We set Penelope up with her foster mom, Beeker, in a cat carrier in our fenced-in garden.  It was late August so the outside temperatures were perfect for a hatchling.  I studied chick pictures of Cochins and Easter Eggers to try to determine who Penelope would take after.  Our rooster is a partridge color, absolutely gorgeous with his patchwork of colors and his long, copper-laced teal cape feathers.   Partridge-colored hens are plainer than the roos, but still more attractive than the Easter Egger golden brown.   Penelope looked just like a baby Americauna/Easter Egger with her chipmunk black stripe.  The only difference was that she had feathered legs like a Cochin.  Oh well.  I just hope she remained a girl. 

When Penelope started chest-bumping her mother and her neck grew longer, like a cockerel’s, I got nervous.  What’s the male form of “Penelope”?   Peter?  I watched You Tube videos on how to determine the sex of a chick and tortured little Penelope by holding her upside-down, her mother clucking at me anxiously while I examined the chick’s vent, a.k.a. “hoo-hoo”.  Nothing popped up which would indicate a little roo, so maybe Kelsey was right.  Of course, professional chicken sexers can make mistakes and I was only You Tube trained.
Penelope and her fluffy white mother were inseparable, even as the child outgrew her mom.  After about a month of keeping them confined to the garden, I put the two in with the flock.  They were accepted pretty easily as the others were used to seeing the little peeping chick run around by now.  If another hen came near Penelope, little two-pound Beeker would challenge her.  Silkies are a bantam breed which means they are mini chickens.  Bantams are about half to a third the size of our other hens so the sight of Beeker chest-bumping another hen was almost comical.  Penelope’s sire is a Cochin, one of the larger breeds of chickens and weighs in at nine pounds.  For the chicken people out there, Cochin’s also come in bantam size, but ours is a standard.  She should be a big girl (again, hoping she’d stay a she). 
Aslan the rooster.  Beeker is the white fluff directly behind him.
Penelope (center) with the flock.  Her biological mother, Flo, is left of her in brown.  Foster mom, Beeker, on the far right.
Finally, Penelope’s feathers started coming in during her second month.  Her Easter Egger down feathers and black stripe was replaced by the brown coloring of a partridge colored hen, complete with copper-laced teal feathers on her cape.  Definitely a girl, and a partridge color to boot! 
Penelope as a teenager
If there was any doubt, Penelope started laying eggs in January.  She still doesn't look like a mature hen, more of a teenager.  Penelope's eggs are a pale green like the other Easter Eggers, but a darker sage color.  Her eggs are still small because she’s young, but I expect the size will increase.  We have our first home-grown chicken to carry on the green egg laying in exactly the color and gender we were hoping for.  
Our tray of rainbow eggs.  Penelope's are the center two.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Zip and Good-bye

Day Six.  This is the last of a six-part blog about our vacation in St. Lucia.  To read from the beginning, see my Winning! post, then follow my February posts chronologically.
For our last day in St. Lucia, we arranged to go zip-lining at Rain Forest Adventures.  Our shuttle picked up others from another resort, a young couple from Kentucky and Ingrid.  We noticed that Ingrid’s husband hugged and kissed her good-bye three times, apparently fearful of what his wife was about to do but too scared to try himself.  Ingrid looked to be in her upper sixties, a German-Canadian who explained that zip-lining was on her bucket list.  She wanted to be able to say she got hooked up at the rain forest. 
Our group nestled in the base of a tree

After safety training with Kadeem and Jeffrey, we rode the “tranopy” or “aerial tram” to the top of the rain forest mountain.  Kadeem showed off his botanical knowledge, describing the foliage, the four-hundred-year-old trees, using the Latin names easily.  We zipped back down the mountain, from tree stand to tree stand, a hundred feet up, nine times. 


The safety practices were impressive; at no point were we unattached.  Another couple we had met said this zip-lining place was far safer and more dummy-proof than a zip-lining place they’d been to in Portugal.  As soon as we landed in a stand, the other guide would hook a safety line from our harness to the tree and then help us down.  We had three separate attachments to the zip cable.  Kadeem said the cables were inspected every morning before the first tour.  For me, zip-lining was a major highlight.
100-foot tall fern trees
That evening, we decided to venture out to the street party in the nearby city of Gros Islet.  The “Jump Up” is held every Friday all year round.  It’s a lot of food vendors, restauranst, street dining and very loud music.  We had been advised to go early so we got a taxi.  Our driver, Desmond, said he’d be back in two hours. 
As we walked down the closed off street , I saw one white man in dreads with a joint tucked behind his ear.  Looked like he came to St. Lucia for vacation and never left.  We got a couple of Piton beers (native to St. Lucia and quite good) and sat at a picnic table which had one other person at it.  A chunky red tabby cat circled the table legs while a skinny street dog which was obviously still nursing puppies shyly wagged her tail nearby.  The other dogs all looked the same; short-haired, medium height, brown and very thin.  I assumed the woman at our table was waiting for her  significant other to join her, but upon talking, we found out she was traveling alone.  As we could barely hear each other over the music, Jay and I invited our new acquaintance to walk somewhere else where we could talk. 
Marjorie was a tall, slender woman with bangs, 64-years-old from Exmoor in the UK where she worked on farm conservation grants for the government.  She had been traveling for the past three weeks, visiting all of the Caribbean Islands, staying as long as she wanted then moving on.   We found her fascinating, especially when she told us about her vacations to Kenya, Katmandu, Pakistan, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.   I can’t imagine going to all those countries by myself so I really admire Marjorie’s independence. 
About two blocks away from the Jump Up, we found a quaint restaurant.  The woman who owned the place was friendly like all St. Lucian’s, but easier to understand.  It turned out that Josephine had lived in Albany, New York for 30 years.  She’d come back to her native St. Lucia recently to care for her aging father and opened a restaurant.  Josephine described her St. Lucian house as “very elegant”, perhaps because she didn’t want us to assume that everyone lived in the tiny homes we saw from the road. 
After an incredibly delicious fried fish dinner (we had a lot of awesome seafood that week) and great conversation with Marjorie, we went back to look for our taxi.  Desmond was actually where he’d dropped us off, walking around looking for us.  Since Marjorie was planning on taking a bus back to her hotel, we asked Desmond to just drive her directly since it was on the way.  We had arrived at the Jump Up unsure of how much fun we would have, but meeting Marjorie and Josephine really brought the day to a wonderful end. 
Before we left the next day, we tried to say our good-byes to as many of the Windjammer staff as we could find.   As we waited for the cab to take us back to the airport the next day, I begged the front desk to give me a job and let me stay.  They laughed at me, "Silly American.  Go home Girl".   They didn't actually say that, but I imagine they were thinking it.   
The St. Lucian airport brought us back to reality with a hot slap on the face.  Filled beyond capacity, seating in the waiting areas was hard to find and the air conditioning couldn’t keep up.  You couldn’t help but feel nasty and smelly quickly.  Just when you thought it couldn’t be any worse, a one-man band complete with sound system, started serenading us.  He was not good.  The pregnant couple we’d met on the Jammer Tour was there.  We smiled at each other with sweaty faces.  “Vacation’s over.”  The lines to the gates were confusing as the gates were just doors out to the same place; one couldn’t tell if they were in the line for Gate 5 or Gate 8.  
The flight was crowded and Jay and I had to sit in seats across the aisle from one another.  The pregnant couple, who happened to be seated behind Jay, jokingly asked if we’d had a fight.  As our plane started down the runway, Jay and I held hands briefly across the aisle and I faked a sniffle.  “Bye St. Lucia!”
“We’ll be back,” he promised.
“You win the next one.”


Monday, February 10, 2014

Ah! The Spa!

Day Five.
After the excursions, we decided to have a free day, exploring the incredibly steep hills that nestles the Windjammer Landing trademark white villas, the beach, and the spa.  The excursions were on our dime, averaging about $100 each.  The spa ended up being about twice that.  It didn’t matter, neither one of us had ever had a spa day (I know, I know).  So we went for a couples’ back massage and a pedicure for me.  
Now, Jay knows I’ve never done this, but while we were changing and waiting he kept asking me questions about what to do.  Do we take our underwear off?  How about our socks?  Are they going to touch anything other than my back?  As we waited for a room in our white spa robes, commando and sockless, we saw a couple we’d seen on the Jammer boat tour, the Russian New Yorkers.  Under the man’s robe, it looked like he was sporting boxer briefs.  Either that or really pronounced tan lines which showed through the thin fabric.  Jay got nervous and again asked me what to do.  I just gave him a look.  "I. Don't. Know.  I've. Never. Done. This. Before."  I remember seeing pictures of towel-only covered backsides so I just hoped the masseuses wouldn’t think we were perverts. 
Gale was my masseuse and the taller, older Pamela was assigned to Jay.  We laid side-by-side, heads down, incense/yoga/hippy music playing while we both experienced our first professional back (and thigh and buttocks) rubs.   Exquisite!  As we got dressed and for days after, Jay kept telling me in detail what Pamela did to his back, how strong her hands were; he was effusive.  Uh, yeah, I was right there beside you, getting the same thing.  He still raves about Pamela.  
While getting my pedicure from Gale, Jay sat in the adjoining chair and eventually gave in to my encouragement that he get one too.  He has very rough feet that really needed work.  

I asked Gale what celebrities had stayed there before.  “Whitney Houston.  Kenny Rogers,” she replied. 
“Really?” I asked.  “Kenny Rogers before his plastic surgery when he still looked like Kenny Rogers, or after?”  Gale said it was definitely after and told us the story of how it got her into trouble. 
Mr. Rogers had requested private massages for his guests in his villa.  Gale went there with her co-workers to set up and the singer himself opened the door.  Not recognizing Kenny Rogers (if you haven’t seen the singer post surgery, look him up), Gale asked him his name.  He replied that he was Willie Nelson.  Being equally smart-ass, Gale exclaimed, “He’s here too?”

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Segs on the Beach

Day Four
I had read about the Segway tour online before we left for vacation so I made sure to ask the concierge about it.  I had taken a Segway tour in Minneapolis with my sister a few years ago and felt like I was a pro on the Mall Cop scooter.  The resort arranged transportation.  As we waited for the shuttle, we struck up the usual conversation with the two couples waiting with us.  “Where are you from?” Turns out one couple was from Winchester, Virginia where my parents used to live and the other from Hendersonville, North Carolina, where I lived before moving to Connecticut.  Jay and one of the husbands knew some of the same people from General Dynamics; we were practically related. 
Our Segway tour was led by Sammy and the boys on trails near Rodney Bay in Gros Islet.  During our initial orientation session, I volunteered to demonstrate.  As instructed, I leaned forward to make my Segway go, then I stopped it short and spun around.  It's like riding a horse; just use your weight to control the speed.  Sammy looked at me, "You done this before?"  I smiled, "Nope. First time."
On the trail, a highlight was a stop at the US bunkers that were built during WWII, now inhabited by bats.  Who knew we occupied St. Lucia?  The guides were fun-loving guys who enjoyed playing jokes on each other, doing tricks on their Segways, and smoking weed when they thought we couldn’t see them. 
Our guides embellished the women's helmets with flowers.

I gave up on Segwaying beside my husband as he got caught up in the legal woes of one of our guides.  So I flirted and joked with the guides who had given up on scoring with the newlywed blonde in our group.  We stopped several times for a history and home-remedies with plantlife lesson, and once for a fresh coconut water and fruit snack, cut by machete-wielding Sammy. 
Demonstrating one of the uses of a Cutlass machete
That evening, we ran into our fellow North Carolina Segway tourists when we decided to walk up the hill to a different restaurant at Windjammer, Papa Don’s.  Of course, here is where I noticed that the Papa Don’s cat population had the classic tabby pattern instead of the mackerel pattern sported by the cats at the other restaurants.   Judging by the eye roll, I'm not sure Jay was as interested in my discovery. 
Next: Ah! The Spa!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Boat People

Day 3. 
Needing more adventure after a day of recovery, we had signed up for the Jammer Tour.  This entailed a ride on a catamaran boat that holds up to 60 people, taking us across the Caribbean to view the Pitons, a stop-over at the city of Souffriere to visit the “drive-through volcano” and a cocoa plantation, lunch, followed by a what was billed as a relaxing swim at a private cove on the way back.  It was an all day tour. 
Our boat was filled with fellow Windjammer Landing tourists.  Meeting fellow tourists (usually identified by our white skin), the same line of questioning followed, much like it does in college.  Instead of, “What’s your major?” we asked, “Where are you from?”  The first couple I noticed as we waited to launch was a physical replica of my brother and sister-in-law, Paul and Denise.  The husband was a bit goofy and large while his red-headed wife was quite slender.  The Southern accents clinched their likeness as my brother has a pronounced drawl and his wife is a Texan.  
On the Jammer Tour, Pitons behind us
We initially sat under the cover of the boat, wanting to avoid sunburn.  There I got to know the “pregnant couple”.  The wife was 7-months along, two small children at home.  They were from Nevada, originally from Utah.  We seemed to run into the pregnant couple everywhere that week, including on the flight home.   We never once asked each other’s names though.  Once the boat got under way and the sea became more cantankerous, we moved to the bow, sun be damned I was not going to risk sea-sickness.   There I was sitting next to middle-aged couples travelling together, from Brooklyn.  When I raised my eyebrows at hearing the word Brooklyn, the woman quickly explained, “But we’re originally from Russia; that’s where the accent comes from.  Twenty-six years in States, but I can’t lose the accent.”  The one African-American couple on board was quite young, from Atlanta via New York.  Other scantily-clad thirty-something couples lay out on the bow, catching rays.  The one that caught my eye was a man reading his cell phone while his wife read magazines she’d brought.  How sad, I thought.  You’re on a boat in the Caribbean Sea, surrounded by natural beauty, and you can’t put the cell phone down? 
Text to wife, "Isn't this fun?"  Wife: "Leave me alone, I'm reading Vogue."
We saw St. Lucia’s landmark mountains, the Pitons, affectionately referred to as “Helen’s breasts”.  Landing in Castries, we split into groups and boarded mini-busses which took us through town and up the mountain to the volcano.  Well, volcano is really a misstatement.  It’s sulphur springs, much like what they have at Yellowstone Park.  The traditional coned walls of the volcano had come down centuries ago, exposing the inside; stinky, rotten-egg smelling, boiling water. 
This is billed as the World's Only Drive-through Volcano
 The plant-life on the tour was very interesting.  The ferns are way bigger than ours; mango, banana and coconut trees are abundant.  Orchids and poinsettia grow naturally.  The animal life was lacking, being that St. Lucia is an island, most of their animals are domestic.  We saw one seagull and no squirrels or pigeons.  We were told that the snakes were brought over a couple of centuries ago to intimidate the slaves at the time.  When the snake population grew out of control, the mongoose was introduced to kill off the snakes.  Way to go, White People.  The only other wild animals mentioned were opossum, wild pigs that used to be domesticated, and a parrot.  We saw none of those.  We did see chickens in the road and very sad, emaciated, sickly street dogs.   I fantasized about moving to St. Lucia and establishing a dog rescue or bringing the small cats back home with me to start a new breed of small cats in the States called the St. Lucian.

After the volcano, we were bussed up the hill to a buffet lunch held at a covered, outdoor pavilion.  The mountain was steep and bus was challenged enough that at one point we thought we’d have to get out and push.  Our driver cut off the air conditioning so the engine wasn’t so taxed.  The buffet area was so crowded with fellow tourists that the staff called tables up to get in line one at a time.  We didn’t expect much for quality here, but the food was delicious.  From there we traveled to the Fond Doux cocoa plantation where we learned just how long it takes to process cocoa beans and that their major contract for cocoa is Hershey. 
Docking in Souffriere
Back down the mountain to our waiting catamaran.  The boat took us to our promised private cove so we could enjoy a swim or snorkel.  As our boat prepared to anchor, three canoes approached with men hawking their wares, beaded necklaces and conch shells.  We politely turned down the canoe pirates as we got in the water.  They were impossible to ignore, shouting that they were cheaper than Walmart.  These guys stayed with our boat the entire time we were anchored, hanging onto the side, calling the entire time.  So much for a peaceful swim.  We couldn’t wait to get out of there. 
Even with the hawkers, we felt like the Jammer Tour was a great deal as we got to do a lot of different things and met several fellow tourists that we would continue to get to know throughout the week.  I loved that they played real island music on the boat, even Christmas reggae.  St. Lucian bananas were offered as a snack (the best bananas we've ever eaten, ever), and of course, rum punch.
 Next: Segs on the Beach


Friday, February 7, 2014

Paradise Clashes With the Marketplace

Day 2.
Monday morning and we were anxious to see the resort in the daylight.  So we explored the resort in the morning, waiting for my hangover to pass.  Free drinks plus dehydrated travelers is not the best combination. 
View of the resort from the beach
In the afternoon we hired a taxi driver, Martinus, to take us to the capital of St. Lucia and experience the market place in the capital city of Castries.  Bad idea.  The market place is somewhat reminiscent of the market in Charleston, South Carolina, but maybe a bit larger and with less diversity of wares.  Most of the vendors had the same t-shirts, bead jewelry and touristy trinkets.  The majority of St. Lucia’s tourists come from the cruise ships which stop by daily so it was assumed that we were from a ship.  All were very pushy; “just looking” was not something they understood.   Everyone took American dollars more readily than EC’s (East Caribbean currency).   I found that interesting considering how many Brits we encountered that the American dollar was still dominant. 
This sign tells a lot about the market in Castries

We bought a few things, then escaped out of the covered market to the main street where a man approached us holding coconut palm leaves and a green basket.  He looked sketchy, but my outgoing husband started talking to him.  As we talked, the guy made us an angel fish and a hummingbird out of the palm leaves.  We never got his name, but when posing for pictures, he joked that he and Jay could be brothers if Jay were out in the sun more.  Meeting and talking to “Jay’s brother” was the highlight of Castries.
Jay and his brother

Even while waiting for Martinus to rescue us (he had given us a cell phone to contact him), men constantly approached trying to sell us jewelry they claimed to have made and a drink.  Honestly, we felt harassed, but I did buy a bottle of water.  The staff back at the resort dismissed the behavior we described, making the excuse of Christmas coming so people were just trying to earn a living.

Later in the week, I took the easy way out and shopped in the store at the resort.  I complimented the woman running the place for allowing me to shop in peace.  I bought several things, but she may have regretted allowing me to stay so long after I dropped a bottle of banana ketchup on the floor.
We learned that the term “scattered showers” is literal in St. Lucia, with sunshine, rain, sun, rain….all within an hour.  Back at Windjammer Landing recovering from the Castries marketplace, Jay and I swam out to the Aqua-tramp which was anchored off the resort’s beach.  It’s basically a floating trampoline which can jumped or laid upon.  We chose the latter, watching the clouds roll in and out of our little paradise.  At one point, dark clouds approached and showers were imminent.  Jay sat up and declared that we should go in because it was going to rain soon.  “Why?  Jump in the water to avoid getting wet from the rain?” I asked.   We stayed and floated on the water in the rain.  All in all, a pretty sedate first day.

Next: Boat People

Thursday, February 6, 2014

St. Lucia At Last - Arriving in Paradise

Day 1.  This is #2 in a six-part blog about vacationing in St. Lucia
Prior to leaving cold Connecticut, I had prepared by playing Caribbean and Reggae music.  I made up a song which started out based upon Jamaica’s tourism campaign years ago, but what ended up sounding like John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War is Over)”. 
“So come to St. Lucia.  It can’t start soon enough.  Get me out of Connecticut, and into the buff.”   
We arrived in St. Lucia at around 4 pm, one hour ahead of Eastern Standard.  We met our taxi driver, Roger, who the resort had arranged to meet us (90 minute taxi also included).  Roger introduced himself and took over, explaining the sights as we traveled up the east coast of the country in his Lexus.  Our first impressions were a bit scary, mainly because in St. Lucia they drive on the left side, being a British Commonwealth.  They have no highways there; all two lanes.  Every time a car came toward us on the curvy, narrow road on the left (wrong) side, I jumped and resisted the urge to take the wheel from Roger’s hands and jerk it over to the right. 
Roger explained the economy, the people, the history, the agriculture and the problems they have with people allowing their cows to roam.  Apparently the cows wander into the road, often causing an accident.  We saw very little in the way of fences to contain livestock.  Horses are tethered around their necks to fields; goats also, although many chew through their ropes and wander the streets.  Who knew goats could chew through things like ropes?
Me with Roger at a scenic stop on the way to Windjammer Landing
Not to be negative, St. Lucia is geographically a paradise.  It’s December and the average temperature is 82 degrees Fahrenheit.  It goes up to about 89 in the summer.  Hurricanes usually steer north of them.  Steep, lush mountains fall directly into the water, the rough Atlantic on the right side, the calm idyllic Caribbean Sea on the left.  Its people are mostly descendants of African slaves who speak English with a strong West Indian accent that can be difficult for an American to understand.  For instance, one St. Lucian was describing the kinds of insects they have;  spiders and “mass keetoes”.   After asking him to repeat the word three times, I finally figured out he was referring to mosquitos.  Ah yes, we have those too.

By the time we arrived at the resort, it was dark.  The rum punch offered by the person checking us in was a welcome site after a day of travel.  The open lobby area was decorated for Christmas, but the temperature was in the high seventies.  We felt very over dressed in our long pants.  Over dressed and sweaty.
Windjammer Landing lobby decorated for Christmas
Our room was not quite as opulent as what is represented as an Ocean View room online, but still gorgeous with the back doors opening to a full view of the Caribbean and the swimming pools on different levels.   The bed spelled out “WELCOME” in native greenery.
After a necessary shower, we made our way that evening to the Dragonfly, one of five different restaurants at Windjammer Landing.  Seated in the white table cloth dining room which overlooks the beach, I saw three cats.  That’s right, little five-pound kitties, about a third the size of my Maine Coons.  The restaurants have no need for walls to keep out the bad weather (‘cause there is none), so the cats can walk around freely.  The kitchen area is closed off though.  A little tortie came up to be petted.  I admired the half-grown brown tabby and white kitten who lurked nearby and started speculating which cat was his mother.  Major eye roll from my husband; can we never get away from cats?  I ordered a seafood dish and looked out at the water.  Can we never get away from fish?  

St. Lucian Cats in the restaurants
We followed dinner at the Jammers bar next door where the drinks were plentiful and a live band played cheesy American music.  No Bob Marley, just Journey and Simon & Garfunkel.  Okay, so the music was disappointing, but rest was impressive so far.

Next: Paradise Clashes With the Marketplace