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

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