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


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