Originally published in September 2009. For more on this Caribbean cruise series, check out my Caribbean page!
September 22: Dominica!
We arrived in Dominica at 10:00am as scheduled. It’s still a very rural, agriculturally-based island, and it’s a totally different kind of beautiful than St. John. First of all, Sara and I met a very nice couple from Kansas City, MO, at breakfast that day. They mentioned having done mission work on one of the islands–I think Antigua? They were very nice and interesting to talk with! We also saw them periodically throughout the weeklong cruise. I love making new friends, like this steel drummer!
So we got off the boat and headed over to do some shopping at some of the port-side stands. But we quickly decided to think about it and go back later, before we got back on the boat. We were so ready to explore the island! We found a taxi driver who would take us on a tour of the rainforest, but we needed some more people to bring the cost down (from $40/person to $15/person). And who did we run into? Andy, Cathy, Diane and Suzy! They were all up for a tour of the rainforest, too. We had such a good time just seeing everything there was to see!
Randall, our driver, told us some facts about the island and where to get good coffee for a souvenir (at the grocery store, or course!), and he told us about a lot of the trees and flowers on the island. There was a huge tree that fell on a school bus (don’t worry, no injuries!) during their last hurricane in 1955 (they don’t get as many hurricanes here as I thought they did!), and it’s still there. So we took a picture.
He showed us ginger lilies and fruit trees (mango, coconut, papaya, guava, ginger, plantain, sugar cane, coffee bean, and more!) Did you know they have something like 50 or more varieties of mango? Whoa!
The rainforest was beautiful. It rained a little bit and was overcast most of the day, but everything was lush and vibrant–just like a rainforest should be! We stopped at a roadside stand and got bananas–they were sweet and perfectly ripe! It’s amazing how different things taste at the source instead of at the store. Our driver also got a coconut and ate it right there. He cracked it open to drink the milk, then used something (maybe part of the coconut) to scoop out and eat the inside.
Moving along, Randall stopped periodically to let us take pictures and picked things for us to smell and look at. He picked some lemongrass, which smelled bright and clean! It was very fragrant, and the oils stayed on my hands so I smelled good all day long! He also stopped to pick ginger for us.
When we finished in the rainforest, Randall took us to the store for some real cocoa and “the best” coffee! I had been told it’s the very best there is, so of course we had to get some. Haven’t made any yet, but from the smell of it, it’s BOLD!
Next up, he took us to the black sand beaches! The sand is black because it’s a volcanic island. Very cool! It was neat just to see it. The sand was a little bit softer than at some places. I guess I was expecting it to be rough for some reason. The water was, of course, a little bit murkey-looking because of the black sand.
Randall also told us about a kind of bread that’s made from the wood of a tree! I asked if there was a place where we could get some to try, and he said sure. So I got some and ate a bite before we got back on the boat! It tasted just like a whole wheat dinner roll. Pretty good–not like I was eating a tree!
And then that was it for the tour! We went back to the market place for some souvenirs before going back to the ship. All in all, it was a WONDERFUL day on the island! We didn’t lay out on a beach, but just walking on a black sand beach and going through the rainforest was enough excitement and once-in-a-lifetime experiences for us!
Oh, and I had myself a little adventure when I got back to the boat. I needed more cash and didn’t have my debit card with me, so I had to go to the guest services desk and get cash from there. Well, the next available representative happened to be Ivan from Uruguay. What a cutie! He went to college in Maine and lived in China for two years before that. He majored in East Asian studies, and I spent three months in Japan, so we had plenty to talk about! I love meeting new people. Gave him my card–because why not? Maybe it’s a good thing this isn’t my honeymoon!
It was formal night at dinner–with lobster!–but none of us felt like dressing up. It was fun to see other people in formal wear and all, but it was nice to be comfortable for us! We may not have been dressed for the occasion, but luckily no one kicked us off the boat!
Up next: Misadventures in Barbados