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Friday, April 26, 2013

Dominica by Margot Justes




Dominica is luscious, mountains, water and wild vegetation beckon. The natural and undeveloped beauty is one reason for a visit, the others would be scuba diving, tubing and kayaking; the preferred choice of activity for most tourists.
 I tried snorkeling once, many years ago, and decided it’s not for me. In between gulping and swallowing the yucky salt and fishy water, closing my eyes and wandering off-let’s just say those were not my best moments. I firmly decided, a swimming pool will do just fine, and a glass bottom boat, if I wanted to visit with the fish.
The morning was spent looking through the many tents that were set up right outside the dock. Local arts and crafts, along with the usual tourist paraphernalia.  Dominica is not as wealthy as St Kitts, and there were few shops, mostly tents, whereas St Kitts is undergoing major growth and development, not so in Dominica.
The afternoon tour I booked, took us through the rain forest, it seemed parched, but it’s their dry season. I never imagined a bone dry rain forest. On the way back we walked along a path between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean; on one side the usually calm sea, across the path the rolling powerful ocean waves, and in the middle gawking tourists. Our last stop was a two hundred year old church, simple yet colorful.
Our tour guide said that out of the twenty volcanoes in the Caribbean islands, thirteen of them are found on Dominica, maybe that is one of the reasons for the lack of development. However, there is reason to hope the economy will improve, according to our guide, Dominica is in the process of developing geo thermal energy to supply other islands, that should help the struggling economy.
After the tour, it was back to the ship, drained and exhausted, it was nice to sit, relax, and sip an espresso. It was only about 85; the temperature was a consistent 85F to 90F, but the extreme humidity just wiped me out. I went swimming after dinner, and was in bed by 10:30, sad but true.
Cheers,
Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
www.mjustes.com

Saturday, April 20, 2013

St. Kitts by Margot Justes



 

 

I love to watch as we come into port, usually on deck ten where I walk, stop and continue on, this allows me to see all sides of the island. Beautiful way to start a morning. Coffee comes in handy, it’s always available makes the early morning doubly rewarding.

Booked an excursion that was an overview of St. Kitts, or saint Christopher, since this was once an English island, they drive on the wrong or right side of the road, depending on your point of view.

There are areas that are pristine and hardly populated, others are well developed boasting five star hotels.

The tropical flora and fauna is gorgeous, the flowers in full bloom. I actually saw a fan palm, beautiful spread out huge palm. I love palm trees, but have never seen a fan palm. It’s not hot, about 85F, but it’s incredibly humid and the sun is beating down, you simply wilt. I can’t imagine what  it’s like in the summer, and I don’t want to find out-this is perfect.

Went to see a batik factory, full of bright, vivid tropical colors. They use cotton, and I’m more used to seeing the African work, which uses linen and silk and much of the wax remains in the material, so it’s stiff.  In St. Kitts, the wax is removed and the material is soft and pliant.

I found a lovely water color print of Independence Square, drawn by a local artist. I try to buy something from every place I visit, one because they appeal to me, and it’s a lovely reminder of the visit.

Cheers,
Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
www.mjustes.com

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cruising the Caribbean by Margot Justes





The next two days were spent at sea, time to relax and do nothing, or immerse oneself in scheduled activities. Every evening a ‘compass’ is left on the bed outlining tomorrow’s agenda. It is always full. I love to walk, read and swim, and let’s not forget the non-stop meals, and snacks-hence the swimming and walking.

The day starts with coffee and the blog, and of course food. Breakfast was eaten in the dining room, less hectic and far more relaxing than the buffet at the Windjammer Café.

Spent the late morning in the solarium pool, floating in the ocean water-along with the salt, we got the waves too; pure heaven, warm and soothing.

Checked out the library, but didn’t stay long, along with the books, it was filled with cigar smoke. They do cigar tastings in the evenings, and the scent lingers long into the next day. There is shopping, stopped in the stores, and tasted a South African Amarula liqueur, made with marula fruit. It was delicious, brought home a bottle.

Before dinner, I stopped for an espresso and a snack, after all I did walk, and swim.  Tonight will be the first of two formal nights. I pack a dressy pair of black pants and a couple of sparkly tops, and I have black sandals that my granddaughter tells me are shiny. It works. I don’t lug many suitcases when I travel, one small expandable suitcase and a carry on, plus a large purse. It was nice to see everyone dress up, and I’ve come to the conclusion that most men look good in a tuxedo.

I’m not a meat eater, but ordered beef tenderloin, only because potatoes were on the menu. I’m Polish and love my potatoes, later I was told I could have potatoes every day. The dinners were exceptional, Royal Caribbean improved the quality of their food, and with feeding so many people, that is quite a feat.

Sorbet was a refreshing end to a delicious meal. I happen to like it, and I already consumed a yummy sweet with the espresso earlier in the day; a double chocolate espresso brownie. A decadent slice of heaven.

After dinner, I checked my e-mail and walked a bit on deck, the full moon shone on the water and reflected a soothing glow in the deep, almost pitch black sea. I love that time of day, I was alone on deck, and found the tranquility soothing. Sometimes you can see another cruise ship, or cargo ship in the distance.

You get into a routine of being pampered, and reality is far removed from everyday life. That is what vacation is all about, an escape, a glimpse of another life. Our first port of call is St. Kitts.  

 Cheers,
Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
www.mjustes.com