Saturday, 15 February
Castries is the capital of St. Lucia and the site of the largest market on the island on Saturdays. Dolora and I decided to check it out today. Instead of a taxi for the hour long ride, we decided to use the local buses that the St. Lucians use. Cost was about $6 each, round trip in the twelve to fifteen person vans. This provides the opportunity to experience a little of the island flavor.
At the bus station, you find your route and take a seat in the van and pay. The buses are not on a timetable. When the bus is full, it leaves. Our wait was less than fifteen minutes before leaving. The twenty five mile drive is up and down steep hills on windy roads with many hairpin turns. Being a former British colony, they also drive on the left. I was quite happy that I did not have a rental car.
Arriving in Castries, we saw three large cruise ships docked. That explained all the tour buses heading in the opposite direction. The bus station here was a spot along the street near the center of the market. We strolled past the many stalls. Everything you could imagine was for sale, clothing, tools, cleaning supplies, candy, meat and lots of fruit and vegetables along with local crafts and souvenirs. We stopped and one of the stalls for lunch. I had chicken with the usual assortment of sides including starchy vegetables. Dolora went for just a salad.
Our ride back to Soufriere was a little more exciting than the morning ride. We shared the front seats with the driver so we could enjoy tailgating the gasoline tanker, seeing we were less than a foot away. The driver kept turning up the volume on the radio which seemed like it played one long song with an island beat. Even more exciting was when the driver would answer his phone on the uphill hairpin turns. Needless to say, we were quite relieved to get back.
More time at the pool before dinner. Although it is still eighty degrees, it has been overcast most of the week.
So, my first two choices were closed for dinner. We tried Petit Peak Restaurant and were pleasantly surprised. Grilled fish for me and catch of the day for Dolora. The sides were good, not the usual starchy vegetables and well seasoned. The best part was the ice cream place on the way back that was still open. Chocolate and coconut for me, chocolate-cherry for Dolora. As warm as it is, you would expect to see lots of ice cream but it seems pretty rare here. Back to relax on the deck before bed.