Photo Highlight: Sea swimming in the fall
Highlights of Dominica
I spent a couple days traveling around with a German couple from Dresden, who met me at the Portsmouth Ferry terminal. We asked Shorty to take us to Secret Beach on his motor boat, a small, secluded, hidden beach isolated between a massive cliff and the Caribbean sea. There was a cave you could wade through, through a narrow passage with only space big enough for your head to stay above water that opens up in a big bat cave.
We took a cruise up Indian River, a protected area where motorless boats get paddled up by slow talking rastahs. At the furthest point up the river, there was a small bar serving peanut punch, guava wine, and rivergrape wine, aka ‘fat-pork-stain wine’ (all disgusting, unfortunately). Our guide was Gregory, not Jeffrey, because “Jefferey is J and Gregory is
G and they really not so much matching.” He apologized if his English would ever be “not englishable enough,” but could speak German, French, English, “I can speak anybody.” He explained the bamboo is not “originated,” the seamoss is “nice deliciously,” the mangroves were very “livable,” and the river “swimmable,” with no “dangerosity. He pointed out some fish that eat crab’s legs, and saw one crab still alive with only 2 legs left that was “well f*cked up.” We saw a hummingbird which “beat his wings 250 time before one second flow.” He took us to a “postcardic view with all the
good vibes” where its “nice scenery, nice breeze, nice reflection, nice everything… its just nice to be nice.” We thanked him for a great tour and his entertaining narration, and he asked us to come back because “that’s how I do business, more for less, the more I work, the less it cost, sometimes I work for nothing, that’s how cheap I get.”
Me and Ordovich feasted on lobster with a couple other medical students, the sunset painting an
unbelieveable background. When we went horse back riding, we rode up the hill deep into a luscious forest, passing lime trees, mango trees, avocado trees, cassava trees, banana palms, pineapples, coffee bushes, cinnamon bark, breadfruit, yams, carambola, red lavender flowers, coconut palms, and lemongrass – all seen growing from a trail less than 1 km long.
We went to Macoucherie Distillery, a local rum factory that looked
as though it had been abandoned 50 years ago. But a handful of staff kept it running, one guy in the office who was the default tour guide since the other 3 staff were busy crushing sugar cane. They make the rum from start to finish, and only age some rum 1 year while the others aren’t even bottled, since you bring your own empty bottle to fill it straight from the cask for just a few dollars.
They left me at Trafalgar Falls near Rouseau, a beautiful place of freshwater and hot geothermal water meeting between rocks at the base of a waterfall. Me and Will, another couchsurfer from Portsmouth, went hiking in Cabrits National park in the north of the island, exploring Fort Shirley and some old canons. We took a bus past Calibishie to the Atlantic side, where Carib territory begins and fair-skinned, skinny-nosed natives harvest cassava. They pull the roots from the tree, peel them, and grind them down to flour to make cassava bread.
We spent a few nights out trying the local beer Kubuli and listening to a lot of Reggae. We met a bartender who was expecting his first son with his Chinese girlfriend. We asked him what the baby’s name would be, and he laughed and said “Im gonna throw a pan down on the floor and whatever sound it makes, Ching Ping Pong, and itll be something like that!” When leavin Dominica, I saw a guy with dreadlocks so long they actually touched the backs of his heels on each step… simple, but memorable additions to my Dominican highlights.