Sadly, our trip was coming to a close and we had yet to leave the resort. Technically, climbing the piton was off resort, but…
There are lots of tours organized through the resort. You ride a resort boat with up to 15 other resort people. But there are also locals with their own boats. They hang out on the beach (all St. Lucian beaches are open to the public) and harass the guests. They are actually quite polite about it. They follow you, talk to you about your stay, if you’re having a good time and the like. And then they start to tell you all about the services they can offer. If you stand there and listen to them, you never really have to talk to them again. I was instructed “there are lots of us guys that do this, and it’s first come first serve. So you tell them you talked to Terry and they’ll leave you alone. You come see me if you need anything. I’m the only one with the star on my hat.”
And Terry wasn’t joking. Shelby is blind as a bat, so when a dark skinned, tall, scrawny man waved him over from where we were sitting nicely sipping pina coladas, he wandered over to hear what he had to say. It was not Terry. Terry came stealthily out from behind the outdoor activities shed and sauntered up to the pair, told the other guy that we were his, and told Shelby we were ok, go back and have a drink. Vaguely creepy, but all the same, harassment ended.
Terry was polite, smiled at us often, and checked in to see if we needed anything. I asked about the half day tour to Castries. He quoted us a price, we agreed, and planned to meet him at 9am Monday morning.
As we loaded into Terry’s boat with one other couple, we noted the large crowd of other residents loading into a slightly larger boat than ours.
We hugged the coastline. Terry is from Soufrier, a fishing village on just the other side of petite piton. He knows the island, or at least his tours, very well, and we definitely got our money’s worth. He interrupted our devine meditation very occasionally to tell us about the island or the sites we were coming up against. Of course, our first site was Soufrier. Everyone has a boat. They either fish, or solicit patronage from various resorts. When they aren’t in the water or cleaning a catch, chances are they are at mass. 90% of the island is Catholic.
We continued dangerously close to the shore, saw a slit in the rocks that went from shore to the top of the cliff and housed millions of bats, squeaking and fluttering.
We meandered up the coast toward Castries. When we pulled in, the size of our boat was put drastically into perspective as we taxied between two enormous cruise ships.
The locals put up booths in the marketplace right at the water’s edge. It’s amazing the prices American’s will pay for the 25 cent crap we won’t buy here. We dove right in to the first few booths, special prices for friend’s of Terry’s (yeah right), and then slowed ourselves down. We had lots of friends and family to buy for and we had lots of places to choose from. We wound our way through, delved into the actual city outside of the marketplace, and headed to Duty Free.
After an hour and a half of shopping, wandering, and general tourism, we went back to the dock to meet Terry and the other couple. (Stuart and Louise. A cute young couple from “just outside London”. We are pretty sure Louise wanted to be our friend, but Stuart was less chatty.) We drove back along the coast, at a faster clip this time, headed toward Marigot Bay. We were informed that Marigot Bay is the safest place on the island. During hurricane season, the waters remain calm and the mountains block the wind. The alleged vacation home of Steve Tyler, alleged former workplace of George Foreman, and previous filming sites for Dr. Dolittle were all pointed out here as well. In fact, a restaurant was constructed in Marigot Bay named Dolittles in honor of the filming. We headed straight to the back where a cute little restaurant (JDs) was situated. Most of the dives there can only be reached by boat or swim up. Pete followed us! Did I tell you about Pete yet?
Pete was “our” birdie. He was in the villa when we arrived, and hung around waiting for us to drop him a few crumbs. Sometimes, quite often actually, he snuck in and pecked holes in the sugar packets, the fiend.
He wasn’t the only beggar though.
In any case, Pete followed us to Marigot Bay, I am convinced. Turns out, in addition to sugar, he fancies pineapple.
After lunch, we headed all the way back to the resort where we spent the rest of the day lounging by the pool.
Pool days. Ahhhhhhhh.