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St. Lucia, Day 2

Day 2

St. Lucians are pushy!

We knew we were going to stay around Rodney Bay today, but weren’t sure exactly what we were going to do. We thought we’d start out the morning with a walk to the marina, but the hotel staff suggested a taxi or a local bus. We decided to take the bus, but on our way to the street, a taxi driver approached trying to negotiate an hourly rate for giving us a tour of the island. From what I’ve read online, some of these can actually be a good deal, so we’re thinking we might try it on Tuesday since we need to get a Taxi to the other side of the island to catch our plane in the afternoon anyway. We did take the bus into town, which was US$2.50 total for both of us, but when the rest of the locals got off the bus, the bus driver tried to talk us into letting him give us a guided tour of the island. I guess his local bus route isn’t that important! We said no a few times, and finally got dropped off.

In Rodney Bay we thought we’d walk around checking out tourist sites and scheduling excursions at the tour establishments, but it turns out we were not really in the right area to do that. After walking a while and giving up, we decided to walk to Reduit Beach, not realizing how far it was. What appeared to be a bus/taxi driver saw us and convinced us to let him take us to the beach for EC$15 which is around $5.60US. When we got near the beach he headed down an abandoned looking dirt road, dropping us off next to his friend who was holding a large machete and small knife. A moment (or two) of panic set in before the new person started telling us that he is responsible for getting people beach chairs and umbrellas for this part of the beach (which sounds a little fishy)… which we told him we weren’t interested in doing, at which point he started trying to sell us volcanic rock necklaces which he said he made himself. After a while we were able to extract ourselves without buying anything and wandered back to the more populated part of the beach. I never did figure out what the machete was for… coconuts perhaps? Not surprisingly, every place we’ve gone since has had pushy locals selling the exact same necklaces after telling you their life’s stories.

After a walk down the length of the beach, being offered more chairs and umbrellas, necklaces, boats and other watersports, taxis, etc. we decided to walk back to the hotel along the main road, now that we’d gotten our bearings and realized that the hotel was only about a mile from the beach. The only thing we were offered on the way back was a wooden carving which we politely refused.

Introducing guest blogger Kathie:

Back at the hotel we made arrangements for a 2-hour horseback ride with Trim’s Riding Academy. I guess they weren’t too busy that day since we were able to make a reservation for the 2-4pm slot and we ended up being the only people going for the ride. They picked us up from the hotel and brought us to the stables. They fitted us with helmets and sent us on our way with our horses, Larry (mine) and Spunky (Mike’s) and Sport (our guide’s). The scenery wasn’t much, a dirt trail with a lot of brush. We ended up on the north side of the island by the Atlantic Ocean. The view was great and the water looked inviting. We stopped here for a break, coincidentally where there were more vendors selling necklaces and carvings. We need to become much more firm about avoiding them before they start their hard-sell, or shooing them off quickly. They don’t respond to a polite “no thank you” or even five. After the break, we were allowed to take the horses into the water up to their necks. The water felt really good and warm and the horses just walked around. Riding bareback was rather difficult though since the horses have rather substantial spines you’re sitting on. We kept slipping to the sides of the horse. After the horse swim, we just took a nice swim by ourselves. Very small waves (rocks further out broke the waves) and overall calm, clean, and warm. While we’ve enjoyed horseback riding in the caribbean islands before, we weren’t too crazy about this one. The trail wasn’t picturesque and having the vendors bother us was annoying. The ocean swim was a neat novelty though. Both our horses were tough to control. I think both of them wanted to run instead of plod along so they were both chomping the bit. Spunky definitely lived up to his name!

We got back to the stable in time to see the next group of six or eight tourists in their early 20s getting their horses. Boy, we thought we were novices, I don’t think any of this group (I think they were all together) had ever ridden horses before. It was entertaining to watch them as they mounted the horses and tried to control them. :-)

As in most developing countries we’ve been to, we saw lots of wandering cats and dogs. There were these cute little cats/kittens at the stables that were begging for attention. As soon as you stopped petting, they’d start yowling and rubbing around you. There are also several stray dogs we saw on the trail. Unsure whether the dogs are owned by anyone or if they just wander around for food. None of them seemed aggressive or feral but for the better, Mike wouldn’t let me get near any of them.

After we got back to the hotel and cleaned up, we hung around and rested until dinnertime. People eat dinner here later than we’re used to and most restaurants don’t open until 7pm. We went to Charthouse (not the chain restaurant) in Rodney Bay for dinner. It’s come highly recommended by critics and a lot of tourists. Mike had the teriyaki steak and I had the red snapper (fish of the day). The steak didn’t live up to the reviews, but my fish was pretty good and the rice was also good. Charthouse is and we weren’t as impressed as we thought we’d be. I don’t think we’d recommend it for anyone else – you can probably get almost-as-good food for half the price at the other restaurants in the area. Ice cream at Elena’s Italian Ice Cream & Coffee shop however is a definite repeat for us. Their ice cream is very sweet, creamy and rich and worth getting again.

All in all we probably walked 4-5 miles today, which on top of the horseback riding, swimming, and hot sun has us feeling pretty tired. Tomorrow we’re going to take a bus or taxi down to St. Lucia’s capital, Castries, and explore the area.


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