Exploring St. Lucia
Nu Woman Magazine is on a mission this year to cover everything Caribbean. First of these adventures is our recent trip to St. Lucia.
St. Lucia has long been described as the “Helen of the West Indies” comparing the island to the Helen of Troy. The Nu Woman team travelled to St. Lucia in the heart of the Jazz and Arts Festival to do few of several things: photo shoot, video recordings for the upcoming Nu Woman TV and yes, to explore. See the recap of trip below.
And Away We Go…
Finally we are on our way to St. Lucia! The day began early: 4:15am! I was dressed and headed to the airport to catch the first flight (6:45am) on Bahamasair. On the way, I phoned the photographer/videographer to make sure he was also on his way.
The first flight left a few minutes late and we arrived in Miami around 8:11am. The connecting flight to St. Lucia would leave 10:15am so we had a little time. After collecting luggage we made our way to American Airlines check-in. No one traveling had e-passports so we had to tow the line to check-in. It was 8:50 when we joined the line and there were several persons ahead of us. A little bit of panic was beginning to set in.
Photos taken on smartphone by editor
Now checked in, we moved towards the departure gate to clear customs and immigration, with one or two wrong stops. Our ticket read ‘Gate E5’, but there were apparently several versions of this.
Finally we were checked in at the correct gate and were soon after boarding the flight to Vieux Fort, St. Lucia. After another delay, this time on the runway, we were in the air, with a flying time to St. Lucia of about 3 hours and 10 minutes.
The 757 landed on the airport in St. Lucia just before 4pm, and despite the long morning of travel I felt the excitement creeping in. Again, more customs to clear. We were met with a bit of surprise here; there was a special line for residents/nationals of Caricom.
So this process went quickly as there were only two other persons ahead of us.
Finding a taxi to take us to our hotel proved to be a bit of a challenge as there were several prices for this hour and a half drivesuch as, $80 US, $75 US, $100 US. *Please note: in St. Lucia the currency is Eastern Caribbean Dollars with an exchange rate of 2.7 to 1. For every US dollar we get 2.7 in Eastern Caribbean (EC) dollars. At hotels, local stores and in the market
*Note: When catching a cab etc., agree on your fee in US or EC dollars prior to leaving.
Finally we decided on the $75 US price and took off with our cab driver Lammie, who proved to be quite the tour guide. He made several stops along the route to allow us to take pictures and even did an interview.
We arrived at Harmony Suites in Rodney Bay and after checking in rested for an hour before exploring the property. On further exploration we discovered a beautiful restaurant on the waterfront that served everything from Sushi to Lamb. This would be our first stop.
After the short rest, we touched bases with key persons in St. Lucia and around 7pm visited The Edge restaurant. The food was great and we even had an opportunity to talk with the chef (look for the video in our coverage of St. Lucia Jazz festival on Nu Woman TV).
Dinner at The Edge restaurant. Photos. Barry Williams
After dinner we took a late walk around the Rodney Bay area. Live music and activities were everywhere. The night ended with live Jazz music from Fire Grill.
Today we (Barry, his St. Lucian contact and I) had planned a photo shoot but somehow things did not fall into place, so we decided to walk around town and gain some footage on the happenings, instead. We would also meet up with Delia (editor of a local magazine there- Moi, and our assistant in St. Lucia) who was helping us arrange some events for Friday. First things first, we needed to change some US dollars into the local currency (to make shopping around a bit easier) and we also needed to get a local number (SIMM card) for one of the telephone providers on the island. So we headed to the mall.
We stopped at the bank on the way to the mall and exchanged funds at a rate of 2.67. This was pretty reasonable, as the rates were slightly lower when shopping in stores, etc… Soon after, we entered the mall area in search of a local phone card. We ended up in Digicel and bought two new cards at 15 EC (Eastern Caribbean dollars) each. They came with minutes, but we decided to add a few more. While moving around town, we noticed the unique names that people had. For example, the names of two assistants in Digicel – “Charms” and “Surewinner” and several other very unique names of people that we encountered.
Just before we entered Digicel we ran into persons from a local TV station called Helen Television System (HTS) and they asked us if we were willing to talk to them about our St. Lucia experience. Of course we agreed! It was a perfect opportunity to talk about the magazine. We even gave the Camillus (sales manager) a copy of the magazine and promised him) to look for the interview that would run later that evening or the next day.
Soon after, Barry and I decided on brunch as we had missed breakfast. I checked with Delia who was to meet us shortly at the mall.
Delia showed up in good time and we sat down to discuss events of the upcoming day. While making plans, she mentioned that “Miss St. Lucia” worked at the beauty store downstairs and asked if we wanted to interview her. We readily agreed and a few minutes after lunch, did a quick interview with her.
The days had not been a complete wash, and after dinner we ended up at another concert at the mall.
Jazz at Fire Grill. Photo. Barry Williams
Day three began early. The Nu Woman team met up with the St. Lucian team then we all hit the road. Our first stop was Chef Robby at Caribbean Pirates restaurant in La Place Carenage overlooking Castries Harbour. Chef Robby discussed how he got started, telling us a little about the history of the place and what was offered. He talked about a delicacy called ‘Lambi’, what we call ‘conch’ at home and the various ways it can be prepared.
Chef Robby with Erica Meus-Saunders (Nu Woman’s Editor-in-Chief).
Photo. Barry Williams
Then it was on to the Castries Central Market, to get an interview with Ras Peter Isaac — IPA President of the Dry Goods and Craft Vendors Association. There were many similarities between the Castries Central Market and the Straw Market at home.
However, there were three (3) markets here. The one that attracted my attention most, was an outdoor market with fresh fruits, vegetables and meats.
Castries Central Market.
We were soon back on the road headed west to the Sulphur Springs. There were a few more stops along the way: Plas Cassav, various view points (*among my favourite was the view of the fishing villages), then the imposing and towering twin peaks of Pitons which thrust up from the water to heights of over half a mile.
I particularly enjoyed *Plas Cassav. Here I had an opportunity to stir the dried Cassava in Platin (huge cast iron bowl) kiln. This is a process used to make Farin Flour.
Cassava Bread at Plas Kasav. Photos. Barry Williams Stirring Farin Flour
Then it was on to The Sulphur Springs where we were treated to a tour and history lesson. A few of the team members got an ‘up close and personal’ view of the famed “mud baths”. **Note: The Pitons and the Sulphur Springs- the Caribbean’s only drive-in volcano, are part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, designated for its geological importance. They tell the story of the creation of the Caribbean basin.
Sulphur Springs. Live volcano. Photo. Barry Williams
All in all, it was a full day, and after hours of being on the road we headed back to the hotel to regroup and prepare for the next day. We stopped on the way back at a local food stall on the side of the hillside and tasted some of the local dishes.
Eating on the go by a local vendor’s stall.
Our photo shoot that was delayed was finally underway. The team: Barry Williams (photographer/creative director), Delia Louis and Dalton Maxwell (photographer assistants) and I, met up with Tara Edwards, Miss St. Lucia (and St. Lucia’s representative for Miss Universe) at our hotel to go over various looks.
After our discussion, we made a quick stop to the JQ Mall to pick up a few much needed items and Barry decided to throw something interesting into the mix. We then headed to The Ramp, a beach near our hotel, where the shoot would take place.
We arrived around 10am and covered many different locations on the beach. There was a small delay from rain that lasted only a few minutes, but for the most part the shoot went smoothly.
Shoot with Tara. From L to R: Erica Meus-Saunders, Tara Edward, Delia Louis. Photo. Barry Williams
* Summer cover model- Tara Edward.
After a few hours of intense work we called it a day. The rest of the evening was spent enjoying the beauty and ‘all that Jazz’ in St. Lucia! We encountered one of the local steel pan bands later that evening playing at Bay Walk Mall.
High school Steel Pan Band at the mall. Photo. Barry Williams.
Also on the list of meetings was one with a Jackson 5, Jermaine Jackson. The Jackson 5 played at Pigeon Island during the Jazz Festival.
Editor with Jermaine Jackson. Taken on smartphone (Barry Williams)
All in all, St. Lucia was a refreshing Caribbean adventure! The friendliness of the locals and extraordinary hospitality was a welcomed surprise!
Look for full details on Nu Woman TV coming in late summer! – http://vimeo.com/69673428
You can also read the Editor’s Blog- http://nuwomaneditorsblog.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/st-lucia-day-2/
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