Thursday, April 5, 2012

Once upon Calabichi

Still February 16th. The terrible pavement in the road, the holds and broken shoulders contrasts with the beautiful flora.

People fly in their cars here, but there is always a smile on their faces and they yell: Hello! Enjoy your visit in Dominica! We drive across the country, go thru the Central Forest Reserve. The streets are not getting better. The chauffeur is complaining, I understand his concern, it is very dangerous. Further up the street is full of workers and machinery fixing the highway.

It looks like that rain, Jomo told us about a while ago, made a lot of damage in that area. He said that it rained so much that he couldn't get out of home for a week. The water washed the hills, the river rocks were along the way, dirt and trees were washed off too.

You'd wondered why are we taking all this trouble to get to Calabichi. Well... we are enjoying the country and also in the mission of delivering a package for a friend, Patsy from Compass Point Marina, who has a breakfast place there. The controversial of our delivery, specially after the delightful fruit gathering adventure, is that we were bringing junk food: cheese pasta, peanut butter, instant coffee, coffee creamer and salted pork, probably the best was a letter with a few dollar bills inside.

Patsy's family were very happy to see Jim again, they opened some coconuts to offer fresh water and the tender white coconut meat. It was hard to communicate with them, but they show their best smile and when we left they wove saying come back.

The way back to Portsmouth bay was very pleasant, the pavement was nice and smooth again, the tropical forest surrounding seemed to be saying stay here, but once we were back to Salty Shores we felt, not dough, happy to be safe and sound.


Jomo the talker

Jomo's craft shop

Still February 16th. Going down the hill we stop at Jomo's Arts and Crafts place. He makes wind chimes out of shells, bamboo, seeds and other natural materials. He also talks a lot. I can't tell if he breaths or when, but he is very nice. We want to buy a souvenir and his pieces are all keepers.

He talks about his plants, his property, about building a house there, a very nice spot that for sure has a million dollar view. In the middle of his never ending speech he offers good deals on his items. But it's so hard to decide which one to choose. Well, we finally filter them for the way they sound. “This one sounds like the waves breaking on the shore, we like this one, we take it!” Jomo also gives a tour around his land, from where we can see the ocean, the valley and the mountains (romantically talking) kissing the clouds.

It's hard to say good-bye to Jomo the artist. I take pictures to post in facebook, and he gives me two soursops. We get his phone number and he very friendly says: “If you come back call me, I'll cook crayfish for you”.

We get in the car , not just happy for our new friends, but bragging about how good the roads are, and the nice job they did in the traffic signs system. And the view driving down the west coast t's so pretty that any description would be terrible. On the way we stop and buy grilled sweet plantain: a truly treat!

We pass Coulibistrie, Morne Raguette, Salisburry, Mèro, St. Joseph and Layou, where we turn to the left in a road with the same name, dusty for the cement plant. We actually bragged about the good pavement roads too soon.


Fallowing the farmer's road

Jim and Louie

Still February 16th. We follow this Dominican guy; with his age draw on his eyes; as an adventure. His dynamic makes us feel like everything is going to be fine. As soon as we enter his domain; immersed in the huge shade of the trees, with a cool breeze spreading the smell of the river around, that is adding the ambiance music of the place; we felt like arriving to Eden Garden.

Louie has two workers riding in the back of his truck. This young men are from Haiti, and they look like they woke up very early to come to the farm. When the truck stops they get busy picking up oranges and grape fruits. The farmer invites us to ride on his car with him and shows with a affectionate pride his oranges trees, that he planted with his own hands. “I buy plant in nursery”. He says after Jim questions.

Did he inherited the land? No, he bought it! He doesn't reveal how much did he pay for it. But he talks about the parrots, the Dominica's national bird, that are eating and destroying his beautiful oranges. We can see hundreds of fruits on the floor with holds. “We can't eat them, because they are protected”. He protests. “I bet they taste like oranges”. Jim comments.

Louie, and the ditches around the plants? What are those for?” “To keep water running and plant alive”.

This charming farmer says good-bye and show us the way back to the main road. “I like to show my place to tourists”, he finally explains, “everybody most know Dominican people are nice”.

We never ask his age, but we got his cellphone number. We'll be back!