Since our first year in the Eastern Caribbean we’d wanted to take a tour of the island, talk to some of the locals, and get to know Dominica a little better, so we arranged a day long tour with Providence beginning bright and early on March 8th. We met our driver, Paul, at 8 AM on the dock near the south end of town, where we joined three other couples for the tour.
Wasting no time our taxi growled up and over the mountain tops stopping here and there along the way for Paul to point out some of the many thousands of plants, herbs, and flowers we passed. Dominicans follow a natural path in their diet and health relying heavily upon herbs and natural remedies for most of their needs. You will find most Dominicans to be fit, healthy, and very active, proud of their heritage and way of life, and most not wanting the interference of wealthy outsiders. Wealth and its greedy pursuit seems to destroy everything and every person it touches. We do our best to be content with what we have achieved; at this point in our lives there is not much to change it.
We stopped at several spots along the steep eastern coast to gaze out over the placid North Atlantic and the stunning beauty of this island. Everywhere we turned we found a view that all but took our breath away. Wildlife, flowers, gorgeous views everywhere.
One of Paul’s’ relatives owns a small restaurant overlooking a beautiful bay on the eastern shore, and we stopped there for lunch of fresh cooked fish, rice, plantains, and other local foods. Inexpensive, tasty, and filling; no one left hungry.
Paul carefully guided the taxi down a steep road into the 3700 acre territory reserved for what most of us know as the “Caribs”. Here in Dominica though, the descendants of the ancients eschew the English name Carib and instead call themselves the Kalinago, descendants of the ancient tribes from South America. There are about 3000 descendants who survived the brutality of the English, French, and Spanish who still enjoy life much as their elders did years ago, observing their own holidays and holding to their traditional ways.
Casava bread, a native specialty is still cooked over an open fire and is a mainstay of their diet. Visitors such as ourselves can try it and purchase it if we like. It is a heavy tasty flat bread made from the casava root and flavored with coconut, ginger, and other spices they may choose.
Before returning to our home, Paul made a few quick stops along the way, one at a national forest with many waterfalls, and another along the western shore where we could stop to appreciate the steep mountainous terrain that makes up nearly all of the island.
We reached Ocean Angel late in the day, close to 6 PM by the time we climbed aboard. We breathed a deep sigh, tired from a long day of riding in a taxi, but happy after having a chance to spend that day learning more about this beautiful island.