On our second day of exploring with Gary and Patti we drove from one rain shower to the next high up into the mountains. We drove past farms and little towns and we wound down into valleys where streams poured mini waterfalls from all the rain, but in spite of the weather, we had a blast exploring narrow roads and streets through the interior. Not much picture taking through the car’s windows in the pouring rain, but lots of laughter in the car.
As the hours wore on past mid-day, we started looking for someplace to eat. Lunch the day before had been a little disappointing as the place where we stopped turned out to be a bus stop lunch favorite. We hoped to find something a little different, a little more friendly. Coasting into a small village about the size of a postage stamp, we spotted this interesting looking cafe tucked between a couple buildings. Gary and I climbed out, looked over the menu, peeked inside, and decided to give it a try.
As we entered the front room, clearly a bar, the owner came up to us and said, in French, are you here to eat or drink? I told him we’d like to have lunch, and he quickly escorted us back to the dining room at the rear of the cafe, a semi-open room overlooking a deep ravine with a dense rain forest dripping water on the far side. As we took our seats the proprietor said, I don’t speak much English. I replied, I don’t speak much French, and he responded, Well, with your little French and my little English, we should do just fine. And so we did. Lunch was a genuine treat at a family owned and operated French restaurant. Perfect.
Later in the day we toured the St. James Rum Distillery, a much higher volume production facility than we’d seen thus far, but we discovered in spite of the scale, St. James knows how to produce high quality rums. The processes employed to distill the rum are basically the same as those used by Depaz, just on a much larger scale. Large volume allows for greater disposable income, and that difference shows in the size of the museum, the number of visitors, and the services available to those visitors. We prefer Depaz for its friendliness and quality, but there’s still plenty to be said for St. James’ wonderful rums.
So, we’ve only toured four rum distilleries, and there are ten active distilleries on the island, including one rumored to be the best in the Caribbean. I guess we’ll just have to come back again another time. What a shame!