Saturday, January 31, 2009

Travels in Dominica, 2005 - Reflections 2




Reflections 2
Walking through the town is always interesting, because I almost 'know' it by this time. I recognize some of the shops, and I discover new ones, ones that I hadn't looked past the darkened door into yet. This seems to be a country of small shops - shops inside of shops, and shops outside of shops. Sometimes there are peddlers of fresh fruits and veggies sitting on the doorsteps and the streets are lined with sellers of spices, snacks, fruits, clothing and what have you.

I have been reading a wonderful book of short stories by a local writer, and I think I am beginning to better understand the world of Dominica, their culture and their relationship to the world around. When I finish this book, there are several more by local authours that I want to read. Perhaps I will join their wonderful, oceanside Carnegie library (I can do that) and just borrow them. The shelves of the bookstores are well stocked with local writers. Local people seen amazed that I buy and read the biweekly newspaper. I love it. The headlines are all about local events, and there is no worldly international stuff in at all - except as it might apply to Dominica. And believe me, there is not much in the world that applies to Dominica!!!

I am convinced that hair styling has reached a new, high art form in Dominica. I now understand why there are all those hair salons. I have never seen so many diverse , intricate, and amazing hair styles as I have seen here; braided, twisted, pouffed out, dreads contained in a gigantic two foot high crocheted hats, two and three foot long dreads flying in the breeze on passing bicyclists. Little girls with twists of ribbon brightly entwined in their hair, babies with little cherry sized pom poms of hair on their tiny heads. It goes on forever.

The school kids are a delight. Every morning. I stand on the balcony and watch them head to school. Every school has a different coloured uniform, but they all seem to have a variation of white or brightly coloured shirt, dark pants or skirt, and super white sneakers. The older girls are gorgeous. They seem to be mostly very tall, willowy slim, with heads held high, they have a walk that would knock any guy dead. Their whole bodies exude adolescent sexuality as they walk in giggling groups of three and four down the streets. The school boys are more conservative. Their hair is not complex, but is short cropped, almost shaved. While at school, their heads are contained by the rules. As soon as they leave school, they let it grow, and the heads of the recent graduates explode into dreads or sculpted or shaved concoctions that are a constant wonder.

The food here is not that good or interesting. The local specialties seems to be things like pigs snout and salted fish -neither of which I care to try. You can get fresh fish, and there is always chicken. But the chicken is always drumsticks. I asked someone if they had chicken farms here, and he said no, they import from Trinidad. It seems strange, because you would think that in this climate they could produce almost anything they need. I think all the breasts and thighs are exported to richer countries. I haven’t seen any big farms, but then I haven’t been to the interior yet. Maybe tomorrow.

And then, maybe not.

This is definitely NOT a place for a high energy person. There appears to be little night life in the main city, restaurants mostly close at 5, and life seems to be quite home based. Music is the biggest thing, and it pulses through the city from the doors of the houses and shops and the boom boxes carried down the streets. Music becomes totally encompassing during the Carnival festival from when bands that cruise the streets day and night. If you like to hike, climb, explore the outdoors, and people watch, it is a great place to be. Since I do not depend on pristine white beaches or wild night life to provide the highlight of a vacation, I am very happy here....


1 comment:

TropicallyTied said...

Just stopped by to say I enjoyed reading your post about Dominica