Island Lessons (Dominican Edition)

We hiked to the breathtaking Trafalgar Falls (photo courtesy of Amirh)

 It’s taken me quite some time to write this post.  I’m partly in denial that I’m back in the States. Dominica is such a small island but there is SO much to see and do.  Dozens of waterfalls, the 2nd largest boiling lake in the world, the Indian River (where parts of Pirates of the Caribbean was set), the Carib Territory where the indigenous Caribbean people still live, the beautiful and refreshing Emerald Pool, the Old and New Markets, Purple Turtle Beach, tons of sulphur spas and sulphur springs, village festivals…. Should I keep going? Needless to say I’ll have to return to the “Nature Isle” very soon to cover all of the activities I didn’t get to do in the 5 days I was there – I didn’t even mention anything about the beautiful life-loving French Creole (or Patwa) speaking Dominican people and how could I could forget the rum??

Here are just a few of the lessons I learned and experiences I enjoyed while in Dominica: 

Amirh at Ti Kwen Glo Cho Sulphur Spa (photo courtesy of Alex)

Don’t Wear a White Swimsuit to the Sulphur Spas:

There’s an awesome little village called Wotten Waven just south of Roseau that has these amazing wonders of nature called sulphur spas.  I’ll allow you to simply wikipedia all of the benefits of sulphur, but as a hint it’s called “nature’s beauty mineral.” Yes, the smell is horrid – but I only noticed it in certain areas on the way to the spa and not at the spa itself.  I highly recommend the spa called Ti Kwen Glo Cho because not only does it have the big hot sulphur pool, but it also has relaxing individual cast-iron tubs with bamboo pipes bringing more hot water straight from the surrounding rivers and waterfalls. Note to self (and you guys) for future visits though: since the sulphur turns the water a yellowish -brown color, leave the white bathing suit at home.  I would probably be mad if that swimsuit weren’t almost 6 years old – but even if it was new, the sulphur spas were SO worth it!

Read on to hear about the other experiences. 

Passing another group as we row down the Indian River (*amirh)

I Believe in Black Bumblebees:

So here’s the story: Girl on a boat. Bumblebee sees girl. Bumblebee flies into boat. Girl screams. Bumblee hovers. Girl keeps screaming. Bumbleebee flies off. — That’s exactly what happened when we were taking a tour of the Indian River in the northern city of Portsmouth.  I can’t remember a time when anyone has been overly joyed at the presence of a black bumblebees – not until I met our tour guide Cobra.  (By the way if you’re ever in Dominica Cobra is the best tour guide yet – one of the other tour guides even told us this.  That says alot about him! I mean you don’t see Dell giving Apple any credit do you?) Cobra let us know about one of the many superstitions, traditions, and beliefs that permeate the culture on the island. Black Bumblebees are a sign of good news to come.  So while we were swatting away at the good news bearer – Cobra was basically looking at us like we were crazy and telling us to chill out because good news is on its way. (The following day we won 5 cases of Kubuli beer so that’s pretty good right???) There were many other beliefs that I cam across, most relating to the healing powers of the various springs and rivers on the island.  There is one river in the town of Soufriere where my friend lived that is believed to have special powers when it comes to healing almost any illness – skin diseases, stomach problems, body aches – basically anything.  One many we met even comes to the river every now and then to bottle up the water and take it back to his village which is pretty far away should he happen to need some in the case of an emergency. It’s hard not to believe in the ways of the Dominicans, especially considering the island of Dominica is one of the places with the highest per capita rate of centenarians in the world (people who live to be over 100). They must be doing something right! 

Sam: "Keep walking! They only want you for your Kubuli!"

Never Come Between a Man and His Kubuli: I was only in Dominica for a few days but there was something really evident about the small island – they take celebrating very seriously.  Every village has a festival that involves all night partying, eating, and enjoying Dominica’s Pride, Kubuli Beer.  The weekend I was there was the DiveFest in the southern village of Soufriere – which means that water activities reigned supreme.  Our main goal for the weekend was to enter the Kubuli Canoe race.  I know what you’re thinking – beer and canoe races probably shouldn’t mix.  But our boat only capsized once! And I promise it had nothing to do with the Kubuli. But as the canoe was sinking the captain showed how angry he was – although we were just having fun.  Little did we know that the Kubuli Canoe Race is a serious thing around the island.  The captains for each ship all won drums of gasoline – so they weren’t taking any foolishness from us amateurs.  Fortunately, we still made it to the finals and ended up winning 5 cases of Kubuli Beer between the 2 teams. I had a blast and canoeing is NOT as easy as it looks! You can tell by this picture when I’m trying to get the instructions – ha! Good times had by all.I’ll upload all my pictures into one album and hopefully make a video one day – but first I have to find out what I did with my camera that I haven’t seen since the day that I got back. :-/

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