Laurna’s Vacation 2018
Picture witnessing someone being hit over by a bus while she’s taking a photo, your purse falling into the hotel’s man made waterfall and being an hour late for the show. That’s just to name a few of the things which took place during my 2018 vacation!
I highly anticipated this vacation as Hurricane Maria practically ruined my plans last year when my sister and I first bought our tickets to St Lucia. Having paid to change our dates, we were packed and ready to go.
May 10th 2018 my vacation begins, hair braided with my make up on fleek my sister Carlisle and good friends Alicia and Miguel and I are all on the Express. It’s my first time travelling and I choose to stand at the back of the boat where the view of the ocean is great and the sea occasionally splashes your skin. The sun is blazing hot and I’m grateful for the awesome weather, though I am nervous as hell my sister and Miguel accompany me to the back and keep checking on me to ensure I’m ok. Within a few minutes out unto the ocean a group from Martinique begins playing music, I mean beating wooden drums, clapping and singing, they seem to be a cultural band returning to Martinique from a performance and they literally rock the boat. Everyone begins dancing, singing and clapping and I was happy to get the distraction because the sea became choppy after a while and moving from side to side helped me adjust to the sea’s motion.
Everyone seems to be enjoying the ride, I’m surrounded by smiles and happy people and I can feel this is going to be an amazing vacation.
We check into Jennifer’s hideaway in the late afternoon after being on the water for four hours we are a little later than expected. The immigration line was long and tiring and we were the last ones to get through. However, feeling so overwhelmed did not distract me from the beauty of St Lucia, (Miguel‘s friend Yannick from St Lucia was courteous enough to pick us up from the ferry to the guesthouse). The island was so similar yet vastly different from my homeland Dominica, similar by the trees and nature, but they were so creative with their infrastructure that I was intrigued. The guesthouse was about 20 minutes away from the town Castries and we get to this forest as we drove in. Tall and short trees, trees of different shades of green, majestic and splendid fortress as we drove on dry leaves to approach the guesthouse. We are greeted by this petite, silver haired queen by the door of this lovely flat house surrounded by colourful flora and fauna.
Within a few minutes of surveying the house we knew we would have stayed, there was this porch decorated by amazing flowers and plants including the marijuana plant, overlooking the town and the harbour. The rest of the house was homely with ornaments from china, china and silverware with walls covered with abstract paintings that Jennifer painted herself some of which were scary looking with eyes that peered at you and dark paint that resembled something else, however we overlooked this and stayed. This was her home she kindly rented out to tenants and we couldn’t have refused.
The girls and I share a room with two beds while Miguel bunks alone, as we begin unpacking and prepare to hit the town. Miguel and Yannick organize for a rental for the four days we are going to be here and the drive is about an hour to get to the rental place. Being famished we decided to go along with them in hopes of finding food along the way.
The island of St Lucia is breath-taking, with lush green mountains like Dominica and similar housing schemes I feel like I am home away from home. We eventually stopped at a road side snakette, and discover that they sell some of the best local fish burgers and tamarind juice and huge pies for only $3.00, I can’t believe the food here is so awesome and cheap. From the rentals we drive back to the guesthouse and prepare to hit the town to go to see some karaoke that my cousin told me about. Getting to the town at night proved to be no easy trip, as we navigated using GPS, I get scared as hell in hopes that we don’t get lost. Miguel being the ambitious leader of the group seems confident and doesn’t panic as we journey through the roads of St Lucia in hopes of finding this small restaurant my cousin told me about. After driving through several streets, Miguel decided to call Yannick who gave us directions. We drive to Rodney Bay and the place is lit, I mean the entire street is lined up with malls bars and restaurants. Lights, music, excitement and hundreds of people are crowding up the place, I’ve never seen anything like this so I’m taken aback and I really love this place.
Live band is playing at the Keebees restaurant, waitresses at your beck and call, ambience is lovely and the vibe is amazing. The next day we plan to go to the traffic department to get a permit for the rental and to also do some shopping and purchase tickets to attend the Jazz Festival. We know this is going to be fun as we navigate to get to the town still using GPS, we enjoy the scenery. Our day consist of a wild goose chase to first the airport then the actual traffic department as we were given the wrong directions, at the end of it we found out that we didn’t need the permit. We didn’t know whether to laugh or be angry as we wasted half our day but discovered more of the island as a result and bought mangoes and bananas along the way something we hadn’t seen for over 9 months since hurricane Maria destroyed our island.
We finally made our way to Rodney Bay to shop and to also collect tickets for tonight’s Jazz concert at The Royalton five star Hotel. The malls are adjacent to each other and run as far as the eyes can see; we do not know where to start. We eventually start shopping and find out that clothes here are also cheap, so we’re shopping like crazy. We get café latees at the famous Felly Belly and we’re laughing and having a good time. We ask around as to where we can purchase the tickets and we’re directed to the Cell which is in one of the malls. We all purchase our tickets $100 each and realize the show starts at 7 which meant we didn’t have much time left. Alicia hadn’t found a dress for the festival and so we hurried off while Miguel is annoyed that he got to wait on us. So we help her look around some more passing her dresses ,while she’s trying them on in the dressing room. Carlistle and I get lost looking for outfits of our own when a young lady calls at us and tells us someone is asking for us in the dressing room. We rush to the dressing room to find Alicia in panic as she holds unto her trousers
”What happened?” we ask “I peed on myself” she cried, she explained how she had been holding it and when she was about to use the washroom she lost control. The floor and her trousers were wet and I became frantic. Carlistle calmed us down as she went looking for the cheapest pair of trousers she could find while Alicia switches dressing rooms. Carlisle returns with a pair of black leggings and we tell her to put it on quickly so we can get out of there before the sales reps can notice anything. Carliste and I return to the racks to casually search for more dresses to pretend like nothing is wrong, we notice one of the sale girls survey the dressing room and my heart skip. I become so nervous and hope they won’t notice it was us. We then over heard two of the sales girls discuss that someone peed in one of the dressing rooms, and we become more worried. Carliste keeps praying for Alicia to hurry up as Miguel comes up to us.
‘’Are you guys ready? Because I wanted to get some Domino’s Pizza before we leave’’
Carlistle and I exchange worried looks ‘’ Where’s Alicia?’’ he ask before we could reply she walks out of the dressing room and we tell him let’s get that pizza.
It’s after six and we are waiting on the pizza, we each discuss what we bought, while Miguel gets distracted by his phone Alicia still feels embarrassed and is still in shock, she asks us to promise never to tell anyone. (P.S her name has been changed obviously for this story lol).
We get the pizza 20 minutes later and we are rushing out of Rodney’s Bay knowing we are late for Jazz Fest, realizing we won’t get time to eat; we eat the pizza along the way while Miguel is still trying to remember the road back to the guesthouse.
We eventually made it to the guesthouse and Miguel sets off the alarm awakens a threated Jennifer who thinks someone is robbing her, we quickly calm her down, apologise and offer her pizza to make up.
Getting dressed takes forever since I’ve been planning my look months ahead, I actually had an African print pants made just for this occasion. The girls and I step out of our rooms and Miguel looks at me in a surprised manner, smiles and kind of blushes. He politely compliments us all
‘’You look good yourself’’ I uttered as he opens the front door for us, you might be wondering why Miguel and I aren’t a thing well… that’s not what this blog is about so I’ll just focus on the vacation for now lol.
We are driving towards the hotel and Miguel is confident he knows the way as he goggled it, I am nervous while everyone else is excited. I hope St Lucians don’t keep their time as Dominicans I said as its now after 7pm, we all laugh and all hope the same thing. We made it to the Parking Lot where policemen showed us where to park and from there a shuttle drives us to the Hotel. The Royalton Hotel as the name suggest is majestic with a huge waterfall curtaining an illumination over the name Royalton. However on getting closer to the hotel we see hundreds of guests emitting the entrance on the set red carpet. Did we miss the show I asked myself as we got out the shuttle, people were emitting the hotel while others were standing outside in small groups laughing and in heavy discussion, I went up to this well dressed gentleman and asked him kindly if we missed the show
‘’Yes, the show is over’’ he said in a French accent as he smiled we couldn’t believe it, I quickly went up to a policeman and asked the same question
‘’Yes, it just ended’’ he replied I looked at my friends and we were all in disbelief we were too late. There was this couple who came on the shuttle with us who also couldn’t believe it. I mean how our money could go to waste like that, the policemen advised us to go speak to the organizers who sat behind a table near the entrance. We told them our situation and how we didn’t know the show would be so short. They told us that there was this other show at 11, so we should hold unto our tickets and could possibly get into the next show. That was bit of a relief but we had three whole hours before the next show. We decided to sit near the waterfall take pictures and wait, to our amazement we were not the only ones waiting on the next show and other people were taking photos as well. While taking pictures a bus that was turning in the yard accidently bounced into a girl who was distracted taking photos, she didn’t notice the bus coming. We screamed and people run to her, my heart burned in my chest and saw no sign of her as the bus seemed to run over her. Miguel went together with other persons to see what happened. The three of us were worried and hoped she was ok, Miguel came back after speaking with the rest of the persons at the sight, he told us hopefully she was ok and the review mirror was what knocked her. We thanked God then sat back near the fountain when my sister’s purse fell into the waterfall, “This is the worst vacation” she cried as we managed to fish it out of the water.
“Don’t say that” I told her, hopefully her phone wasn’t in the purse but her ticket for the festival got soaked. We all looked at each other and laughed out real hard; this definitely was a vacation we wouldn’t forget.
Two hours later persons began going in for the second show, finally we could go in, we each gave the guy at the entrance our tickets and went in laughing at Carlisle’s embarrassing expression as she handed over her wet ticket. Inside we were greeted with a glass of fine, wine and smiling faces. The set up for the jazz was amazing, huge stage overlooking the 100s of tables and chairs. Each table covered in white table cloths and colourful candles, the ambience is so intriguing. We went to a table with chairs of four and waitresses soon serve us finger foods. The Show commences with a great MC who opens the stage with a DJ (can’t recall his name) but he’s Caucasian, long hair combed back with a hat covering his face. He begins to play this real old school R&B and the crowd goes wild, I realize it’s a bunch of grown folks at this jazz festival and I thank God I’m a 90’s baby who happens to love Old school. Every song he puts on we all sing along and couple of people stand and start dancing. The place is hyped and we are singing and dancing, unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures or any video recordings. The main act comes out Lalah Hathaway and she is spectacular and gave a great performance, one that brought couples up front to dance with their sweetheart and I’m goshing and cherishing every moment. The show ended about minutes to 1am and everyone can’t stop talking about the show I am glad I encouraged them to attend.
We are still using GPS to find our way back to the guesthouse and somewhere along the way we decide to take a short cut and got lost, we drove to a tunnel that brought us to a dirt road with a dead end. We didn’t panic as we quickly found our way back to the main road and headed safely home.
The next day we decide to dedicate towards shopping since yesterday was a bit rushed we head back to Rodney Bay and we shop and eat till night fall. We simmer down at this restaurant and Miguel calls Yannick up to come join us since we hadn’t really hung out with him. Yannick and his girlfriend meet up with us an hour later and bring us to this bar one of their friends own just to chill and hang out. The manager offers us all a sit and he has two other friends with him so they begin talking about the spiritual realm and it goes from interesting to being really weird. This guy talks about his out of body experience and becoming an enlightened being, from Jesus to obtaining Power to do things I soon realize Yannick and his girl are into some really freaky things.
Luckily my cousin calls us up and says she is coming over to greet us, she shows up a few minutes later and after the introductions she asks us if we want to go for a quick drive around the town so she can show us a few places. We excused ourselves and off we went, the town was up and still busy as she showed us different hotels even bringing us into one to use the washroom. The Blue Coral was the hotel’s name and it was beautiful, with air conditioned washrooms and lovely pool bars, she told us to return so we could have a one day pass to spend at the hotel.
We make it back home and we’re exhausted after a long day of shopping, the next day our last day on this beautiful island, which happened to be Mother’s Day, Yannicks girlfriend decided to take us hiking and sailing at the Sandals Hotel. She used to work there so she got to sign us up for sailing for free as she said they owed her for all the stuff she’s done for them.
We waited for Yannick and his girl Keisha the next morning and we almost thought they cancelled because we were waiting for hours. However the hours were not wasted as Jennifer took the time to relish us about her life as a model in England in her younger days; she also starred in a 70’s movie called Life on Mars I think. Her model photos were numerous and lovely and she had aged beautifully. All this while we were being housed by a local celebrity, I couldn’t believe it. They finally arrive to tell us the hiking been cancelled because of a Mother’s Day event the section of the hiking was closed off. But we were told that the sailing was still on and that we should hold our swim suits. The drive to the beach was fun as we chatted about how much fun we were having and how we needed to come back soon. We also decided to go to the theatre later that night as that was one of the things I wanted to do while here. We arrive at the parking lot and walk across to the beach, on the left side of the road was the hotel and it was beautiful. With luscious green yards, beds and hammocks, like something straight out of a Travel magazine cover.
We head to a food snackette on the beach and get some food to eat as we hadn’t eaten anything since morning; we get some delicious St Lucian cuisine that causes us to lick our fingers. As we enjoy our meals, live music is beginning to play and the infamous Hotel California song comes on, Yannick begins to sing along and he goes on to explain what the song means. My sister and I exchange looks and wondered if Yannick couldn’t be any weirder. So we ended our meals and head towards the Marina where we come to the water Sports area alongside the Sandals hotel where there were many cabanas, lodge chairs and tourists. Many tourists, tourist seated at the beach restaurant which was beautifully decorated in aqua and tortoise colours, tourists at the tables beneath the umbrellas, tourist laying beneath their cabanas, tourists at the two swings made out in the sea and tourist engaging in several of the water sports . They were trying out the water skies, while a family were at kayaking and some were far out into the sea sailing, sailing the thing we came here to do. Our names were written down and we quickly changed into our bathing suits, placed on life jackets and spilt into groups of three.
We were far out into the sea with Kiesha as our sailor and Yannick was out with Miguel and Alicia. Kiesha and Yann had taken a sailing class some time back and learnt well enough to give us this treat. The water felt great splashing against my skin and the wind enveloped us in its awesome splendour. Things were going smooth till we needed to change sides and the hob cat almost capsized causing Carlistle to deep beneath some waves, I panicked as I was scared for her life, knowing she can’t swim, her face remained expressionless and it all happened so fast. Kiesha took quick control of the situation and luckily we did not turn over. We laughed it off minutes later and enjoyed the rest of sailing as normal. We decided to head back to shore as the wind began going against the sailes,we made it safely back to shore and went over to some floating pools on the water while we waiting for Yannick’s team to return.
They eventually joined us and told us of their tales as we told them of ours; we were all laughing and grinning at the same time. We relaxed in the pool some more then did some swimming. Looking at the beautiful hotel before us and the beauty of the sun on this lovely day I smiled knowing I enjoyed myself and was going to miss this place.
We headed back home about minutes to five to return to go to the theatre as planned. However between packing and getting ready to go to the movies we arrived five minutes late for the movie we were supposed to see at 7pm. Yannick and Kiesha decided to wait with us for the next movie that started at 8:15 so we could see it from the beginning. It was pretty sweet on their part but we had to return the vehicle to the rentals by 10 and no doubt we were going to be late for that as well. But in St Lucia time went out the window as we were on vacation darn it.
The Avengers Infinity ended after 10 and it did not disappoint, quickly after we made our way out of town and towards the rentals. The owner wasn’t pleased about the time we returned but brushed it off after Yann explained the situation. We all made ourselves in Yannicks jeep and headed back to the guesthouse. It began to dawn on me that this vacation was really over and my heart felt heavy.
We got back to the guesthouse to meet Jennifer waiting on us; she had made out four autographed paintings of hers to us. She told us how she enjoyed our company and would miss us terribly.
The next day we were packed and ready to leave and head out to meet the Ferry at 7am, with sleep in our eyes. I looked at the streets, trees, the town Castries who we were too busy to visit; one last time (I secretly promised I’d be back to visit as four days was just not enough).We waved Yann good bye and my heart cried as we said good bye to the lovely island of St Lucia.