"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." -Mark Twain

More Student Writing

>> Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Roti in Road Town
By Milo Stanley
February 18, 2011
One aspect of Caribbean culture that we have had plenty of opportunities to experience is its food. At Road Town, Tortola, the highest point of our stop was going to the Roti Palace, a tiny colorful shop accessible by a narrow stairway between two buildings. Jean, a wonderful grandmother and cook who moved from Trinidad to Tortola fifty years ago in search of work, runs the Roti Palace.  My curiosity soon earned me the job of rolling out the dough for the roti, which might be best described as curry wrapped in tortilla. I wasted no time in learning and questioning Jean about the process of making them. To make roti Jean’s way (the best way) do as follows. Parboil yellow split peas, so that they’re cooked but not mushy, and then grind them up in a blender with turmeric, cumin, garlic, pepper, and salt. Half a pound of split peas is good for twenty roti. Make dough of flour, water, baking powder, and salt and knead in the ground split peas. Put the dough into half inch patties, coating them in flour, then form them into balls a little smaller than the size of your fist and roll out like you would tortillas. Cook the roti shells by laying them on a hot oiled griddle and spooning on good doses of olive oil. When they’re done, they’ll be puffed up and golden in color. For the filling, use a meat or vegetable curry of your choosing. I can personally attest to the quality of goat roti. Spoon a dollop onto each shell and fold them up into nice, neat packages. Serve the roti with lettuce, tomato slices, brown rice, pigeon beans, and mango chutney. Even with three and a half months to go, I have a feeling that this one will stick in my mind a one of the best meals of the trip.

Salt Spray
By Brent Ward
February 17, 2011
A warm ray of sunshine beats down on my sun burnt face while the waves crash shoulder height on me. The salt sprays off of the waves and into my short hair. This might be much different from what is normal for me but it is still entirely reminiscent of what life has been like in my early years living by the ocean. Three years cannot take this feeling away; a million years could not. This feeling is something indescribable yet it is likened to the chance of pure happiness, with no worries or problems. The ocean is my home, the sand is my home, the waves are my home, and so is the beach. I hear a voice, “Five minutes!” Emerging from the water, drops of water fall off my skin and the sun dries the salt to my skin. The nostalgic feelings bring back my days in California and as my black cotton shirt goes back on, the happy feeling stays. This is what is important, this is what matters. This is true happiness, un-filtered and un-edited by outside sources. This feeling will be chased throughout my entire life.
P.S. Hi Mom.

Travel Epiphany
By Jon Dean
February 18, 2011
Today our group got up nice and early to get into two vans and drive all over the beautiful island of Dominica to experience its culture beyond what most tourists fresh off the cruise ships see. Our driver, Sea Cat, and Gordon were wonderful. They showed us some incredible things, stopping frequently along the way to show us a fruit or flower. The farther we went up into the hills the more rural it became. The roads became narrow and rough, passing cars with just inches in between. Abandoned shacks with scrap metal roofing became a common sight. We went to a fruit farm along the way and picked juicy, delectable grapefruits, bananas, limes, and sugarcane straight off the trees, as opposed to off the shelf at the supermarket like most of us are used to. The owners of the farm were incredibly friendly and grateful that we were buying their produce. I found it beautiful that these people could live so simply, but clearly are living rich lives full of love and happiness. It came as a shock how different life is on the “other side.” In addition to this we also went body surfing at a local beach break, and went swimming below a beautiful natural waterfall. This fresh water immersion was a big deal to most of us, for we haven’t has a fresh water shower in a couple of weeks now. After we returned to town, we walked into the bustling market, teeming with entrepreneurs vocalizing the worthiness of their products. We were given a checklist for the required boat rations we would need and completed it accordingly. After this was done, we were given an hour of free time in town; which I spent getting a fresh mango smoothie. Overall, today was an incredible day, jam-packed with Dominican cultural experiences. Such a day requires a good night of sleep; we have an eight-hour hike to the boiling lakes tomorrow! 

Tastey Treasures
By Sarah Nelson
February 18, 2011
Today, as we tinkered our way along the thin, precipitous roads of Dominica, we discovered treasure. Not those commonly sought after by the infamous pirate known as Black Beard when he was circumventing Dead Man’s Chest, but by those seeking the income of importing. The streets far from the fury of the markets of Roseau are lined with Caribbean delicacies. We devoured succulent prevalent tropical fruit, whose neon talons gripped onto our fists. We were introduced to the predicaments of ripping mango’s meat off their ample seeds, or the bewildering taste of guava fresh from the vine. We consumed grapefruits, picked by student hand from the tree itself, the size of coconuts, and coconuts the size of human heads. We tested the apparent hardships of mating chocolate from beans, transforming the consistency into that of a brownie mix. We scratched cinnamon bark off the tree, which resulted in a taste of spiced wood. The tastes were numerous, and our pallets, as well as our stomachs were well satisfied with each lick, munch, and sniff. It’s fascinating to think that magnificent fruits are everyday encounters for locals, and their juices and common staple.

Travel Writing
By Danielle Woodward
February 19, 2011
Dominica is a beautiful place for those who like isolated Caribbean islands. Roseau is the capital of this charming place, but the city is just like cities all over the world. The streets are narrow, with litter on the sides, the houses are far from perfect and the people can be loud. But there also the people like the produce and trinket stall owners who are friendly and always willing to help.
However, it isn’t the people or the buildings that separate Dominica from other similar places. It’s the boiling lake that makes it unique. The boiling lake was created from a volcanic crater that filled with water. The lava underneath now heats the water and causes the lake to boil. Sulfur is prominent in the air as you sit looking from a rocky landing over a cliff. Almost as amazing as the lake itself is the trail to the lake.
We hiked from 0730 to 1700 going to the lake and back. On the way, we passed through thick rain forests. The air was humid and cool; the tree trunks were huge and carpeted in soft green moss. The sounds of birds calling and insects chirping created soft background music. The trail wound through the growth; logs had been placed to make the ground less treacherous, though they had to opposite effect. The wood was covered in moss and mud, creating slippery footing.
After moving through the forest for two or so hours we began to climb in earnest. Before, the slope had been gentle; now, the “steps” began to get steeper. When we reached the top of the volcano, we came to a flat, open outlook. All around, we could see emerald green peaks rising to kiss the cloudy sky.
Once we’d had a good rest, we began to descend to the valley below. The ground became even more dangerous, for we had a steep slope on one side and loose mud under foot. But, with much slipping, sliding, and falling we made it.
The valley had numerous sulfur vents, so the small streams that ran through it could be very hot. It would have been easy to get hurt, had one of us fallen in. The going didn’t get any easier as we climbed over rocks and into the forest again to head for the lake.
Another two-hour hike and we arrived at the site. We stood on the outcropping gazing down into a swirling pool. Sulfur scented mist rose from below; the water was turbulent, especially in two areas. We took the time to eat lunch before starting the return trip. We hiked fourteen miles in all; it was grueling and hard but the sights and experiences were all worth it in the end.


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