"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


>> Friday, March 2, 2012

Welcome to Dominica (pronounced DOE-MAN-EEK-AH), a small island filled with nature and adventure. Home to Octavius Lugay (a.k.a Sea Cat), our tour guide who seemed to know everyone on the island, a very popular Saturday market, and of course, JB's smoothie stand, where JB, a local smoothie extraordinaire, will give you the best smoothie you've ever had. We were able to go to all of these things (maybe some of us went to JB's more than once...), and do so much more.

Dominica has a well-defined culture. I suppose this applies to each island we have visited, and it is a good thing for those back home to know: it's never just 'the Caribbean.' Each and every island, no matter how small, is unique from the others. As a local man said to a passerby, "Smile- Dominica is a happy island." I could not agree more with this statement. We were all able to experience the happiness of the island like other tourists can't. It was an eye opening experience.

My favorite part of our stay in Dominica was Carnival. It was the best celebration I've ever been to. We danced to calypso (a type of music popular in the Caribbean), ate soursop ice cream, and watched the parade of feathered dancers fly by. Nobody stays inside for Carnival- everyone is out on the streets. A crowd: mothers with children in matching sparkles waiting for family members to dance by, grandmas in traditional clothing, teenagers with friends, dreaded 'rastas' standing by, their usual 'chill' attitude diminished by the exhilaration of the moment. Vendors selling goods, coconuts, fresh fruit, chicken, rice and fish, lined the streets. Distant shouts in Creole and English could be heard over the music, which was so loud I felt it in my heart. Huge, sparkly, feathered costumes with people doing the classic Dominican shuffle step (called chipping) slowly went by. Barbeques happening on the sidewalks, people taking pictures of us, news men interviewing us, calypso enveloping us, and just having fun- 'cuz your only at Carnival once, right? I hope not.

Camden, Maine


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