Tuesday, May 7, 2013

St Lucia--Getting My Pitons On!


What a difference a day makes. Just 24 hours earlier we were docked in Barbados. The docking area was very industrial and did not have that lush, island appearance I had anticipated. This morning was entirely different. I woke before my family and snuck out to have my first cup of coffee on the deck as the ship came into port and docked in St Lucia.

The coffee was strong, hot and black.  The sun was warm on my face and the breeze danced across my skin.  I was perfectly refreshed and completely relaxed, all the things great days are made of.  The view was serene, just beautiful. It was lush and oh so tropical!


After what seemed like only moments, the captain's voice broke thru the silence and announced that passengers could disembark for the day's excursions.  I tore myself away from the peace of the deck and gathered my family.

Today's adventure started with a bus tour and a narrated island history by our tour guide, Lunetta.  Lunetta was very young and an island native.  Here, in the first photo, she pointed out the state tree, the Calabash.  In the second photo you can see the fruit of the tree.  The fruit is not edible but the round globes are dried and cut in half and used as bowls.  Calabash bowls of all sizes are found in the many markets around the island.



Lunetta also described the state bird, the St. Lucian Parrot.  They are rare and she noted that we would be very lucky to actually see one.   It is illegal on the island to capture and hold a St. Lucian Parrot in captivity.  The photo below is compliments of the internet.

We stopped along the way for some photo opportunities.......


 We did a bit of shopping......


We were fortunate to have....hmmm, experienced some interesting people and their "pets"...... Yes, that IS a boa constrictor and yes, these snakes live on the island in and out of captivity.  I think I would have rathered to have seen the parrot.....

We had already seen and experienced so much and our journey had not even begun!!  After a winding ride thru several small towns, the bus came to a stop in a small lot.  We followed our guide through a wooded area and down a short trail where we met yet another guide who would lead us on a hike for perfect views of Petit Piton and Gross Piton.  The Pitons are mountains that jut up sharply from the islands to a very distinguishable point.  They are majestic and the severity of the highest points against the backdrop of the sapphire waters and white sandy beaches is just breathtaking.
There were so many interesting things to see along the way..... 
This is a cocoa plant.  The white "goo" is edible and I tried it.  It's sweet and tangy.  The seeds or beans of the plant are dried and placed in large tin vats where the "cocoa dance" is performed by skilled islanders.  The worker stomps on the cocoa beans and crushes them with his/her bare feet. Ninety-five percent (95%) of St. Lucian cocoa is exported to Hershey, Pennsylvania.

This is a raw cashew.....

Island flora....

 The grand finale, Petit Piton and Gross Piton....


Stay tuned for more island adventures as the tropical journey continues!!

+Michelle Morrissette Cucchiaro
+My Baked Stuffed Life


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