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Sunday, February 28, 2010

83 Days

On cold winter days like today when the sky is grey and the trees are bare, I long for the warmth of summer and particularly, the caribbean.

In 83 days, we will set sail on our tenth cruise to the caribbean. As we count down the days and hours, wondering what great adventures lie ahead, we also reminisce about the adventures we've already had.  For our 20th anniversary, we booked a 10 night Southern Caribbean cruise in a Jr. Penthouse Suite on the Celebrity Summit.

This was luxury and wonder all wrapped into one gorgeous package.  St. Maarten, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, and Nevis were our private little playgrounds, while the ship and our suite were our private oases.
We spent the morning in St. Lucia in the water with a can of Cheez Whiz and tropical fish. The beautiful fish were greatly attracted to the Cheez Whiz, as were we. 

  After a morning of snorkling, swimming, and rum drinking, we drove up the side of the larger of the two Pitons on St, Lucia, both active volcanos.  On this hill was Fond Doux Estate, a working cocoa and banana plantation.  Here we watched St Lucian plantation workers practice cocoa dancing, the method for extracting cocoa from the nut or bean to make chocolate.  They literally stomped and danced on the dried beans, to the beat of live drummers, until it turned into chocolate.  Think Lucy Ball and the grape stomping episode.  And then we ate it. We ate the bare footed, stomped un-sweetened pure, warm, gooey chocolate.  We had lunch  at the old plantation house overlooking the sun-dried cocoa beans. The conch Chowder and Fried Calamari could not have been fresher, gathered, cleaned, and cooked that  day.  Very simple, not spicy, as I was hoping for, yet delicious.

The next morning brought us to St. Kitts and Nevis, two islands that make up one country. After sailing around St. Kitts on a Catamaran searching for ocean turtles and dophins, we sailed across the bay to Nevis for lunch on the beach.  The two choices for lunch that day were Hot Dogs or Goat Water Stew.  Of course, I chose Goat Water Stew.  It was a wonderful curried goat stew with breadfruit, paw paw, and droppers (dumplings) served over pigeon peas and rice.  It was sweet from the tropical fruits, aromatic from the curry, and rich from the well marbled goat meat. As a condiment, banana ketchup was served to the side, and all of this was washed down with Ting, the local soft drink made from grapefruit concentrate, served over ice or with rum.

What made this lunch fun, adventurous, and odd were all the  beach horses. They were there for tourists to ride into the water or gallop through waves.  Ours did neither.  They wanted food.  They wanted my goat stew.  I thought, do horses eat meat?  Or goat?  They were relentless, these horses.  So much so, I gave in and let one have my stew.  It was that or have my arm ripped off.  He enjoyed it.  I watched.

All part of the adventure, I guess.

The last thing we did was to venture into a local supermarket for supplies, one of my favorite things to do.  I got banana ketchup, both yellow and red, mango rum, local whole nut-meg, saffron, curried pork rinds, and Ting.

Most people buy souvenirs, jewelry, or t-shirts.  I buy, food, spices, and snacks.

83 days.  1992 hours.  119,520 minutes.  And counting.


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