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We’ve decided that we really need to start hiking with a grocery bag. Seriously! Much like in Dominica, there is such an abundance of food growing here on the island of St. Lucia, a simple walk in the woods can be not unlike to a trip to the market. This fact makes it even a bit more frustrating when we come across the same people lining the docks each day asking for a handout. Perhaps we should take them for a walk with us?

  • Note: We tried to think of a Caribbean island that we have visited where people asking for money (not to be confused with selling fish, produce or other items) was more common than St. Lucia and none of us could come up with one. It makes us wonder why.

Of course, much of the easily-accessible land is owned and cultivated by farmers so when jungle shopping, we stay clear of any obvious plots like that. But these days, you almost have to watch where you’re walking to make sure that you either don’t slip on a recently-fallen mango, or have one drop down out of a tree and hit you on the head. Coconuts also grow everywhere, and the same caution applies to them. In fact, given their weight and the damage that they’d inflict if you did get hit by one, even more so!

Yesterday, Rebecca and I retraced our steps to the Anse La Raye waterfall with our friends off Earthling and Tua Tua. We passed by coconuts, oranges, limes, bananas, plantains, sugar cane, cacao, breadfruit and of course, mangos. Granted, some of these trees were owned by farmers but still, that’s a lot of produce.

During our walk we also came across a calabash tree and over the course of the few hours that we spent at the waterfall, Pontus carved us a beautiful Zero To Cruising bowl out of one of them. He later did the same for Earthling with the other half of the calabash. Pretty cool!

A word of caution for those who too are motivated to go jungle shopping: not everything can be eaten! I wrote before about the fruit of the Manchineel tree, nicknamed the Little Apple of Death for good reason. We learned something else on Friday: the shells of cashews are also poisonous. Yes, it’s true! Well, we didn’t actually learn it until yesterday when I Googled the subject, trying to find out why my lips were still burning. We were given* a cashew while at the Fish Friday party and several of us tried to open it by biting down on the shell. At least 4 of us ended up having our lips and tongues irritated by the nut’s caustic covering. This reminds me of the movie Into The Wild, a film which both Rebecca and I enjoyed. I won’t spoil the movie by telling you the plot but it does at one point show why having proper knowledge of a plant is important before you start ingesting it!

*When someone “gives” you something and then after the fact, asks for money, it’s not cool. Like most people, I don’t like being hustled, and that is eventually how we started to feel with a particular character that we interacted with on several occasions here.

14 Comments

  1. The local begging will eventually catch up with the St Lucians if visitors stop coming.

    We honeymooned in Jamaica in late May 2005. We will never again set foot in Jamaica simply because our special time was 7 days of non-stop “heh mon ya wanna…….?. In the 20 yards of sand between the resort’s beach chairs and the water’s edge we were sales targets from 7AM to bedtime. Granted 99.9% were really selling something and they were only trying to make a living off the tourists but THAT persistant haranguing has turned me off Jamaica forever. I don’t care if the rest of the country is unlike what we encountered in Negril. I will simply not subject myself again to their abuse when there are so many other beach bars that are deserving of my limited funds.

    What a fabulous bowl! Now THAT I would buy!.

  2. Rebecca against black rock…..hmmm hmmmm hmmmmm.
    Definitely calendar worthy. You should create and sell an annual calendar with 12 of your best pics. Yours beat the SAIL calendar.

    • Good idea. Our calendar would have plenty of pics, lots of holidays and only two seasons: dry and rainy.

      • Heh, I don’t think you qualify for statutory holidays do you? You have to report to work the day before and the day after or else you don’t get paid.

        Your life reminds me of the Newfies in St John’s. For their Regatta Day civic holiday they get up and listen to the weather forecast. If a crappy day is in store then they all go to work. Next day, same routine. When the weather forecast is good the whole city shuts down for the civic holiday = the holiday always has good weather. Only the Newfs could do this….’cuz only they have the good sense to do it that way.

  3. I’ve never been asked for money in the BVI and there’s a lot of poverty there. But I think there is a lot of pride as well. I hadn’t even thought of it while I was there – it didn’t occur to me that there were panhandlers in the Caribbean as well as Vancouver. It’s gotten to be a big problem here – I don’t know how tourists to Vancouver stand it, I know it irritates me.

  4. gee, I wish my biggest problem was carribean beggars! I need a new roof, clothes for the kids, lawn needs mowing, back to work tomorrow. LOL (tongue in cheeck jealousy)

  5. Looks like you guys had a great outing to the falls. I read that”Out of the Wild” book, but haven’t seen the movie. I thought it was a good read, with plenty of facts and an interesting theory on what happened. Eating wild plants is something that you only want to do with experience. I think local knowledge of what is edible is amazing, especially when you realize all of it was gained by real people trying it in the past.

    Keep those posts coming. I was unable to follow for a week and it was great to come back and see what a great week you guys had!

    • Glad you were able to catch up:)

      I agree. Who were the people who first tested all this stuff…

      “Hey John, stick this in your mouth and see what happens?”

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