So I consider myself pretty good at directions, following a map, knowing which way is north, etc. (although I am pretty sure after this trip, Dave might not share that same confidence). But really people… no street signs outside the city… really???
The day started with a long wait for our car rental agent to show up Costless (I now know how they get their name). We finally meet up with our Costless agent and she informs us that the car we rented is not a 4x4 like we requested, rather it is a small sedan. They do give us a $2 cost break. Wow, aren’t we lucky. We stand out in the parking lot for about 20 minutes filling out paper work (which I had filled out online, per their request to make things go faster). None of that information was transferred to our paperwork. Not impressed.
So we finally head out of the pier area. Our goal for the day was to see the pitons located in the southwestern side of the island. We think we are heading out of the city but instead we make our way down a narrow road (btw, all the roads are narrow) to a dead end, looking straight at a parade. In hindsight, I wish we had parked and watched but we were Piton bound. So it is all kind of a blur but I do remember that I was so excited to finally find a street sign, still too far away to read, but as we get closer to the sign, I am anticipating the excitement as I can finally pint point us on the map. Approaching the sign the rest of the gang erupt in laughter as they read the “street” sign. It says “Shine for Jesus”. Damn it I say.
Forgoing the detail of getting out of this mess, the next half hour involves, Dave (the hero driver in this story) backing up a narrow road, hitting another car with his side mirror (which must happen a lot there), lots of honking (not the St. Thomas kind of honking), following a guy in a van (who leads us out of the chaos), pulling up his whole vehicle on a city sidewalk, Dave doing the same, getting directions from this guy who is going well out of his way to help us and even declines money from Dave,
following a taxi full of tourists who look like they are going south on the only main road in St. Lucia, realizing we are likely not going to where we though, finding ourselves on some sort of school campus,
not seeing any road signs… until 2 hours later a sign!!!
We are located about 10 minutes north of the pier. ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!
I am not sure why we still decided to pursue the Pitons. In hindsight, I wish we stayed at Gros Islet. I hear they have nice beaches. But this time through the city we are pretty sure we can stay on the one main road (which is not named) that heads south to Soufriere. So we go back by the pier and back by the sidewalk we parked on. This time, we head south… as best we can.
On our 2 hour very winding steep narrow drive, we don’t get lost but we do meet… Dr. Twist, Rescue, and Bird Man. All who are trying to sell us something. Some art, some jewelry, some birds, and some other “things” that will make us feel better.
I did buy a turtle from Dr. Twist and Ian did buy a coconut carved bird for $1 (I refused to pay the $5 that he thought it was worth) and Ian talked Rescue down to $5 for a necklace. In hindsight… maybe we should have reconsidered the other item he had for sale.
We finally made it to the Pitons.
We are starving (American style). We grabbed lunch at a local place with a beautiful view of the Pitons. We all wanted to try local food so we each ordered a Roti… ugh. It is basically a burrito filled with potatoes and some yellow sauce.
Not a big fan. The fried plantains were good as well as the tamarind juice.
The waitress came out with a fresh tamarind for us to try. It is a sour thing for sure.
After lunch we had all of 20 minutes for us to enjoy the pitons. Ideally we would have taken a water taxi to view them and in between the pitons there is a beach to enjoy. But we did not have time. On the way back there were either controlled burns going on or the island was on fire.
Either way, the smoke was a bit bothersome but Dave did an amazing job driving. He was definitely in some kind of zone.
We made it back to the pier area and decided to stop at some local shops.
And finally it happens… a meltdown. It is not from Dave who has been driving all day, or Shannon who is car sick in general not to mention the 6 hours of winding steep smoky driving, or even me who is frustrated that I still haven’t seen a freakin’ street sign all day, but it is Ian.
The heat was slowly putting him over the edge all day. Signs of it came early in the day when he had enough of being lost and when we drove by the boat the second time was debating whether to jump car or not. But he waits for the day to be over when Dave pulls the car over for shopping which it is clear Dave, Shannon and I all want to do.
But Ian shouts, to Dave’s somewhat rhetorical question of “Does anyone want to shop?”, “No, I emphatically do NOT want to shop!” This is worth blogging about because this story comes up several times throughout the rest of our cruise. Probably on average 5 times per remaining day. The Farrs got a big kick out of Ian’s fit. I kindly remind Ian that he can wait in the car and he responds: “I am not waiting in the fucking car in the 97 degree Caribbean heat!” I kindly let him know we have AC and he can rest there but Ian is on a mission. A mission to get on the f’n boat. So he, in tantrum form, shouts “No! I want my backpack and I am walking back to the boat!” And off he goes. He doesn’t look back. He probably had a 15 minute hike in the Caribbean heat back to the boat but it was his mission and he is now the one in the zone. When we left the shopping, we did keep our eyes open for his dehydrated body which we half expected to be slumped over on a park bench or something but upon return to the cruise ship he was spread out like a towel animal on our bed. Safe, sound, showered, rested and no longer grumpy.
And here are some random boat pictures I took throughout the day:
Costless - Recommendation, spend more, don’t rent from these guys. 5.
St. Lucia Department of Transportation – lack of road signs. -10.
Overall score for the day: 7 still a decent day, but only for the stories.
Ian’s tantrum bumped it up from a 6 to a 7.