” Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes” Jimmy Buffet)
Our most recent cruise vacation is now providing me with a wonderful opportunity to explore a variety of issue perspectives with regard to eight (8) interesting destinations in the Eastern Caribbean region. Such opposing opinions are thus stated below with accompanying photos for week one of this fourteen day cruise.
Radiating Fast Yang Energy vs. Slow Yin Energy (St. Thomas/St. John)
My initial initial impression of St. Thomas as we landed in Charlotte Amelie definitely exuded a lifestyle involving ultra luxury yachts, sleek speed boats, and aggressive resort tour operations geared to some heavy indulgence in fast paced fun like zip-lining and kayaking nearby. Having no desire to “buy into” such hedonistic antics, we instead booked an inexpensive ferry for a much desired “slowdown” experience at less visited St. John Island. We then settled into enjoy three morning hours of tranquil beachfront views and pleasant walks around tiny Cruz Bay. When it began to rain, we found pleasant refuge under some tall shade trees sipping coconut water while engaging in some informal conversations with cruise members from our ship.
Experiencing Old Times vs. New Times (St. Kitts)
Our next island experience in St. Kitts beginning at Basseterre Bay appeared to portray very much a country in historic transition. Most definitely , those days of British colonial rule with stately government buildings and vast plantations for sugar production and other products still exist as evidenced by our guided excursion westerly along the coast to Fairview Great House and Botanical Gardens. But from a modern tourist perspective, I noticed equally the conspicuous presence of colorful welcome structures and billboards, glitzy electronic marketing tools, trendy shopping mall complexes, exclusive golf course resorts , and a spacious a new International Airport accessible to downtown. So If you want to avoid such commercial touristic overload, I would recommend taking a short ride to the highest points of the island and spend awhile for some fantastic views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea below.
Exhibiting Balance vs.Imbalance (Martinique)
We have never visited French influenced Martinique before this cruise. So with a fresh outlook, our landing at Fort -de – France environs along the westerly portion of the island soon registered as one exuding a mixture of balance and imbalance sightings during our excursion to Jardin de Balata high above the city. Along the way there, I first noticed miles of shabby housing conditions protruding in irregular fashion along steep slopes surrounding our views. I could only imagine then the horrific damage a category 5 hurricane could inflict on such unstable residential grounds. Yet the tropical nature of the environment there seemed to opposingly instill more of a delicate visual balance between land, sky, and sea. Proceeding to the massive grounds of the Balata Arboretum itself, I thus observed a continuation of wild nature’s synergistic balance as provided by its well manicured tropical gardens spreading prominently around this site. Interestingly, I might also share that much of Balata’s greenery could be best viewed from above in bouncing up and down from point to point via an elevated rope bridge. So I might report in this regard that it’s no surprise that I personally experienced a hard time keeping my balance on these somewhat unusual modes of transport.
The Matter of Safety (Dominica)
From a human respective, our cruise visit to Roseau, Dominica and its southern beach coast definitely exuded a most hospitable air of friendliness in everyone we met. After all, as we noticed a common Dominica motto, “Don’t Worry Be Happy on public taxis, it appeared there would be no problem for us if we needed to induce a local stranger to help us in times of crisis. But we most certainly would find driving around the island a risk-filled challenge. Consider in illustration those narrowly curving roads running perilously close to oceanside cliffs below that we experienced by taxi in traveling to scenic Scotts Head, the most southerly point around the island. Along the way, I would also make note of the impending danger that the steep cliffs on the inland side which might represent during heavy rainfall periods an added danger of mudslides and rock debris likely falling unexpectedly in the pathway of passing vehicle traffic below. A noticeable lack of modern infrastructure conveniences noticed along the route of these secluded roadways most would also make basic functions like finding a store to eat or using the bathroom a major issue for tourists then. From past experience, I could therefore conclude that these same travel issues would exist on those who decide to partake on those popular touristic visits to the Dominica rainforest in its central point mountains above.
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