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was 17:00Hrs – I had finally arrived in St. Lucia, an hour and a half late mind you. All thanks to a few forgetful passengers, who started their holiday de-stress programme prematurely at our stop off in Barbados and neglected to ‘get off the plane’. (Great start I thought). Head count after head count by the increasingly frustrated flight attendants just seemed to exasperate the problem. At one point I thought the airline company might have to put us all up in the nearest Bajan five star resort for a day or two until they could call in an accountant! Wishful thinking of course… after two hours of further number crunching and restless twitching we were finally on route to St. Lucia.
It was raining as the plane touched down at Hewanorra airport, but so what! That great wall of humid heat still felt like a kings welcome as I stepped from my twelve-hour Boeing 747 confinement into the sweet St. Lucian air. By the time I had negotiated my way through the small non-imposing airport, the late afternoon sun had already started working it’s magic on the small pools of water by the roadside.
After much deliberation, countless confused communication and last minute decision making by the St. Lucia Tourist Board and alike. I had decided not to accept the tourist board’s ‘designer press package’. I had visited this beautiful island in 1997 and tasted the delights of a less commercial Jazz Festival. I did my own thing then and I was determined to do my own thing now. Being a rebel (with a cause) does have drawbacks of course. I am at the mercy of my unseen guardian angels and ‘friends’. Fortunately I am blessed and have great respect and trust in both. My St. Lucian colleague had worked extremely hard organising my pick up and accommodation. The location of such accommodation would still be a mystery to me despite many hurried emails sent and received with, similarly hurried descriptions… I would have to wait and see.
My pick up driver found me wandering the airport perimeter, suitcase, camera bag and laptop case strapped to my weary frame. He talked passionately about St. Lucia, the pending World Cup Cricket and politics, as he confidently negotiated the hilly, winding roads on route to my accommodation.
By this time, day had given way to night and the night creatures’ chorus was in full swing. After nearly thirty minutes my mystery journey had ended as we finally pulled into an open driveway surrounded by lush vegetation. Mangoes and bananas hung temptingly from trees awaiting eager hands to free them from their vines.
My journey had just begun.
© Michael Valentine Studio Ltd.
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