Monday, December 3, 2012

Travel Blogging IV

Roseau, Dominica: This is a beautiful island, with terrain like that of Oahu or Maui. It even has volcanic features, we are told of a boiling lake and geysers. These make sense as the island is clearly of volcanic origin.

The island has had both French and British colonial pasts, and the names reflect both. The main cruise port is virtually at the foot of downtown Roseau, you walk off the ship and you’re on the “main drag.” This isn’t true at most ports.

I say “main cruise port” because after the Emerald Princess tied up at the foot of downtown, a Holland America ship arrived and had to tie up a mile up the coast at a less convenient location. I’m guessing their pax (cruise biz slang for “passengers”) had to take shuttles to town, not terrible but less convenient.

Some thoughts about Grenada, yesterday’s port. First, it is properly pronounced “gre-NAY-da” instead of the Spanish “gre-NAH-da” as our ship’s captain mispronounced it. Second, it is a hilly rascal. The roads are about a lane and a half wide, have no center line, and often head up or down hill at an alarming slant. Creating parking for hillside homes is a real issue, and expensive.

Grenada has lots of very up-scale homes but very few obvious ways to earn a living, raising the question of from whence its residents’ incomes arise. I’m certain that like most islands, people try their darnedest to get good government jobs.

Island governments see job creation as their main function. This was true on Guam, why not on Grenada? Ex-colonies try to milk the former colonial power for every dime they can get, but it cannot ever be enough.

Grenada has a university – more jobs - and thus tuition money incoming. And they earn tourism money – our ship was an example.

I’m guessing some of those upscale houses are vacation homes occupied but a few weeks a year –guarded the rest of the year – again more jobs. A friend has a place like this in Costa Rica which she occupies six months of the year and has guarded 12 months of the year. In CR the issue is “ladrones” which is Spanish for thieves, in other words, burglars.

Whale watching off Dominica is not a sure-fire thing, we went today and saw zip, nothing but sea birds. It was a nice cruise on calm water off a picturesque island but no whales or dolphins. Minus the sea critters, it was too long and many got sleepy, including yours truly.

For actually seeing whales, I recommend Lahaina Roads, off Maui. As to why it’s called “Roads” I’m not entirely certain. The usage dates back to sailing ship days, and is I believe, an abbreviation for “roadstead” meaning shallow place where many ships drop anchor.