St. Lucia Day 2: source of the mysterious rustling noise

So, day 2 is the first proper day that we have in St. Lucia and needless to say we achieved literally zero. I woke up annoyingly early, so I sat in bed and read my book for a bit – I had planned to rinse through it on the plane, but I got distracted, got to talking and read approximately one sentence of it during the 9-hour flight. So, I finally get to reading my book (something about something political in Nigeria… Maybe?) and I’m ploughing through the paragraphs quite merrily until I hear a rustling nearby. I think it might be my roomie stirring, so I dive back into the political hemispheres of maybe-Nigeria and get back to my read.

And then there’s that rustling again… I’ve got my meerkat on and I’m searching around the room for the source of the mysterious rustling noise, but I can’t see anything that looks even remotely like it might be making a sound. So, back to what I think is possibly politics in I’m-not-too-sure-if-it-was-Nigeria. AND THEN THERE’S THE RUSTLING SOUND AGAIN! I’m up and out of bed now, having wrestled with the mosquito net, getting my foot stuck in it and nearly hanging myself in the swathes of fabric, I’m scouring the room for the source of the mysterious rustling noise.

Needless to say, I find absolutely zilch and come to the conclusion that whatever it was, probably got frightened away as I was doing 10 rounds with the mosquito net. Back in bed, reading about what may no longer be about politics in perhaps-but-I-don’t-remember-now-anyway-but-might-be-Nigeria. Rustle-rustle, rustle-rustle. What the heck is this?! I’m just going to ignore it. I don’t even care anyway. It can’t be anything sinister. Rustle-rustle, rustle-rustle. Oh my life, this is so annoying, what on earth can it… CHRIST – BIRD!!!!! Not going to lie, I nearly shat myself in bed. My heart was SLAMMING and I got a proper jitter on. A little bird had made its way into the room and was mooching about looking for something to eat – the source of the mysterious rustling noise! Who knew a miniature bird could cause SUCH drama.

Little shite…

We officially decided we would have a lazy day (not that it was ever really in question) and we headed down to the beach. Many steps later we arrive on the burning hot sand and find ourselves a couple of sun loungers. We are soon greeted by an attendant who says ‘can I set you up’. I have literally no idea what this means, because as far as I am aware, getting ‘set up’ means either you are getting the blame for some sort of criminal enterprise or you are being forced to go on a horrendous blind date with one of your friend’s colleagues who they assure you ‘isn’t that bad looking’. Anyway, it turns out that ‘set you up’ actually meant sort you out with towels and the like, which was of course, fine, but somewhat less interesting than being blamed for a crime you didn’t commit.

Bird for breakfast anyone?

We’re lounging on the beach chatting our general shit and probably annoying everyone around us with our general loudness, when we decide that it would be remiss of us not to go snorkelling on such a nice day. The sun is shining, the sea is shimmering and the snorkel awaits. Equipped with our snorkels and flippers, we head to the water to see some under-sea scenery. I’d forgotten how impossibly hard it is to put flippers on when you are tasked with doing so on the sand, getting sloshed by waves and generally have pretty limited balance.

The real fight, however, begins when you have your flippers on and then have to walk further into the sea. This, it has to be said, is literally an impossible task. This cannot be done effectively and it cannot be done gracefully – there are no two ways about it. Tottering from side to side and spending an extraordinary amount of time with my legs splayed like Bambi, trying to regain control of my flippered feet, I made it in, relatively unscathed (though I couldn’t say the same for anyone watching – I imagine they came of plenty scathed).

We flopped about in the sea for a while, chasing after fish with particularly limited success (it’s almost like they can see you coming) and I’m almost pretty sure I saw the arse end of a turtle! It turns out that after taking on much sea water through the top of my snorkel, we’d been splashing about for more than an hour, so the snork back was pretty arduous and my ankles were feeling the arduousness.

Having worked up quite the thirst, we head to the bar for a bite to eat and something to drink. I forget what we had, but it was definitely nice. Having secured ourselves a bottle of water in preparation for the rest of the afternoon on the beach, I nip to the loo quick. I go about my business and return, water in hand, ready for the beach, only to find that there is already a bottle of water on our table… What? How has that happened? How are there now two bottles of water?????? It turns out that I managed to steal someone else’s bottle of water from the loo after they had left. I stole. Someone else’s. TOILET WATER. Obviously this was uproariously funny, resulting in it being brought up continuously for the rest of the day/ rest of the holiday/ rest of my life, never to be let go. Each time we walked past a table with a drink on it, I was firmly warned not to go stealing other people’s liquid refreshment. HAR HAR HAR.

I maintain that it was an easy mistake to make and that it was quite simple to accidentally exit the loo with a drink which didn’t belong to you, but apparently that isn’t the case.

Photo credit to someone who managed to clear the beach better than I did

After an afternoon spent on the beach, interspersed with laughing attacks related to the water stealing saga, back to the room we go for a sluice off and a change of clothes before dinner, where we both realise we are ridiculously burnt from our snorkelling. Our backs are quite literally bright red – we are human lobsters. Lobsters, in fact, are possibly less red. The front of me was white and the back of me was red; I looked like a Swizzels drumstick. What horror has befallen us! I’m sure we put on practically a whole bottle of sun-cream, but clearly it was not enough – this is skin cancer central. Wah. Dinner was interesting… you soon realise how often your back comes into use when it feels like the top layer of the skin is being scraped off each time you lean on it.

Bonnie

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A sweaty selfie looks less than healthy

21st June

The day started off well with a breakfast of pancakes, streaky bacon and maple syrup. I feel like I haven’t really eaten that much maple since I’ve been in Canada, which is sad, because it is the land of maple syrup. I’d always thought that every single Canadian drank maple syrup like water… maybe I’m wrong… but if I lived in Canada where the maple be good and the maple be cheap, I would not be having the good stuff on a rare occasion.

We headed to Tow Hill (which I naively had thought was ‘Toe’ hill), I don’t know why, but toe on your foot just made more sense to me than towing your car, ya know? Anyway, we headed down there. Down there? Up there? Who knows, but we headed there. We were expressly told not to drive our hire car down any gravel roads, so, naturally, we headed off down a gravel road to this toe place. Once you get there, you have a bit of a hike up the trail to get to Toe Hill. At points, this gets pretty steep, but it’s all on a board walk, so there is no risk of falling to death or anything like that.

We headed to the beach first to have a look at the hill from there, and there is also a ‘blowhole’ on the beach too – but you can only see this do its thing when the tide is midway in, there’s a fair swell, Jupiter is in rising and the North star has combusted.

I decide that merely viewing the blowhole from afar is simply not good enough, one must in fact, climb atop the blowhole to truly experience it. So, I did.

The rock formations here are pretty cool, ngl. It was good to have a mooch around and have a look in the rock pools and scramble around very un-elegantly on various bits of rock I came across.

Next on the list was to hike up the actual hill. Now, this was the steep bit. To say I got a bit of a sweat on would be a gross understatement of the facts. I tried to take a selfie where I didn’t look too hideously warm, but I’m not quite decided on whether that panned out or not – I’ll let you decide on that one.

Once you get up to the top of the hill, it’s a pretty decent view. You can see out across the beach, and see people catching crabs, fishing and digging for clams.

We popped back down the hill (which was distinctly easier than the heart attack inducing haul up) and headed to Agate beach, aptly named, because there’s a tonne of agate to be found on there.

I can’t really say whether this was agate or not, but it looks kinda like it, so we will say it is, just so I can feel pleased with myself.

Dinner was swiftly becoming a priority, so we headed back down the gravel road we shouldn’t have been driving down, hit up the B&B for a change of clothes and bounced out again. We went for dinner at a place one of the women we had met at the top of Toe Hill had suggested. She said you have to look past what you see on the outside, because it essentially looks like a rough old petrol station – which turned out to be the entire truth.

Anyway, it was called Sherri’s Gas Bar & Grill, and it genuinely does look like a run-down old gas station from the outside, but I promise you it is worth going in there – the food there is one of the best meals we had on this trip, if not THE best. I had crab cakes for dinner and the crab was fresh caught that day, and it was DELISH. I can’t even rave about it enough; this crab cake was the best crab cake I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Swiftly followed by a slice of rhubarb and strawberry pie, which had been made by one of the local ladies, which was again, DELISH.

That first slice of pie seemed to open up the floodgates, and much pie was consumed after that point. Much to the detriment of my waistline upon my return home (the scales groaned under the additional weight, I’ll tell you that now).

Bonnie

South Africa Day 14: I Think I’m Getting Scurvy

Again, we attempted to find something to do in Port Elizabeth, and again we failed. We ended up stopping at a beach for a bit, where it seemed like everyone who had nothing to do hung out. It was overcast and really windy, so we didn’t end up staying for that long.

 

Interesting light at the beach (only interesting thing, mind you)

We went for a wander down the beach, and there was loads of coral washed up on the pebbles. I hadn’t seen any coral washed up on any of the beaches before, so this was interesting to me. There were all different types, and it was everywhere you looked. I would like to know why it was washing up on that beach in particular, but I can’t come up with an answer… It must be something to do with the positioning. Maybe I’ll never know!

 

Said coral

I noticed one of the signs on the beach saying “zero tolerance” and then a list of things that weren’t tolerated, I couldn’t quite see what wasn’t tolerated, so I wandered a bit closer to take a look. On the list of things that were not tolerated, were dogs, lighting fires, alcohol and guns. Now, are guns and dogs really at the same level of public nuisance? Last time I checked, guns and dogs were definitely not in the same category. If you take your dog for a walk on the beach, do you go to prison for the same length of time as if you take your gun for a walk on the beach?! I think not.

Anyway, there is still nothing to do in this place, so we went back to the hotel and I read my book for a bit. I’m reading The Good Immigrant, which is a book written by 21 black, Asian and ethnic minority writers in Britain today. I’m only a couple of chapters in so far, but it’s been a good read. It’s interesting and it goes into different people’s experiences that they have had in their lives, and I like stuff that is real life.

I had a strawberry and banana smoothie and some sushi for lunch at one of the cafes on the bay, and went and chilled back at the hotel for a bit. I feel like I haven’t eaten enough fruit and veg on this holiday and I think I am on the verge of getting scurvy. I had better watch out for that.

We went for dinner at the same place we went to last night, which was Something Good. Seeing as it was so nice, we thought we might as well go back there and have what we knew would be a decent meal. There was live music on when we got there, which I love love love. It was just one guy doing covers of Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan songs and that kind of stuff, but live music is good and it cheered me up being able to sit and chill, listening to the music. I opted for a tipsy lemonade, which is a homemade lemonade with a double vodka in it. Yummy!

I am on my way up to Kruger National Park tomorrow, starting off in a tented camp for a few nights. Who knows if there will be wifi? Not I! So, if you don’t hear from me for a few days it’s because there is no wifi, or I’ve been eaten by a lion.

Bonnie