Caribbean Day 21: Brimstone

My time in Nevis is over, today after breakfast and hopefully a successful phone call with the company handling my guest house billing I’m headed to Basse Terre in St. Kitts, my final destination of the trip.

My stomach is feeling better and I’m quite hungry! Today Pearl makes a nice vegetable omelet. Like everywhere else, veggies are expensive, so it’s likely all from cans. It hits the spot though. I give a call to the billing place but no luck. I watch an episode of Game of Thrones, anxious to see what happened after the episode I watched sitting in the airport in St. Maarten. I call again, still no answer. Pearl tells me it will work out, and not to sweat it so I finish packing and hit the road.

I found a bus quickly, before even making the main road, I saw one go past almost a foodball field’s length away and waved. Somehow the guy saw me, stopped, and backed up the hill and I rushed toward him so he knew I had flagged him down. What luck! I cram in and of we go. We stopped part way so the driver could talk to his wife and get some water bottles. This isn’t unusual, and there is no expectation of reliability or speed with bus drivers. This one drives leisurely too which I like. I’m in no rush, I’m on island time too right now. I knew where the ferry dock was but not the times so I take my time getting there, but just as I arrive a ferry is already there. I rush but can’t get there in time and off it goes! I look and the next one isn’t for another hour and a half. Oh well, that gives me time to read my physics book. I’m almost done! I’m now on the last chapter, String Theory. I’ve loved this book, it’s called The Theory of Almost Everything, and it goes through some basic classical physics overview, and talking about fields and particles from Maxwell’s era, then to relativity with Einstein, and finally Quantum Mechanics and The Standard Model and String Theory. I met a young man also waiting and asked him about the process and got the lowdown. He kind of took me under his wing and made sure when each booth opened I noticed and got the right tickets. It was very nice of him. Also on board were some school kids with food, and god did it make me hungry. That missed dinner the night before still wasn’t made up I guess.

Arriving in St. Kitts an hour later I got off to the sound of blaring Reggae. I’m reminded immediately of Mexico and its blasting music everywhere. It’s so much more chaotic and busy than sleepy Nevis. I set off looking for the Sea View Inn which Ben had recommended. The price had been right and I didn’t want to walk too much, I trusted him to have done his research a bit and knew what I wanted for $75/night. It had to have AC and a nice bathroom and a queen sized bed, clean of course. There are lots of cooks on the road BBQ’ing checking and pork chops. It shells amazing. I’m going to come back later for some. Apparently it’s the thing to do on Fridays. I find it and check in, it’s just fine. And while I wait for my room to be cleaned I hit up one of the BBQs for some chicken. $4 for a leg, more than I expected, I think I got the tourist price. I gave him shit about it saying that’s the tourist price and I want the local price, he said there is only one price, but I could tell from the look on his face that was a lie but I wasn’t getting the local price so I paid up and enjoyed my chicken. I kind of enjoy haggling, I’m not always good at it, but it’s like a game.

After I checked in I got ready and found a bus towards the Brimstone Castle, today’s goal. I was told by the driver that I could just get dropped off at the access road, but not all the way up. I expected a hike so I told him lets go. All of the buses here have painted on names like “Black Beauty” or “Bad Boyz” so I guess you can find your favorite bus. Boy do they drive fast here, way faster than Nevis. I wouldn’t want to share a road with these guys. It felt like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride!

The road up the hill was longer than the sign said and I drained my water and bought another at the top. Along the way I saw more Vervet Monkeys. There was an orientation video and an Indian couple living in the States was there as well, the husband asked about my camera, he noticed the 10-22 on it and said it seemed like the perfect lens for here. I totally agree. After the film we chatted a bit, his name was Neep and she was Risa I think. We talked a bit and they were intrigued by me traveling on my own without a solid plan just island hopping. I told them about Dominica and Saba, my two favorites on the trip and they seemed convinced to go on their own next time. Neep asked me about details and wrote them down, and took my email address. I strolled around the grounds a while. It’s pretty spectacular; they called it the Gibraltar of the West Indies at one point. I talked with Neep some more, and he offered to take me back to town with him in the taxi. The driver though wanted money, $10 US for it, when it costs like $1.50 to go by public bus! I told him I’d give him 5EC which is about $2 since he was already going, and I could get a public bus easy this time of day. I think I offended him a little, and he wouldn’t take it. I’m not sure why he wouldn’t though, his guests want me along, and it doesn’t cost him any more money. Just take the couple of dollars and be happy, it’s free money.

I caught hopefully my last public bus back to Basse Terre. It was a wild ride again. I’m not easily scared but these guys drive a bit reckless. This one was especially bad. I stopped in at the market on my way for some more water and gum for my flight home. I don’t want to meet Jen with horrid breath, and it helps with the dry air on the plane. I’m now though basically out of Eastern Caribbean Dollars, I have $10 US, but I’d rather not use it since I’ll get change back in EC and that will be pretty useless once I’m gone from here. I’m told my hotel’s kitchen is always open and takes credit cards, so I’m in luck. I have no clue how it will be, but damn when it arrives if it didn’t hit the spot.

I sat outside for a while, the hotel is on the second floor and it was nice sitting on the balcony watching but removed from the hubbub below. The breeze is nice and it’s pleasant. Not too many mosquitoes to bother me, though I wouldn’t be surprised if I come out with a bite or two as a good bye present. The hotel is owned by a Spanish couple from Dominican Republic who speak a bit of English, but I try to respond and greet them as much as I’m able (not very) in Spanish.

Just after reassuring Jen over instant messenger that it’s safe to be out here, that as scary as the buses can be my chances of being in an accident and hurt were low, the power went out. The whole block was dark, not just my hotel. Life carried on down below, the KFC next door switched to a generator. I sat for a while in the dark with only the light from my screen. After a while I gave up and went to bed. At some point the power came back on thankfully, my room without windows or a fan was getting super hot. I took the chance to run back to the lobby and tell Jen everything was fine, I didn’t expect her to be worried, but you never know. Then back to sleep.

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