Monday, January 29, 2007

Cost info for Peace Corps Volunteers and local produce.

Okay so here are some EXCITING pictures for new PCV's coming of local produce in the islands with prices. Remember future PCVS your monthly check is 1750EC 500-600 goes to rent, 100EC to cell phone. 100EC for DSL. 300-400 Minimum for groceries if your a big guy.

Pumpkin, 5EC

Banana's/Green Figs 2-3EC

Local Tomatoes are a bit pricy at 10 EC for the bigger ones that come in a bag of with 6 or so tomatoes. They are delicious!

Giant Papaya, not sure, usually get it from neighbors, maybe 5 EC?

BreadFruit 3EC, this stuff is interesting. Boil Bake it or throw it in a fire and pull it out when its black.

If i had to imagine what Manna tasted like it would probably be like breadfruit. The best way to eat it roasted on a fire. If you roast on a fire on the beach you peal of the burnt skin and then you eat it, you can dip in the ocean for a different flavor.

Starfruit .50EC

Fishing, and Marigot Beach Day

Here is Picture from Laborie I took Doll.

The year has been a slow start, we have had a plethora of trainings. Tomorrow starts a two day training on project management for 8 hours each day. I am fearful that its going to be common sense and repetitive, I hope not. Right now I have a cat in the front yard who is in eat and is meowing non-stop, I have about 5 male cats hanging out taking turns. The bad part is the males are spraying everywhere so my front yard is starting to smell like a giant litter box. Getting a dog is becoming more of a temptation by the day.

For you Indiana Hoosiers out there I thought you would appreciatte this pictures I took in View Fort.

Yes it is a pimped out Camaro and notice what it says on the right rear tire, oh yes you guessed it!

I am starting to believe that anyone from Indiana should specifically request serving in the Eastern Caribbean, truly I believe if your from Indiana you will have the least amount of culture shock.

On the island of Saint Lucia out of all the Peace Corps volunteers we have not one, no not two, but three people from Indiana out of 14 volunteers that come from all parts of the US. What are the chances?????

Here are few pics from fishing at the beach with Nick and Owen.

Here are a few from Marigot Bay where I spent the day with Marcy and the Aunties.


Cass and Marcy

Restaurant with a nice view.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Making St. Lucia a Caribbean Hot Spot

Can a slew of ultra-luxe hotels, more weekly direct flights, and government incentives “make” a high-end destination? On St. Lucia, ambitious investors are banking on it.

As we wander a densely thicketed path, sheltered from the sun by rows of bamboo with trunks as stout as baseball bats, one thought recurs: St. Lucia smells. It reeks, actually, like a carton of rotten eggs. This isn't exactly unexpected, though, considering that our destination today is, well, a noxious pit. We cross a footbridge spanning a small stream and make our way up a hill until we reach a point directly overlooking a virtual moonscape. Qualibou, billed as the "world's only drive-in volcano," is an awesome sight. Steam rises from craters; pools of black liquid like vats of squid ink roil. Once, you could walk across the caldera, but not any longer. About 20 years ago, we're told, a guide decided to demonstrate the integrity of the ground by jumping up and down on it. He fell through a hole of his own making, and when he was pulled out—alive, amazingly—he was horribly burned. "Some people," says our guide, gesturing at the hissing earth, "believe there is a god sleeping in there." Presumably, one who doesn't suffer fools.

Minutes after we leave the volcano, the sulfurous stench is gone, the craters replaced by views of the iconic Gros and Petit Piton mountains, two almost perfectly triangular peaks that evoke the South Pacific. St. Lucia is seriously gorgeous, full of waterfalls and tropical rain forests, a place where birds-of-paradise seem to range freely. Of course, it possesses the standard Caribbean inventory: sand, sun, and, due to its popularity among honeymooners, probably more French manicures per square mile than anywhere east of Vegas. It also has some of the most winding roads you'll ever encounter. As my taxi careens from switchback to switchback, I silently recite the mantra of the whiny child: Are we there yet?

- Expedia: Ready to go? Find air + 4-night trips to the Caribbean from $503

At this stage in the island's development, that question, figuratively speaking, is on a lot of lips. One of the Lesser Antilles' Windward Islands, St. Lucia is closer to South America than to more easily accessible destinations like the Bahamas and the Riviera Maya. Until the early 1990's, banana production was the island's leading industry, but with the phasing out of preferential EU trade agreements looming, the banana trade is in a death spiral. Partly in response, the St. Lucian government has stepped in to accelerate tourism projects by offering a range of incentives, including waiving taxes on imported materials used in new hotel construction and giving a rental income "tax holiday" to buy-to-rent investors. The strategy is working—by the end of 2007, St. Lucia will have gained more than 1,500 hotel rooms, most of which will cater to the money-is-no-object traveler. (In part because construction and operating costs are higher here than in many middle-market destinations, almost all new hotels are chasing the lucrative higher end.) Not coincidentally, many of those rooms will be ready by March, when St. Lucia will be the home base for the English team in the Cricket World Cup. This event may not stir the hearts of Americans, but for the 12,000 to 15,000 British holidaymakers who will descend on St. Lucia, and for television viewers worldwide—an estimated 1.2 billion for the semifinals alone—it's a very big deal indeed.

The boom is resonating across the entire island, from the $165 million Landings resort in the north to the embryonic Ritz-Carlton (opening 2009) in the south. On the northwest coast, the new five-star Discovery at Marigot Bay aims to reinvent a once popular but now faded yachting hangout, while the Jade Mountain addition to the Anse Chastanet Resort—a longtime fixture on practically every Best of the Caribbean list—kicks the luxury bar up at least a notch. Cotton Bay Village and the still-under-construction Le Paradis are staking out the previously untapped Atlantic side of the island, underscoring a fairly new phenomenon: even off-the-beaten-track real estate is being scooped up. Last February, Air Jamaica resumed its thrice-weekly nonstops out of JFK and added a fourth; combine that with daily direct flights from Atlanta and Miami, and visitors have more inbound options than ever before. All told, it's clear that something more intoxicating than rum punch—or drive-in volcanoes—is now being served.

Arriving at the Discovery at Marigot Bay on the island's northwestern quadrant, the first thing I do is a double take. The Pink Snail, its lobby-level champagne lounge and reception area, is a shocker: a glowing pink-resin bar and see-through Philippe Starck Ghost chairs, crowned by two huge pink glass chandeliers. The name is a bit of a head-scratcher, until you're informed that the design pays homage to the giant pink snail from 1967's original Dr. Dolittle, filmed in Marigot. That's not the only reference to the area's colorful past. The rustic Hurricane Hole bar, once a place where visiting yachtsmen and everyone from Sophia Loren to Michael Caine bent elbows, has been restored to its slightly louche glory, cask-barrel tables intact.

But Discovery's overall impact is more au courant than Old Caribbean. The credit goes to Judith Verity, who oversaw the design and who, with her husband, John, developed the hotel. "We were going for a really sharp-edged look inside, as much as possible," she says. "And then a complete camouflage on the outside." The interiors of the 57 suites (they can be "locked off" into 124 separate hotel rooms) are bold and modern: rich, red-toned Brazilian cherry hardwood floors are matched with dark-wood kitchens by Italy's Aster Cucine. The landscaping needs to mature, but even at this early stage—the hotel has been open since mid-September—buildings seem to grow right out of the hills that surround them.

The Discovery is part of a $60 million project that also includes a 40-slip marina and village complete with an Italian restaurant, a grocery store, and a bakery—all of it intended to lure yachts back and position Marigot Bay as an upscale port of first call. Across the island, however, the competition is stiff. At Cotton Bay Village, high-season rates range from $550 for a suite to over $2,900 a day for a self-contained beachfront château complete with a dedicated Man Friday. ("We didn't want to call them butlers," marketing director Michael Bryant says. "That sounded too stuffy.")

But perhaps the boldest play is being made by Jade Mountain. Set atop the highest point of Anse Chastanet Resort, near the west-coast town of Soufrière, the addition wraps around the hillsides. Designed by the resort's owner, architect Nick Troubetzkoy, the exterior is organic and flowing, all sensuous curves and rough stone. Towering spires come out of nowhere and stop abruptly—rebars protrude from the ends like the tines of a dinner fork. Pedestrian bridges, large enough for a car, lead like gangplanks to the louvered wooden doors of each of the upper-floor suites.

Walk into the living area and, it seems, you walk right into the Pitons themselves. There is no "fourth wall" insinuating itself between the room and the view; the room is completely exposed to the elements. Several ceiling fans cool the space. Each of Jade Mountain's 24 suites is unique, but they do share critical features: infinity pools from 400 to 900 square feet, soaring 15-foot ceilings, and an open-plan concept that might seem just a bit extreme—although cleverly hidden by curving half-walls made of crushed-coral plaster, even the raised bathroom is essentially part of one huge space. (As in the rest of Troubetzkoy's rustic Anse Chastanet, there are no televisions, stereos, or phones.) This is, I think as I look around, a place clearly made for couples. Who know each other very, very well.

Not everything on the island is luxe. In the north, busy Reduit Beach, the island's most famous stretch of white sand, seems cramped, pinched in by a monolithic wall of hotels. Towns like Soufrière and Canaries, although picturesque, need much more in the way of tourist-friendly amenities if they hope to entice visitors away from the resorts and into their streets. But there is one thing St. Lucia hasn't yet developed that actually works in its favor. Tourist burnout, a common affliction on many islands, seems nonexistent. Everywhere I go, "How do you like St. Lucia?" is said so often, and with such authentic pride, that it might as well be the national anthem.

This means more than any Man Friday-equipped villa, I decide, as I wander the shanty-lined streets of Anse la Raye, a small west-coast fishing village where every Friday night the residents block off a main road for a fish fry. Jamaican dance-hall music pounds from a bank of speakers. Locals and tourists alike wander from stall to stall, checking out a ridiculous variety of fresh seafood: conch stew bubbles in a pot, skillets of crayfish and prawns crackle, and whole lobsters, as large as house cats, are hawked by the pound.

At 9 p.m., the party is just getting started.

And then the rains begin. The entire street runs for cover under the stalls' canopies. Everyone—the Rastas with their harlequin tams, wan British women, the newly married couple from New York—stands together patiently, knowing the deluge will be over in minutes. I take out a notepad, jot a few things down. As the rain breaks, I look up from my notes to find a young woman smiling at me.

"What are you doin'?" she asks, the accent and cadence of her patois turning the question into a melody. "Writin' me a love letter?"

I smile back. Could be.

Guy Saddy is a freelance writer living in Vancouver.

Guide to St. Lucia


The dry season runs from February to May. Intermittent (and brief) showers take place year-round.


Air Jamaica offers nonstop flights from New York's JFK four times a week. American flies nonstop daily from Miami; Delta does the same from Atlanta.


Taxis are expensive; to cover a lot of ground, rent a car. Driving is British-style.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Anse Le Raye Fish Fry and Canaries UK Association


I wanted to throw up some pictures of the Anse Le Raye fishfry with me and my friends. I have good news, just finished an exciting meeting with the UK association. They want us to submit a proposal for funding to purchase tables, chairs and pop up tents for the Creole Pot. We will also be asking for help with renovating the bathroom. This would be a huge boost for the Creole Pot helping us develop it for tourists.

My buddy Klinger and Marcy

Marcella and her sister Rufina looking SUPER FINE!

Party at Nicks before the Fish Fry!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Golf and BBQ at Tams.

Well we had an excellent BBQ at Tams, where Tam got the golf clubs, I have no idea? But it was seriously fun.

Here are two serious golfing professionals.

Nick actually looks like he knows what he is doing.

Here is a real professional, I would make my Uncle Jim proud.

Who's that sexy lady next to me?
Grover and Megan
In and out, need I say more?

Thats more bbq tool than Chicken.
I think Tam is making his territory again.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Cass and Tina's Pad

Cass and Tina's Pad

To Do List for the New Year

Hello Everyone,

Here is quick laundry list of the things I have to do with the next week and a half to give you an idea of the work I do.

Finish World Cup Cricket brochure and poster.
Meet with Community Development Officer
Print off Creole Pot Brochure then take it to Castries Peace Corps to make copies.
Hand out copies to Taxi cab drivers and cab driver association for coming Creole Pot.
Write proposal to Saint Lucian Distillers for VIP Tiki Bar by the fisherman's boats.
Work on Language cards for next Peace Corps group.
Finish 1 year plan for Peace Corps
Tuesday meeting 7-9pm Thursday 7-9pm.
Sunday meeting with UK association.
Talk to Kinsley Peter about Canaries website design.
Meet with Ti Kaye about Creole Pot
Write Economic Component of Canaries Development Plan
Meet with Ian to discuss writing Canaries Development Day Proposal.

With all this work though you have these obvious perks.

Take care everyone!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

2 Video Clips from the Caribbean

Ninja Dan at Creole Pot, Booty Shake off notice the laser pointer. Check Trisha and Shane cracking up at the end.

Chicken Philo, my aunties thoughts on Chickens as they have kept them awake the last 3 nights.

Aunties are here and its time to meet Marcella.

Hello Everyone,

I hope you have all had an amazing Christmas. All is well in the Caribbean. Everyone is starting to finally thaw out from the holidays and work is beginning again slowly. Its been a long amazing holiday that just keeps getting better. My Aunties are down visiting me here looking at potential oppertunties for work and investment. They just rented an amazing house in Soufriere where they have two inactive volcanoes in their view and a small harbor less then 5 minutues away. They have 8 of the 10 top dive spots on the island less than 10 minutes away. They are very excited and its been so lovely to have them here!

I also would like to take this time to introduce my Caribbean Princess Marcella. We had our first date Christmas Eve and its been bliss since then.

Here are some of my new friends Trisha and Shane

I look forward to blogging some more.