Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mini-Adventure to "Paradise"

By Jack and Barbara Clarke, CCF Donors and Rick Falco, President and Creative Director of Vision Project

On Saturday we set off on our own adventure, within the scope of our otherwise “Big Adventure.”

Gelina took us up into the mountains to an "eco-resort" (in quotes for more than one reason as it turns out). It was a very steep and winding drive up into the mountains; the roads are not well maintained. We could see steam rising from vents on the hillsides as the hot water from the semi-active volcano poured into the rivers.

Soon, we arrived at Paradise Island, Shangri-LA.

OK, so it wasn’t exactly paradise. On the phone, the proprietor said this was a true eco-resort, but much of the supplies were shipped in from Tennessee and Home Depot! Talk about burning fossil fuel!

The rooms were very basic; no screens, only shades. Regardless however, the best part of this place was the hot spring! And I do mean HOT springs. Some are so hot the locals cook eggs in them for breakfast (which we tried on Sunday and found to be quite good).

There were also a series of varied temperature pools along the river; most fairly warm and others warmer than a hot tub at home. The water is very high in sulfur and is quite pungent, but it does make your skin feel great.

Sitting in these pools alongside the rushing river is very cool! Barbara and I both get massages river side. We found out that we were the only guests in the place and dinner was quiet.

It was a little intimidating sleeping in these open air bungalows and it rained off, but mostly on, most of the night. It was so damp that the pillows, mattress…basically anything made of fabric stink of mustiness and mildew. We felt quite clammy in the morning.

On Sunday, breakfast was a delicious blend of local fruit and eggs boiled in the sulfur pool. Because it was still pouring down rain without much let up in site, we decided to bail out on the rest of our day there.

We called Gelina but she had gone all the way back at home, although we thought she was staying in Roseau. We were anxious enough to leave though, that we called a taxi.

Gelina ended up meeting us in Roseau, and we went on more of a driving tour of the island. We traveled down the west coast all the way to the southernmost point at Scott's Head. There is a narrow strip of land, maybe a quarter-mile long that divides the Atlantic and Caribbean. It was so neat seeing waves crashing on one side and resting calm like bay water on the other.

We also took the opportunity of being by the water to do a little swimming, but only on the Caribbean side. Back up the coast we stopped at another bay side inlet where hot water bubbled up at the shore line like Champagne Beach. We also visited a small local hot spring that had bathing tubs before we made our way back to our “home” in Grand Bay.

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