Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Goodbye St. Lucia, hello Venus

(St. Lucia log: final entry)
Today is my last day in St. Lucia after what was definitely a worth-it trip. I feel rested, relaxed and renewed. I am trying to maintain this feeling and not think ahead, as I am wont to do, about returning to Trinidad.

While in St. Lucia, the differences between TT and St. L were glaring to me in simple ways: the polite, gentle people who cheerfully say good day whether you said it first or not ... the clean beaches and roads ... the rainforests where I didn't see a single plastic bottle, snack pack, KFC box, condom, name carved into a tree, cigarette butt, diaper, etc. ... the smooth roads ... the absence of towering buildings and rampant concrete, metal and glass construction ... the beautifully refurbished old wooden buildings ... the cool day breezes and unscorching sun (!) ... the smiling faces ... the lack of confused, aggressive energy and anger ... no bumper-to-bumper gridlocks! ... the absence of tons of burglar proofing on every window ... the respectfulness of men in general (no ogling at women, psssst, 'dahlin', etc.) ... only seeing one man urinating in a bush bythe roadside within a six day period ... the courtesy of drivers ... the cheaper prices ... and so on.

Increasingly I do not know what 'returning to TT' means. I feel numb and dispassionate when I think of it and, in order to return, I need to reconfigure. The other day, returning from Soufriere, I told Mel that even though I was born in Trinidad I don't feel that I am from there. She agreed (feeling the same) and asked me where I felt I was from. I said I didn't know ...

Then yesterday, as we were walking along the road to go home, a 'strange' man (vagrant-like, but not quite) called out from the other side of the road: "Where are you from?!"

He crossed the road to me and asked pointedly: "Where are you from?"

I told him: "Venus."

With a serious face, he continued: "When are you going back?"

"Tomorrow," I said.

He shook my hand, nodded and walked off.

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Anonymous Sally said...

hmm....isn't it soo sad...

12:29 AM  
Blogger Shereen said...

I visited St Lucia back in 1997 and was struck by some of the same things. The ramshackle beauty of the place. The genuine friendliness of the people. The gentleness of the speech. The magnificent banana trees! The jazz of Luther Francois.

Trinidad is edgier. I love the geography and natural beauty of Trinidad,and the rich cultural mix that can produce such unexpected connections, moments of perception and oblivion (I recall looking up at a towering, ecstatic mokojumbie one Carnival night, he was a Minshallesque creature of pure beauty and transcendence)... But I hate the ugly, raw side of things there, and the most ungentle way folks can talk to each other, as a matter of course.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Elspeth said...

Yes - flying back to TT, flying over and looking down I always think it's so beautiful - the mountains, rivers, plains, swamps ... the natural beauty, which isn't always reflected in other aspects.

7:23 AM  

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