Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010



The Dominicans like to tell the story of the English man (bloke-ass, as they are called) who came to Dominica to open a banana plantation and make his fortune.

So, he came, he bought a piece of land, he hired some local men to do the work. He had the banana trees planted. In time, they grew and they produced and were harvested. The local men simply did the next normal step in the process and cut the trees down. The English man was outraged and hauled them into court for willfully destroying his plantation. The case was quickly dismissed, and all Dominica had a great laugh. What the English man didn’t know about banana growing was that the tree only produces once and then dies back and another comes up in its place.

By the way, bananas have huge exotic purple flower.


Making appointments and telling the time in the Caribbean has its issues. Here are some interpretations that might help.

I’ll be there in ten minutes
- I’ll be there some time this afternoon
The show starts at 7 PM
- The people in the show begin to turn up at 7PM
I’ll be right back
- But first I’ll have a beer on the way
The sign on the broken ATM says Monday, March 15…We expect the technician within the hour
- On Wednesday, March 17, it says…we expect the technician within the hour
I'm leaving now
- I forgot I was meeting you
"It have plenty of rain on dis side, boy"
- I'm not coming
"I at de top of de road"
-I'm just leaving
"Man can only be late once"
-so have another beer


Last week we went to Roseau looking for a block and tackle so we could moor the boat in the bay. The fisheries shop didn’t have one, the girl at Frampton’s Hardware Store never heard of a block and tackle, the next hardware store also didn’t have one, and at Garraway’s the woman didn’t know what we wanted, but an elderly customer overheard us and explained to the clerk. A crowd gathered. Now, block and tackle in Dominican is pronounced block and tickle. We really only wanted the ‘tackle’ part of the apparatus, we have the block. Just imagine my reaction to the clerk yelling through the store to her colleague, “Josephine, the mister wants a tickle.”