Monday, February 7, 2011


Has it really been that long since my last blog?

Since that time I have had Christmas in Dominica – my first away from home. Aside from the obvious climate difference, Christmas in Dominica was almost a non-event. Dominicans are very laconical about the whole thing. I kept waiting for it to happen. When I realized it wasn’t going to happen among the people I am living with, I decided, at the last minute, to make it happen. I invited several if Sono’s strange relatives, and his two children, I brought in some ferns to stand in as a Christmas tree and I cooked a 15-pound turkey, (which cost $60 US!). The menu also included rice and beans, vegetable casserole, curried lentils, salad and ice cream. The guests, who came 2 hours late, sat around the decorated table hardly talking, ate everything in sight and were gone by 10PM. I got through the whole thing on a bottle of expensive (but awful) wine.

New Year’s Eve was something similar – i.e. a non-event.

Question: How do Dominicans (Caribbeans?) come by the reputation of being fun loving, relaxed, carefree and easy-going?

I do not know. I have lived and worked among the people for 2 years, and I find them to be anything but.

I am still working on revising my preconceived ideas, stereotypes and prejudices about Caribbean culture. For example: where is the music? All I hear is horrible computer driven, monotonous so-called reggae. Bob Marley must be spinning in his grave.

I rented a car during the long Christmas break. We took some really wonderful day trips up into the mountains, along the southern coast, explored an ancient volcano, and searched for the Sisserou Parrot. The weather was not good, so we didn’t go to the several nice beaches around the Island. For more photos go to my FaceBook page.

We watched the total lunar eclipse on the full moon from the seashore. Awesome.

It is now the first of February and Dominicans (no doubt, the rest of the Caribbean) are revving up to Carnival, March 7 and 8. Calypso songs are being written, costumes are being constructed, stories of Carnivals of the past are being told, potential Carnival Queens are strutting their stuff, great booming sound systems are being dusted off and there is general tension building. I have been here for 4 carnivals and I have experienced each one as a huge national 3-day drunk. I am hoping that this year I will get behind the scenes, that I have, in fact, missed the point, that I will see, or be shown, the ‘real mas’ “.

Meanwhile I am still teaching and organizing at CALLS, fending off the mosquitoes, and figuring out how to live in Dominica.