Monday, June 1, 2009

Honeymoon, Day 5 (Friday)

We started Friday by heading up along the west coast, and then heading inland to Concord Falls. Once we left the main road, it got narrow and winding very quickly. Again, we found ourselves at a place where taxis take tourist groups. However, again, they just stick around at the first waterfall for a few minutes before leaving, while we intended to hike to more falls. My guidebook told me that there are three falls, but the locals told us that the the third waterfall was not accessible at the time. So we looked at the first one, then headed out to the second waterfall.

It wasn't a particularly long hike. Maybe about 40 minutes. And it was a little hot and humid. But along the way we passed some incredible scenery. The path was a little muddy, but not as bad as the paths at Grand Etang the day earlier. When we arrived at the waterfall, again, like nearly our whole trip, we were alone. :) We took our time at the waterfall before heading back to the beginning of the path. Once there, we decided to take a dip in the first waterfall. Boy was the water cold! But it was definitely invigorating!

Next, we headed further north along the coast to Gouyave. I admit, I felt wholly out of place in that town. It seemed like it was only locals there, and zero tourists, aside from us. I know that's not true, because when we took our lunch at a dingy local eatery, there was another table with a few British tourists. (It seems most tourists we ran into were from Britain.) After lunch, we toured the Gouyave Nutmeg Processing Plant. Unfortunately, we forgot to take pictures along the way! But we did take a few shots afterwards from the lobby area. They explained during the tour all about the drying, separating, shelling, and sorting of the nutmegs. I can't remember which way around it was, but they could tell the good nutmegs from the bad depending on whether they floated or sank. A machine cracked the shells off of them, but separating the nuts from the shells was still done by hand. They also explained the three grades that they give the mace, the red webbing surrounding the nutmug nut. Mace supposedly (we haven't tried the mace we brought home yet) tastes similar to nutmeg, but more delicate. The three grades were all used for different purposes, from food to cosmetics.

On the way back south, we stopped along the road at Palmiste Bay at the recommendation of our hotel staff. I had heard that there we're some black sand beaches on the island, and they told us to check out Palmiste. It was definitely, dark, though I wouldn't call it pure black. Still, the volcanic sediment is clearly visible. On our way further home, 2nd spotted the local LDS church building, so we naturally had to stop in. The only people there were the cleaners, and we didn't know how to ask politely if they were members, so we didn't. But man, I'm sure I'd have trouble paying attention during church with that view!

We headed out for ice cream before dinner, because we were craving it, and we had already encountered a couple instances of shops being closed after we had dinner. We had more local flavors: mango and coconut. So good! Finally, we had our last dinner on the island. I had hoped to find somewhere that served oildown, which is a traditional dish in the Caribbean that my guidebook told me about. However, since our hotel staff couldn't find any place serving it (perhaps it's more of a home cooking thing?), we had some nice barbecue chicken.

It's so sad that our last day was over! I'll add a little bit about Saturday here, since it certainly doesn't call for a full post. Very early on Saturday morning, we headed to the airport, and the jeep rental "company" (or rather, the guy who ran it out on his own) was supposed to meet us there. Well, he was late, but we weren't worried, because we had arrived with time to spare. However, we were worried when we realized we had to pay an exit fee in cash! We had changed almost all of our Eastern Caribbean dollars back to US dollars at the hotel that morning, and no one had ever mentioned an exit fee. To make matters worse, the airport ATM wasn't working, and we had no car! Fortunately, another woman was in the same mess, but had a car. She and 2nd rushed off to the nearest place they knew an ATM was and hurried back. We made it with a little time to spare. But we really thought we were cutting it too close, though! Aside from that, it was another long, full day of traveling with a lengthy stopover in San Juan -- but not lengthy enough to leave the airport and see anything.

Overall, we had a very, very wonderful honeymoon. It ended far too soon for our liking, but we always have anniversaries...maybe we'll go back someday?

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