Monday, July 10, 2017

Further Reconnaissance

The following day we invited Kimberly and John-Michael from Pura Vida to go with us for our second day of island recon. We set out early and visited the nearby Chairman’s Rum Distillery. Arriving without advanced notice, we were lucky enough to talk our way into a private tour on the heels of a group that had already begun.

Maybe we got the abbreviated tour or maybe there just wasn’t that much to it… but we were whisked from the barrel storage where they keep the hand-me-down oak barrels from Jack Daniels Whiskey in the US…

To the Fermentation area…
It smelled pretty good in there...
To the upstairs and downstairs view of the distillery process… Too much for me to remember… But they had nice shiny and complicated looking pots and pipes that were fun to look at!

I totally don't know what it is... but I WANT one!

Showing Bruce the differences in the number of years aged

We followed our leader through the display and storage room where they keep some of the Carnival decorations from past years! WoW! JM and Kimberly (from New Orleans) felt right at home here!
Who ME??? I'm not wearing that!

All this is ours!
The best part of our quick trip was when we were left alone and unguarded at the tasting bar. There were bottles and bottles of the different rums produced here… and a bunch of little cups. They guy told us to try any we like… then he disappeared back into the office! WHAT??? Just like that, we’re alone with these open bottles??? Cool. We are adults, we won’t go crazy. 

It was great to be able to sample some of the bottles, especially the rum creams… I’m in the market for a new coffee creamer having left the land of familiar brands… These will do nicely in my morning coffee… We stopped lastly in the store to pick up a few bottles. These people know what they’re doing, make no mistake in that. 

Pagoda Plant
Continuing on… We almost drove past a sign to the River Rock Waterfall! STOP!!! Go back! We went off the road and down this tiny little paved trail… that turned into an unpaved trail… 

My companions began to question me as we left civilisation behind and wondered what would happen should we be accosted by bandits or something… Not to worry. I found this place on the internet… it must be safe!

We took our little car down the path as far as we felt safe, then a short walk further and we found signs of some sort of abandoned commercial endeavour. Maybe it’s low season and nobody makes it out this way at this time of year. The sign said there was a fee… but nobody around to collect it… so we pressed on. 

Looks legit, right?
JM and Kimberly stopped to rest… JM had an injured leg so didn’t want to press it…

We followed the path to the falls, it wasn’t too bad… a bit soggy from recent rains. 

We found a rustic palapa with seating and a changing room… still nobody around. 

The falls were sort of carved out of the wall above the pool and it looked like the pool was actually man-made. As waterfalls go… this one was a bit of a disappointment… But maybe we’re jaded. 

We wandered around the pool for a while, unmotivated to get into the murky water… and soon returned to the entrance to collect our crew and go back to the car. 

Our adventures with these two always end up this way!
There was a bit of adventure getting the little vehicle turned around on this one-lane glorified goat path… Some wet ground gave us a brief adrenaline surge… but we made it back out to the main road and turned left… Onward!

We really didn’t know where we were going… we were just following the roads, soaking in the beauty of this lush, green island. We crossed bridges, temporary ones while the more robust bridges underwent repairs from recent storm damage.

Scenic Overlook with vendors
We stopped at scenic overlooks and took in the breathtaking view of the Pitons and the village of Soufriere below. 

Parking lot literally at the foot of Petit Piton
We wound our way down to Sugar Beach resort in search of food. Dang it, this island just doesn’t have enough fast food joints! Or ANY fast food joints! 

Asking at the gate to this swanky resort if there was a restaurant where we could find lunch… we were instructed to park in the lot just down the hill beneath Petit Piton and wait for a shuttle which would carry us the remainder of the distance to the beach were we might find a mind-afternoon snack at their Tapas Beach Bar. 
White sand?  There's no white sand on this island!!

Thinking we may be in over our heads, we played it off and took the shuttle and the customer service overload down to the uncharacteristically white… for a volcanic island… sand beach. One look at the beach furniture and tiki torches confirmed our fears that we were out of our league… and if we needed more convincing, a single glance at the menu brought it home…

We ordered Tapas at exorbitant prices - $18-$35 US - for tiny portions of fancy food and not the greatest drinks in the Caribbean (but you wouldn’t know it by the prices…). I apologised profusely for getting us into this expensive mess… but everyone was kind about it. 

We dined lightly on the food of gods with the view of both Pitons for comfort. 

No time to dawdle… the afternoon was winding down. We had to make it back along those treacherous, winding roads before dark because if memory serves… there was no affordable B&B for us to duck into on the way back to Rodney Bay!

We stopped to pick up some mangos that were literally rolling into the gutters on the sides of the road. It’s Mango season here they are everywhere! 

Didn't we do this yesterday?  Hurry!  It's getting dark!
We zoom-zoomed as fast as our little car would take us and arrived safely back before dark… but not much before. Tomorrow would be provisioning day and then we would collect our family-guests! Whoop! Today was fun and between yesterday and now, we think we have a good idea of the things we will take our guests to see… and how long we can expect it to take, so that we can plan our days. 

We didn’t actually DO the things we will do with my Mom and Nephew… but we passed by and scoped out the distance to some of the more mainstream things to do on St. Lucia… We’re ready!

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