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Monday, 21 February 2011

Day twentythree, Monday 21st February, Kingstown, St Vincent Island - Grenadines

We woke this morning to see the beautiful island of St Vincent through the port holes in our cabin. The water is clear and blue, and the island looks mountainous and covered in green.  Not sure exactly what we wanted to see and do here, we decided to wander around the town first and get  a map of the island.  Once we'd done that, we could see where we wanted to go next.
Well intially, the road out of the port looked pretty rough.  There were loads of little stalls about but it was grey, dirty and miserable.  But, as we got further along, we came across the markets, the town centre and then later the two cathedrals and the church.
The people of St Vincent now rely soley on tourism for their income I understand.  This was made clear to us in a couple of the ways.  The first was when we were looking for the map.  We had wandered down the various streets and in and out of souvenir shops without success.  We walked into one and asked, and the the girl said, "hang on".  She picked up the phone, obviously asking someone who knew.  "Just wait" she said, and then a man appeared with a crash helmet.  He said he didn't have any maps in this shop, but if we waited two minutes, he would go to his other one and get some for us. Worried that he might be wasting his time getting something we didn't want to pay for, we told him not to bother and left the shop.
We left and continued walking up the street to the first cathedral, stopping to talk to another couple of tourists from the ship.  Two minutes later, the shopkeeper appeared behind us on his scooter.  He had gone to get the maps for us anyway and as he pulled them out the bag, we realised they were just what we wanted.  When we asked how much, they were free, and he gave us two. How is that for service! 

We went on to the cathedrals which are amazing.  The first one, the Anglican Cathedral is plain on the outside, and reminded me of the court scene in the film "to kill a mocking bird" on the inside.  A very gracious place. 

Catholic Cathedral inside
The other, the catholic cathedral, was just incredible.  It's hard to describe. From the outside it is a mishmash of styles and towers.  As we approached it, it became obvious that the left hand part of the building was being used as a school, and that we couldn't enter, but we could hear the children, which was lovely.  As we walked into the right hand, church, part of the building, it was like walking into castle gardens.  Beautiful, but we weren't in the church yet.  We had to walk through this sort of entrance patio and then into the church itself.  Inside, it was surprising large graciously simple inside. Surprising having just viewed the outside.  

By now, we had decided we wanted to find a beach this afternoon, so, armed with our map, Peter was suggesting we walk to the nearest beach.  I was dubious, looking at the steep sides f the mountains and hills around us, and thinking about how hot it was.  He said it wasn't far and wouldn't take long.  I decided to ask the policewoman at the entrance to the cathedral, who burst out laughing at our suggestion.  Looks like a taxi or a minibus then.  We wandered back to the ship for lunch and swimsuits.

We did get a taxi.  The driver was called Gideon and the road was long, windy, and up and down.  No way could we have walked that!  During our ride, Gideon told us little snippets of information, the most interesting of which was the fact that they all ordered their cars, second hand, on the internet, from Japan.  Apparently it takes two months for the car to be shipped over, you pay in advance, but it still 2 1/2 times cheaper than paying the duty on a new car. He also told us how important tourists were, and that was why everyone made efforts to look after them.  
We had a fantastic time at the beach, which was just as we expected it to be.  The water was blue and warm, the sand was white and the sun was hot.  Lurrrrvly. 
We'd arranged with Gideon to pick us up at 4.30, which he did, so that we would have time to change, and then come out to this internet cafe at the Port where I have just sat and enjoyed coffed n a cake while writing this blog. Tomorrow is Bridgetown, Barbados. Wonderfull!

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