As the ship sailed towards the rugged island of Dominica, Paul stood on his balcony keeping watch and marvelled at the ‘King Kong’ landscape which revealed itself as the ship got closer.
Apparently, as a way of describing the island’s formidable topography, Christopher Columbus had crumpled a piece of paper in his hands and tossed it onto the King of Spain’s table. As Paul gazed at the spectacular geography before him he wondered if this old anecdote might actually be true. He even imagined a pterodactyl might swoop along the starboard side at any minute.
The place was beautiful.
Sadly, the weather was not. As a band played on the quayside, in between songs the singer intoned far too often,
‘Welcome to the beautiful island of Dominica. Don’t worry about the rain it’s what keeps us beautiful!’
He repeated this at least thirty times before Paul and Andrew joined the others in the manic buffet.
After going ashore, they did a deal with a man named Peter to take them to see the island’s highlights. He sat them in a large bus and then went off to collect another two passengers he said were joining them. After fifteen minutes sitting in the old jalopy the family grew bored. Especially as they could see Peter trawling the dock attempting to net potential customers. They knew they would be trapped in his rigging until he’d greedily found enough of a catch with which to embark. As the old pirate turned a corner, they all jumped ship and took an easterly heading out and away from Peter’s horizon.
They made the fortunate acquaintance of a small, chirpy man named Jerome. He packed them like sardines into his bijou bus and off they headed driving carefully through driving rain.
The weather didn’t dampen their enthusiasm for the place. Despite the recent devastation of ‘Hurricane Maria’ the island was still the most beautiful Paul had ever visited in the Caribbean.
And the lovely Jerome stopped at every port of interest.
Great waterfalls and bubbling hot springs abounded as Jerome navigated the winding roads with skilful knowledge. His moral compass was also to be admired as he looked after all their belongings whilst they trekked out into the rain forest in their teletubbie inspired macs. They all looked ridiculous – Paul especially, who was sporting a vivid turquoise number which did nothing for his sallow complexion. He looked as if he’d imbibed three barrels of grog and knew he was unnerving people who passed him on route to the attractions.
Especially as Tina and Grace were rocking the plastic look.
Paul sometimes found it tedious to be the least attractive of an attractive family – but at least he had humour!
At the finish of their tour Jerome dropped them back in the capital of Rousseau and they hit a local bar for some rum that certainly packed a punch.
One was quite enough.
Even for Paul and Andrew who could often drink like a shoal of haddock!
Later Paul did a short photo session with Grace in front of a green wall she had artistically spotted and considered a suitable backdrop to show off her yellow bikini. The locals obviously approved of the setting as quite a few took their own snaps of the photo shoot which was developing.
Paul thought he even noticed one gentleman get a real money shot as he sat fiddling with a gadget in his car.
He was well aware that, in general, Caribbean men were not shy in coming forward when it came to courting the ladies. His mother, Tina and Grace had been hit on more times than a hooker on the Estepona roundabout.
He felt quite left out.
Like the ‘batty boy’ who’d been batted aside.
Piqued, he was secretly glad the West Indies had done so badly in their recent test series.
Serves them right.
They should be keeping their eyes on their balls.