Friday, May 12, 2017

ST. LUCIA, PART II: LUNCH, CASTRIES BASILICA, A NOBEL POET, AND THE PITONS

After spending a good part of a day driving around St. Lucia, we were hungry, and we told our driver that we wanted to eat authentic St. Lucian food at a place where the locals eat.  He took us to Fedo's New Venture in the town of Soufriere, which is located near the Pitons on the west coast of the island.

It was crowded inside, so we gladly took the table on the front porch of the erstwhile home that is now a restaurant:

We began our late lunch with a very refreshing glass of iced tamarind juice:

The mahi mahi and vegetable dish was wonderful, and included breadfruit, taro, chayote, cassava, purple sweet potatoes, and plantain--not your usual roast veggie mix! There were also the more famliar carrots, cabbage, rice, and beans.

While we were finishing up, a young man walked by pulling a wagon filled with squares of warm coconut cake. Street food? Bob is ALWAYS willing to sample that, even though we were stuffed from our lunch.  It was pretty good when warm, and fair-to-middlin' when cold.

As we drove back to Castries and the cruise ship, we made one more stop at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. It is located on Derek Wolcott Square, named after a native son and 1992 recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. More about him at the end of the post.


This cathedral is the largest church in the Caribbean (200' x 100') and was given the status of Minor Basilica in 1999. It is wonderfully unique:

Nothing somber about this church. It is the color of joy:







Lookiing back towards the loft and main entrance:

Even the crucifix is draped with a richly-colored purple cloth:

My favorite things about the cathedral are the Caribbean faces in the murals and stained glass:



The Annunciation:

Angels announcing the birth of Jesus:

The flight to Egypt:

Young Jesus in the temple:
I love the tops of these windows. They remind me of the "stained glass" we used to make in middle school using black construction paper and colored tissue paper.

I have to throw in this photo of St. George slaying the dragon, one of Bob's favorite scenes:


Overall, St. Lucia was perhaps my favorite of the Caribbean islands we visited and a place I would love to go back to. I felt like there was a lot we didn't see, even though we spent the day exploring without the limitations of a large tour group.

As we headed out to sea, our captain positioined the ship so that we could get one last look at the majestic Pitons. At first they appeared to be side-by-side:

As we got closer, however, the distance between them grew:

The Gros Piton:


. . . and the Petit Piton:

Dave and Bob get in a few more pictures:




READING:
Derek Walcott was born and raised in Castries, St. Lucia, and was of Dutch and African descent. A poet, playwright, and 1992 Nobel Laureate, he was also the recipient of an Obie Award for one of his plays, a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, a T.S. Eliot Prize for one of his poetry books, and many other awards.

Wolcott spent much of his adult years in the United States, where he taught at Boston University, Columbia, Yale, and Rutgers. He also taught at England's Essex University.

The Nobel committee described Walcott's writing as "a poetic oeuvre of great luminosity, sustained by a historical vision, the outcome of a multicultural commitment."

We visted St. Lucia on Thursday, March 16th. Walcott died in his home at age 87 on the island the next day, March 17th, 2017. His funeral was at the Cathedral written about in this post.

LOVE AFTER LOVER by Derek Walcott

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice. Fun to learn more about Derek Wolcott. St. Lucia was also my favorite island, a place I think I could actually go back to and spend some time.

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