Monday, February 28, 2005

Good morning! What a wonderful weekend we had. We were invited to go to Dominica (pronounced like the Singing Nun song) with new friends, Brian and Janna. Brian has a 4-seater Comanche prop plane so we had a fantastic flight down, checking out all the islands along the way. What a fun experience - first time I have been in a plane that small. Thought I would get motion sick but a 1/2 a Dramamine took care of that.

Dominica is an incredible island. It is quite large compared to many of the other Caribbean island and is extremely mountainous due to the volcanic action. We hiked along a sulphur spring fed creek that was beautiful, but the sulphur beds were more than a bit odoriferous. We also hiked up to Trafalgar Falls and Janna even went in swimming. She is the adventurous one - climbing a sour orange tree to get us fruit which was too sour to eat. Talk about pucker power! We were later told they are used mainly in marmalade. The roads are narrow and winding - Steve was very glad Brian was driving so he could sightsee for a change. Usually he is busy watching the road and dealing with my gasps when we are too close to the side on my side! Fantastic vistas. Janna and I began to make up stories about Rasta-fairies and Rasta-leprechauns since we saw a rainbow and wonderful moss covered rocks and trees that conjured up imaginary creatures left and right! Put two literature people in a beautiful environment and the creative juices have to flow. :-)

We stayed at an eco resort called Exotica Cottages. Quite a "rustic" road to get to it but well worth the trek - we watched the sun drop into the ocean - incredible from that altitude. The owners Fae and Athie were a delight and Fae's cooking was delicious. They have a large organic garden and orchard. The fruit was so good Janna and I were still talking about it later in the day and craving more.

As we flew out we were busy pointing out the roads we wanted to go on the next time the four of us visit so I think I will have further islands adventures to report. :-)

Too tired to read at night after trekking through the rain forest as I haven't hiked in years. Brian and Janna put us to shame but I was thinking about YA lit set in the Caribbean, or at least partially set here, such as Call Me Maria by Judith Ortiz Cofer. Maria and her mother happily live in Puerto Rico where her mother teaches English, but Maria's father is unhappy living there. He had grown up in a Spanish speaking neighborhood in New York and the islanders tease him about the way he speaks Spanish. His loneliness gets the best of him and he moves back to his childhood home, taking Maria with him where she has to learn how to live in the city. I love how Cofer writes about Maria and everyone else in the neighborhood, Hispanic or not, learning Spanglish, even her Indian friend. :-) The other one that came to mind is Danticat's Behind the Mountain which is about Haiti. Gives the reader a glimpse into the country's politics and violence, but more a sense of how she loves her mountainous homeland. Danticat is a very well known author in the Caribbean. She writes more adult than YA, but she has another Scholastic title coming out - Anacoana, Golden Flower, Haiti, 1490 - about one of the queens of Haiti. It is part of the Royal Diaries series and will be out in April. Danticat's newest adult novel is The Dew Breaker.

That's it for today. Have tons of email to catch up on since I was computer-less for a few days. Felt good!