Wednesday 1st December 2010
It was apparent from the early moments of our morning minibus tour that Dominica is a relatively poor island. Roseau, its capital city, with a population of 15,000, has many dilapidated buildings. Some are little more than shacks. We were not shown any buildings of note, except for the occasional church.
We headed into the hills to a lookout point over the bay where there were market traders hoping for sales! We bought a glass ornament with a map of the island (similar to the one we had purchased in the Faroes, but of inferior quality).
After taking photos of the view, we then went to the Botanical Gardens. We were taken round them and shown some of the trees and birds, including hummingbirds. Perhaps the most notable scene was of a crushed American style school bus, lying under an African Baobab tree. This had been blown down in Hurricane David in 1979.
After a gentle wall through the Gardens, we continued through very lush country via winding narrow roads. The lands supports the cultivation of many different fruits and vegetables. We saw coconuts, bananas, pineapples, grapefruit etc as well as lemongrass, breadfruit and other more unusual plants.
We stopped for a complimentary drink and a cultural show. The dancers and singers were part of a larger group that had travelled internationally although we did not find it that exciting ourselves.
On our return journey, we quickly reached the coast and were told that the Chinese Government are constructing a sea wall. Apparently the road is very prone to damage from the sea when hurricanes strike Dominica.
In the afternoon, we took a shuttle bus into Roseau. After walking round for a while, we visited the museum. It was interesting to see how much of this repeated what we had learned in the ship’s lectures on volcanicity, the history of the peoples and slavery.
It was exceedingly hot in Dominica today – the hottest weather we have experienced on our trip to date. People certainly didn’t pester us (although one man asked for money) but they seemed generally slightly less friendly than those we had met in St. Kitts. We felt that Fiji is at a higher level of development than this island in all probability.