Saturday, May 22, 2010

Safe Landing in a Magical Landscape

Oh my - what a long, amazing day, and what a trsnsition from here to there with absolutely no problems worth worrying about. After a bit of scrambling, we got on the road at 5:30am, made our way across the swamp, dropped off the cars, shuttled to the airport, checked in, found food, boarded the plsne, and landed in beautiful St. Lucia ahead of schedule.Transporting our giant pile of luggage took a bit of maneuvering so we stopped off at the car rental office to sort things out which was really quite a wonderful place to start since it sits directly on a gorgeous windswept southern beach. Then off to Balenbouche we went, through a landscape newly lush from long awaited rains, alongside houses bright with Caribbean color, through the village of Piaye where a cricket game was in full swing, over the bridge and around the bend and down the long, bumpy,flower draped driveway of the Balenbouche Estate. The peace and beauty are palpable here, and after dropping our bags in our rooms and having tea and cake, we wandered the grounds getting our bearings and meeting the red foot tortoise who, oddly, has an extraordinary foot fetish and was quite taken with Eddie's sandals. Then down into the sugar mill ruins for a discussion of cane technology and the realities of the life of 18th c plantation slaves, afterwhich we hiked down to the coastline. The tide was high where the Atlantic rounds the island towards the Caribbean, and waves rolled into the rocky cove that gave this plantation its name.We ended the day with a sunset swim at Middle Beach, water a perfect coolness after such a hot day, three quarter moon riding overhead, and everyone feeling just marvelous. Dinner was terrific - chicken fricassee, rice, lentils, salad, and fried bananas - and after a group reflection on the experiences of the day, everyone is settling in for a much needed rest, lulled to sleep by the peeps and buzzes and trills of the Caribbean night. Magic.