Dominica: Nature, history and Kweyol!

Photo by Greggar Deterville

Landing in Dominica has got to be one of the most terrifying experiences in the world—at least for someone like me who’s not very fond of flying and the lady sitting behind me who was absolutely convinced that her life was over as the Liat pilot began making his final approach to touch down in the nature isle.
From my vantage, all I could see was acre after acre of green, spectacular mountain backdrop but no sign whatsoever of an airport. At every slight shake of the aircraft the woman behind me grew more frantic, until she finally said: “I guess I’ll just have to put my trust in the pilot, that he knows what he’s doing.”
So here I was breaking my neck trying to catch a glimpse of an airport of some sort, then remarkably, we landed smoothly and I couldn’t help comparing the landing to that of arrival to St Lucia where first timers are always convinced they’re going to land smack into the ocean!
We get off the plane and I’m home. Every aspect of Dominica is reminiscent of its sister isle St Lucia. From the scenery, to the laid back people, to the over the top food prices on the airport…I was surely home.
After a couple flight changes, the nearly two hour drive from airport to hotel and quite a bit of back and forth, by afternoon time I was ready to call it a day. But during the Creole Festival in Dominica there’s no time to rest, thanks to the Discover Dominica authority, so by late afternoon it was time to take in Creole in the Park at the Botanical Gardens which had been going on all week. Wednesday’s occasion featured Kes and the Band out of Trinidad and theirs was quite a performance. Never mind the rainy weather or muddy conditions in the park, the band had the crowd moving and in a festive mood and their rhythms and not to mention dancers were captivating. Later we took in Traditional Culture Night at Dame Eugenia Charles Boulevard.
“Is it really Wednesday?” I found myself asking a coworker as the rhythms had me too shaking a leg.
Thursday found media from all over the region at the Morne Trois Pitons National Park, one of Dominica and the Caribbean’s World Heritage Sites established in 1975. It was 17000 acres of pure beauty, nature trails and home of the Emerald Pool, complete with one of the most refreshingly powerful waterfalls on the island.
The next stop was to ‘Kalinago Barana Aute’, or Carib Village by the Sea where the group was treated to a tour and entertainment (traditional song and dance) by some of the authentic Kalinago people. Their Maruka dream dance and other acts were more than a little interesting to witness—authentic and more than just performances— showcasing a people’s way of life.

After some exhilarating River Tubing with Hibiscus Eco Tours, which was quite an exciting experience, Creole in the Park with headliner Bounty Killer and more, it was time for a media meet and greet at the Fort Young Hotel with Festival organizers and artistes.
Promoted as “three nights of pulsating rhythms” Friday saw performances from Kolo Barst, Harmonik, Ali Campbell—the legendary voice of UB40, Jeff Joseph and Grammacks New Generation and WCK. Saturday, (today) features performances by Dobet Gnahore, Jean-Phillippe Marthely, Jocelyne Beroard, Third World, Carimi and Midnight Grovers. Sunday’s lineup includes Swingin’ Stars, Gyptian, Zouk All Star Band with Fanny, Jocelyne Labylle, Alex Catrin, Bunji Garlin and Faye-Ann and Triple Kay. Main stage shows were held at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium.

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