We hoped to hire a car for the day together with Rowan and Conny but the three car hire places in town don’t have anything available. Plan B, we decide to take a local bus up to Marigot Bay, have a look around and then take buses back south maybe stopping somewhere else on the way back south, possibly stopping at Anse la Raye to visit a beach Conny had spotted in a cove north of the village.
As we organised ourselves outside the hotel to get to the bus stop, we bumped into Jannelle (the local girl we met xmas eve) she’s on her way to Castries and is sure we could all get a lift with her friend at local bus rates. We don’t want to hold her up, but when we’re all finally ready she’s still around so we go for it. Her little boy, Dominic, and her two younger sisters are in the mini bus as well and we all have a great chat on the journey. The kids go to great lengths to tell us about the island and the storm damage from the hurricane etc. As before the roads are in a terrible mess with landslides and storm damage. We see where the road had been blocked when we tried to get down last week! We see where Jannelle’s jewellery stall is – at an incredible viewpoint. She has such a lovely family and the journey is a treat. We hope to meet up with Jannelle later tonight for a farewell drink, assuming we get buses back ok :0)
At Marigot Bay we admire the yachts and have a coffee and cake. Then we head off to find a bus to the cove Conny found north of Anse la Raye. When we arrived there were only us and a couple of lads. It’s a great find! Within an hour there were about another dozen more lads aged between 8 and 14 maybe, they arrived individually or in pairs but all seem to be friends and have a competition doing front flips into the water. Conny got talking to some of them early on when he wandered off to take some photo’s. Not long afterwards him and Huw were attempting said front flips too, much to the amusement of the kids. It was all good fun. Great beach surprisingly not even signposted from the road!
Knowing that the last buses back to Soufriere leave Castries around five and not wanting to leave it too late in case they were all full on their way past, we left the beach around 330pm and walked into the village of Anse la Raye to have a look around and hopefully catch a bus. There were lots of locals out on the street, just sitting on their steps or on a chair, chatting and watching the world go by. Some selling fruit but mostly just enjoying the sun and without exception they greet us with big hellos as we pass. We get to the end of the main road and are told where to wait on a bus. Three go past and but they’re all full. Something we suspected might happen. A local guy makes himself very friendly and trying to be helpful he even goes and asks a friend (possibly) to act as a taxi and drive us back to Soufriere. At US rates! We made it plain we were waiting on a bus and couldn’t afford such extravagance. The driver claims we have no chance as they’d all come through full.
A chance we are willing to take, for now. The guy that instigated it felt guilty then – at assuming we had money to burn, assuming all tourist had money to burn. (a bus will cost us around $16-20 local, thats less than $10 US. Taxi rate offered is $200 US!!!!). That said we did think we might have shot ourselves in the foot as it gets dark around five thirty and it was now after four. Maybe we should have haggled! How long might we have to wait. We still needed to travel 16 km. Hhmmm…..
Being confident (yeh right) paid off. Eventually a bus comes through that is carrying goods and it also has the back two rows free. The driver stops but apologises for all the stuff saying it might be a bit tricky. We were all happy to climb in the back over the seat. So relieved, to have a lift we persuade him and all loaded onto the bus via the boot, we set off and we made it back to Soufriere without having to shell out for an expensive taxi. Hurrah!!!
Back at base we turn in for an hour or so for showers etc. We decided as it’s our last night we’d go to a creole restaurant on the front that Jannelle had recommended the first night we spoke to her, but Rowan and Conny don’t fancy it. It was probably the best food we’ve had in Soufriere. We think it’s just called ‘Creole’. Afterwards we give them a shout and we all head to the bar we’d all went to the first night to meet Jannelle for the farewell drink. Jannelle brought Dominic along too. That was nice. It was good to thank them for today and to say goodbye. Jannelle brought Bernice one of her handmade necklaces and she very proudly put it on. Thanks Jannelle. Remember to keep in touch, especially if you visit the UK again :0)