[ 18:42 sunday 7 april – port of kingstown, st vincent ]
easter sunday, a little after sunset. i’m sitting cross-legged at the taffrail of the day’s last ferry across to bequia. the ramp below me scrapes and squeals in the rolling swell. bob marley songs pump out from a pick-up parked on the quay below, which is surrounded by a knot of people dancing and talking. lights start to pepper the surrounding mountainsides as the post-sunset sky darkens. the air is sultry, tinged with an acrid edge of diesel.
it’s barely 36 hours since i left london but it feels like i’ve been traveling for weeks already. last night on tobago i stayed with a security guard everyone calls the doctor who lives on the sea behind the airport and keeps a few guest rooms with his sister ruth. he drove me up to scarborough, the island’s main port, where we got some supper and soaked up the atmosphere around the market.
a lot of people had come over from trinidad for the evening’s beach concert by buju banton. some of them had brought seriously tricked-up cars with custom paint jobs, flashing lights, lots of chrome and big sound systems; which were parked along a stretch of road for people to admire. when we got back to the doctor’s place i clambered down the dark rocks and sat by the beaking waves with the hot wind on my face until i was ready to sleep.
this afternoon i flew on to barbados in a fifty-seater twin prop aircraft that seems to be the staple inter-island transport here. after an hour in barbados’ earily gleaming airport and a couple of delightful conversations i boarded another flight to st vincent where i arrived an hour ago.
my first impression of the caribbean is of strong warm people who are confident in their cultures. it’s easy to speak to people. it’s particularly interesting to hear opinions of america and europe. there’s a much more balanced, critical view than i would expect.
as i write the ferry’s ramp is raised, the engine throb gets higher and we cast off. in an hour i’ll be on bequia.
: c :