JetBlue Terminal 5 at JFK has several stations with free wifi and charging outlets. It also has a lot of shopping and restaurant options. Sadly, it doesn't have a sleeping lounge - believe me, we looked! I stayed up all night packing and was pretty beat. We had nine hours in the terminal! We ate twice (I had vegan Asian food and later tostados), lounged around on not so comfortable chairs and benches, got to know each other some (we just met!) and finally the time for our connection to Barbados came! We boarded the plane and then sat. The captain announced something about someone not on the plane, but their luggage is and we have to wait. Then later that the 'VIP' is coming and we are waiting still. Wish I could get a plane to wait for me! :) There was also a problem with the front bathroom (no, not stinky poo!) and it would be closed. Finally we start out to the runway...and then we sat for two hours. It went on forever and was hot! It was cold in NY so I don't know how it could have been so hot. We eventually take off and arrive in Barbados about 3am. I found out shortly before landing that the couple next to me were from Saint Vincent and Bequia. Bequia is small and they'd be there all month so Shamin may run into them as she's staying on that island.
We all make our way through customs and out to the main area - which was all outdoors! You know you have some good weather when an airport is covered, but otherwise completely open air. We slept for a little while on a stone bench until we got chilly. Our flight to SVG was at 8:30 so we got to see the sunrise in Barbados.
|The airport is green!|
|Green sweet potato, yams, salad, pumpkin and beans.|
After the meeting, we parted ways. Sister Glynn and Shamin took the ferry to Bequia and Sister Allen drove me to Questelles (pronounced Kay tells) where my apartment is located. It's about a 20 minute drive from Kingstown, the main town. The roads here are very narrow, twisty and have lots of elevation changes. Driving here is, well, different. Even if they didn't drive on the left side, I'm not sure I'd want to try it. People drive very fast and lots of people are walking on the sides of the road. It is not for the faint of heart!
|View from my porch|
|Me on my porch. I have the first floor apartment.|
Saturday I got a taxi (arranged by Mrs. Alexander and husband whose apartment I am renting) to Blue Lagoon Marina (cost $70 EC or $26 US each way!) and met Shamin for her to start her SCUBA certification with Indigo Dive. While she did that I just hung out on the boat and then did a little snorkeling. It was so relaxing! David from Indigo Dive has been great to work with - very helpful and flexible. And the scenery was amazing! Caroline, an Engineering student from Sweden traveling on a gap year, was also doing the dive class that day. I hung out on the boat with David's wife (I am unsure of her name - so bad with this!) and did a remarkable job of communicating since she speaks only Spanish and I have forgotten most of mine. They just moved here in January to take over the dive shop. She is very sweet and had me pose for some pictures.
|I'm on a boat!|
|Kingstown from the water|
|Small islands everywhere - I love this pic!|
|This island resort is for sale. A mere $10 million US!|
|Postcard views abound!|
|Cross on an island|
|Shamin, Caroline and David getting ready to submerge|
|Trying out the waterproof camera|
|action shot of Shamin|
|My grocery store haul. Price $198 EC or $73 US.|
|A vegan has to try the 'jumbo soy chunks', right?|
|Spices were the deal of the day. These were packaged in FL.|
Shamin stayed over Saturday night and we planned to dive on Sunday, but she was unsure if her ears were ok to dive so we just checked out Questelles (after unsuccessfully trying to get a van to Kingstown). The vans don't run much on Sunday, but they are much cheaper than a taxi. As many people as possible cram into them and pay $2-3 EC to go a ways down the road. We had to walk into 'town' to the petrol station to the van stop and after we gave up (about an hour) we just walked around checking out the village. I mentioned the roads are narrow, they are also very steep with lots of up and downhill elevation changes. It is quite a workout!
|A man brings goats every day to the yard next door |
and they munch away.
|Petrol station where the van stop is.|
|Many goats! These were little cuties!|
|Colorful houses in the valley|
|After walking downhill for a while, we got an ocean view. |
One of my clinics is in this valley.
|The houses are so beautiful here.|
|The two green roofs just above the red center roof |
is one of the clinics I'll be at some days.
|We walked all the way down to the valley. Long walk!|
|Small field of banana trees|
|Unfortunately, after you walk down, you must return by walking up. |
I wish this pic gave any idea of the scope of what we walked up.
I was not sure I would make it!
On Monday I went to clinic for the first time. For this first day I was in Barrouallie a village about 25 minutes away by van. Mrs. Alexander walked with me to the van stop and told the driver where to get me to. The van made a lot of stops letting people on and off - it was very crowded. Music was blaring playing mostly early 90's pop music. For a while the guy next to me sang along to Cher's Do you believe in life after love. When we got to Barrouallie, the driver's assistant pointed me to a young woman that would show me to the clinic. It was up a very steep hill. I was glad I abandoned the idea of heels.
The Barrouallie clinic has different focuses on different days of the week as well as two beds for the birthing ward overseen by the staff nurse/midwife. The village of has a population of a bit over 7,000. This Monday Sister Allen was overseeing a diabetes/hypertension clinic. We also saw one sick child. There were several nursing assistant students present also. I enjoyed talking with them and the staff nurses and sharing info about how our programs work. I found out my Littman Cardiology III stethoscope I paid $164 US for would cost $1700 here (about $630 US)! No wonder people think we are rich!
|View from the Barrouallie clinic - a church they are building in the |
foreground and ocean in the background.
Tomorrow I have clinic in Clare Valley (the long walk down), then Sister Allen takes me to Kingstown to the wharf and I head to Bequia on the ferry. I will do clinic there Thursday and Tuesday and spend the long Easter weekend there. The local celebration seems quite entertaining and there is a regatta as well. Bequia is more of a tourist spot so should be quite different than the more remote Questelles.
I'll report back when I can! Let me know in the comments if you have any specific questions!
PS - Shamin is also blogging. Check her out at http://npinsvg.blogspot.com/.