Back when i was in 6th form, a new guy arrived at our school from St Lucia called Osei. Over time we got to know eachother pretty well as he lived in the same flat as my girlfriend at the time. Tho it was sad to see him leave when it was time to head back to St Lucia, what a great opportunity came up to visit him. 3 years passed and we finaly got the chance to visit. Just that my "girlfriend at the time" was now my ex, and we were going on holiday together... (along with one of her best mates and one of my best mates). Despite the potential for disaster, it only became an issue a few times. The holiday was truely brilliant.
So we arrive in St Lucia and get to Osei's house and he shows us where we will be staying, which turns out to be pretty much a whole house to ourselves with a garden and perfectly ripe mango tree (above)! And for how much? absolutely freeee! Turns out that Osei and his family are rather well to do, which we began to discover throughout our stay.
A typical day would be mangos for breakfast, walk to the beach, then do something at night. Quite soon in, we were introduced to Osei's friends, which played out to be the key factor to our experience. His friends pretty much were all loaded. As Osei worked during the day, and well some of his friend would never have to work in their lifetime, often they would take us out on 'excursions' in the back of their big red truck. (above) Forget not having a seatbelt, we didnt have a seat! we travelled in the back of this truck everywhere and though i was sketchy at first, i wouldn't have chosen another way. The friendliness of people there is seriously something else, from Osei's friends to completely random strangers. Strangers would give us lifts to the beach for free (yes, my mum did tell me to never get in a car with a stranger, but we were told before hand from Osei's mum that its quite normal over there).
Having the connection with Osei meant we got to experience some great things. His girlfriends 21st birthday which was a BIG event. Her God Mother who gave a speech was the wife of the current president of Barbados!? We were truely hanging in the highest of circles of St Lucia. The party invite said it started at 7, which was the time we were ready by and awaiting to be picked up by Osei (her boyfriend) to head over. He didnt come till half 8... and we were some of the first to arrive!?!? I tell you, Caribbean timing is no myth... everything is so laxed, it actually runs at a 2 hour delay. We went to two 21st birthday parties, both very posh, both started 2 hours after we arrived. Below is a great pic with all of us in it at one of the parties, including the main man Osei. :o)
Food in St Lucia is chicken, chicken and chicken... and fish. Grilled, stewed, or barbequed. Saltfish with Rice and Peas was probably my favourite (above). Small cheap stalls on the street, as usual, were the best. We travelled on the back of the red truck to the other end of the island to attend "Fish Friday" which was held in a small town where the fishermen and their wives cooked and sold their catch of the day on the streets, whilst playing carnival music. Was my kinda street party! I was like a kid in a toy shop rushing around having a taste of all kinds of wonderful things from black dolphin to octopus stew. To my extraordinary dispointment however, everyone had sold out of turtle meat. Drink in St Lucia largely consisted of Piton beer and Rum... lots of rum. Chairman's Rum seemed to be the most popular. Admittedly im a bit of a wuss when it comes to the consumption of strong spirits but I made the exception for smooth St Lucian rum, and damn it was good rum. However they really dont do short measures in St Lucia and a typical Rum and Coke was pretty much one ice cube, a shot of coke, topped with rum.
Becuase of Osei's friends, we went on a rum cruise, swam in waterfalls, sat in eggy extremely hot springs, went to great parties and attended other big events, but most of all, we had the opportunity to join the Caribbean Carnival. Osei's girlfriend played some role in organising part of it, and so she got us in on the action. My friends were the only white people there, by that time (towards the end of our holiday) I was pretty much black and blended in fine. Drinking, dancing and grinding for 7 hours straight, in the baking sun is an experience not to forget. :o)