Sunday, December 28, 2014

Dominica Reminds Us Why It's the Worst

We were in high spirits this morning. We were leaving the sketchy city and heading toward another of Dominica's beautiful natural wonders.

You can see the top of yet another cruise ship down the street there.

We thanked our stars when Extreme Dominica Canyoning & Adventure Tours said they would pick us up in Roseau. That meant I wouldn't have to extremely strangle the next joker taxi driver who tried to scam us. We were waiting at the pick up spot with a Canadian couple and sharing our Dominican horror stories. It was nice to commiserate a bit with them a bit. I was just about to tell them the story about the Dutch couple our cab driver was being a jerk to yesterday when the van pulled up and... the Dutch couple was inside. We all had a good laugh.

I think it's funny how many fruits and vegetables are in the local supermarket that I have no idea how they grow. I remember at one point it was earth shattering to me to realize that peanuts don't grow on trees. Pineapples don't either! They grow on these stubby little things in the ground. Remember how funky cashews look on the tree from Belize?

We went to this nice little building and got suited up. We strapped on wet suits, life jackets, helmets, and repelling harness things.

We did a surprisingly short little training session on this thing and then we were off. I was a bit nervous that I didn't really know what I was doing.

We took turns with the GoPro strapped to our helmet, and Lydia whipped up this awesome video.

Back at Cocoa Cottage the whole gang had some cocoa tea and learned about how cocoa is made into chocolate. It's a much more involved process than I would have guessed. For example there is fermenting involved.

Here's a bit of the explanation. It was really nice I thought. Cacao is really alien-like. It grows in these big orange/red pods and the beans themselves are white and sticky. Very strange.

The "tea" was just straight cocoa and water. It was interesting.

All the different stages of chocolatey goodness.

Exterior of the grounds.

Our canyoning guides were so kind as to offer to drive us to the airport. With that one last unpleasant task taken care of, we decided we'd earned some lazy American tourist time.

We had some piƱa coladas in the little cruise tourist safe zone and just wasted time until we got in our taxi. It was nice.

This is the security line to keep out normal people. I thought it was funny because we weren't even on a cruise but everyone just figured we were touristy enough so they didn't stop us at the checkpoint.

The two canyoning guys were fun. They were blasting American hip hop and we even stopped for a beer break.

For once I felt like we were just cruising around with a couple of friends instead of being harassed by a dread taxi driver.

Well in true sucky country form, Dominica has a departure tax. No, it's not included in the price of your plane ticket like every other place ever. No, they don't take credit cards. Yes, it costs more if you "ain't from around here". We spent most of the rest of our money on the taxi ride, so we lugged our bags to the atm. Well after multiple tries, we were unable to retrieve anything from the atm. "It's out of money", a local passerby informs us. The only atm at the only Dominican airport, where you have to pay cash for the privilege of leaving is. out. of. friggin. money. Well played Dominica. Well played.

We ask the security people if they'll just cut us a break because our plane is leaving soon, or if there is another atm anywhere. No, and no. One of the cab drivers offers to drive us to the nearest town's atm. Why not?

It works out and we get the heck out of that place.

The security lady asked us if we enjoyed our stay in Dominica and I gave her what must have been the fakest "yes" in history.

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