Like I mentioned I am heading off on a business trip. Really, it is a real business trip, with real meetings and stuff. But I will have my evenings free and I plan on taking one day off. I need one day off to enjoy. Cause this is not just any business trip. I am going to..... ST LUCIA.
Oh ya, Oh ya, I don't like to brag cause really it is work but honestly, how awesome is that!
My work does business in many Caribbean islands as well as South and Central America. I haven't traveled much since I became a manager. I used to be in our "systems delivery" department and I traveled quite a lot but it wasn't fun travel. It is hard to enjoy yourself when you are working 18 hour days 7 days a week for weeks on end. Even if you are in paradise. I spent almost a month in Aruba in 2000 and I got a total of one day off (which I spent on the beach getting the nastiest of sun burns, the local staff almost died laughing at me). I would show up at the office at 7am and leave to go collapse at the hotel after 11pm.
This trip is different. I am going there for meetings, I get to leave the office when the office staff do (5pm, hello!!!) and well there is a whole other level to this trip.
You see, I actually lived in St Lucia when I was 10 years old. For 1 year. My father was a teacher at the time and the college he worked for had a partnership with the college in Castries. He got to teach at this college for a year and we got to tag along. It was pretty amazing.
We lived in a duplex in Rodney Bay. 25 years ago Rodney Bay only had 2 hotels and the bay itself was nothing much. There were a few town houses on it and a dock. From what I hear, it will be unrecognizable to me. Full of hotels and restaurants. The hotel where I am staying is in Rodney Bay so I will be able to walk around my old haunts and see what has changed.
I went to a private school that was perched on a cliff overlooking Castries Harbour. I used to sit in the open air library (how f'ing awesome was that) and watch the Cruise Ships come in. The school no longer exists. Some smart hotel investor figured out this prime land was wasted on the rinky dink school and redeveloped it into a hotel/guest house. Where my beloved library sat there is now a zero clearance pool (can't find a photo). I am sure it is pretty amazing.
My best friend from that year just happens to have moved back recently (she lived in Spain for a long time) and we are planning to get together in the evenings. I haven't seen her in 15 years.
I have lots of wonderful memories of my time there, like sailing to Anse Chastanet for a day trip, or taking swimming lessons in the ocean. Meeting people from all over the world. Eating food I had never heard of as well as bananas that had grown in our front yard! Hiking along the rocks on the coast. Picking up shells (which we still have).
And some some scary memories like, going to the bathroom in the night and coming face to face with a roach on the bathroom mirror. Sleeping over at a friends house and discovering that at night they locked down the bedroom area in case the house got robbed. If said robbers made it into the house they wouldn't bother to try and break into a second area and just take what they could out of the living area, or at least that was the idea (That scared the shit out of little 10 year old me, still does actually). Oh ya, and the time I stepped on a rock covered with red fire ants... NASTY.
I think because of the age I was when I lived there I developed quite an emotional attachment to the island. When I go to the tropics I have a feeling of being at home. When I smell damp morning air, salt water in the breeze I instantly relax. Even the architecture of the islands draws me in. I still consider it MY island. I am so happy to be going back. Even if it is only for a few days. It won't be my last visit there, you can be sure of that.
I'm the one in the purple bathing suit :)