Montserrat Volcano tour
Our new, new best friend for this island we thought was called Moses when we booked him as a taxi tour guide over the radio. In fact it turned out the next day that he was called Moose (rhymes with loose, he remarks helpfully and appropriately!) Moose's main _expression_ was "Postive, Man!". This is how he answered the phone (frequently); this is how he greeted friends in the street when he wound down his window as he he dawdled his way thought the streets of Montserrat; this is how he checked up on his various lady friends which he clearly needed to keep tabs on around the island from the volcano observatory to the airport. Indeed he accidentally revealed his priorities when he flipped up his taxi arm rest to reveal an impressive assortment of protective arrangements should the lady in the airport or any of the others give him the green light!
His main task today though was to show us the volcano and what's left of the island of Montserrat.
The island has effectively been cut in half over the last 20 years since the volcano first erupted.
The population of the island has gone from 30,000 to 4,000 and those who remain live under constant threat of another eruption. This is all that's left of the now abandoned capital, Plymouth:
One of the more famous residents to have been effected was Sir George Martin, producer of the Beatles and many others, who had a recording studio in the path of the lava flow. He had used that studio to record many famous albums in the 70s and 80s including Clapton and the Police and Sting. Those artists were put up at a nearby hotel residence which is still operational and to which we were able to pay homage:
The island felt totally remote and there was an oppressive feel to it as it cowered under the might of the volcano. Furthermore it was clearly 100% dependent on aid from the UK taxpayer and, however much Moose tried to persuade us that it would be worth investing in property there, one couldn't help but feel that it would be a big risk investment with the brooding volcano overlooking all.
On the other hand you couldn't help but respect the attitude of Moose and his fellow islanders to look on the positive side of life, even when nature conspired against them.