A one-horse town

Magnetic Attraction
Roger and Margaret Pratt
Sat 18 Jan 2014 00:36

17 January 2014 – at anchor, Vieux Fort



On Thursday morning the plan was to clear out from Soufriere, then to travel south and use up the 72 hours before we had to be away.  But bureaucracy intervened.   HM Customs and Excise (sic) in Soufriere told us that exit had to happen within 24 hours of clearing out; and that anyway, we couldn’t clear out of Soufriere that day because the Immigration Officer hadn’t come to work(!!)

So here we are in Vieux Fort, the most southerly port of clearance in St Lucia.  It’s very different.  There’s a port; an airport and no tourists– and so it’s a regular town.  Here is its one horse, grazing peacefully on the shore.  (There was also common land with goats and of course the inevitable roosters everywhere.)

It’s determinedly normal.  It has a lot of churches: I counted 7 and is different from the Catholic north.  It seemed more wealthy, and of course isn’t reliant on tourist bucks.  I commented to Roger that it was the sort of town where you could buy underwear – and then saw a shop featuring just that! Here is Clark St, the main street, with modern buildings cheek-by-jowl with wooden houses.

We went ashore in the fishing dock this morning and explored the options for clearing out.  If we don’t want to clear out at the airport over the weekend, we have to wait til Monday, at the commercial port.  It’s a good anchorage, although every so often a big gust tears down the hills and buffets the boat.  There’s no swell to speak of.

Roger trod on some glass some days ago – maybe 10? – and has continued to worry that a bit of glass has remained embedded.  It was time to visit a doctor.  The lady at HM Customs and Excise recommended us to go the doctor upstairs in the Plaza. 

Dr Adesanye saw Roger almost at once and promptly referred him for an Xray (to assist the planned excavation.)  So off we trotted round the corner past the district police HQ and the Uptown Liquor Store (“Everyone knows where that is”) to the Xray and Ultrasound centre.  Immediately the young ladies got back from lunch the pictures were taken.  There is a foreign body, close to the joint.  We have to go back to pick up the pictures tomorrow morning; and Dr A will perform the extraction at 12 noon.  The costs were $80EC for the Doctor; and $140 for the Xray.  Divide by 4…  good value in £ terms.

By this time it was 3pm.  We had a highly calorific lunch at Shareen’s in the Plaza – fast-food Caribbean style.  Wait for this…   double macaroni cheese; potato salad and egg salad for Roger and a piece of chicken for me,  With two beers, $23.92.  Was it stodgy!  I couldn’t finish and we’ve just had a bowl of soup for supper!

So we’ll be here over the weekend; clear out on Monday, and leave on Tuesday.  Maybe I’ll be able to get some magazines at the airport!