Saturday, August 30, 2014

I Moved to Trafalgar

Howdy my friends! I'm going to aim to do more frequent, more brief posts here on my interweb blag.

the front view toward Wotten Waven, 
Trafalgar's neighboring village
 For tonight, I'd like to give you a little tour around my new abode. About a week ago, I moved to the village of Trafalgar, up the valley from Roseau. I have a lovely apartment, with great views of the rainforest hills around me. Here, I've got tons of space, including a private room, private bath, and private porch, as well as a shared kitchen and living room. My neighbors and the man renting the place to me have all been very welcoming, and right now, there aren't any other guests in the other rooms of this apartment. So, it feels like a pretty sweet deal: more space, more privacy, and immediate access to nature. The Trafalgar falls are right up the road. Down the hill there's a cool river where I can swim, and hot pools where I can take a soak. Only a 15 minute walk across the valley is the village of Wotten Waven, renowned for its hot sulfur pools. These come in a wide variety of temperatures and colors: bright blue, green, brown, grey, and even black. I'm very lucky, and really happy here. Moving in, I was actually giddy, and had to have an impromptu solo dance party.

The temperatures are much cooler here in Trafalgar than in Town, and I've been instructed that whenever a breeze comes through, that means rain is on the way within the hour. I can tell you, rains and wind are welcome to break the tropical heat in my opinion. It feels like a real reward to come back to this place after spending the day in Town, where it is much hotter and louder, though I can say I've had a much better time there this week, and the harassment level is down a bit--who knows why. I'm meeting more and more people now, though, so sometimes when someone catches my attention, it is actually a familiar face saying hello!

The only small disadvantage to living outside Town (it's about 10km/20 minutes by car) is getting transportation. Luckily, there is a strong system of mini-buses--15 passenger vans--that come through the village on a relatively frequent basis. They drive by, honking to announce their arrival, perhaps every fifteen minutes between 7:00am and 9:00am, when people are on their way to work, and maybe every hour in the middle of the day. When catching a bus back to the village from Town, one just has to walk to the bus-stop and hopefully find a vehicle that is already mostly full. Buses only depart once all the seats are taken, because the drivers don't want to go until they can get a full fare.

To flag a bus, it seems one just has to stand there on the roadside and look like you need a ride, but the standard signal is to extend an arm and let your hand dangle there. No hitchhiker's thumb needed.

Once on the bus it's a steep descent down the valley, with some hills at a 25% grade. Driving in Dominica is on the left side of the road. Most drivers whip right around the twisting, narrow roads at high speed, but I've felt very safe in cars and buses here. I've only taken to "riding" on two occasions, once on a ride back to Belles with my friends from Gaiadid Gardens when we were returning too late in the afternoon to catch a bus, and another time when about 20 fellow hikers hopped in the back of a pick-up during last Saturday's Second Annual Mountain Chicken Hike along Segment 5 of the Waitukubuli National Trail from Pont Casse to Castle Bruce. We found part of the trail completely impassable due to a recent landslide by one of the river crossings, and had to walk on the paved road. That's a story deserving of it's own post however!

my porch + prayer flags
I will write more soon on all the other things that are going on. To put it very briefly, I'm proud of the progress I'm making. I've started volunteering with the Mountain Chicken Project through the Forestry, Wildlife, and Parks Department. I'm helping out at the captive breeding facility in the Botanic Gardens in some mornings and conducting field work with the team some evenings. I'm learning a lot, and loving it. The conservation team on the project is doing a tremendous job of public outreach to inform people about the status of this critically endangered frog, such as the recent Mountain Chicken Hike and the upcoming Mountain Chicken Day on September 13th!

whee! I can see the "papa" of the two Trafalgar Falls from my porch
(it's there between the branches)
I'm also volunteering at the Roseau Library and had my first writing workshop last Wednesday. I'll write about this in its own post soon, but I'm so pleased with the turnout of the first session! 14 people attended of all ages and they want to continue next week and every Wednesday for the next two months. I'm so excited about this!

I promise to keep posting updates, and can't wait to hear from you, my loves.


yours truly, on a hike near Pont Casse

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