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Catherine Fischer

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Life in St. Kitts, continued [Aug. 30th, 2002|07:41 pm]
Catherine Fischer
Monday, August 26. Woke up at the crack of dawn – the room was nice and cool, because it rained last night. Got up, had a breakfast shake (fruit du jour! Today it was cranberry juice, banana and canteloupe) and ran downtown – of course, nothing was open. Finally waited around until the bookstore opened, and bought a guide to St. Kitts marine life, a guide to the fruits of the Caribbean and the flowers of the Caribbean (there’s enough stuff that’s different, here, that it’s nice to have a reference). Amazing how far and wide the species represented here came from: Madagascar, Africa, Asia, India, Indonesia, Australia/New Zealand/New Caledonia/Norfolk Island, Polynesia, the Americas, Europe. Back in the 17th and 18th centuries, when the West Indies were being colonized, the islands were really part of a ship-based economy (I know: the sugar/rum/slave triangle – evidence of it is everywhere). When I got back home, Brian and I took my bicycle to the shop to be reassembled, then we picked up Leonie and headed for the rainforest. I saw giant mango trees, pandanus palms, strangler figs, traveler trees, coconut palms, breadfruit and breadnut trees, wild avocado trees, soursop, cherimoya, African flame trees, mimosas, lianas and pothos vine (enormous leaves), kapok trees, “sandbox” trees (their fruit explodes when ripe, showering the understory with seeds), sour oranges, limes, tangerines, guavas, almonds, cacao, mammee apple, papaya, plantain, heliconias, gingers, butterfly bush… a wonderful tangle of rich growth. Many of the species (if not most) were imported from elsewhere, but have made the ghuts (the drainage canyons) home now. While there weren’t a lot of birds (just one that I heard, but didn’t see, squawking indignantly in the canopy), there were storms of butterflies – especially these little green ones that swarm so that they look like a dust-devil has picked up a pile of pale-green leaves. I also heard a monkey screech in the distance, but didn’t see any on this hike.

Still hot and sticky from the hike, but I wanted to get my internet connection working before I went to the beach. Leonie and I brought back a ton of fruit! I have avocados (which will all ripen at once, no doubt – guacamole party!), plantains, and something called “golden apple”, which also needs to ripen (it’s green, right now). I’m off to buy coconuts on the Bay Road, and then to South Friar’s Beach!