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Dominica, CaribbeanPlan a different Caribbean holiday on the nature island of Dominica
Caribbean island holidays are a popular option, but often visitors are disappointed by the whole package tour air of certain islands, with their crowds of tourists. Dominica is a little different from most – an unspoiled and lovely getaway. Dominica is the ideal place for lovers of diving and those who love to explore out in nature... read more
 

Dominica  by Deb Andrews

There is an undeniable magic about Dominica, it hovers in the universal sound of falling water, in the misty green mountains and vowel-heavy Creole spoken on every village street. Take care, this region of magic is inhabited by “jumbies”, entities who are not known for their kindness to people.
 
We all know that Dominica has one of the highest rainfall counts on planet earth. That’s why its known as the Nature island, it doesn’t get that green without some serious rain! And what other country not even forty miles long and a quarter of that wide has a waterfall for every day of the year? Summing it up, there are only two continuously boiling lakes in the Americas, and they stay boiling because heavy rainfall never lets them boil dry! Dominica’s lake is the largest of its kind.

So it was a bit of risk when a Hollywood film production for the new blockbuster movie Pirates of the Caribbean II decided to do most of the outdoor on location shooting here in Dominica. What a coup this was for Dominica, against such places as St. Vincent and St. Lucia. But this is also the wettest island. Think about it, there was a real chance that it would rain every day and instead of being here for two months, they would be looking at four months eating heavily into the production budget. They started filming around the island in late March and it went on though to the end of May in Vielle Case and other northern areas of coastline and in the south around Scotts Head. 

Soufriere, Dominica, Caribbean, West Indies
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In mid June, walking down through the sloping streets of Roseau from a meeting at the NDC which is at the top of the town on the edge of the Botanic Gardens, with my brief case and power business outfit, it started to rain. Huge black clouds brooded over the town moving westwards from the Morne Trois mountains evacuating vast amounts of water.

The streets went from sunny and dry to blurred concrete and drains that turned into churning rivers of white water. The background sound of soca and reggae was drowned by the hiss of rain and the gurgle of running water. Everyone dived under the nearest shelter and waited. The rushing clean streets were empty except for the steady movement of cars splashing through the town.
 
Native Boats, Soufriere Village, Dominica
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In less than five minutes it was gone, and as the rain swept away from the town and out to sea, the narrow streets changed from depressed grey to bright polychrome illuminated by the blurry sunlight. I was soaked despite my umbrella, but at least it was after my meeting!

The amazing thing is that it only started to rain on June 1st. Up until then Dominica had a very unusual dry spell right from March through to the end of May. On the first day of hurricane season it began to rain, and it hasn’t stopped since then. Meanwhile the filming was very succesful, the production team completed their on location filming and have all left now and gone back to complete the film. The benefits to Dominica are enormous and multi-levelled, and will continue to roll in for years.

A group of us stood outside the beautiful old Mill Centre which houses the offices of the Department of Culture in Canefield. We shook hands and said goodbye in the sunshine, and then it began to rain. “Ah rain,’ said my Dominican colleague smiling, “when the sun shines and the rain falls at the same time, we say in Dominica, the jumbies are getting married!” 

Maybe the jumbies arent so bad after all, they remained engaged till after the Pirates of the Caribbean II finished filming!

June 25th

Antiguans are feeling their freedom. After many years of a single family regime ruling the nation, they revel in the freshness of a new government voted in last year in March 2004. Everyone has something to say about where Antigua is going and how they are getting there, and what they are going to do when they arrive.

And of course, speaking cricket, each Caribbean island hosting the World Cricket Series of 2007 has arrived, and Antigua is one of them. Other islands not included in the series can only bathe in the reflected glory. This event has every Caribbean country just blazing with pride and excitement. 

Fort Shirley in Cabrits National Park, Portsmouth, Dominica, Windward Islands, West Indies
Fort Shirley in Cabrits National Park, Portsmouth, Dominica, Windward Islands, West Indies
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Kids and adults alike play cricket throughout the ex-British island nations on every street, village, beach and bare patch of ground, flat or sloping. The names of great cricketing icons such as Vivian Richards, Dennis Walcott and Clive Lloyd are much more familiar within the average Caribbean home than Venus Williams or David Beckham.

In the days when Cable and Wireless Ltd was a monopoly in the English speaking West Indies, the company made a shrewd decision to sponsor cricket with a big budget and strong campaign, branding telecommunications and cricket inextricably to generations of kids. Today, the long awaited competition has at last arrived and as we start to move away from Cable and Wireless, the successful job they did with uniting telecommunications and cricket has now been acquired by Digicel. A cool move on their part, and just before the World Cricket makes it positively stellar! Lets hope their cellphone services live up to the world class cricketers whose names they promote.

So cricket, which is normally around second on the chat list, is now outclassing even politics in whichever country you are in. As we get closer to 2007, it will become the only topic! In a local bus a Bajan said to the Antiguan taxi driver, as we drove past the cricket stadium outside St. Johns, “are you rebuilding your stadium where it is or making a new one for 2007? We are building a new one.” “So are we,” responded the Antiguan almost huffily, and launched into a detailed monologue on the new cricket stadium about which he seemed to know an awful lot. But everyone’s a cricket expert these days. 

Fishing Boat, Prince Rupert Bay, Portsmouth, Dominica, Windward Islands, West Indies
Fishing Boat, Prince Rupert Bay, Portsmouth, Dominica, Windward Islands, West Indies
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But now I wonder whether cricket and national freedoms go together? A senior government official told me “I am really quite scared of 2007 and what its going to bring to us” she continued, “People here have no idea of what’s going to happen, and we in government are quite worried.”

You see global sponsors such as Coca-Cola and others have already bought the advertising rights to the cricket stadiums throughout the region, where the major games are to be played. This means for example that you cannot wear a t-shirt, drive a car, sell anything, carry a bag or a bottle, with any commercial logo or picture on it, inside and outside within a specific radius of the stadium, of your own choice. Only advertising for the official sponsor will be allowed, whether you like the product or not.

“Antiguans,” she continued with concern, “aren’t used to that. They like their freedoms!”

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