I have to write so much now :) more than a month my friend and I have been living here like royals on this outstandingly beautiful island – so far I had the time to write down only the previous short publication. Dominica turned out to be exactly what a couch-surfer called Toby wrote to me on the Internet: ‘New adventure every day!’ We haven’t been bored here even for a moment. We are crazy about this island. The last few days we’ve been complaining about our leaving in less than a month already. It was a big mistake we ‘manufactured’ the fake tickets for a couple of months and accordingly we got seals for this period of time. Every day, we discuss how much any of us would be sad after we sale from here. Nobody wants to leave a beautiful place and ‘beautiful’ is a great underestimation for this island. One could simply say – ‘It’s a fairy land.’ I have visited over 80 countries and Dominica is in my top list for favourite destinations along with India. Here everything is so real, cute and delicious …. water, air, sun, food, jungle…. The three missing things here are the variety of animals, the snow and the desert. Everything else can be found! Locals once complained about the lack of apples, because the climate here is too damp for growing apples, but who need some when there are bananas, avocados, pine-apples, mangoes, grapefruits and many other fruits. We’d seen and tasted different fruits we even couldn’t remember the names of.
But I shall start our story from the beginning, since the day we left the capital Roseau and set off towards Waitukubuli National Trail. After we used the broadband at the library, we directed our steps to the botanical gardens before leaving the town. At least an hour we walked through the gardens and there was a shortcut leading to a small hill where Roseau could be seen. We enjoyed the sunset there and we said goodbye to the Celebrity cruise ship, which sailed west. We set off to leave the town from its southernmost point called Scotts Head. We walked along the chaotically organized main road, where there were modestly-built houses, street fountains, few bars and loud music. We came upon a unique laundry – 5 or 6 fountains with wash –tubs below and water coming out in unbelievably strong spouts. Well, I reckon one should put their clothes in the tub with some wash powder on it and wait for the clothes to get washed, because the water jet was really strong and continuous; apparently, the fountains never come to a full stop, so if anyone leave their clothes for an hour or two they would probably get proper clean and won’t sting at least. We continued to walk, but no matter how long we walked, the villages wouldn’t stop and we couldn’t find a proper place to pitch the tent, because the slopes beside the pathway were too steep. Eventually, we liked a spot in the forest of Champagne bay. It was a quiet and hidden place. In the morning, we realized we had slept next to trees with strange fruit, so we decided to pick up one and ask any random person if it could be eaten. We were still new islanders and neither of us was competent with local fruits. The tree leaves resembled these of the cocoa tree, but then I hadn’t known what the fruit looked like (the next day thanks to an old lady, we learned it had been the cocoa tree itself and its fruits were definitely not poisonous). The kernels could be sucked, and doing so you extract a pleasant juice at the same time. In the morning, we’d reached the Soufriere village, where a sign informed all travelers they had to buy a ticket at the cost of 40 US dollars, if they’d like to walk through the national trail. It was the same info I had from the Internet. We still hadn’t known how things worked – if there were some people who were supposed to walk along the pathways and check the tickets, or if there were some kind of small cottages for the ‘field-keepers’ at each start point of the 14th segments of the route. It turned out to be the second, but the ‘field-keepers’ weren’t on guard at every segment and we discovered it was a piece of cake to ‘hack’ the system. The 1st day, we still didn’t have a clue about this and it was then when my friend made the day with his brilliant idea – to take our steps to a shortcut, which entered into segment one but we would not enter it from its starting point (where probably a field keeper stand on guard), but somewhere in the middle, and supposedly no one would discover we were trespassing. So, we walked along the steep pathway of Soufriere to the small village of Gallion. When we made it to the top, we were rewarded with the fascinating view of the Caribbean Sea. People there welcomed us friendly and at that particular moment we realized we would not have any troubles with people of Dominica. We continued to walk along the pathway, which merged with segment 1 and we were on the trail soon. My friend found a coconut, so we broke it and we drank the juice. The rest we kept for later on. The route continued with a short asphalt road, and later transformed into a narrow pathway between the farms and again a road to Soufriere. It was raining cats and dogs during our walk to one of the farms. We couldn’t hide anywhere and my umbrella was extremely useless of preventing anything dry. We threw a piece of cloth over the luggage to soak the water and I kept the umbrella over the rucksacks, so at the end we were completely wet, but most of the luggage was dry. We’d walked through segment 1 quite quick – its length was only 7 km and it could be referred to as an ‘easy’ one. We skipped some territory at the beginning of the segment, where most probably one could come across the ‘bad guys’ cabin. We decided after we’d finish with the rest of the segments, we would come back and we’d do it again i.e. we’d go out from the entrance of the trail. At the beginning of segment 2, though, we bumped straight to the bad guys’ cabin Fortunately, we’d fabricated our story earlier, so we declared we weren’t about to walk through the National Trail, but we were merely going to Tete Morne across the mountain. He showed us where to go, it turned out there was a short pathway, which went straight to the trail and it saved the walk around for the so called hot springs, for which exactly this guy was collecting tourists’ money. We are not exactly fans of hot water pools, so we didn’t miss a thing, but just on the contrary. Walking along the pathway, we found we’d missed the trail’s markings and we wandered to look for them on a different pathway. This path went almost at the top of the enormous mountains, where the hot springs started their journey to the way down and the view was absolutely worth watching! Dozens of bubbling small holes in the ground, the strong smell of sulphur and water with extremely high temperature: the stream was changing its color every couple of meters – it started with grey water nuances, then changed black for a while and later it become orange, yellow….A unique place which really impressed us. The rocks were so hot, we baked few quickly kneaded chapattis on them, (I was so keen to get closer to these bubbling fires and to make better photos that I succeeded to stuck in the burning ‘devil’s’ cauldron and so heavily burnt my feet that my sandals got soft after the contact with so hot temperature. We made our camp for the night on a pathway close to the springs. It was quite steep in this area, so the path itself was the only place where we could pitch the tent. We bathe ourselves in the small pools down, where water got cooler and bearable on touch and my friend even washed his clothes in the warm water On the next day, we went back to the pathway which divided into two and we found the trail’s direction, which we missed by oversight. It led us straight up, where we climbed a high mountain and we reached the village of Tete Morne. We poured some water from the first fountain and we had a little chat with the old lady who told us about the fruit of the cocoa and that its kernels could be sucked. Later, we continued along segment number 2. After we walked out of the village, the path went downwards where big farms could be seen. We collected few grapefruits from the ground and some still green bananas, which we tasted with curiosity – as if we were eating a cucumber. We spent quite a long time hanging around, enjoying the splendid view of the mountains around. Well, we weren’t at a hurry at all. Just before sunset, we passed the road fork, where segment 2 divided into two routes and we had to choose which one to take. I preferred the right one - it seemed more interesting and with various views, because there were different places and villages close to it. Before getting too dark, we’d approached one of the many wayside farm shelters, made by tin-plate. I reckoned we could stay there for the night, mainly because of the rain, because it was continuing day and night already, but my friend was not too keen. He disagreed because we were about to sleep literary on the road (almost), where people and cars were passing by. We were in the middle of our discussion when the farm owner showed up and accordingly he owned the shelter as well. I asked him, if we could stay there for the night and he agreed. He left his work clothes and went home afterwards. We pitched the tent and the rain, no matter how hard hit the tin-plate roof, did not bother us. My mate was quite nervous, but since he agreed to travel with me he had to get used to. I usually do not care much where I am going to sleep, except if there are drunkards, junkies and noise around. The spot was great and till morning nobody came around. We continued with the rest of segment 2, which surprised us with a steep and over muddy pathway, just before we reached the bridge of Pichelin village, which was carried away by the water. We were extremely dirty and hungry when we entered it. I treated my pal with two mekitci (batter fried in deep oil) and a boiled egg, which we ate in front of a shop. The woman there had just made delicious mekitci and boiled eggs, which we still remember of. After Pichelin, we continued to hang out and we stopped at each view, but soon we reached the end of segment 2 and the beginning of segment 3. The ‘bad’ guys’ hut was aside of the pathway and exactly next to the road of Bellevue Chopin village. We passed it quietly. In the late afternoon we reached Djiradel village, where we wanted to buy some bread, but there was not any. Fortunately, we filled our bags with grapefruits further down the path. They were fallen from the trees in the farms and we were able to collect enormous perfectly ripe fruit. It was already dark, when we pitched the tent in the jungle outside the village and the rain did not have any mercy on us again. In the morning, the path was quite muddy and it made our walking even harder. It was a really steep path, which was heading down to a big river and it cost us quite a nerve. We tripped in roots; we slipped and fall down into the mud. It took us over an hour or two to walk through such a short pathway. We discovered the pathways in Dominica are a real challenge - steep, narrow, muddy and full of roots all over the place which were there for better tripping. Also, the pathways were not constructed as they were supposed to be – cut under the mountain along its slopes. But just on the contrary - they were always steeply going down to the lowest point of a ravine i.e. the river and after as steeply as before going straight up. In this country, apparently no one had ever heard of detour. For the sake of not losing height all paths go straight down so steeply you can easily get yourself killed. So, after this really annoying pathway, we reached a beautiful river with a summer-house beside its coast. We bathe ourselves, made a wash-line for the clothes to get dry. We lit a big fire, where we baked doughy snakes. Even if it was still an early afternoon, I subconsciously knew we were going to stay here for the night. The rain started again and we agreed in 100% we were not about to leave the summer-house. We moved the benches and the table, pitched the tent, so we stayed dry this night at least. The spot was really quiet and beautiful. No one disturbed us the whole day or the next. In the morning the rain was continuing, so walking up was impossible. We had to climb up a steep and very muddy pathway the next day. After all, when the rain stopped, we decided to go, so that we would not get stuck there for days thanks to the impassibility of the mountain. The climbing up was really difficult, the pathway was even steeper at places. We had to use our hands very often for climbing up or down, i.e. the National Trail had moments of real climbing. Finally, we reached the village and the road, where we started looking for a shop. We did not have any food and we were pretty hungry. It was a Sunday and then we were struck with the naked truth – on Sundays everyone usually goes to church, shops do not work and you can find food nowhere! We stayed hungry the whole day if we did not count the bunch of grapefruits, which we ate but we were still stayed hungry. We did not even expect what kind of challenges we would bump to later that day. We had reached to a road fork of the trail – there were hot spring and the bad guys’ hut on the left and if you go right direction you can go straight to Valley of Desolation – one of the biggest attractions of Dominica. If one would like to reach Valley of Desolation, there was another pathway as well, but we decided to walk along this one without a clue in what kind of trouble we were just going into. It all started as a cement road which gradually transformed to an extremely muddy dirt road. This road, on the other hand, shrank to a small, lost in the jungle pathway, which once and for all ruined our health and nerves left. My friend wanted to go back and he was murmuring all the time about being hungry. I, on the other hand, did not even think about going back and stubbornly continued to walk. We were walking with bare feet, because of the mud, which was so thick, that our sandals looked ridiculously. We were able to reach the first seriously steep area before dark, which if overcome once we would not be able to walk back even if we wanted to. It was a treacherous, steep pathway without any secure place and a deep abyss down. We put all our efforts to climb to the top where we found ourselves on a ridge. The wind was quite strong; the rain started again – really nasty weather. I hoped we were close to the Valley, but there was no chance to continue walking in the dark; it was extremely muddy and dangerous. We were hardly able to pitch the tent on the narrow pathway, where I presumed no one would like to walk along that night. We were wondering if anyone had ever passed by that particular area. I reckoned, because of the vegetation around, the wind would not been so strong, but it was. In the morning, we were annoyed and exhausted and my friend was starving. The starvation itself did not bother me at all, but the disastrous path made me quite annoyed. It became worse with each step, but we knew there wasn’t any walking back, after we climbed up the ridge and we had to keep walking. We had been crossing gully after gully, river after river. The path was incredibly slippery. It wasn’t even a pathway, because I doubt if anyone had walked here the last few months. We were wondering if this nightmare would ever finish and if we ever would reach the Valley. After many hours and even more worries the stunning view of Valley of Desolation was in front of us. Maybe all these troubles worth it. Mud was all upon us and we were totally wet. Our eyes almost popped out of the sockets when we saw three tourists with white shirts from the other side of the trail, going to the Valley. It turned out our pathway had merged with a normal road, which had been used by everyone and no one had ever thought of using ours :) . The other pathway was constructed especially for tourists, perfectly trampled and secured. We left the rucksacks on the path and went down to look at the Valley with its bubbling hot springs. Not far away from there was the Boiling Lake, but we did not go see it thanks to our complete annoyance by the unique pathway. We started walking on the tourists’ path and we entered the village of Laudat in less than a couple of hours. We met some tourists who were going to the Boiling Lake. We had already passed through three segments and these were the first people we met, if we didn’t count local people in villages. From Laudat we directed our steps towards Freshwater Lake in searching of some kind of roadside shelter, but we did not find anything. Yet we knew, it was about to rain again as every previous day so far. We took a decision to walk along the trail towards Middleham falls, where we reckoned the bad guys’ cabin was located, but we hoped they would not be there thankfully to the late hour and probably we could stay there for the night. We found a big shelter with toilets and a fountain nearby the pathway leading to the falls, so we slept over at a dry place. In the morning, we woke up early and collected all of our stuff. We wanted to be on our way to the falls already, before bad guys’ arrival and their probable attempt to stop us. Rain during the night was quite pouring and it continued, so we started walking. I left my friend and the luggage under a shelter ten minutes before reaching the falls, because he was not in a mood of enjoying any views at all. He, on the other hand, was too keen of going to Roseau for using the broadband there. The pathway, which leads to the falls is about 35-40 min away from bad guys’ cabin and the last 10 min of it you have to walk straight downwards, so the falls themselves could be seen from there. Well, they were extremely beautiful and pretty high. On my way back, I bumped into a group of tourists who had come with the cruise ships. Their guides led them to observe these particular falls. They travelled by bus to reach the place where we slept over and later they walked. We also understood the fact – there wasn’t anyone who checked for tickets on that spot. Nobody sold tickets there. We spent the rest of the day in Roseau, because my friend wanted so. He bought himself a raincoat to protect himself from the rain and I, because I did not want to spend any money didn’t buy one and relied on the umbrella. Later on, I was fully aware of the fact what a mistake that was. Yesterday, we started hitchhiking from Roseau to Po Case – the center of Dominica, where few main roads cross each other. It was raining again, but two men driving a pick-up gave us a lift. Fortunately, we didn’t stay in the trunk, but in the coupe, so we stayed dry. The driver couldn’t drive at all, so for a hundredth time I realized the lack of driving skills in most citizens of Dominica. He kept driving out of the way and the car stopped at least ten times. Eventually, we entered into Crescent Moon village, before Pont Case. They left us at a bus stop. It was raining cats and dogs, so we became completely wet after leaving the car. We could not make a step out of the bus stop, but we were pleased to be there. By the look of it, the rain wouldn’t stop soon, so we made an improvised bench with our sleeping bags and tried to take a nap at least for a while. Around 10 o’clock in the morning, the rain finally stopped, so we could buy some bread and we continued our trip towards Pont Case, hitchhiking again. In the beginning of segment 5, we found the bad guys’ hut. There was a place provided for cooking, so we prepared our first noodles and hot cocoa in my friend’s mug. After this fine meal, we went to see the Spanny falls. We’d been lucky and we didn’t have to pay. It was a private property there and a woman stayed and collected the money, but she let us in without paying. We swam in the pool of the falls – it was quite refreshing. The other ones located nearby – the Jacob falls, also had a guard, but the woman there was bad and she wanted three dollars to let us in. We just turned our backs on her, when a Rastafarian, who were selling fruits at the entrance, gave us few bananas as a present. He said the woman was bad, so she wouldn’t let us in. We did not feel sad, after all falls in Dominica are countless. But yet, we found out what kind of scheme dominated in this country, regarding the falls. There were few, which were owned by the state – the tickets for the falls were sold by these people, who I refer to as ‘bad guys’ (but in fact, they are an organized mafia which allegedly protects and keeps the environment. They can be seen in each country). The rest of the falls were barred as a private property by the owner of a farm usually, and then he or she claimed a price suitable for them. So, everyone who would like to trespass should pay this price. We’d seen prices which vary from 3 to 10 dollars. This was easy money earned from tourists. At most places there wasn’t anyone but the owner merely leaves a note with a box with padlock. So the note informed tourists about the price and they had to put the money into the box. I do not have a clue what might happen if they catch you trespassing without paying. We hadn’t been caught yet. I usually visited most falls alone, so I sneaked quietly, but even at the places we’d been together nobody showed up. And the bad guys who work for the state and who allegedly should take care of the environment - they simply collect unbelievably high prices from tourists (five dollars for a fall). This money later is used for pouring cement on the pathway, which leads to the particular fall, so walking would be easier for the tourists. But as a matter of fact the beauty and purity of the place are destroyed for good. These people reminded me of the DOC in New Zealand. Before sunset, we set off towards Emerald Pool – another fall, managed by the bad guys. They had built a restaurant there. We reached the place, when it was already dark outside. We met two workers, who were just leaving. They told us we could make our camp under the roof without worrying. We ran to see the falls before it got too dark – it was extremely beautiful. The rain was pouring again the whole night. In this country, you have to find a shelter during nights, because it is almost impossible to live without any. For the first time after the info center in Roseau the electricity was on and I stayed the whole night in front of the pc to look at the photos. It was still raining in the morning, but we had to leave before bad guys’ arrival to work. We went to see the fall at daylight, though it was dark in the forest. We kept going along the trail towards Castle Bruce. Segment 6 was waiting ahead. It was an easy one – you go downwards all the time – from the mountains towards the seacoast. Not too long after our departure, we reached the village of Castle Bruce. We bought baked bananas and some bread and we kept walking along the trail entering into the so called Carib territory. This is the last area of the island, where the local Indians called Carib live. They had inhabited the island long before the arrival of white and black people. Before their coming, another group of Indians called Arawak used to live on that territory, but they were assimilated by the Caribs. Modern Indians live a modest way of life in small wooden houses. They are really friendly people who love to chat. Two youngsters started a small talk and gave us a gift – traditional hay basket, knitted by one of the boys’ mothers. That night we slept on a hill and this was the first time it didn’t rain. That was quite an event! We spent the next day on their territory again. We’d tasted local cassava bread – I desperately wanted to figure out if it was the same like the African one, but they prepared it quite differently. They mixed cassava with cocoa and the result was sweet bread and the African one was salty. Still the bread in Dominica was extremely delicious. We found some avocados on the road and they seemed really tasty when we ate them with the bread. We succeeded to sneak to one of the falls, without paying again. This fall disgorged its waters straight into the sea and around it we saw some construction models of old Indian houses made by hay and wood. We connected to a broadband at a roadside shop in the middle of nowhere and the connection was really quick, so we called our relatives. The same night we slept in some bushes nearby the road – and, oh, miracle – it didn’t rain again! We started to wonder if we were still in Dominica or we had teleport ourselves somewhere else. Next few days we spent relaxing. Instead of going to segments 8 and 9 and get really muddy there (because we understood they were quite dirty, muddy and difficult to overcome), we decided to continue across the Indian village. After that we thought we might go along the seacoast and stop at every beach. So, later on we were on a gorgeous beach with yellow sand, which was extremely rare on the island. Most of the beaches had grey or black sand. On the next beach with black sand we prepared for sleeping. There was a wonderful river disgorging into the sea. We washed all of our clothes and my friend cooked several different dishes – I, in the middle of the night, went to take a box full of avocados. Apparently the fruit was thrown slightly injured and the box was left at a bus stop. I took it and we had a feast the next day. We had so much fruit for the first time. Lately, one of the locals told us that it was illegal to leave a person hungry in Dominica. There is so much food, in the shape of different fruits, that if every person leaves their extra food outside the property, no one shall ever be hungry. As a matter of fact that is a reality in Dominica – one cannot meet a hungry person in this country. If a person does not have any money, he or she can easily pick up the fruits, which are on the ground. It’s perfectly legal and no one would ever mind against it, as long as they do not pick the fruit from the trees. On the next day, we reached Kari and accidentally, we saw a coffee house with broadband, where I managed to download my photos to some CD’s. It took us the whole afternoon and most of our money, but at the end all of our photos were ready for sending back home. We kept on walking on foot, from beach to beach until the big rain started. Or to be exact - the big Christmas rain. It was Christmas Eve, we were totally wet and we were hitchhiking. A driver with a pick-up gave us a lift to a bus stop in Bense village. We stayed there for many hours, until a local drunkard came along and he invited us to visit his home, because it was not nice to stay at the bus stop. Thankfully to him, we succeeded to sleep at a dry place, which was really important that night. A couple of weeks later, everyone still spoke about that night – they referred to it as the Big Christmas Rain. They used to discuss how many roads fell through, how many bridges collapsed and how many houses were flooded. The market in Roseau disappeared underwater. The monetary losses of the island amounted to 45 billion dollars. There were casualties on St.Lucia and St.Vincent. So, we were lucky. Otherwise, we would stay at the bus stop the whole night. Martin was the first person who invited us to visit his home. The next day, my friend started murmuring about wanting to dry out his clothes and the luggage as well, and according to him the only place where all our things could easily dry at one and the same time was the big shelter on the beach of Portsmouth. I did not want to cease out tour around the island, but anyway I agreed to go there for a day. I did want to hitchhike either, because we missed many beautiful views along the way. We made a deal that after all of our stuff was dry, we would keep going. A jeep, driven by Indians gave us a lift. They were going to town to sell cassava bread and some other things. They treated us with two bananas, but unfortunately one of the tires became punctured, after the driver’s success to hit into all possible holes on the road. I’ve no idea who had taught these guys to drive, but they were disastrous drivers. When we were in Portsmouth already, we managed to cook the rest of the rise and the noodles. A Rastafarian who came to us, was also cooking on the fire under the shelter. We started a small talk and he started to explain how life was time for relax. He was smoking weed and after each word he added:”That’s life, man.” He smoked cigarette after a cigarette and I started to feel stronger intolerance towards weed’s aroma. He treated us with mekitci, made by flour and bananas, as well as some cocoa to drink. He was a pleasant companion, until he didn’t make himself completely ‘high’ and finally shut up. We spent the whole day in Portsmouth and I played with my favorite dog, which visited us every time we spent our time on the beach. Our companion said that many people took care of him, that’s why he was so spoilt. I called him Mazniyo. He was an extremely clever and cute dog! Before sunset, we took off towards segment 14 – the last one of them all. We decided to finish our tour in upside-down order, but in fact it didn’t matter at all. First, we went to the Cabritc National park, where usually tourists did need a ticket. The guard of the restaurant nearby let us pass through without paying, because bad guys had already finished work and had gone. We climbed to Fort Shirley – a very interesting historical place, which we unfortunately had to observe at the light of the front rankers. And yet, we saw not so little. Later, we went to the beginning (or the end) of segment 14 and we slept over in the mangrove forest there. This forest looked more like a marsh-land and my friend wasn’t happy at all about it. The next day, we walked through segment 14. Most of the way, we passed by small villages. It was a beautiful and pleasant area, which was quite easy for walking, because there was an actual pathway. We stopped at Toukari bay to dive there and we spent few hours in the water. Each of us swam to the reef, which wasn’t located very closely at all. At times the person in the water could not be seen on the horizon. Not so far from the shore there could be spotted submarine caves, marked with a stick, coming out of the water. The reef was totally gorgeous – you can see corals and many multi-coloured fish – and the water was extremely clean. Dominica is in top 10 destinations for diving in the world and it is quite well-deserved. I was so glad and amazed by this submarine world, I didn’t want to leave. Thanks to our desire to see everything, do something or stop everywhere, we definitely would not be able to go through the rest of the segments. After diving, we pushed ourselves a little and before dawn we succeeded to get to the Capuchin village and cape Melvin. We bought some food and situated at a summer house with a wonderful view towards the nearby island Guadalupe. It could be spotted at the horizon romantically enshrouded in mist. The whole night we cooked and ate. On the morning, we took off towards segment 13, which whole area was situated in a forest and no road at all. The markings were still unfinished at many places, but after all the pathway was only one, so one could not get lost easily. We lost our way just once and we got to someone’s farm, which led to a real feast.We found piles of dropped ripen grapefruits, oranges and veeeeery sweet bananas. We already knew the situation with the bananas – one should not look at the trees, because all bananas there are still green. One should check on the ground, because if a banana starts to ripen and get a little bit yellow, locals throw it – it’s already useless for sending to Europe or America. Only green bananas can be sold, because they are going to ripen till their arrival. If there is only one banana, which is a little bit yellow during the shipment, it will start to decay and all of them will be worthless. So, free bananas can be found on the ground, where many cut brunches had been left there with bananas ready to eat. At the end of segment 13, there was a highway to Penville. We started walking along the road- it was already segment 12 - to search for a proper shelter for the night. It got dark and we had to walk downwards till we found a tin-plate house aside the road. There, we succeeded in pitching the tent and we slept well during the night. In the morning, we reached a small pathway, leading to some falls called BWA. My friend stayed with the luggage and I went upwards along the river towards the falls. I saw a small hut, where a sign informed the tourists –“Welcome to our fall! Pay 10 bucks and then you can go see it. This is a private property.” I couldn’t spot anyone, so I decided to try my luck and see the fall without paying. I didn’t want to pay 10 dollars just for the sake of catching a glimpse on it. I saw the fall, enjoyed the view and left without seeing a person. I even took a bath in the river nearby the fall. We didn’t have to walk too much, before we reached a cool summer house on a beautiful spot close to a stony beach. We made our mind to stay there and we spent the rest of the day in cooking and relaxation. Many tourists had come to enjoy the great view and later we figured out that it was the perfect spot for the locals to come and smoke weed. Generally, if police catch people who smoke, they can face a fine, but obviously they don’t care much, because people who smoke weed can easily be spotted on the streets. This place, thought, was really quite hidden and apparently it was weed’s fans most favorite place. Before sunset, few individuals came one after another to smoke. One of the above mentioned troubled us unnecessarily. We heard him to sneak closer to the tent, we were waiting to see if he would leave, but he stayed a while. I even fell asleep, but my pal continued to stay awake to see if this guy was going to make any trouble or not. Later, he woke me up to tell this person was still there, so I took out my torch and looked outside. I pointed the torch towards him; he was sitting on the wooden table behind the tent. I asked him what was he doing there in the middle of the night – not that I didn’t know he was smoking weed, because of the shitty smell all over the place. He didn’t say a word, but obviously he got worried and left. My friend was seriously worried, because of this quiet leaving, so he wanted us to leave immediately. I, on the other hand, didn’t want to leave at all, so I offered to stay on guard, while he was sleeping. I stayed like a watchdog for two hours and a half. But later, I was sick of it, so I went to sleep no matter how much my friend was going to murmur. Fortunately, he calmed down, so he didn’t oppose it. Nobody came till sunshine, so we slept well. Later we started to prepare chapatti for breakfast and we set off towards Portsmouth. We reached it before the sunset, so we bought spaghetti and rice to cook and we directed our steps towards the shelter of beach Crimson Turtle, where we regularly cooked before and that night we also stayed over there. We slept well; nobody came to bother us, which was bizarre for the most popular beach in town. In a few countries in the world you can sleep in the tent on the local beach without being bothered by the police, or by people’s objections or not being harassed by anyone. When mentioning the police, we still hadn’t seen police officers in action. Its presence could not be sensed at all and in fact it was not necessary. Statistically speaking the average number of crimes is 7 crimes per year, which means that if you are a policeman here you won’t be too tired of work. We started cooking in the morning and my pal made wonderful spaghetti again. A Rastafarian came from somewhere and obviously he was quiet delighted by our journey, because he brought us few bananas, a jar of sugar, some garlic and onion, as well as cocoa. He was driving a bike and he gave me to make a round. Ohhhhh, how cool is that – to ride a bike and to pull the pedals. This is one of the things I miss the most when I travel. We spent a lazy day, because my friend wished so. He wanted a day off for a second time. The first time was few days after the beginning of the passages. Then he said he had a muscle fever, so we went to Roseau for one day rest. I am not quite cool with the rests, but I always surrender. Otherwise, I hear a continuous muttering behind my back –“Terry doesn’t give me a rest, Terry keeps my hungry, Terry doesn’t let me go to use the broadband in Roseau, Terry torments me to walk, my clothes are wet….”, but at the end my pal managed much better than I expected. He walked through all passages and he did not give up, even though he muttered. We camped at our usual spot on the beach, where my favorite dog Mazniyo slept the whole night in front of the tent and in the morning he entered inside and didn’t want to go out. When we were about to leave, it was really difficult to make him stay, but fortunately other dogs showed and distracted him from our departure. We headed towards Roseau to send the parcel with the photos and some souvenirs to Bulgaria. In Portsmouth we’d been told to send it from Roseau, because they couldn’t tell us the cost of the service. We hitchhiked again and we crossed the whole island for an hour with a pick-up. My friend wanted to charge the laptop at the info center and I went to the post office. It was the 31st of December, but fortunately everything still worked. I spent the afternoon at the library, reading a wonderful book about the Caribbean islands. We bought some food and we noticed people started to prepare for New Year’s Eve, so we decided to leave the town quicker. In Dominica, for my satisfaction, firecrackers are not popular, so we didn’t hear any roar or any kind of noise whatsoever except for the usual obsessive music, coming out from the pubs. The music, which is well-known and really popular on the island, is not my style at all, so it really annoys me. It is some kind of ‘rege-chalga’ ( ‘chalga’ is a twisted version of traditional folk music in Bulgaria), and the worst of all was that every pub or a local amusement place, as well as much of the houses, did have enormous speakers, which spread the music everywhere. At New Year’s Eve, after we ate bread with some ketchup on it for dinner, we started hitchhiking for the Syndicate falls. That destination was not far from Portsmouth, so we had to travel again the usual well-known distance. It all started well – a farther and a son gave us a lift to St. Josef village and they gave us a big avocado. There, we stayed at a bus stop, because the rain was continuous – sometimes it stopped for a minute then suddenly it started to rain cats and dogs - perfectly typical for Dominica. We spent New Year’s Eve at that bus stop. In the beginning, there was some kind of traffic, but the rain didn’t let us go out to hitchhike. Later, cars weren’t that many and most people went to church. We realized how people of Dominica celebrate New Year – they usually go to church. We were listening to the singing coming out of the church nearby. Along with us, a girl was desperately trying to go to a party in Portsmouth, but buses could be seen nowhere, so she was stuck with us at the bus stop. She informed us she worked for a radio and she would like to make an interview with us about our journey. For about a couple of hours, a few people gathered at the bus stop and they made a deal with a bus driver to give them a lift to Portsmouth. We were the two of us again, so we were thinking to find a place to pitch the tent. We were about to leave the village already, when a car stopped and we traveled to Syndicate. Apparently, it was easier to hitchhike after New Year’s coming, when everyone was at home already, instead of waiting for a lift exactly before the celebrations. After turning aside the falls, we found a house-shelter for workers and we went in. Weather was changing all the time – it was showering now and then, so we were really happy to have a roof above us. We slept well there. In the morning, we continued to walk to the falls. In the Syndicate region, except for the falls, one can find many other attractions. The unique for Dominica parrots – Sisserou and Jaco – live in these mountains. There is, also, a footpath trail with many old and enormous trees and another non-tourist attraction – farms with piles of fruits to eat! We bumped into a tree, full of fruit, so we filled our bags. Later, we found branches with ripe bananas, few grapefruits and our first tangerine . We ate a lot and after that we visited the falls. The falls could be seen after 30 min hike along dozens of farms and a river. There was a box with a padlock to pay in, but we couldn’t see anyone, so we stayed unnoticed again. We continued our walk through segment 10 and we saw the bad guys’ hut in segment 11. There was located an info centre called Syndicate trail. We passed by the pathway, which deviated to peak Morne Diablotins, which is the highest peak in Dominica. We decided to go there later. The info centre was empty and of course, we already knew, we would spend the night there. It was enormous and it was a great shelter against the pouring rain, which had just started again. I went to make a walk between the giant trees and I succeeded to see the two kinds of parrots. When I returned, a group of Polish tourists had just arrived to experience the trail. Nobody came that night after their departure. My friend desperately wanted to boil the eggs, which he bought in Roseau, and he was carrying them for a second day in a roll already. He lit a fire - he tried to keep if from the rain squatting over it – and he almost succeeded, until a whole mini-river flooded it. It was pouring with rain, so eventually he gave up and he entered the shelter, wet and disappointed. We left the place early in the morning. We didn’t want bad guys to catch us on their territory. We started our tour through segment 11, which was extremely muddy after last night heavy showers. Someone said once –‘In Dominica there are two seasons – wet and rainy’. This person was absolutely right. We were wondering which season was at that moment. The amounts of rain, which pour on a regular basis in this country, are frightful. The pathway got really steeply and extremely slippery. We almost walked into the bad guys’ hut and the person inside caught us exactly at the crime scene. He didn’t ask for our tickets though, he just showed us the fountains to clean ourselves from the mud. When he saw that we were searching for plugs to recharge the camera, he let us enter the premises and plugged the camera himself. He was quite cool. The place wasn’t a visiting centre, but a place for a rest and a summer-house. We had two opportunities – to continue along segment 11, which was extremely muddy, or we could go to Portsmouth led by an extreme force – hunger! The decision was quite easy, because there wasn’t any sense of continuing walking into the mud and slide over all the time. My friend fell twice and we were wondering if the eggs were still intact. Fortunately, they were. I fell once, but I didn’t want to repeat it, since my pants were muddy enough. Before our leaving, we turned aside the trail to see the famous rope-bridge and accordingly to sway on it. The bridge went 5 meters above a big river and it was quite easy and nice to walk on it. On the way back, we saw the big supermarket IGA, where the Greek yoghurt had a discount. We were extremely happy, so we bought a big bucket of it and made some ayran (yoghurt mixed with water). We ate bread with ketchup on it and full of energy again we started hitchhiking again. We wanted to go to the east coast or to be more specific south direction from Rosalie, because this was one of the places we had never seen before. It was darkening when we reached Salisbury. We were enjoying the sunset when we decided not to hitchhike anymore for today. We slept nearby the graveyards, next to the beach. My friend was really worried after my suggestion to pitch the tent between two graves, where the grass was really soft and he nervously insisted on moving to the little forest, just next to the graveyards. The next day, we walked through the entire beach and we found out a wonderful place to cook. We situated our camp there and my friend boiled the eggs at last. He also cooked few more dishes and we ate too much. Till everything was ready to eat the day was over, but still we decided to go to Rosalie. We just left the beach, when a tourist came out of his car. He asked if we knew a nice place to spend the night. We spoke in English and suddenly he asked where we came from. I said Bulgaria and he was more than amazed. A woman came out of the car as well and we all started to speak in Bulgarian. My eyes literary popped out of the sockets - I could not believe this was happening. Most probably the only four Bulgarians in Dominica met on this small Caribbean beach. Teodora and Ljubo turned out to be more than wonderful people. The next couple of hours we spent in talking, because we had thousands of questions. They had just married after 15 years of living together and this was their honeymoon. They live in Prague in general, but they bought not so expensive tickets to Martinique for their honeymoon. So, when they arrived they decided to come and see Dominica and St. Lucia as well. They were cool young people and since our first moments in their company, I felt as if I knew them forever. They invited us to stay in their bungalow. Their landlady was an old Irish lady, living in Dominica and renting the bungalow to the tourists. Teodora and Ljubo rent a car to go and see everything on the island much easier, but they were also hitchhiking the first days. They brought a tent, which was still not used. Although they both work serious kinds of jobs, they were quite fresh and opened for new ideas. They travelled a lot in Bulgaria and around the world. The bungalow was close to Castle Bruce at the east coast. It was like a cottage wonderfully made by natural materials. We liked it a lot. A big bed was positioned on the verandah, where two extra people could sleep (there was one more in the room inside). The toilet was with compost, there was a small kitchen and a view towards the Atlantic Ocean; a lot of flowers and green grass. Teodora cooked a breadfruit for dinner (this is a fruit which could be boiled, baked or fried – it could be eaten as you wish. Locals just put it in the fireplace till it gets softer). She also cooked lentils which was very delicious. We ate delightfully, talked to each other till very late and we felt really nice in their company. I still could not believe we met other Bulgarians abroad. The cases when I was fortunate to meet other Bulgarians were few. All of them were very cool and Teodora and Ljubo were an absolute confirmation of this rule. We slept very well on the verandah, being lucky the showers were not heavy, because it was raining sideways and it was sprinkling the bed. We all went to share the landlady’s breakfast in the morning, so we brought our fruits and the boiled eggs, which thank God, were eaten after all this carrying. She, on the other hand, prepared milk and juice, which Teodora and Ljubo shared with us. For the first time, after our traveling with the Celebrity ship, I drank again my favorite drink – milk with cocoa. The old lady was nice and we talked about journeys and Dominica. She thought of going to live in Ecuador, but Teodora and Ljubo told her stories about how nice and beautiful was in Bulgaria. They thought of making her Bulgarian. She found it difficult to live in Dominica, because it was not a well-organized country and people were really lazy. When she asked people from the village to come and take care of her garden, they always promised but never actually came until they didn’t need money again. For the laziness of local people could be written a lot, but when you think about it – it is all clear. There are 365 warm days in the year, without any cold at all. There are piles of food on the ground and nobody eat it. There are not any hungry people, not any freezing people. More Dominicans have access to spirits and weed and they take the advantage of it. A village with three houses usually has got two pubs and they are full of people. You can see many people on the street, doing nothing and just staring. Nobody does any effort at all to do s.th. For example, reading a book is a real taboo for them. Once my friend was reading a book, while I went to see some falls, and each person who saw him asked if he wasn’t reading the Bible. I reckon this is the only book for them. They even cannot imagine that there are other books in the world. The only library was in Roseau and it was visited mainly by students for their education. I haven’t seen a bookstore anywhere on the island. Apparently, book reading does not exist on the Dominican’s list. I have noticed many people, just sitting here and there, doing nothing or just looking at pedestrians and commenting after them. They smoke weed and stare at one point. Interesting individuals but not interesting daily routine. Maybe they were simply meditating. But when you take under consideration how many fanatical Christians we met, I hardly imagine Buddhism could exist on the island. It was full of nonconformists – the witnesses’ of Jehovah, Adventists and many other odd people. The worst was they were preaching openly without any worries. Once, while we were waiting at a bus stop, a group of black people with a white guy, dressed in suits, spoke to us and gave us a magazine –‘Witnesses of Jesus’, when my first thought was ‘I can use it either to lit a fire or for the toilet.’ It was too thick for the second and too glazed for the first, but eventually we put into the fire, because I wanted to destroy it instead of leaving it there – then I risked if anyone with still unwashed brain come and take it to be recruited because of us. So, you can openly say that Christian sects flourished in Dominica. Who knows how much money they collected from believers? This was a blatant resemblance with Africa. Meanwhile, if you see a white person with a suit and a tie – he is most probably some kind of a sectarian. So after the breakfast, our friends decided to continue with their tour through the island. We recommended them some places to go, and later they left us on the main road to Rosalie. They were about to go north direction along the east coast and we headed south. We decided to meet again after few days, when they were going to sail by ferry to Martinique. We continued to Rosalie, being really happy that we met these wonderful people. We walked along the seacoast road, which was still undone and the last few kilometers were a footpath. The whole day we enjoyed the beautiful views of the ocean, the small villages and the farms. Before sunset, we arrived at Good Hope village, when it started to rain cats and dogs. There was a big shelter with a man, who had just started a fire. We asked if we could stay for the night. The construction was public, but he started to live there, because his house was burnt. He gave us to use his pot, so we cooked rice much faster, instead of using our small mug, in which we usually cooked 4 portions one after another to get enough quantity of food. We slept nice, while enormous amounts of rain were pouring outside. In the morning, we passed through the next village with a wonderful church and beach. At the end of the road, we saw a sign which informed us that Venezuela sponsored the road building. Obviously, Dominica and Venezuela are really close. There were houses in the Indian part, built by the locals with the financial support of Venezuela. The ocean view was stunning in this area. When we reached Rosalie, we found free broadband and my friend called his parents via Skype. We went to the beach, which was famous with its turtles. They come here each September to spawn their eggs. One local Rastafarian told us that during this period people usually gather on the beach and take care of the newly-born baby turtles. They help them to reach the water after their hatching and protect them from being eaten by the birds. We continued along the road towards the turning aside for the Wavin Cirique falls. Now, we were walking along the trail, expecting for someone to show up and collect our money, but nothing likewise happened. The pathway was all right with a tendency to get worse until a moment when an abyss appeared in front of us and a big rope, winding round a tree. Oops, I thought – that was it, while I was trying to get even further down. My friend was going right after me, no matter how much I was shouting not to. I reached a place, where it was really steeply and out of reach, unless you are not a monkey to climb up and down the rope, so I forced my mate to climb up, in order not to get us killed out of stupidity in these gullies. This trail turned out to be a really stupid place. They had even put a ship rope to catch for, not an alpine one –ok, this was not such a big deal, but the fact that it was tied to only one supporting point, when they should be minimum two! Apparently, if there is not any kind of a serious injury, no one will change anything. The flight down from this hill will be so long and nice, that you will be perfectly broken. We went back on the pathway and pitched the tent on an even surface. The next day we reached the path for the Sari-Sari falls. My mate wanted to stay and wash his clothes for a rest, while I was enjoying the falls’ view. I started to walk up the road and after half an hour I reached the path for the falls. Earlier, few people suggested being my guides to the falls, because I would not find it or because it was too difficult to get close to it. I passed them with a smile. I only hoped there I would not find a person, trying to collect easy money. Anyway, nothing likewise happened, not even a money box. I wasn’t surprised later, because the falls were not easy to get to at all. The path leads you down to the river, after which you have to cross the river twice and then you are half wet. I was clenching my fingers around the bag with the cameras, stretching my arm up in the air, praying not to stagger and trip. I crossed the river successfully and I started walking along a muddy and rutty path, which was so fallen through it was almost impassable. After 30 minutes walk, I reached the falls. It was extremely beautiful and enormous, quite worthy of all the mud and effort I put in my walking. I also met two other tourists, but they were accompanied by a guide and all of them returned from the falls, when I was going. On the way back, I took a bath in a small fall along the river. There were small pools perfectly structured for a swim. When I was passing through the village again, the guides asked me if I found the falls and they were quite surprised I succeeded and they even praised me. My friend was reading a book and earlier he’d put his washed pants on the wash-line behind the bus stop, so the whole village was staring at him while he was washing and arranging the clothes. He shared that children constantly commented and laughed at him, while he was washing the clothes at the fountain. A man and a woman from the house nearby came for a chat. They live in Canada for many years, but they regularly come to Dominica for the winter. They brought us an orange juice and a packet with biscuits and they were quite delighted by our journey. We continued to walk south. We reached a small stony beach with an abandoned house on it. We stayed there to cook and after it got too late and started to rain, we slept over into the collapsing house. Surprisingly, nobody came to bother us; usually these kinds of places are favorite for the weed smokers. On the next day, we went to see Victoria Falls, which were guarded constantly for the fee, because there were a hotel and a restaurant on the path. Definitely, there was an encircling route, so one could avoid the private property and the three dollars to trespass this area. I didn’t want to search for a route, so we refused to go and see the falls. There were so many other falls with an easy access that I didn’t want to focus my attention on these. We continued along the way and we succeeded to climb up the longest continuous hill of Dominica. There could not be seen an even surface or a downward slope, just climbing up and up for kilometers. Cars were moving really slowly. Few drivers dare to drive along this steeply hill. There is a real chance for the car not to manage. We, on the other hand, managed and we even saw Victoria Falls from distance. We reached the next village and my mate treated us with mekitci. Almost in the dark, we continued along the way and started to search for a place to pitch the tent. A man told us to go to the other village and pitch it there on the play field, which was located exactly at the center of it. So for the first time, we slept over on a play field. There was even a street lamp, not too far from the tent. If it wasn’t for the rain, we would have slept perfectly well on the soft grass, but the rain ruined us. The tent, eventually, let some water through, and I was wondering how it even survived for so long. It was pouring rain all night. In the morning, we collected everything in the 5 minutes time without rain and moved to a bus stop. There a local man spoke to us, who lived in London, and came here on a vacation with his girlfriend who was from Australia. She wanted very much to go along the National Trail, so he led her to speak with us about the route. We explained them where we’d been and what were the peculiarities of the area. We spoke a lot about our and their journeys and experience. Then, we headed south again, but later we stopped on a not-too-far beach to cook the breadfruit, which we picked the previous day from a tree, aside the road. It was really heavy and it had to be boiled and eaten. Until three o’clock we were dealing with it and we also made some garlic chapati. We continued with the idea to reach Tete Morne village, which was a part from the National Trail and we had already been there. We wanted to sleep over at the summer house after the village, because being without a roof in the rain was not pleasant. We popped into the historical park Geneve – there were enormous sugar-cane plantations in the past and accordingly many slaves worked there. There were also well preserved old buildings from that time and a mill as well. We reached Tete Morne before sunset and my friend found a cell-phone with a local card and he was examining it the whole evening. No matter how hard it was raining that night, we were dry. We went to the old good hot springs in Soufriere in the morning, and my friend took a bath in the warm water. We were just leaving, when a tourist showed up and started a talk. He turned out to be quite an adventurer – he had been in 111 countries in the world – and this time he was traveling through the Caribbean islands for three weeks with a ship. He had been in Dominica for four days already and he was about to leave with the ferry the next day. We left him to take a bath. He was going later to Scotts Head, so we’d meet there with him. We were just heading for segment 1, to complete the part where we hadn’t been before, when we met a guide, who informed us that exactly this part of the pathway was carried away and it was impassable, that’s why the segment was from Galion to Tete Morne. We had actually walked through all this area, so instead of doing it again, we decided to take the road to Soufriere, which we hadn’t seen before. We bought bread in the village and we continued to walk along the beach till Scotts Head. My friend top-up the phone card and we called the boss of our ship St. Pall to ask her if they were really going to sail to Venezuela soon (we’d been told so by one of ship crew, who we’d met in Portsmouth). This information wasn’t true, so we’d been really disappointed of not having the chance to go south. Last few days, we started to feel the first worrying emotions about leaving the island. It’s been more than a month, but we didn’t want to leave. We can stay here till 8th of February, accordingly to our passport seals. So, we have to search for a transport to take us south soon. When we reached Scotts Head, we realized instantly that was one of the most beautiful places on the island. The whole bay was perfect for diving; there was enormous quantity of reef and a lot of fish. From the hill, on the other hand, the whole Roseau could be seen. After we made many photos and enjoyed the place, we moved to a quiet beach where we started to cook the unfinished part of the breadfruit. It was full of tourists around, but they couldn’t see us, unless they wouldn’t take a walk along the beach. A group of Americans, decided to come and see what we were cooking. They started to chat with us and they were really glad about our journey and wished us good luck. Our English friend, who had visited 111 countries, came right after them. We spoke to a lot and we treated him with breadfruit. He didn’t have a tent, so he slept anywhere he’d found a shelter. Later, he went to the village and we made an arrangement with him to meet each other at the ferry gate in Roseau the next morning, when we were going to see off our new Bulgarian friends. On our way to Soufriere, a French couple spoke to us. They invited us to go a pub, where we drank sprite and we spoke about Dominica a lot. We gave them much information where to go, what to see and what was the trail’s condition, because they wanted to go through it as well. They were really nice and polite people, later they gave us a lift to Champagne bay, where we wanted to pitch the tent. They were sorry about not being able to invite us to their home, but they were staying into a guest house in Roseau. We just left the car, when the rain started to pour. Even our ponchos were useless. We had slept once on that spot before, but we didn’t endure such of a rain that time. Between the last house and the tent, there was a small pig farm, so we ran over to hide there. We entered into pigs’ kennels and woke them up. It was warm and so nice with these three cute piglets, exactly as the fairytale. We stood under the tin roof a while, until the rain wasn’t so pouring and we succeeded to pitch the tent. The situation during the whole night was the same – it was hell of a rain! In the morning, it was continuing to rain and we couldn’t even make it out of the tent, so we got worried about going on time for the meeting. It stopped for a while, so we packed everything and went on the road to hitchhike. A pick-up stopped and took us to Roseau an hour earlier, so we bought some bread and sit down on a sunny bench to get dry. Our people brought us a bag full of gifts. They were like Santa Claus to us. Teodora gave me her sandals, because mine tore apart and I had to walk with the shoes every day. Thanks to them, my feet were quite wounded and sore. I bought these shoes with the intention to use them in the Alps, not for the Caribbean and the warm climate here. And Teodora’s sandals were exactly my shoe size, great for mountain routes, pathways, perfectly built for any kind of surface. I couldn’t find words to express my gratitude for this generous gesture. Except the sandals they gave us many other things – fruits, noodles, lentils, spices (I am extremely grateful for the curry :)). My shampoo was about to finish and I was going to buy a new one, but there wasn’t any need anymore. They left us their tickets, valid for the next few days for all major attractions on the island. They gave us a card for a mobile broadband. We both are extremely grateful and so happy we met you, wonderful people! While we were talking the other traveler, who we met yesterday, came. We say goodbye to all of them and we felt really sad after their departure. For the first time, we were seriously thinking about leaving this heavenly island soon. I am so keen for new adventures, but here every day is a new adventure and I won’t be bored ever. We are going to cry a lot, when we see Dominica from the sea. It was exactly the opposite when we saw St. Martin from there. I am thankful every day we left this hell of an island. We spent the rest of the day in charging the camera and the laptop at the info centre and we also used the library broadband for a while. Before sunset, we started to look for a transport to the Trafalgar falls, which were last in our list. We could legally visit them with Teodora and Ljubo’s tickets, so there wasn’t any need of sneaking early in the morning before bad guys’ arrival to work. We slept over at the big info centre before the falls, where the electricity was on and I wrote on my computer the whole night. I took a nap for about two hours, for the sake of having energy the next day. We went to see the falls in the morning, having no worries. 8 o’clock passed by and we were surprised to see that no one came to open the info centre and sell tickets to the tourists. We left thinking of going to Freshwater Lake and Boiri Lake – two lakes where you need tickets as well. A French girl stopped her car and offered to give us a lift to the lakes, because that was her way too. We had a nice talk with her and it turned out her story was similar to ours. Being lucky, she found a yacht, which sailed from France to Guadalupe, in some kind of a yacht competition. The captain searched for a crew and she succeeded to be hired in the last moment. She paid 500 Euros, in order to sail on a yacht – they were 6 people on a 6 meters long and narrow yacht. They sailed for 20 days without any private space, working any kind of heavy work with night shifts, without having a shower and she paid 500 Euros for this. And we sailed for 13 days on a fancy ship, eating plenty of food and paying 500 Euros as well?! What direction the world is going? So the girl arrived at Guadalupe, but she didn’t like it, so she accidentally found a captain again, who sailed to St. Martin – out of the frying pan into the fire. Well, obviously, she couldn’t do it, because she survived there only one day and she took the first flight to Dominica the next day. In comparison we survived 25 days on that island. Naturally, she liked Dominica a lot and she found a job (a diving instructor). She reckoned of going to South America as well, but now after finding a job she would stay longer. That day, she had a day off, so she rent a car and started a tour around the island. We saw Freshwater Lake and we walked through the whole pathway, which encircled it. In order to see Boiri Lake, though, there was an hour walk, so she preferred not to do it, because she was tired. She left us there and she headed to the Tito canyon, which was a nice spot for swimming and leisure. We started to walk along the pathway towards the lake. My friend changed his mind and decided to wait for me with the luggage, until I reached the end of the trail. Both lakes were really wonderful and picturesque, surrounded by thick vegetation and mists. Later, we set off to Roseau with the idea of stopping by in Portsmouth to see Cabritc National Park, this time at day light and with a ticket, so that we could manage to see everything in details. First, an Ethiopian with his wife gave us a lift – he was so delighted when I told him which places I visited in Ethiopia and how beautiful was nature there. If there wasn’t a stone rain by the local kids it would have been perfect. Later, we travelled with two Americans – a man and a woman – working at the Medical University of Portsmouth. They were really nice and we spoke a lot about journeys. They left us at our very familiar beach and shelter. It was a Saturday night, but no one was around. We cooked the breadfruit, which our Bulgarian friends left us, as well as some noodles and lentils. We ate really well and we set off towards the path for the National Trail to pitch the tent close to the marsh-land, where we slept before. My friend didn’t agree, because of the mosquitoes, but he surrendered - the spot was quiet and you could sleep there as long as you want. Since, I didn’t sleep at all the previous night - I wanted to sleep longer, so this automatically excluded all public places. Fortunately, it didn’t rain at all and we slept quiet well. After packing, we headed towards the Cabritc National Park. Bad guys were still absent, it was around 9 o’clock, so we thought they didn’t work on Sundays. My friend wanted to stay with the luggage and rest under a shelter close to Fort Shirley – this was a castle from the 18th century. I spent the whole day in walking along every path I saw. That was definitely my favourite part of the island! I saw 10 snakes at least and I caught two of them (all the snakes are non-poisonous on the island). I visited the unique ruins of the old fort constructions, which resembled in 100% these in Angkor Watt, Cambodia. They were embraced by the roots of giant trees and the similarity with Cambodia was so strong I thought I was dreaming. In one of the buildings I found 20 bats, which moved around disturbed of my presence. The view from Portsmouth to Douglas bay - especially from the hill where the guns used to be - was more than stunning. I spent wonderful time in Cabritc National park and I didn’t want to leave at all. My pal didn’t complain about waiting for me and I found him lying on the bench under the shelter. On the way out, the bad guy was there and he asked for out tickets. Obviously, they really started work late and that’s why we had never met them. I was really glad that the tickets were used at least once. We saw so many beautiful places without tickets for so long and now when we had them there wasn’t any need of hiding. When we checked the list with the places where we were allowed to visit with these tickets, we realized we’d been at 80% of them. But the tickets were quite useful for the other 20% of them. Cabritc was an excellent example of that. After visiting the National Park, we went to Portsmouth to buy some bread and we tried to find a path, which should of surround the Indian River, but we weren’t lucky. Unfortunately, the only way was to use a boat. It was already dark, when we started to hitchhike. A pick-up took us to Canfield, where we set off to Po Casa. We wanted to go to the Emerald pool – it’s a fall, which we saw in an early morning. It was still dark and there was not enough sunlight for good photos. We decided to see it during the day this time. We wanted to stay over at the bad guys’ cabin, where the electricity was on and I could write the whole night. It is 3 o’clock in morning and this was what I was doing so far. I reckon to go to sleep, because I hardly see the letters already. Good night all.
We weren’t in a hurry in the morning; I went to see the fall before the first groups of tourists. The light was enough for an average quality photos. I took a bath in the pool waters under the fall. The bad guy requested for out tickets just before our departure. He saw them and he immediately emphasized that this was the last day we could use them. We told him we were going to the Boiling Lake later today, and he was trying to convince us it was too late and they wouldn’t let us in. They let people before 10.30 am, because you have to come back in daylight. We, on the other hand, didn’t care much of returning the same day, because there was a summer-house where we could stay over for the night. We made a conclusion that bad guys who worked at all of Dominica’s attractions were chosen by casting for a bad attitude. They were probably the only unpleasant and unfriendly people who we met on the island. We headed to Roseau to find the other road to Laudat, where started the pedestrian area for the Boiling Lake. We had been in this area before - the first time we went to the Valley of Desolation, which was located at about 40 minutes distance before the lake. When we approached the pathway we expected for the bad guys’ appearance, but nobody showed up, so we stayed unnoticed. Up on the hill, we met tourists who were going downwards. We started the route around 13:00 and we were at the summer-house around 15:00. We left our rucksacks there and walked along the steeply path towards the lake. We went downwards in the valley itself, amazed by the thousands of bubbling and smoking multi-coloured small springs. Water was running everywhere and rocks around were in each colour possible: orange, white, red, yellow, grey… The same path took us to the Boiling Lake. It was clouded by steam and mists and we hardly saw it, but when the wind blew away the steam, the view upon its middle part and the boiling water could be spotted. It was so cool! As if you take a glance in a giant pot. The Boiling Lake is a unique attraction in the world – there are only two, one in Dominica and one in New Zealand. I missed to see the one in New Zealand, but fortunately I succeeded to see that one. I think, the lake in Dominica was the biggest in the world before, but the New Zealand’s expanded and grew bigger. In 1880, there was an eruption in Dominica, which scientists believed came from the lake and this caused changes there. Dominica has got 9 active volcanoes. The Boiling Lake temperature, taken in 1870 by two scientists, in its outer part was about 80-90 degrees, but in the middle where the water boils the temperature has never been taken. The depth then was more than 60 meters, but after the eruption maybe this is not précised anymore. At the moment its length/width is 63 meters. The steam, which evaporates continuously, could be seen from miles. Definitely this is Dominica’s main attraction. On our way back, we stopped in one of the valley’s streams, where there was a waterfall and a pool with bluish and grayish water below it. We took a bath, or as my friend said – ‘a spa procedure’ and we took off for the summer-house. We approached it just on time, before the weather broke and we slept really well. It’s more than pleasure to have a roof above your head in this kind of weather. In the morning, we met the first tourists with their guides, walking upwards. In all brochures it was written to hire a guide for this route. This is what tourism industry looks like - the passage was quite easy, without any danger places. But many of the locals earn their wages from tourism, so they benefit from being hired. We discussed our impressions from the Boiling Lake and how cool was it, but we also thought of our sailing off from Dominica. The date of our leaving was approaching, so this matter started to become urgent. We popped in Laudat village to buy bread and we stayed at a bus stop to spend the rest of the day there. We planned to camp at Trafalgar and to charge the laptop battery there. We set off to the Trafalgar falls in dark.
A lyrical digression: Since we’d been in Dominica, I hardly find time to write down my thoughts and when this happens it is always during the night, when it’s hard to concentrate and after a whole day of exhausting walking. This publication, as well as the previous one, was written during nights. The electricity was an issue, except for the bad guys’ cabins; we didn’t find electricity anywhere else. We could use bad guys’ electricity only during the night when there wasn’t anybody. Broadband could be found everywhere, but without electricity it was useless for us. Except all of this, we haven’t stopped walking around, seeing new things and we use broadband only to speak with our parents. I neglected the blog a little bit and now the present publication covers events for one month. I definitely miss many things, which I learnt, many events and stories. I cannot explain how wonderful Dominica is! I like it a lot! A lot! It is superbly green and beautiful everywhere. Nature is all around you. I always forget to apologize for the quality of the photos, but most of them were taken by the mini Kodak, because with the big Canon lens you can shoot only animals. My friend put adverts in the blog, to save some pennies for us and I want to apologize for them too, because they really irritate and spoil the atmosphere. We really try to be more than thrifty and we buy only the most important stuff. We spent approximately one lev for a person per day. Unfortunately, in this journey our money runs away for transport expenses, similarly to Africa where it went for visas. It turned out to be not so easy to find a free transport on water. But we will keep trying. As a last resort we can take the ferry to St. Lucia and stuck there again. And this will continue till we find a solid ground. The Caribbean is extremely inappropriate destination for people, who count on their feet and a raised thumb to travel around. Take this in mind if you’d like to come here! I want to say ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart to all who support this journey, in one way or another, including the financial support. I put your names as sponsors of the journey at the page ‘finances’. I highly appreciate your support and I hope, thanks to the publications and the photos, you learn something interesting about such unique places like Dominica! I am really grateful to my relatives, who support me unconditionally. I wish everyone such parents and granny as mine!
|Cabrits national park|
|Portsmouth to the right and Douglas bay to the left|
|Valley of desolation|
|the water is really boiling|
|best sandwich ever|
|in carib territory|
|which one to eat first :)|
|found along the road... every day|
|the east coast|
|my favorite river|
|pasta with avocado :)|
|staying in a local's house|
|the last Bulgarian chocolate we had...|
|free food is just everywhere|
|greek yoghurt in Dominica :)|
|cooking every day everything :)|
|trying to brush my hair after weeks not brushing it|
|at the playground in a village|
|boiled and roasted breadfruit|
|best place for snorkeling in Dominica|
|view from Scotts head|
|view to Guadaloup|
|every day life in Dominica :)|
|same as this guy :)|
|found that on the beach :)|
|Purple turtle beach, Porthsmouth|