Friday, July 1, 2011

Facedom - Orevwa

It's such a tiny place and amazing that FB is so popular and in reality the whole of the population should be 'Friends' or even PF 'Pretend Friends'. That would be good, on your FB Home Page you could section it, RF (real friends) and PF....the PF's are those that befriend you because you chatted at a party briefly and they stayed friendly thinking you might be a useful on-island contact and also they want as many friends as a teenager showing up on their profile. Once you have seen through them, realised their on island business is as fake as their 'err company' profile and you won't in fact be sending any poor unsuspecting punters their way, you are suddenly but silently unfriended. This takes a while to sink in, usually when you realise you haven't seen the 'I'm so busy and stressed out (sitting at my beachside bar and lolling by the river)' posts and upon realisation there is a real urge to FR them again with both of you pretending you'd never been Friends or even BFF in the first place.

Photos, umm, now we are told at every turn and corner never ever to post our children online because in 10 years time do we really want them googled and up comes a shot from FB that might not be quite so flattering afterall, so that's a no no so what else can we post? What time we got up, where our next plate of lobster is coming from, how many bottles of Cristal we have in the fridge for the weekend, what time we went to bed, reinventing our name overnight (that's an island favourite along with seeing Mick Jagger here), the rise of peanut farms on remote mountain tops etc? Then there's the big wait for the pats on the back, wow you look like so amazingly FAB, praise for adorable, as they all are, completely of course, children, as if you're really going to say 'little Johnny actually looks very dumpy and grumpy today and quite honestly, with the pounds you've put on recently at the Dasheenfest, a one piece swimming costume, preferably corsetted, would be far more flattering', empathy at the lack of goat's cheese on island but endless goats, and the can't resist statement, definitely after several rum punches, how wonderful life is because everyone here is clearly living the dream, bien sur.

As for the Party Invites, that's nigh on impossible on island to get away with. A friend recently catered for a hotel opening party and was told by the hosts that a few friends were coming over. Another friend wasted no time telling her the next day how wonderful her food had been at the opening party and where was she....she clearly wasn't 'On The FB List'. And, what on earth does 'In a relationship with' mean.......why not be really specific and spell it out like the rest of the site seems to.....we want the juicy details!

Last but not least Livestockville, Groceryville, Breathingville, Toenailsville, just get real-ville quite frankly. Why would you want everyone to buy bananas for your monkeys when you have real ones in your back garden. Possibly a few monkeys too. And, furthermore, who wants to water your grass when it's quite clearly rainy season........umm, maybe Hurricaneville would be quite apt afterall.......

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Housesitting & Crabs

So, we're homeless, gypsies, free spirits, however you want to dress it up. Both our houses here are rented to tourists - this should never happen at the same time - both houses being rented but dates change, people beg and I just can't say no. There's always a silver lining, we get to experience new places, new sunsets, new beds (however, nothing beats a TEMPUR) but always the inevitable rooster.

First to the rainforest. It really doesn't stop raining there, the clue's in the name I know but as beautiful as a glistening raindrop is on a magnificent honey coloured hibiscus, as comforting as the roar of the river might be and miraculously lull some people to sleep, it's not really for me and I sympathetically nod when my youngest, soaking wet, can't see her pink leggings for the mud and with slightly blue tinged lips, tells me 'I'm a city girl Mum'.

Onto Fawlty Towers. Yes, we were asked to please look after an hotel as the owners were unexpectedly called overseas. Easy, no problem, there's staff, how tricky can it be. Arrive, day one, no staff but a huge bunch of keys and a note - guests arriving in two days plus cocktail party for 30 on the same night. Shopping list and money enclosed. Buy enough for 60. What does that mean when you're used to catering for 5? Ok, 12 times more stuff I guess but what if they cut things in half....there's always the freezer hey.

Night two - my husband does that annoying tapping that the kids do when they want to wake you up. I ignore it and roll over. Then he says 'there's a fire, I can smell smoke'. So I look at him, he looks at me, I look at him and then the penny drops, it's me who has to look. I roll over. He says 'I wouldn't want to be in your shoes tomorrow when you have to make the 'your hotel has burnt down' phone call'. I am so mad I can't speak. I get up, the dogs go loopy, they're in good company, I start opening doors with my big bunch of keys, turning on lights and looking for smoke. No smoke no fire. I return to bed. And yes, HE is fast asleep.

Final housesit. A joy. A bed to match a tempur and a dishwasher. Talking of which we paid $800 to Ma Piper for a dishwasher that she said her son had left when he was going to build in Dominica but his wife changed her mind. Umm, hard to imagine that, not. So she says it is brand new, we buy it for the American guests who are staying (only) if there's a dishwasher. Turn dishwasher on, it does a cycle and doesn't drain. Out of the dishwasher orifices (great word) come 5,000,000 cockroaches happy to be in a new home. Anyway, I digress. In addition to the working dishwasher comes wine and pasta from Waitrose and Tate & Lyle caster sugar from England, well Trinidad first maybe - that will have come a long way then and a TV. Argh, no TV, broke the day before we arrived - amazingly kids take this v.well - well it's been 3 weeks since they've seen a TV so they just laugh (and are v.happy they have Rastamouse etc on BBCiplayer). I just thank my lucky stars it didn't break on the day we arrived.

So, housesitting is rather akin to babysitting. It's all v.lovely having someone else's kids but rather like worrying about giving them their 5 a day when they're eating with you, Housesitting is like being manic about ensuring the house is returned in a perfect state, even more perfect if that's possible. So, there's this huge pile of laundry on the line plus my laundry. I take all my washing down and iron it. Of course I then take the rest of the washing down and iron all that. However, in the 'housesitting' pile I iron every sock to every last dress. Well the only dress. This is no normal dress, it is every ironers (is there such a word?) nightmare dress. It would be the dress they gave to you for your final exam in ironing college. It is allergic to an iron. It has huge great puffballs all around the bottom of it and if this wasn't bad enough, it has a tail, yes this piece of fabric the designer obviously didn't want to waste. E-mail house owner to say, all done, folded in the Benetton school of exceptional folding style, except the dress. Lovely owner emails back 'drink the wine'. Reveal to lovely owner wine already drunk. Overcome with guilt at having drunk the wine before even being offered the wine I tackle the dress. After much huffing it is done, more huffing ensues when HE tells me I have now taken the food out of someone else's mouth having denied them the ironing job next week. Feel mortified but secure in the knowledge that next week another mountain is sure to reappear. In the spiriot of sod the Benetton school of exceptional folding, hastily put 'puffyballtail dress' into wardrobe where hopefully lovely owner will not find it for a while and any strange creases will then be blamed on 'dress crush syndrome' in wardrobe.

More wine anyone?

ps The Government says we can't drive over the crabs on the road on the west coast...if the crabs just ducked in all the potholes they'd be absolutely fine

so no problem there afterall then.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter, got any airmiles?

There's eggs here this year you know, not a lot, but there are eggs, yay!

Also, I had a mighty huge chocolate donation, when I say HUGE I mean huge, including a big real real Easter Egg in a fancy box and all. Maltesers no less, how can you beat a Malteser - it's not really chcolate is it, light centre and all that? Thanks thanks PS.

Onto business, has anyone got 39500 airmiles x 5 pax to give away? Virgin airmiles that is. In return I will give you my lovely Villa for eight weeks this summer. You can't say fairer than that hey?

Bring your friends, your family, your nanny, the Housekeeper's already here.....enjoy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

HGTV - House Hunters International

2 Days until filming us starts.
No smart clothes, in desparate need of hair stylist, and worst of all swimming costumes that have all lost their stretch and colour. OMG. Here's hoping for some skilful camera skullduggery at the very least.

To top it all off we did an 8 hour hike to the Boiling Lake on Sunday so can barely walk and my feet are all mangled, black and blue and will need more than a misty lens. My little pink Nikes were not cut out for such hard manual labour but they looked nice.....big up to our friends who made it so enjoyable - these included the King of tours and the Queen of photography and not forgetting the Prince & Princess of Caribbean property. Yay!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Super Smart / Super Cool / Yay!

Self-Catering Dominica - The places you really want to stay at.....

Been working the last month or so on compiling a list of the 'best of the best' that Dominica has to offer in self-catering. There is no definitive list anywhere and only one company here who exclusively provide, quite frankly, a truly shabby service. I'm not saying I am going to provide this service but I am going to tell you where to go - literally - well not that literally ok. So you are guaranteed to be able to stay with people who will welcome you not only with a smile but a welcome pack and hold your hand if required. The people who will ensure your children have a box of toys if necessary or you have a supply of cassava bread if you are gluten free. Yes, these people - the hidden gems of Dominica.

I have seen some amazing places - from jungle top notch, Vera Wang sheets, cabins to take your breath away villas. The experience has taught me that yes, the rainforest and the seaview can be equally as stunning.

So, take your time, have a look when it is published online and think about making the best of your visit and time to Dominica. Stay in the opulent Villa for one night, experience the rainforest for a couple more and then end up maybe trying a dive or too near the beach. Now you can experience it with support and no smelly nylon sheets in sight.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New French Airline

New airline starting direct into Canefield and coming from both
the airports in St Lucia - yay!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's all about the really is...

I saw this poster today and thought how apt it was for Dominica and my kids especially. What a week of 'moments' they have had. In the spirit of 'life' school, I took my children off for a day to go to the beach with friends and their Grandma who is here only briefly. Where else in the world could you do this so easily and spend the day on a deserted beach with a rope swing to keep you happy for hours. A day or two later this was followed by a beach bar, fun playing on the rocks, chilling round a table, whilst being engulfed almost by the most amazing and constantly changing sunset. To finish it all off another day another adventure involving fantastic local food. No requests for burger and chips from my lot - lobster all round please. Will it be these 'moments' they remember? Wow, I really do hope so.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What Are You Waiting For?

Happy New Year! There's something in the air here at the moment, Dominica is busy busy busy it seems and there are a lot of new faces and a lot of 'business' being discussed on the streets.... Land is selling very fast - plots of one acre and less in particular and also at the other end of the scale enormous 30 acre plots for developments, whatever they are. Possibly interesting crop growing....

Amidst all this, new places are springing up - great little restaurants, at last, yay, including The Talipot in Roseau and Romance Cafe right on the beach and Le Bistro here in town too. Screw is even telling me he's building a waterpark, yes a won't be like swimming with the pink dolphins at the Atlantis in Dubai but I'm sure it will have its own unique selling point.

Mermaid's Secret is officially open now too - check out their website and even better they have their own bar, yay again! Really nice accommodation is a little harder to find here but bit by bit the choice is increasing and it's great to experience this.

Think undiscovered Dominica may be running out of time....IKEA hurry up please.