Shopping Frenzy!! Evlyns Shopping Tour
Trip Start Mar 30, 2007
29Trip End Apr 28, 2007
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Anyway as usual our first stopwas the hardware store. You may have noticed the hardware store features in probably all of our excursions, at the moment they are tiling the steps to thier front door. Bob has had some traumatic times since I came here, a lot of it due to the clocks being on carribean timeie doesn't neccessarily happen when you arrange it or at all. It just happens when it happens. Our 2 main crises have been no grey grout on the islandthat is good. Something ( and I ca only take apassing interest in this ) has made the islands grey grout go off. ( As part of our shopping assignment today we had to go and get some grey grout from a small hardware store on the other side of the island, this we did, and felt very proud of ourselves. The other crisis is that needed a concrete pumper to pump concrete into the light pillars ( remember? ) and as you know this has been a very hit and miss affair. Today fortunately it was ahit. Hurrah.
So - to the main event- shopping. After the grout trip we went to K mart, like a Tesco superstore and there I bought a skirted bikini bottom, and a swimming costume dress, which is borderlline fat old lady, but also very handy in these climes. Oh and I bought some little boat shoe things that will be good for my kayaking in PR. Then we went to look at the fruit stand that I have written about that I saw on Sweenys tour. I was looking forward to buying some fruit and maybe something else from her stall and finishing with one of her smoothies. Sadly it wasn't to be, because the stall owner wasn't there, in her place were 2 teenage girls who barely interested in making a sale. So all I bought was some hot pepper sauce. I'd wanted to buy a mahogony wind chime but they'd wanted to charge me $10 more for the one I wanted for no apparent reason other than one of the chimes was about 2 cm longer.. So I left it. Which was good because that meant that Evlyn took me up to ' The Leap' which is where they also sell mahogony stuff. ( by the way as I write this there is a hummingbird humming it's way around a bush outside my bedroom window.) Now I would have been so disappointed to miss out on the leap, it was just my cup of tea. It is in the rainforest, fairly near the fruit stand and you access it by a long , long canopied driveway, that takes you up the hill and into the most ramshackle yard with old decrepit vehicles everywhere, at least four dogs, only one of which could muster up any interest in us at all. At the far side of the yard was a huge corrugated iron barn. Inside was the 'workshop', which had all manner of shit in it. And shit is not too stronger word, crap just wouldn't cover it, neither would toot, it was honestly shit. there was a couple of workbenches and loads of shit EVERYWHERE. Then behind all this hidden at the back was the product we had come to see. But before I could continue I just had to go to the toilet, so I asked the bloke , Cheech, if there was anywhere I could go. From the look on his face I immediately picked up that I could go anywhere. After assuring him that I didn't mind going jungle style he seemed a bit more at ease about me using his 'facilities'. He told me that there is a toilet out back ,in his slight southern drawl, there might be water in it and I'm welcome to use it. So through the gate I go and find the toilet. I was nearly doubled up laughing. Indeed there was a toilet AND a basin contained within a breezeblock 'bathroom' with no roof, an opening where a door might have been if anyone had finished it, and best of all a toilet STOOD in the corner, of course not plumbed in and a basin turned upsidedown at the side. If I am not imparting an image of squalor then please just think squalor!! I chose not to use these very fine facilities but to squat right out the bathroom door. Is that rude of me when he has been so hospitable to let me use them?!! Anyway back in the workshop, Cheech had tiny things you can hang on your christmas tree to totem poles and coffee tables. Cheech, the owner, who's white, early fifties, grey wavey hair , pulled back into a pony tail in the nape of his neck, he was absolutely filthy ( at one point Ev was treated to a hug from him - urghh ! )and looked a complete dropout. Ev siad, and I have to agree, that there had been serious imbibing of narcotic substances. Ev called it substance abuse, but I had to depart from her diagnosis there because I believe that Cheech would be horrified for people to ever think that he had abused drugs but would be quite happy for people to know that had used drugs freely over the years. Now he revels in revels in being the mad white man who lives in the woods! The thing was and this is almost too hard to believe, but he knew nearly as much about psychology as Ev and I ( I'm glad I'll be off the island when she reads this because she may have a slightly different take on it! ) And in common with many a dead beat person, what he had to say about psychologists on the island contained insightful truths of the type like flagrant unprofessionalism. This is what I find fascinating about people like Cheech, they've to deal with so much in their lives and seen a lot of the low lives that when they come across it in other stratas of society they recognise it immediately. So it was funny to hear him say that there were no decent psychologists to go to on the island, something Ev had only been saying a few days ago ! It was really interesting meeting cheech and I bought a couple of small things from him that I was totally overcharged for but the entertainment value made it worth every penny.
Then it was off to town to do some serious shopping. Ev was taking me to the locally produced artisan type of stuff and I am a sucker for locally produced stuff ANYWHERE. Our first shop was a glass shop which had the most beautiful plates and decorative pieces. Ev doesn't believe that I liked them because it was the only shop she took me to that I didn't buy anything!. I did like them tho, the designs were lovely, I just wasn't in the market for glass that day. The following purchases might not be in order, because there were quite a few and it all became a bit of a blur! But I bought ametal palm tree by a local artist who made amazing larger pieces of waterfalls , sunsets and wildlife and such with atropical feel. From a clothes shop I bought a beade bracelet with a 3D beaded rose on it that was like a corsage. I bought a lump of crystal thats only found in the caribbean, called larimar, it's just set on a silver ring and to me it looks like the shallow caribbean sea with the sun shining on it. From Cruzan Gold I bought 'chenay' which is a Cruzan speciality where old crockery found on the island, I mean proper old, and jewellers set a piece in gold or silver to produce a pendant, or bracelet or ring etc. The plates and stuff are found on the beach or on old plantations. It might sound a bit crappy, but it's actually not, some pieces, especially mine, are beautiful. Just so you know I resisted the $400 or more bracelet and just bought a pendant - in silver! Mine has palm fronds on it so I am particularly pleased with it. Also from that shop I got a pendant of an old sugar mill tower. There are sugar mill towers all over the island which are constant reminders of when people were enslaved, but these mill posts have been planted with trees coming out of the top of them to show that they are not used any more and to represent the emancipation of slaves. So my pendant has a tree coming out of . Isn't that great symbology?
the top of it.
And last but by no means least I had a big spend up in ib, a fantastic shop owned by a lovely rastafarian guy who creates fantastic jewellery with great symbology evoking love and peace. Sounds cheesy but isn't. I could have spent thoussands in there, but was very restrained at 2 bracelets and a ring. St. Croix is known for a particular bracelet called a cruzan hook , which fastens via a horseshoe hook. A lady called Sonya first started doing them in the 1960s. Every Cruzan who travels off island has one, it's a kind of identity tag. Bob and ev met someone with one in Alaska once! Also Sonya has created bracelets which represent the hurricanes that have hit the island. So people have multiple bracelets on thier wrists depending how many hurricanes they have been thru on the island. B & E don't have any and they quite happy to keep it that way! Whalen,of ib,( island boy ), however, creates his from a more spiritual rastafarian point of view, so the 2 I have bought, and i am bursting with excitement over them, represent Karma - you get out of life what you put into it and the other one is called island boy - which is aboout living life with joy. You have NO idea how much i love my bracelets. They represent everything about my trip and my life as a whole, and all in a bangle!! They are truely beautiful. I look really fantastic in them and feel like a total island girl.
In the evening we went to a lovely open air eaterie in town, with some of bob and evs friends. I had a vegetable and coconut curry, which was delicious. We were entertained by the local cardiologist on his guitar playing all the classics, knock on wood, love me tender, even some dire straights! Just my cup of tea. This was a great opportunity for me to exhibit and parade around in all my finery!!
As I write this I am just finishing a more than 12 hour stint on the computer desparately trying to get all this finished before I go to Puerto Rico. I hope you all think it has been worth it . Bob and Ev have despaired of me and have gone to bed leaving me crashing away on thier keyboard. They have benn fantastic hosts . I couldn't have asked or wished for better and through the lines of this blog I want to say a very big thank you. Thanks Bob and Ev you've been great and made it great.