Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Marigot Bay in St Lucia has changed since I visited in the 90s, then the round house was almost alone on the southern arm of the bay. Now it is only one of many impressive and doubtless expensive mansions. Also the number of bars and restaurants around the waters edge has grown, doubling at least. However when Sandy and I visited recently things were quiet and very few faces were seen even at happy hour times. The Yacht Club was shut and the Rainbow was touting hard but looking empty and forlorn with a tiny jazz band playing for their own amusement as there were no customers. But Marigot Bay was generally looking tidy, upmarket and prosperous albeit sparsely populated with paying customers.

Wallilabou in St Vincent was our next stop, it is not too dissimilar to Marigot Bay in layout although as an anchorage it does demand a stern line ashore. Like Marigot bay the paying customers are few and far between. However the contrast ashore is great, no expensive houses, no gourmet supermarkets, no manicured plantings outside well maintained and air conditioned government offices. Here there are occasional well built and maintained houses amidst many ramshackle unpainted concrete block dwellings. There is a rum shop but little food on offer. The Anchorage Hotel does manage to sell a few beers and meals if there is a hungry charter boat crew in but you get the feeling they are hanging on by their fingertips.

All a sign of the downturn in tourism I suppose.

Still it meant that we had the waterfall to ourselves when we visited and the decaying film set for Pirates of the Caribbean was almost deserted when we looked around it. The decay has reached the point where there are calls from some who think Disney should come in and pay for repairs. If that happens “Laissez le bon temps roulez!” say the locals thinking back to the days Disney money flowed freely as Capn Jack Sparrow AKA Johnny Depp strutted along the waterfront.

Amidst this decay and almost next to the dusty hot customs office was this room.

Stored there were many dust covered bakelite telephones,

relics of a bygone telecommunications era. Now this was a building that would have seen action during the filming so what were the phones used for or where had they come from, another Caribbean mystery to think about as a savour my G&T.

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