Where have you been that enchanted you?
Making a Beginning
In St. Lucia we had found a glorious lot with stunning views and a builder. Now it was time to focus on what to do. We thought to build a modest vacation cottage and found a Canadian builder by the name of Wayne who had come to the island and ended up marrying a St. Lucian woman. He stayed and built a business. For us it was like having an American colleague to plan with. After all Canadians were just like us except they said ”aboot” and “eh”. (No offense Canadian friends.) Wayne suggested we go on a tour to look at various types of homes and to get to know the island. It sounded good to us.
When you come to a tropical island like St. Lucia, very often you station yourself in a large resort, maybe take one tour and there is no in depth exposure. Since we had been looking at land we were already beyond simple tourism.
Wayne had just imported a Mercedes sedan from Martinique and we set off. Since St. Lucia had been a British colony, they drove on the wrong side of the road. Wayne was then on the wrong side of the car as he drove. But then a little disorientation helps break people loose from tired perspectives.First we toured houses on the more developed north of the island. He barged in and we looked around. There were many different types of houses.
Into Another World
Then he took us south. The north is lovely, with wonderful beaches, a myriad of restaurants and all manner of resorts. It is much more developed and the capital, Castries, is nearby. But when we went south we went into the lush interior which includes the rain forest and toured the area of the Pitons, They are the two towering mountain remnants of the volcano that once ruled the island.
We passed through banana plantations and the lush quiet of the rain forest. From time to time we passed a man carrying a machete. We had to get used to it because that is their primary tool in agricultural work. They nodded and usually gave us a shy smile. If we were walking, a man might gently come forward and softly ask “May I speak with you, Sir.” At first we thought they probably wanted money, but, in fact, they just wanted to meet these venturesome strangers.
I was utterly enthralled by one lush mountain valley. There were huge boulders on the plain clearly indicating the monumental volcanic explosion millennia ago. At the end was one small house. Wayne took us in to see it for our thinking. There was a woman inside tending a fire. He talked to her briefly. She seemed to accept our presence without comment. On we went through plantations and one mysterious valley after another. The quiet was notable and it never felt threatening which was surprising given that it was a strange new world.
A Brief Stay
Later Wayne took us to Stonefield Estate which was his plantation. The pool had a stunning view of the pitons and it came complete with a parrot. Mac was the plantation manager and when we asked the parrot where he was the bird would crane his neck and scan the area. There were so many endearing features and we were being drawn in deeper.
When we returned to the north of the island we settled down with Wayne to talk construction. We told him we only wanted a starter cottage we might expand later. He nodded and then suggested we might want something a little bigger because we might want to rent it out when we weren’t there. That was intriguing. He suggested three bedrooms, each with their own bath. And then of course to rent it we would need a pool. And how about putting a cottage with a pool in the plans. Just in case—for the future.
Gulp! He said we didn’t have to do it all at once. He could begin and as we found funds he could continue. We were hooked on the island and the developing adventure. We purchased the land, went home and began to send money. This was just the beginning.