My Destination is Dominica

(see more entries for this location)

If you're inspired by Dominica, you might also like to check out Barbados, Puerto Rico and Bahamas.

Swinging with a True Tarzan

When my parents' friends ask me what I want to do when I grow up, I usually say, "move to the jungle and eat mangoes all day." I, the perpetual cocktail party insurgent, am the only one who takes the joke seriously of course--I think living in the jungle would actually be kind of awesome; but yesterday, the universe called my bluff.

I was coming up from a beach waterfall--a natural wonder you have to scale down 400ft of sheer cliff to get to--and feeling pretty good about my adventurer abilities. Here I was, hoisting myself up a mountainside at a 90-degree angle using only tree roots and a fraying rope; in my bikini. If I hadn't been using both hands--one to climb; the other to scare away lizards--I would have patted myself on the back. That's when I saw him, a scraggly old man just staring at me.

I realized--hanging off the precipice--that I was in a bad position to be anything but friendly.

"Hello!" I called.

He waved back, and I decided he came in peace.

When I got to a dimple in the cliff face where you could finally stand, the man was there waiting for me, barefoot and bemused. We exchanged pleasantries--"which village are you from?" "What's that in your pail?"--and continued the climb together. Feet above me, I could see him bounding up a rope ladder with no shoes, a bucket of fish in one hand and a machete in the other; I suddenly felt decidedly less badass.

"You're moving pretty fast there partner, with all that stuff in your hand."

He stopped, swinging on a rope, to laugh. "This is nothing. You should have seen me carrying all the wood up here from the beach. For my new house."

I secured my grip on a tree root. "You mean planks of wood? From the beach? Up here? For a house?" I mean I've seen Tarzan but I was still struck a little stupid.

He chuckled and led me through the trees to see it; a wooden frame of an emerging home perched on the edge of a mountain. I stepped between the beams and Nicodemus, my new bushman friend, offered me something to drink. I said yes, purely out of curiosity.
Minutes later he came back with two coconuts and chopped them open with his machete.

I sat there sipping the sweet water, listening to him talk about catching crabs for evening stews with chive and parsley fresh from his seasoning beds, swinging down to the beach for morning swims. Even with his missing teeth, Nicodemus made living off the land look effortless--a feat I joked about at parties but wasn't sure I could pull off.

I tossed him a banana. "Here, take some coconut water for the road," he said in thanks, filling up my bottle. "And take down my cell phone number so you can come back to visit."
the beach waterfall OR Nico's exclusive seafood market/deluxe pool sippin' on a coconut and soakin' in the view from the treehouse window Nico hanging in the treetops, 200 ft in the air on some branches, NBD
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Ama Francis

Ama Francis

Currently located in:
Laudat, Dominica.
About me in 140 characters or less

"I live in the rainforest. I love mangoes. Travel is my do. On most days I'm laughing/bringing laughter, on even more days I'm exploring. Hi!"

A bit more about Ama:

"I draw the line at eating... Nothing, I'll try anything once"

"My most essential travel phrase is... Cut the price in half...Last price!"

"My most memorable souvenir is... the abê I handmade with my Brazilian percussion band. Shaking it, I can dance like I'm on the streets of Salvador again. "

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