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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.

Archive for November, 2009

family in the park

I’m not a complainer. Really, I’m not. But having lived my first 68 years in the USA, I find that things being different take me some getting used to. Understand, please, I’m not asserting that “different” is wrong. It’s probably right for here; only I’m unused to it.

So, I’m sucking it up and learning to accept those different things. Still, I think it may amuse Dominicans reading this and help inform and prepare Americans, and Europeans and other “1st-worlders” wishing to settle here as well.

I’ll write about those differences – big and small – from time to time, and will preface it with this paragraph so that you know I’m not complaining.

Dominican Difference #7. The feeling of community. This is a difference that we like. In the US, we lived in a small New England town for the last 31 years. We knew most, but not all, of our near neighbors and quite a few people in the town. But we had some near neighbors whose names we didn’t know and a few who we would not even recognize. And perhaps we knew 10% of the people in the town. Most of them would come and go and pass without even a greeting. And small New England towns are renowned in the US for being friendly, close communities. In the big cities, it is not unusual for one never to know even their next-door neighbors.

The difference in Dominica, and we have found especially in our village of Calibishie (but it’s pretty much the same in every village, and probably even in Roseau) that villagers know one other and always have a friendly greeting. We’re trying to learn everyone’s name and face; not an easy task for a newcomer – the villagers were born and raised here and learned while growing up.

In the US, “How are you?” is a “throwaway phrase”. You may say that to someone in greeting, or have it said to you, but it’s not meant as a genuine inquiry. In the US, you’d become very unpopular very quickly is you answered by saying anything other than “I’m fine. How are you?” Here in Dominica, people really mean it when they ask. They actually care.

This is a Dominican difference that makes it a joy to live here.

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heavens best guesthouse in Dominica

It’s not difficult to write enough good things about Heaven’s Best Restaurant.

We had a wonderful dinner there. We never had the opportunity to stay there, because we’ve had our own home in Dominica as long as the restaurant and guest house has been there, but if you surf to you’ll see a very, very attractive full-service resort run by Heskeith & Evelyn Clarke. He’s the chef.

They must have learned a lot from their son, a graduate of Johnson & Wales, the renowned institute for the hospitality, who is now a hotel chain’s executive.

I started with the Octopus Salad blended in soybean oil, vinegar, scallops, onion and herbs appetizer. It was so tasty! For entrées Ruth had the Chicken Sensation Chicken and Italian sausage simmered in onion, scallion, garlic, parsley and nutmeg – served over pasta and I stayed with my favored seafood, having the Fish tip and Shrimp Mire Poix. Somehow we found room for desserts, having the warm homemade Apple crisp & Ice Cream, and Rumalade Sundae, respectively. I’ve cut & pasted these food descriptions form the website on purpose – to illustrate the high degree of menu choice.

It’s not hard to find Heaven’s Best in Savanne-Paille. Pass through Portsmouth heading towards the Cabrits & Fort Shirley, and take the right turn shortly after passing the Purple Turtle. Now you’re 2 miles away. Pass Douglas Bay and ascend a narrow road to where you see signage directing you towards Capuchin on the left and the Northern Link Road on the right. Take the left fork and go around about two bends and it’s on your left.

A reviewer must be evenhanded so I have to make a critique of some sort. It isn’t easy. But we wondered why the restaurant isn’t facing the bay. And although the prices aren’t excessive, we wonder about the addition of 10% for service, when it’s the owner serving.

But that won’t keep us from returning. We recommend you try it. For reservations, call 445-6677 or 277-3952.

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mei-ling McNamaraPhoto via

And the Winner is!

A huge congrats goes out to Mei-Ling McNamara, the winner of the Discover Dominica Photo Contest.

Mei-ling’s Photo entry where shes exploring mother-nature was judged best by the Matador Team, who hosted the photo contest for the last 4 months.

Mei-Ling is a is a writer, photographer, advocacy journalist, and international development worker who is currently authoring a new travel guidebook to Senegal with Bradt Travel Guides.

For her winning entry, Mei-ling will be receiving an all expense paid trip for two to the untouched Caribbean island of Dominica. The trip includes airfare from the US or Canada and 5 days/4 nights at Calibishie Cove, one of Dominica’s premier hotels.

The only downside to the photo contest in my opinion was that the Matador Team should off revealed the winning photo and give a brief description as to why Mei-ling’s photo was chosen as the winner entry.

Hard luck to everyone else who entered, and congrats to Mel-ling.

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