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Purely Dominica

Purely Dominica

Archive for July, 2009


The Coral Reef Restaurant is an add-on to the back of Augustus Austrie’s general store in Calibishie.. Look for the general store on the main road heading towards Melville Hall Airport on the left not far after you’ve passed the primary school and tourist info center on you right as you reach the bay and enter Calibishie village proper.

There’s a telephone booth directly in front of the store. You can enter the Coral Reef Restaurant directly by walking down the driveway on the left side of the store to the restaurant and beach or by entering the store, passing the checkout counter and going through the western-style “saloon” swinging doors at the back of the store. There’s no need to phone ahead for a reservation. The Coral Reef is open when the store is open, and that is from about 8AM to 9PM Monday-Saturday and from about 6PM to 9PM on Sunday.

The Coral Reef has a bar and very, very reasonable meal prices. Chicken, ribs, fish, etc. usually run in the range of EC$12-15 per serving. The generous servings come with local vegetables (“provision”) and French fries or rice. And the food is delicious. Besides bar drinks, soft drinks are available from the store, at regular store prices.

A bonus is that frying is done using heart-healthy canola oil. Gus, the proprietor, takes his meals from the restaurant and wants them to be healthy ones.

coral-reef-restaurant in Calibishie

The tables overlook the bay with a view of Marie-Gallant Island in the Guadeloupe group directly ahead to the north and the mountain of Guadeloupe itself can be seen to the left.

The weekday (8AM-5PM) cook is our neighbor and very dear friend Hildreth; and she is just a superb cook. Tipping isn’t required in Dominica (although very few of the restaurants and hotels add a gratuity to the bill), but with the meal at the Coral Reef costing so little and being so good, and the kitchen staff working so hard and well, I hope you will tip at this restaurant. The tips are pooled and shared by the employees at the end of each month. These nice people deserve the extra bit of income.

There are also two tables inside the store just in front of the kitchen. They are a good place to take a very casual meal or pick up food to go.

I recommend the Coral Reef for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

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Editor’s note:This article was published in the Editorial section of the Chronicle Newspaper on July 24,2009.

The Ministry of Health and other relevant authorities should move quickly to upgrade the systems, facilities and personnel available to deal with medical emergencies in rural communities and remote areas.

This month, a young cadet was pronounced dead at the Princess Margaret Hospital after being unable to get emergency medical treatment for several hours when he became seriously ill at a camp in the Castle Bruce area. Persons trying to assist him were reportedly unable to reach key medical personnel at the district health centre and there was no ambulance to transport the stricken cadet to hospital.

This is not an isolated case. A few weeks ago, The Chronicle reported an incident in the same area in which a desperately ill woman nearly died when there was no ambulance to rush her for treatment when a medical emergency arose. In that case also, it was not possible to get appropriate medical treatment for the ailing woman in her rural community or its immediate environs.

These incidents and others make it quite clear that many persons who suddenly get ill or injured in the far-flung regions of Dominica could find themselves in a most dire predicament. Indeed, life-threatening medical emergencies may arise in places where medical help is several hours away and there is no ambulance. In such situations, a multitude of risks and negative consequences inevitably arise.

As a developing nation with a vulnerable economy, Dominica does not have the capacity to put ideal systems, facilities and personnel in place for medical emergencies in remote places. But health officials in Dominica can definitely examine existing medical facilities to see if they are functioning as expected and take steps to upgrade these in the interest of providing the best service possible.

Since Dominica is the nature isle of the Caribbean, its eco-tourism sites are powerful magnets for adventurers from all parts of the world. However, these visitors may arrive here with underlying medical complaints that predispose them to health risks in Dominica’s rugged hinterland. Therefore, how the nation deals with medical emergencies involving sickness or injuries in remote areas with challenging terrain is an important consideration in the development of the island’s tourism product.

Dominica is a mountainous, volcanic island that is vulnerable to landslides and flash floods, especially in rural and remote areas. If the island intends to accommodate an ever-increasing number of visitors to eco-tourism sites found in remote areas without easy access by road or waterway, then build the capacity to meet their health, safety and medical emergency needs.

In any case, local residents of rural and remote areas deserve the best medical systems and facilities that the nation can provide with the resources at its disposal. Unfortunately, it seems that the island is not doing as well as it should in this area, even if current economic constraints are taken into account.

The time is ripe for forward-thinking health authorities to move urgently to examine and upgrade Dominica’s capacity to deal with medical emergencies in country communities and interior locations.

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veranda view inn in calibishie

Calibishie, on Dominica’s beautiful northeast coast, is fast becoming a favorite tourism haven.

Besides its own beauty and being a friendly village that boasts a nice general store at each end of the road by the bay, a tourist information center, a credit union, an auto rental agency with a full-service automobile repair/maintenance shop, a fishery, a gasoline station and a nice pub, Calibishie is also very close to beautiful natural wonders such as its own bay, Red Rocks, Napier’s black and white sand beaches, Hampstead Beach where scenes from the 1st and 2nd “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies were filmed, Blenheim Bay where the “Rhino’s Horn” from those movies juts from the sea, the Chaudière Plunge Pool in the adjacent village of Bense, and fine hiking.

It has been some time since I last wrote a restaurant review for Dominica Weekly. But now that my wife Ruth and I are retired and living permanently here on the Nature Island, I hope to contribute some reviews more frequently. Incidentally, since my last contributions, two restaurants have (apparently) closed. Kokonutz in Calibishie changed ownership and after a while closed down, it seems for while expansion and renovation proceed. There’s no word when it may re-open. And Silks in Hatton Garden shut abruptly; the telephone and e-mail aren’t answered and there’s a sign at its gate saying simply “closed”. I will let you know if I learn of either of them re-opening.

This review is of the Veranda View Inn & Restaurant in Calibishie. Look for the Veranda View on the main road heading towards Melville Hall Airport on the left not far after you’ve passed the primary school and tourist info center on your right shortly after you’ve gone over the bridge and you reach the bay and enter Calibishie village proper. There is a sign for the Veranda View. Enter through the little black iron gate.

veranda view inn

The Veranda View has been a Calibishie landmark for over 20 years. For over a year now it has been under new, reinvigorating ownership. Your hostess and proprietor is Hermein Kuis. The Veranda View specializes in seafood dishes and wonderful homemade deserts. Both are wonderful. The restaurant serves breakfasts and dinners. It’s a good idea to call ahead, especially if one desires a particular or hard-to-get seafood item. The phone number is 613-9493 (mobile) or 445-8900 (land-line). You can surf to for additional info.

Prices at the Veranda View Restaurant are in the range of what I’d term “tourist moderate”. That is, not the very small price one would expect to pay at a “native” place, but most definitely lower than charged by some of the “tourist traps”. A very nice dinner with drink and desert will set you back about EC$85.

veranda view inn and restaurant

You should bask in the ambience at Veranda View. You can have a drink at your table or the beach bar. There’s usually soft music playing on the stereo. You can step down to cool your feet in the bay. The view is magnificent, with Guadeloupe’s peaks prominent ahead and slightly to the left and Calibishie’s “Devil’s Gate further left. Display tables on the veranda groan under loads of fresh fruit. Shells, coral and sea fans complete the décor. And the garden adjacent to the veranda is lush and beautiful. In season the aroma of jasmine wafts from the garden to the tables.

I recommend the Veranda View for a dinner treat.

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