Thursday, 16 April 2015
St. Vincent Part 3 - Authentic St. Vincent
As teachers, we are always trying to provide authentic and relevant learning opportunities to our students. Well, given those two criteria, our ride back into Kingstown from Chateaubelair was truly a great learning experience!
On our last day in St. Vincent at 8:45 am we reached Chateaubelair on foot, optimistic that we'd catch a minibus within 30 minutes, and fit in our 3 planned stops (the Vermont hiking trail, the St. Vincent Botanical Gardens, and the Fort Charlotte tour) before flying back to Trinidad at 6:45 pm. Right, we were overly optimistic and failed to realize that things aren't as orderly or reliable in St. Vincent as they are in Canada.
By 9:45 one full mini bus had arrived and departed. By 10:15 two pot smoking guys assured us another would be along shortly. By 10:45 we had befriended a young woman who said "Big Mac" was on his way in his minibus and she had asked him to save her 3 seats. By 11:30 three more full minibuses had come and gone and one pot smoker was still there assuring us once again that he would flag a taxi or minibus for us when they came along. At 11:45 Big Mac barreled into town, and somehow we crawled into the back seat of the van where we settled in between two others for our ride back to Kingstown.
Combine loud music, hot and sweaty conditions, a stop to put more oil in the engine, smoking brakes, 23 passengers plus a baby, narrow windy roads and fear the back door would unlatch and throw us on the road to our deaths, it was perhaps the most memorable ride yet. And it only cost $3 Canadian!!!
We did manage to tour the botanical gardens, and the downtown market area before catching our flight back to Trinidad. One out of three isn't bad!