st. lucia à la american

Wednesday, May 28, 2014



One of our favorite things about being places that are not our places is that everything is funny. 
For instance: in France, they do this thing where they sell tons of American stuff, but they change the product name--to something else in English. Why do they even do that?

So, in St. Lucia, we tried to keep track of the things that were new to us as Americans and put them all into a single list that makes me laugh so hard every single time.

So voilà--St. Lucia through the eyes of American youths:


  • -- You have tip everyone for everything that they ever do. It doesn't matter if you originally wanted or did not want them to do it.
  • -- They drive on the left side. It'd not that weird, but I'd never stayed for an extended period of time in a place where this happens. There was a lot of panicking at intersections.
  • -- I didn't realize that this meant everything is on the left side, even like the sliding doors into the supermarket or walking on the sidewalk (awkward).
  • -- When driving, it is acceptable to honk for all possible reasons. These reasons most often include, but are not limited to: 
      • ---- saying hello to a friend
      • ---- letting another driver know how angry you are
      • ---- alerting the whole road that you are coming around a corner
      • ---- you see a car
      • ---- you hear a car
      • ---- there might be a car
  • -- Because St. Lucia has previously been occupied by both British and French, there's a pretty interesting sort of cuisine that reminds me a lot of French-type island food except everything is curried. 
  • -- They have a lot of British things, like McVities digestives and black currant flavored things, but also a lot of French things, like road signs and Patois (which is a sort of French Créole).
  • -- They also have Latin American things in stores, like 90% of the snack aisle. Where does that even come from?! No one speaks Spanish. 
  • -- Ginger is also used a lot. Warning: dinner mints are NOT mint flavored. They are spicy ginger flavored.
  • -- Even the Coca-Cola products are ginger flavored. That was a pretty huge disappointment. 
  • -- Tourists aren't supposed to be autonomous. We took the MiniBuses to get from the plantation resort into town and I really thought they weren't going to let us on. We were also the only white people in the town, even though St. Lucia's economy is very primarily supported by tourism. It's not that there weren't other tourists; they just don't go into town.
  • -- Speaking of MiniBuses, they're just vans. They're regular vans with green license plates that you just flag down and hop into.
  • -- License plates are kind of interesting, because they're super simple and would be extremely easy to just paint onto your car. But they're color coded by type of vehicle: black is privately owned, light blue is taxi, dark blue is diplomat or embassy, green is minibus, etc. So you can tell exactly who is not a registered taxi when they're flagging you down on the road and offering a ride. 
  • -- There are real taxis everywhere though. And taxi drivers try to flag you down and tell you you'll wear your shoes off if you try to walk where you're going. The whole island is like 25 miles long, though.
  • -- There are goats/cows/all varieties of animals just meandering on the sides of the roads. Sometimes they're tied up, but just enough so that they can still swing their whole backside right into the road and be quite vulnerable to speeding, honking cars. 
  • -- They accept both US money and EC dollars (which I thought was said as "easy"--as in, that costs $25 easy). But only EC money is dispensed.
  • -- The power outlets look like they're upside down. 
  • -- Weird names: our first hotel's driver's name was Happiness. 
  • -- There were city chickens everywhere. These were not regular chickens: they belonged in the city.
  • -- At least while we were in the south, aloe did not exist. We asked for aloe at several different places and got crazy looks until finally the hotel gift shop pointed us to some weird herbal insect bite spray with a small amount of aloe in it. It also smelled like ginger.
  • -- Also in the south, sunscreen is a joke. In the shop they only had SPF 8. 
  • -- There are crazy plants everywhere. Breadfruits kept falling on the car when we were driving on one of the main roads.
  • --St. Lucia is fun. We recommend it.


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