27 July [written that day but about the days at the beginning of the month]
I felt like bricks were laid on me preventing me from getting up out of bed. Penny came in to tell me what time it was. She had to go somewhere so that motivated me to get up. I ate breakfast and we said goodbye. I stayed behind to shower. I left not much later than she did. I went to the bus stop where I met a Dominican from Soufrière. I told him that I was leaving after 2 years during our brief discussion. A bus to Point Michelle came by. I got on and caught another bus that took me to Loubiere. I waited for a long time trying to get a ride to Grand Bay. Most of the cars that passed by were not going by and I was ready to give up. A flat bed truck was coming and I stuck out my hand. It stopped and I got on the back. I rode all the way to Grand Bay standing against the cabin. I saw Jay Wasserman as I passed Bellevue. He gave a perplexed look as I passed by and waved. I got off the truck at the top of the lane when it stopped. I walked down to the Leathums. I went up the steps and rang the bell. I heard the familiar melody, but no one answered. The inside looked strangely absent, so I went down below their house to the post office. I don’t think they moved or were gone away on vacation. One lady that I asked confirmed that they lived there, but her lack of knowledge made me think that they had just gone for the day. I walked up to the Shillingfords. The walk did not seem as difficult as it was when Brad and I stayed there. I found out that they weren’t home either. I saw a bus coming down the way and waited for it. It was a tight squeeze most of the way. I got off at the Old Market and went to say goodbye to Ruth Nicholas. She was very busy when I arrived to the point where I felt uncomfortable and bored enough to leave soon. The scene quieted down soon enough and we talked. I had some snacks that a lady had just came by sold to Ruth. A white English man from Dublanc also came by. We talked for a while, then I departed. I walked down to the market and bought some bananas and plantain. I got lunch and went to the Peace Corps office. I took care of some final COS stuff with Gabriella like punching out my ID card, getting one third of my readjustment allowance, travel and reimbursement money. I said goodbye as well to Elaine.
I took off to Trafalgar Falls for my last visit. I walked quite a while before I got a ride. Patrick refused to take me up when he passed by with a busload of tourists. I got a ride as far as some new housing area with a DomLec truck. Then I had to walk some more. A guy in a van took me into the village as far as Maryann used to live. I gave him some money for giving me a ride and walked up to the falls. I was hot and thirsty and decided to go into Papillote for a drink. That’s when I saw Junior parked at the entrance. He had brought a group of Portsmouth Government School kids up for a class trip. I went inside and ordered tamarind juice. I took a look at the souvenirs but I didn’t see anything that I wanted to buy. There were a lot of tourists there eating a meal. Junior came in and ordered a drink. As I left I told him, “see you later.” Much later, like the next time I go to Dominica.
I walked up to the falls. I met the group of children from Portsmouth Govt School. I recognized Oliver Wallace’s brother and Rosemary’s son. Only Oliver’s brother said anything to me. They were playing in a stream of water where the path ends. I crossed the water to the other side of the path leads to the hot water. I climbed some rocks and tested some water in a pool that I thought was the hot water. I continued on the base of the falls where I met a group of children in their teens from one of the French islands.
I talked with a man from Trafalgar who worked on a cruise ship. The group left and we sat and talked for more than a half hour as the hot water fell over us.
I headed back to town and got a ride in the back of the van. When I got to the Peace Corps Office Isabella was still there. Michelle had just come, too. She gave me the videotape and a note. I said my last goodbyes.
Before I went to Catherine’s I went to Cathy’s pizzeria to eat an eggplant sandwich. Some medical students came in to eat, too.
I bought 2 beers to share with Catherine. The guy at the store wanted to read my New Chronicle. I got tomorrow’s copy at a house where they were just delivered.
Catherine said she didn’t feel well. She also had some supper from Marcy. I didn’t tell her that I already ate. We talked and watched TV. We saw some of Cheers. I went to bed early because I was tired and 2 upcoming days of getting up early.
Friday morning I woke up and ate my mango. I talked to Marcy who was below the balcony. Catherine woke up, Alwin came, and we kissed or hugged goodbye.
Alwin drove me to the Peace Corps office. I got the key from the fire station, and loaded the taxi with my 2 suitcases. We then drove off to the airport.
I checked in and got my boarding pass. Some lady was screaming about people stealing her money. I assumed it was some LIAT fiasco. I met the woman who has the aloe farm while we were in the departure area.
I got off soon after we left. The flight to Guadeloupe was short. It was a long walk from the flight to the airport. I had trouble talking with the French immigration officer. The lady at customs was very difficult. She asked me if I had cannabis and then thoroughly inspected every item that I had.
After that I looked for a rental car. I waited for the bus to pick me up to take me to the car. I didn’t talk much while the attendant checked out the car.
I started driving to the shopping district. I wanted something to eat, so I went to a supermarket. The first section was books and magazines. I was going to get something for Doris, but it was so expensive. I ended up buying a postcard of 2 Guadaloupe boys. I couldn’t find any French chocolate for Ann Marie. Before I left, I bought a croissant and juice. I find the main shopping district. It was very crowded. I didn’t know what the rules were for parking, so I drove on to Basseterre. I passed a lot of the good tourist spots. I picked up a male teen, but he didn’t speak English. That was against my hope that he could give me clues on the best parts to see.
It was getting close to snack time, so I stopped in a small town and got a pastry. I looked at a record store, but didn’t see anything or any price that interested me.
I drove on to a national park and took a path to a waterfall. The water was running fast down these twisting flumes. I got a little wet. I also urinated along the trail. There weren’t too many people there. I saw one guy coming back when I was going and another one when I reached the falls.
Next I headed for something to eat. it was past my lunch time, so I stopped at one of the first places I saw. I ordered the Columbo Chicken as recommended by the AAA book. I also had accra – the best I ever had – as an appetizer. When the people noticed I spoke English and they didn’t, they brought out one of the construction workers. He was a big smiling Dominican guy from Vielle Case. We spoke English and a little patois.
I left without having dessert and drive back to Grande terre. It took a long time. Guadeloupe is two big islands. I headed to the shopping area. I found a place to park and walked around checking out the stores. I had trouble finding the main shopping streets until it was late and the stores were beginning to close. I bought perfume for my sister. The lady who spoke English in the store helped me pick it out by asking me her age. The store and perfume were Yves Robert. It was about 80F or $16 and gift-wrapped for free.
Next I went to a book store. I bought a book on Guadeloupe for Doris. The price was raised from 70F, but it seemed like one of the cheapest gifts for her. I didn’t find the Queen album in the record stores which was okay because they were expensive. I bought myself some Izod clothes. I was in a rush and not calculating the exchange. The shirt and shorts ended up costing me $200. We’re talking U.S. money. Oh well. I wasn’t hungry, just thirsty. I drove some more and tried to follow the sun until I got a good sunset picture. Then it started to rain. I went to a gas station to fill up the gas tank before returning the car. I had to wait for awhile for the attendant when I returned the car. I needed the time to figure out how to open the hatchback. I was at the airport early, but time flew by and LIAT finally opened. I used a combination of Francs and US money to get a drink. I cleaned out my backpack and went to the bathroom. The LIAT flight was late, but I finally got on and made it to Antigua. Unfortunately American Airlines made it there before LIAT. I had to wait in the immigration line for a long time.
While I was waiting a message was broadcast for me to meet the Peace Corps driver at the LIAT desk. After I clear customs without opening my suitcases I went to the desk dragging my luggage. No one was there. I couldn’t find my PC driver. I took the first taxi I could get to the Wickershams. It cost me $16EC. They were not at home when I arrived. I was worried because the PC driver that I never saw was supposed to tell me if they weren’t there. I asked a neighbor. She told me she was sure that the stiff and fast walking lady was still there. As I went back to their apartment they were just getting home from a party. Their friend asked me if I was French.
I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I gave them some fruit. They gave me a letter from Korynn. I asked them to mail my postcard to Catherine. It was pretty late when we finally made it to bed. I woke up early again. The PC driver showed up. That was lucky because the driver who dropped me off the night before did not show up as he promised. The cost of this ride was $4 more.
At the ticket counter I saw some medical students. It seemed that they would be on the flight, too. Not too many stores were open at the Antigua terminal. By the time I was ready to use up my EC money the call came for the flight. A little boy told me that I was a teacher. I suppose he was child at PSS, but I didn’t recognize him. iI was raining, so they put us in a van to get to the airplane. I saw a rainbow on the way.
Leif Skille got on the plane to my surprise. He sat next to me and we talked for awhile. The plane was not crowded so he was able to sit next to me instead of his assigned seat. We arrived in Puerto Rico on time. I got my superheavy luggage and handed in my customs form. I was surprised that they didn’t check my baggage and take my bananas or plantain. I was at the gate near where I got on my first plane to Antigua and introduced myself to David Matheny. I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth. I got on my flight to Baltimore. I sat next to a newlywed hispanic couple. I didn’t talk too much because I figured they wouldn’t want to. I spent most of my time reading. We had a meal served to us. It was different, but the vegetables weren’t as fresh as I was used to. I brushed my teeth after the meal.
I got off the plane in D.C. to walk around. I called Clay and left a message on his answering machine. I also tried to call Ingrid via Hannah Catherine. It didn’t work. The Catherine in the phone book didn’t know anyone by that name. I bought a New York magazine, a Bush postcard, and some dried tropical fruit. I bought a small carton of juice, then sat down to watch some CNN airport news.
At Baltimore I had to drag my bags to US Air to get it on my flight to Wilkes-Barre. The gate number was changed when they decided to use a different airplane.
I arrived at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport on time. Dad, Rita, and Randy were there to greet me. Dad shook my hand when we met. We got my suitcases. They helped me get them through the airport. We drove home on the completed Cross Valley Expressway.