Thursday, March 31, 2011

Goodbye Becca

Fort Vieux is where one of the two airports on St. Lucia is and where Becca left us.  Money was low, commitments back home were pressing (or so she said), and it was time for her to go.  We had about a day to spend in the town.  Becca's flight left the next afternoon.  After a good swim to wash myself and my clothes, Mark and I wandered around town, looking for internet access.  Nate stayed to help Becca pack.  

Fort Vieux is not a stop for cruise ships or even private boaters to any large extent.  The only draw there is the airport and there is another one on the island farther north, closer to the resorts.  Its a regular, working town, not particularly pretty, not set up with the amenities that transient sailors desire, no showers, no WiFi, no pricey little tourist restaurants serving American food.  As Mark and I walked along the streets, though we were the only two white people in sight, no one paid us a second's notice.  After having been followed and harassed everywhere we went in Soufriere by beggars and taxi drivers and tour guides, it was great to be ignored.
We all walked Becca in to town her last morning but Mark and I peeled off at the internet cafe and let Nate go with her alone to the airport.  It was a long walk with little shade.  When Nate returned, sad and sweat stained, our crew now reduced to three, we joined him silently in the street and headed for the harbor.

Along the way, we stopped to pick up a family value meal from Kentucky Fried Chicken.  I haven't seen a McDonald's since leaving Florida, but there seems to be a KFC on every island and there's always a line.  These people like their fried chicken.  Back by the water, we bought pirate necklaces with pendants of polished drift wood from an emaciated old man sitting out on the fishing wharf, then took the dinghy out to where Strolla lay at anchor.  It was amazing how much faster the little boat went with only three people in it.

The value meal was supposed to feed a family of six.  Although we finished it without too much difficulty, we felt lucky to all be wearing bathing suits with elastic waistbands.  When the last greasy crumb of chicken skin had been licked up, the last biscuit used to wipe up the last dollop of mashed potatoes and gravy, we settled back into various positions of repose, sated past the point of comfort.  As we reclined in silence, watching the drop to the watery horizon, bare-chested save for our new necklaces, each was lost in his own thoughts, wondering what the trip would be like without Becca.

Becca, you will be missed...


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