Monday, December 24, 2007

Caribbean Cruise - Part 8

Hispaniola is one large island consisting of two countries..........Dominican Republic and Haiti. As impoverished the Dominican is.........Haiti is said to be in far worse shape. Maybe it is not thought of as a vacation spot but the Royal Caribbean Intl. cruise company owns a piece of property in Haiti called Labadee.

This is Labadee, Haiti as seen from where the Grandeur Of The Seas was anchored. It looked pretty good from here and we were told that this place is fun.

One of the first things I noticed was that the place was well landscaped and the signs were not chicken scratch. This is a bonafide resort area..........without the hotels. The grandchildren wanted some fun and this was the place for that.

Lots of stuff to do here.........and kids lots of stuff especially for this waterpark with all sorts of inflatable things to jump on and climb upon..........but for a fee, of course.

The Monsterchild and Inky. I must say that of all the various places I have travelled, this spot had the warmest and calmest water. Perfect for us.
Aside from having fun in the water, there is some shopping here. Two large buildings that house kiosks and shops. One building was obviously a higher scale and the other was extremely local. No harassment in the upper scale building........but an entirely different story in that other building. You could negotiate some pretty great deals with the locals. You cannot pass by the building without having arms of the salespeople reaching through windows and other openings.....trying to get your attention and inviting you in to see their wares.

Next to the buidings was an area of open market to stroll past.

And, yes, we did negotiate on some Haitian artwork. All handmade stuff piled high. The vendors would not let you walk away without spending some matter how little you spend. If they wanted 20 bucks for one could end up getting five or six things for 10 bucks. Apparently, Royal Caribbean arranges for the locals to make a few bucks here within certain guidelines and rules of conduct. These people are grateful for the opportunity to make a living. Consider that the annual per capita income on Hispaniola is about $100 US dollars............that's right!........could any one of us live on a hundred bucks per year? Also, Labadee is fenced off from the rest of Haiti. It is a secure area and we are safe. Elsewhere in Haiti, it is not recommended to roam around........desperate people do desperate things.

One thing becomes obvious to you if you visit island is a huge part of their lives. Not only does it provide some is a necessity in their culture. My guess is that RCI enlisted these guys to perform on their property, but I suspect that the only pay they got was when people like me bought their cd. Everybody has bought a compact disc of music, somewhere at home......and I guarantee you that never has anyone been so grateful that you bought it, as these guys. They were absolutely excited that I bought their cd.
One note.........this band played continuously the entire day!

Plenty of beach chairs, and never over crowded.

Almonds. I had never seen that before. Some people never noticed this............they were busy looking at..................

.............this kind of stuff........hehehe.

The weather was great and the sun was extremely hot. I guarantee you that most of the people from the ship got toasted here. Very strong sun here.

In contrast to the area of the waterpark and calm waters..............a stroll to the other side of the resort takes you to an entirely different beach. Waves and a zip line. Alot of wind too.

The sun was going down and we had our fill of this place. It was as advertised by the cruise ship.
I never dreamed I would set foot here.........and yet I did.

And so we set sail again............we would be heading north for home. Two long days ahead at sea. Last port of call........Baltimore.

Stay tuned.......I gotta wrap all of this up.

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