We got a rental car for two days. An optically distinguishable 8-seater from the local taxis, especially due to its indentation. So for eight Japanese. In St. Lucia there are practically only Japanese vehicles. However, all well-known manufacturers are represented there, from the Suzuki small car to the large Lexus.
Our tour should take us around the island. Jens has agreed to take the helm. None of us really feel like driving the car. The path first leads us to the capital, Castries.
In the rental car we struggle through the traffic jam in the city center. The crusader towers over all buildings and looks out of place. The road winds out of the city again, it is slowly turning green and then there is another view over the Bay of Castries - with three cruise ships.
Then we drive through banana plantations (Jens refuses to stop) and stalls for knick-knacks. Will they sell to the cruise tourists? So many sailors are not on the island, they could not make a living from it.
We stop in the middle of the jungle, actually to photograph a fern. A friendly bracelet dealer tells us about the beautiful view of the Pitons. All he wants to do is sell a few bracelets, scrounge cigarettes, beg for dollars and tell us a great deal. Here there are advantages of not having to wait for the bus.
Jens steps on the gas. He gets everything out of the rental car. It hits every pothole in the street. Unfortunately, on St. Lucia they cannot keep up to repair the frost breaks and potholes caused by the strong frost. The Japanese car is the perfect search device. Our intervertebral discs screech. Regular buses, private cars, horse-drawn carriages and snail races pass us every few minutes.
The pickup truck also overtakes us with a high speed difference. The view of the loading area makes me laugh almost loudly and quickly pull up the camera. This photo just wanted to be taken.
In Souvriere we come back into a heavy traffic jam, try a bypass and get stuck. A local resident takes the opportunity to tell us about the accident that has occurred. Then he guides us step by step out of the tangle of streets. He does all of this for us, a few dollars and cigarettes.
The wealth on this island seems to be very unevenly distributed. It was different in Barbados. There the poor didn't seem quite as poor to us. Here they pounce on every tourist to beg for a few dollars. At the same time, the number of Japanese luxury sedans on the streets is surprisingly high.
We go on, on and on. All the way south to Vieux-Fort. We see cows chewing under palm trees, but don't stop for a photo. In Vieux-Fort we accidentally get into a one-way street. The wrong way around, of course. It turns out lightly, Jens can turn the car before the first oncoming traffic comes. At some point a grumble spreads in the car, we want food, we want a break. Cold drinks.
We drive off the main road into a small village. First we find the fish market, then there is no open pub anywhere. Then the road is half blocked with a jeep, of course we get stuck with the fender. The damage to the jeep doesn't matter, a local tells us that the car was abandoned. The damage to the fender of the rental car - we learn a few days later - is a little bit higher than the deductible of the car insurance.
We finally find a kind of village pub in this village, which of course has chicken legs on offer. And pizza. We quench hunger and thirst. The local cat is not ready to cooperate.
Jens finds a few potholes on the way back to the marina, otherwise we get back safely to Sissi. On the second day of renting a car, I no longer want to go. It was too much driving for me and we didn't meet any locals.