Once we arrived, I enjoyed seeing all the different types of trees. The terrain was rugged like West Virginia, but there were no trees similar to what we have back home. The exotic palms, bananas, and other trees made it clear I wasn't in West Virginia despite the beautiful hills.
One of my favorite fruits down here is called “soursop” (also known as sweetsop on some islands). It is a green fruit with prickles on the skin, but the inside is white and hard to describe—perhaps a bit like melted cotton candy. Here is a picture of a soursop hanging in the tree.
Other fruit trees included grapefruit,
oranges (both of these citrus fruits were still green at this time of the season),
plantain (similar to banana),
Here is a picture of my host mom using a machete to dig up tumeric roots.
Another interesting tree was the cocoa tree.
These big seedpods are split open, and the cocoa seeds are covered in a tasty gelatinous coating (similar to soursop).
You dig the seeds out and suck on them, but carefully preserve the seeds when you are done so that they can be dried to make chocolate.
There were also several types of coconut trees. The top is first chopped off with a machete...
so that you can drink the water inside.
Once you have consumed the water, the shell is split open, so that you dig the soft lining of the coconut out with a spoon. They refer to it as coconut jelly.
For lunch that day, my host mom used an old clay pot over an open fire to make a “one pot” soup.
It included chicken, pig's tail, plantain, dumplings, yams, and more. Here is a picture of the plantain preparation.
Here is the cook checking on the progress of her soup.
Here is a picture of me enjoying the final product.
Note that it was served in a calabash bowl. The calabash tree produces a large fruit that apparently isn't edible, but the thick outer skin is dried and used to make bowls and water jugs.
Later in the day, it was time to harvest some items to bring back to town. Here are green, yellow, and orange coconuts.
This picture includes a round bowl of wax apples; a crate containing mangoes, pomegranates, papaya, guava, nutmeg, and a green pumpkin; as well as bunches of plantain.
Finally, one of the highlights of the day was seeing the wild St. Lucian parrots, which are only found in the jungle. The male and female parrot partners generally stay close together, so I ended up seeing four different pairs fly by. They were generally squawking as they flew overhead, so because I heard them first, I was actually able to snap a few pictures.
I'm glad I got to see these birds, even if they wouldn't allow you to get very close to them. It helped to make this simple but enjoyable day on the island complete.