However, some of my colleagues came up with a way for us to take a driving tour of parts of the island last Saturday. The local boyfriend of one of the PCVs rented a van and drove it, so we could do our own little tour. It was fun to ride around with a van full of your friends, rather than sharing a bus ride with total strangers.
That's me with four of my colleagues sitting under a rock overhang near the crashing surf during our visit to L'Escalier Tete Chien, described further below.We got off to a late start (as typically happens with so many folks involved, all coming from different directions). Our first stop was for a snack at this beach.
Our destination was the L'Escalier Tete Chien, which roughly translates into the stairway of the dog's head. This name has nothing to do with dogs, but instead with snakes. While Dominica does not have any poisonous snakes, there are a few boa constrictors. Someone thought that these snakes appeared to have a head shaped similarly to a dog's head, thus their name became Tete Chien (head, dog). [By the way, I get the impression that there are very few boa constrictors on this island, and those that are here are likely deep in the interior and not around my little coastal village—besides, I'd rather take my chances with a boa any day, compared to the copperheads we have back home.]
The L'Escalier Tete Chien is a peninsula jutting out into the Atlantic Ocean, which was formed by a lava flow. There is a native legend that a giant boa constrictor swam from South America and came ashore at this point, continuing up the hill to a cave near the top of the mountain. The lava flow where it entered the sea, and where the serpent supposedly emerged, reminds some folks of a staircase, hence the name (below shows some of us working our way down to the ocean).
Upon arrival, we drove to the top of a nearby hill known as Jack's Bluff. It provided an impressive view of Dominica's capital city. A huge Carnival cruise ship was docked downtown that day. You can see it in the lower left corner of the picture below, as well as the cricket stadium in the upper right corner. In the foreground below our perch on the hill is the Botanical Gardens. Unfortunately, clouds prevented a nice sunset picture.