Saturday, March 24, 2012

Is this Dublin or What?

After the tour of the devastation, we were ready for some change of scenery, so Cecile brought us to the market square of Salem, the furthest point that is habitable, which is protected by a series of mountains from the volcano. People had gathered around stations of long tables, with a live band on a stage at a corner, and lots of food and drinks for sale. Most of the people were wearing green (including us), and having a good time. We spent a couple of hours, met with two guys, one American from Nebraska,US, and a retired school teacher from Hamilton, Ontario. Apparently they got very good deals buying their homes after the volcanic activity. The American was living there year round, the Canadian only two months of late winter every year. We took a stroll around the area, and saw that the mansions with nice views of the ocean on the gentle slopes were full of white people, whizzing by in their cars. Some even offered us rides; everybody greeted us while passing, probably thinking that we were to become new neighbors.

The first settlers in Montserrat were Irish immigrants, but most of them returned home after the sugar boom had dissipated. The emancipated slaves are carrying on the tradition and the culture of hard work and love of fun. When we asked, everybody described the island as very safe, with only petty crime, which was immediately punished. They mention the only murder as a result of domestic violence, was committed by an outsider!

It is a paradise on earth, which also offers some excitement at different intervals for the people. I would definitely come back to explore it some more, but not just now.

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