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journey

Dominica and St. Lucia

Yesterday, I stayed on board at Roseau, Dominica for a little while, waiting to see if they'd gotten me an opthamologist appointment, but they weren't able to do so. I got off the ship and wandered around the port, looking for free wifi, but didn't come across any. The port was full of street vendors and souvenir shops, and the town was a little run down looking, clearly a pretty poor area. The island itself is supposed to have some amazing nature areas to visit, but I didn't get around to doing that. I was tired and it was very hot out, so I headed back to the ship. Not a whole lot else to note about that day.

Today were arrived in Castries, St. Lucia. I didn't get a chance to go ashore for a while, because we had a crew boat drill in the morning. We all assembled in our muster station with life jackets on, and then were directed to go out to the boat deck neat the lifeboats. Then, we did something we haven't yet done since I joined the ship - they loaded us into the boats. They did this on the side away from the dock, so the crew from the starboard side boats (my side) crossed over to the port side and joined the crew there. We climbed into the boats, shoulder to shoulder, and then we got lowered down to the water. The lifeboat capacity was 150, but we only ended up with 115 - that's all the available crew we had. Ordinarily, the lifeboats would each be 130 passengers and 20 crew, and the remaining crew would end up in the many life rafts on board. We drove the lifeboat around the harbor for a little bit, and eventually got to disembark at the platform usually used to load and unload the tender boats. When I got back to my cabin, there was a message to get up to the infirmary, so I hustled up there, and was told a taxi was waiting to take me to the opthamologist.

So, off we went - I got to ride through the streets of Castries, and I noted the expected Burger King (I see more of those than McDonalds!) and also KFC. We eventually arrived at Lens XPress, which had pretty much the only opthamologist in town. There I waited to see the doctor. It was interesting to see how low-tech things were - they wrote the appointments on notecards, rather than use some computer scheduling thing like everyone uses at home. I waited nearly an hour, watching the various locals picking up their glasses. The whole time, the TV appeared to be tuned to The Obituary Channel. Seriously - what they were watching was an endless series of obituaries, showing a picture, then a list of surviving family, and where the services would be held.

Eventually, I was called back to see Dr. Shah, a very nice Indian man, who checked me out and said he didn't see anything that required immediate attention, but that I should see a retina specialist at some point in the future. The taxi driver picked me up again, and we fought a bit of traffic getting back to the ship. We weren't that far away - driving back I saw the other side of the Holland America Noordam, which was docked across from us. The driver was late for another pickup, so at one of the last turns, I volunteered to walk the rest of the way back to the dock. I made my way back to the terminal, and walked around the complex of restaurants and gift shops there, purchasing only a couple of postcards before heading back to the ship for lunch.

Tomorrow: Antigua

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