Monday, October 31, 2011

New 2012 Dominica Food and Drink Guide now available

Originally uploaded by Tropical Ties
The publishers, Leeward Consultants, are busy distributing the new Dominica Food and Drink Guide 2012. Packed with interesting articles, information, photos and listings of places to check out.
At the back of the guide you'll also find the latest Homes and Lifestyle issue.

Copies should be available from all participating establishments but can also be viewed on-line here.
Dominica Food and Drink Guide 2012
Homes and Lifestyle
Congrats to all those involved.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Small Axe Organic Farm, Dominica

"There is love in every little thing and each tear is an ocean of love..."
Check out this blog post by Small Axe farm in Dominica
Small Axe Farm - Love Drops

For some photos taken at small axe farm click here or click play on the slideshow below.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Nature Island Literary Festival and Book Fair 2011, Dominica

Well, that's it for another year, it's been a week already since the Nature Island Literary Festival and Book Fair. The festival takes so much planning but is over in a flash. I was really pleased to see an increase in book fair traffic, younger generation attendees and an increase in the attendees for the weekend event workshops.
So thanks to the organisers, sponsors, supporters, volunteers, book donators, local and overseas guests and performers, competition entrants, the media and especially all those who came out in sometimes very inclement weather. It's definitely a festival with a difference in Dominica's annual calendar of events, but with lack of funding and volunteer resource I do hope it is able to continue.

Click for some photos from this years Nature Island Literary Festival event or click play on the slideshow below.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Get Ready for the Nature Island Literary Festival 2011 Aug 5th -7th

Nature Island Literary Festival Flyer

Click play below for this year's jingle.

A stimulating range of workshops have been arranged, starting from Tuesday August 2nd. Take advantage of this free opportunity to exchange ideas with experienced writers, poets and playwrights. All workshops will be held at the UWI Open Campus, Elmshall Road, Roseau. Click for further details on the workshops or to register.

The full programme of events for the festival weekend will be published soon but meanwhile do check the website for more information on the invited guests this year.

Click for some photos from previous years or click play on the slideshow below.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dominica on the Map

Geography and directions are not my forte. In the days when I lived in UK and visited Dominica on "far too short" holidays, I had no idea where places were or the directions to some of the most common visitor Trafalgar Falls (don't laugh). Driving from Roseau to Portsmouth, my husband would get fed up with me asking "where are we again?" after every village we came too.
It seems ludicrous now, having been back for several years and knowing the island pretty well, but back then (I am soooo embarrassed to say) I did not know Mahaut from Marigot . I still get Dublanc and Dubique confused and I'm sure there must be two Savanne Paille's ;-)
Nowadays, I take driving all over for granted but I can so imagine what it must be like for a first time visitor landing at Melville Hall, picking up their hire vehicle, and being faced with the daunting task of finding their accomodation in somewhere like Wotten Waven or even Roseau.
Anyway, for an island so small, trust me, it's easy to get lost and driving "into" Roseau on the "out" bridge is not for the faint-hearted. So back then, as soon as we landed, I would search out a Sky Views pocket map. Not only were the maps essential for me to get around the island and save the sanity of my husband, but I was always drawn to the images or artwork of Dominican culture and landscape on the front cover. This was way before I came to live here permanently and discovered my passion for photography, so it never even crossed my mind that one day photographs of mine would be on the front cover of these maps.
I have kept a copy of each map since 2005, it's a good chronicle of things that have changed on the island. I just wish I had kept the maps from when I used to visit.
Things have improved a lot from all those years ago and many companies have sponsored much needed road signs but a map is still an essential item if you are new to the island or have not visited in a long time. So thank you Sky Views for literally putting Dominica "on the map" and my images too. :-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cricket Lovely Cricket

Well it's been cricket fever here in Dominica with our island proudly hosting the third test match, West Indies vs India, at the Windsor Park Sports Stadium. I went for a little while on Sunday and again although I did not always fully understand what was going on, shame on me ;-), I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere.
It was an inpsired move by the organisers to offer concessionary tickets to those over 60 and to children as it ensured that the matches were pretty well attended during the week.
I went on the last day, Sunday, and the stadium was packed with an enthusiastic and optimistic crowd. Our Dominican fans really showed some love and appreciation to the West Indies team, cheering them on and when WI got a man out LBW on the first ball the stadium erupted with massive cheering.
Much praise needs to go out to all the people behind the scenes who made this event possible; those who kept the pitch in order, made sure the stadium was ready and not forgetting the sponsors.
Although the match is over, the cricket theme extends this Saturday 16th July with a showing of the hit film 'Fire in Babylon', at Alliance Francaise in Roseau (part of the third Traveling Caribbean Film Showcase).
The film trailer can be seen here.

It would be great to see West Indies cricket return to those glory days again. Maybe if we all keep spurring the team on and inspiring that passion again, it can really be that simple.
Anyway Dominica got some great publicity from the event and our fans got some well deserved praise.
WICB president hails Dominican fans for massive support
Series comes to dead end
Kudos for Dominica fans
Check out the rest of the photos from the day here - Photos of West Indies vs India in Dominica

By the way if you're wondering where the blog title "Cricket Lovely Cricket" comes from, it's from a calypso song "Victory Test Match" by Lord Beginner.
You can hear it here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I have always thought that to truly appreciate and understand the multi-layers of Dominica, the landscape, the culture and the people, you have to get out of your vehicle. For me that normally means walking but the other day I saw Dominica from a totally different perspective. This time I saw the island from "Ma Honey", a motor cruiser run by Keith (Yardee) and Janet from Titiwi Inn.
The boat and crew can be hired for moonlight cruises, fishing, snorkelling or a little coastal siteseeing and that day Captain 'Yardee' took us on a fun trip from Citronnier to Scotts Head. This is a stretch that I drive down many times so I know it well from the road but it was eye-opening and interesting viewing from the sea and I loved this window into normally hidden Dominican life.
We glided by the fishermen in their colourful wooden boats, the young boys fishing on the traditional rafts called pwi-pwi's, our scuba diving operators, coastal hotels, bars and restaurants, lines of houses, the humble wooden traditional ti-kai's and the larger concrete newer additions, the Galion hillside decorated with red African tulip trees, the imposing Pointe Michel and Soufriere churches, watchful like village sentinels, the ongoing sea defence project at Pointe Michel, excited local kids being taken on a catamaran boat trip by Anchorage hotel, and visitors swimming at Scotts Head bay. All this was great to see but I also saw aspects of the island which were not so nice; rubbish and old appliances dumped off cliffs or left on the coast and the quarry, which I appreciate is an economic, "job providing" necessity but I still can't help but wince when I see this scar on our nature island landscape.
But these blots were by far the minority sights on what was a really scenic and relaxing trip and as we headed back home I wondered how much this stretch and the lives of those living and working on the coast, would change over the next few years.
Here are some photos of Dominica taken from the sea.
Boat trip from Citronnier to Scotts Head

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dominica Health and Wellness Events, May 2011

Growing up in Dominica, it was hard NOT to stay healthy. Luckily for me I had parents, siblings and relatives who made sure our weekends and holidays were filled with river baths, trips to the beach or some rainforest adventure. We walked a lot back then, to school, to friends and relatives homes, to the river and beach, so obesity was not a word heard very often.
Wholesome, home cooked food was the norm (I wish I had paid more attention), normally comprising of vegetables from a relatives "back yard" garden or farm. Not forgetting the juicy fresh fruit, picked straight from trees (don't even get me started on mango season) and the appropriate herbal "bush" tea selected depending on the emotional or physical need at the time. All this formed part of our normal routine and was something many of us took for granted until those things were no longer part of our lives.
But in our race not to be seen as "poor little Dominica" we are fast ditching common sense and adopting some seriously unhealthy habits and lifestyles, imitating countries like USA and UK that we regard as more sophisticated and developed. Meanwhile these countries that we are desperately trying to play catch up with are ironically jogging their way back to a lifetsyle that looks a lot like the one I remember from childhood.
The percentage of our population suffering from chronic non-communicable diseases are rapidly increasing, younger ages as well, and in a country so small, many of us personally know someone suffering from hypertension, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes etc. See DNO article - CNCD's in Dominica
Caricom article - CNCD's Alarming Facts
All this makes the promotion of "Health and Wellness" in Dominica a great idea I think. Not only to make us more aware of and appreciate our natural assets but to also promote these to potential visitors and non-exploiting investment partners.
Dominica's 3rd Annual Health and Wellness event was held in May this year and formed part of the Discover Dominica Authority's Tourism awareness month of activities.
I love this event and organiser Terri Henry's passionate determination, sincerity and enthusiastic energy is infectious, so it is always a pleasure to be involved.
This year, chef and best selling author of Caribbean Vegan, Taymer Mason, was the inspirational invited guest and a major part of the 3 day series of events. Another extremely hard working and driven individual, Taymer held various workshops demonstrating how creative and tasty, vegan dishes can be.
A great thing about events held in Dominica is that often they are intimate affairs, so you can usually "connect", meet and talk to people you might not get a chance to at larger events. It was a pleasure to meet Taymer and learn more about the frustrations and advantages she has experienced living in some of the other Caribbean islands. I hope partnerning with others from the region is something Dominica can do more of. We talk of Caribbean unity and I think there is so much we can share and learn from our neighbours and vice versa, they can learn from us too.
Another aspect of the event that I particulary applaud, is that it highlights those who are quietly doing their "little thing" in the background, often for many years. The herb sellers you might pass by without a glance, the vegetarian cafe you never realised existed, the yoga practioners and massage therapists you won't see in the yellow pages etc. It was also nice to see families at the event too; kids with boundless amounts of energy on the bouncy castle.
So the Health and Wellness event overcame it's many challenges and was a success on many levels again this year. But for us who live here, to truly embody healthier living and for "Health and Wellness" to mean something more than the latest trendy tag line that tries to define Dominica to the tourist market, we all need to pay more than just lip service to staying healthy, both emotionally and physically and to take personal responsibilty for keeping Dominica healthy too.
That includes me, so after posting this blog, I'm heading off for a sea bath. See you there!! :-)
Thanks to all those who supported and sponsored the event through financial assistance and long hard working hours behind the scenes. Please do check out who they all were in the various links below.

Some photos from the various events.
YouTube photo slideshow - Fri 13th May Anchorage Event

YouTube photo slideshow - Sat 14th May JTAS Event

YouTube photo slideshow - Sun 15th May UWI Expo

For more information on the 2011 Health & Wellness event in Dominica see the following links:
Taymer Mason's website
Dominica Wellness Events Health and Wellness posts
Martha Cuffy's Primal Beauty blog

For more general information see the following links:
Discover Dominica's Health and Wellness directory
Dominica Health and Wellness website
Dominica the healing island by Terri Henry
Health Tourism by Dr. Emanuel Finn (2002)
Terri Henry's website

Friday, June 24, 2011

Carnival Queen Show, March 2011, Dominica

My posts are seriously out of wack date wise so apologies.
One of our long standing events as part of Carnival season is our Queen Show or Miss Dominica pageant. While few will deny that the winners are hard working ambassadors for Dominica and the contestants all say that taking part in the event is very challenging and great for confidence building and personal development, it may be time to update the format if the event is to remain positive, relevant and uplifting for young woman today.
I'm not sure that scoring women for walking around in a swimming costume is something we still ought to be doing.
What do you think?

BBC News - In pictures: The modern-day beauty contest

Click for photos from this years event

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Creole & All That Jazz Event, May 2010, Dominica

I'm STILL processing photos from last year but wanted to get these uploaded as the Creole and Jazz Event is on again this Sunday 12th June (click link for DDA flyer). Last year was a fun, family event and the Cabrits setting was nice. The event line-up was a cool mix of local and international talent - Arturo Tappin, Christian Laviso, Conjunto Puerto Rico, Fanatik and Marie-Claire. Kudos to the DDA team and sponsors for adding something a little different to the annual musical events calendar.
I know many of us are feeling it financially at the moment so it's a shame about the price increase this year to $60EC ($50EC in advance) plus the charge for bringing your own cooler but I'm sure it will still be a relaxed and entertaining event, especially with the fab weather we've been having.

Creole & All That Jazz Event, Dominica
Creole & All That Jazz Event, Dominica
Creole & All That Jazz Event, Dominica
Creole & All That Jazz Event, Dominica
Creole & All That Jazz Event, Dominica
Creole & All That Jazz Event, Dominica
Creole & All That Jazz Event, Dominica

Click for Slideshow - Creole And All That Jazz Event

Click for photos from this years event

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cricket - West Indies vs South Africa, 30th May 2010, Dominica

Hmmm...these photos are nearly a year old now. I was trying out a new lens and took FAR too many and couldn't face processing them all.
Anyway from what I remember about the day, great atmosphere and crowd turn out...not so great cricket...we lost!!!

Some more info about the event here:
Dominica to host South Africa and West Indies in two ODI's
Digicel Match Report: Meek Windies surrender Digicel Series

Cricket - West Indies vs South Africa, 30th May 2010, Dominica

Cricket - West Indies vs South Africa, 30th May 2010, Dominica
Click for Slideshow - West Indies vs South Africa

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Camera Abstract Art - Rear Car Lights

Most who have driven or been driven from Melville Hall airport to Roseau can testify that the drive can sometimes seem long and tedious with the narrow winding roads and even more so at night.
Well my advice next time is to take your camera along.
On my last drive back from Marigot to Roseau I had the luxury of being a passenger for a change so I spent the whole journey amusing myself taking photos of car rear lights, head lights and street lights.
You may get some strange looks from whoever is driving but the results can be some pretty cool abstract images.
It works best when it's very dark, you move the camera around a bit and you use a slow shutter speed. Also try using the camera self timer as well.
Here's some examples of a few I took:
Click for Slideshow - Camera Light Painting effects

During the day you can also get some nice blur effects of the scenery as you drive past too.

Click for Slideshow - Camera Movement effects

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Good Life

With the escalating price of food I am always thankful for the gifts of produce from friends and relatives and had hoped to be "growing what we eat and eating what we grow" by now - (Hope I've got that the right way round!!!).
When I lived in England there used to be a funny 70's sitcom called "The Good Life". The basic plot was "Tom Good ... gives up work ... and he and his wife Barbara adopt a sustainable, simple and self-sufficient lifestyle while staying in their home in The Avenue, Surbiton."
"Goodwill Heights", I figure, is Dominica's Surbiton equivalent, so I also had plans of living a simple more self sufficient lifestyle. Well things haven't worked out as I planned and we're not keeping chickens or growing our own organic produce yet, so I'm very jealous of my friend who has beat me to it.
The Sawers are certainly living the "Good Life" here in Dominica, although they may not actually realise it yet :-) and it might seem more like some feverish nightmare some of the time. This is just some of the fab produce I've gratefully received from them.
Hmmm, I'm not sure how they grew the organic chocolate but I'll certainly be looking forward to their next harvest.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Forest Rain

I don't always like to take my camera when I'm hiking, especially when hiking with others, but on this waitukubuli national trail hike last year the group was large and spread out enough for me to have some fun experiment time.
I had read about the "not for the faint-hearted" technique of camera tossing, which can create some really cool abstract image effects, but decided "tossing" was not for me and stuck with some less extreme camera movement shots, with the camera firmly held in my hands.
It was a lot of fun and I really liked some of the effects I managed to capture.

Click link to view a picture slideshow of some other movement blur shots