Saint Lucians don’t bat an eyelid at certain sights because we grew up with them. Those same sights can be a bit of a surprise for visitors.
While driving through the countryside, perhaps on your first journey on Lucian roads after arriving at the airport, you spot trees with large, blue appendages. And you naturally wonder why. This is an agricultural practice that our banana farmers have been following for decades. Blue tinted plastic bags are placed over the banana bunches to protect the fruit (which botanically isn’t a fruit but a berry from a rhizome). The blue tint protects the bananas from harsh, direct sunlight so that they don’t ripen prematurely. The plastic also deters birds and insects from eating the bananas and stops them from being bruised by the tree’s large leaves. So those blue bags ensure that our bananas are in tip-top condition for the consumer.
We Lucians love our food, particularly when cooked the traditional way on a coal pot. It’s our form of barbecue and is popular at festivals and holidays. The pot is made by hand from clay with a perforated dish on top of a pedestal. Charcoal burns in the dish and the ashes fall through the holes. Pots or foil-wrapped parcels of food are placed on the coals and imbued with a wonderful flavour as they cook. Choiseul on the west coast is famous for its coal pots. If you see one being used at a roadside stall, do stop and buy some of the delicious food.
This snake is known locally as a tete-chien (French for dog’s head). It is found in drier, grassy areas and can grow to a length of ten feet. You will be relieved to learn that it is not poisonous. As a tourist you are most unlikely to encounter one in the wild but you may well see one on a drive along the coastal roads, draped around a local’s neck. Do pull over and investigate. Remember that the person with the snake will expect money.