There is Nothing Mundane About Sunsets – Absolutely Nothing! They are Beautiful

sunset1Are you like me that you see value in the seemingly mundane of things?  Somehow it is almost impossible for me to spot a sunset somewhere and not gaze upon it.  Even when I drive along various parts, especially along the West and Northern Coasts of our island, I often steal chances to capture such moments, phone in one hand and steering wheel in the other.  This is not a good practice, so please do not try it.  There are many times that I stop the car, park along the roadside and snap away.

Let us face it though, is a sunset really mundane?  I mean who says it is that anyway.  To be mundane is to be: “of, or relating to, characteristic of the world; Characterized by the practical, transitory, and ordinary: Commonplace.”www.merriam-webster.com    The complexity of the reality that we see the sun in the morning and it leaves us and heads to another part of the world where some people will be starting their new day is mysterious to say the least.    The shadows become pronounced as the brightness fades in our parts – the fact is the sun never really sets.   This is how it is termed anyway, so let us maintain it as mentioned – The Sunset!

So what’s with chasing sunsets?  What is in it really?  All over the world people appreciate the color schemes, the crimson, gold, and green, the blindingly amazing display of light that draws us in.

Do not mention the love-birds.  I mean, the lovers who just drown into each other forming silhouettes undefined along our bays, restaurants, beaches and bars while sipping on their favorite drinks or on each other’s lips.  Did I say that?  Oops, I think it is too late to take it back anyway.

Those of you who know me are wondering what I know about that.  Oh well, whatever, I bet it happens any way.   Our part of the world is a good place to chase and capture sunsets.  Ask Yuri Jones, 365MMP, and Chad Ambo among some of our top photographers who continue to shoot some fantastic treasures all around the island.    Their photos far outweigh those here, but I am always so happy with what I can behold.  7

Interestingly, when someone departs the earth, it is referred to as their sunset, so you will see for example: Sunrise 1910 – Sunset 2010 on graves, funeral programs and notice boards.  In that context, a sunset is morbid; it is daunting, dark and evokes pains.  It is even despised.  The use then of sunset to describe such sad life events, can sometimes cause people to shun the idea of the term.  Notwithstanding this fact, the beauty of sunsets cannot be ignored by their beholders.

All along the coastline with the horizon always in sight, it is easy to take these for granted.  Living in the tropics causes us to ignore the luxuries of nature with which we are graced on most days of the year.  All the same, it is in times when we need a distraction, when life gets to fast-paced or when we just need some quality, quiet time with ourselves and our loved ones that we seek gravitate toward and pay attention to things like sunsets.  20

In the midst of our busy lives, I urge us to stop and gaze at the next sunset, breathe into its rays, breathe slowly then as it pulls us in, and even capture a picture if possible.  Inner peace will be the result!  Peace to thrive through another lovely day.  After all my friends, sunsets are nothing like mundane.

Do you love a good sunset?  Can you at least share a photo or your thoughts about them with us?

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2 Videos of the Boiling Lake Experience that challenged me to the Core! A part 2!

This one is really not meant to be long.  You just need to see the raw footage of aspects of our hike via the following two videos.

I bet you are about to have a jaw-dropping experience looking at the beauty that will greet you.  Meanwhile, you are going to want one of those hard boiled sulfuric eggs if you do eat eggs that is.  Even if you do not like eggs, you will wonder about how they tasted and whether we were not more than brave to actually consume those we had.

Well, we are all still alive, one month after, so let us say – It was safe and did not kill any of us.

Here are the videos for your liking.   Feel free to leave a comment if you would like. I would love it if you do.

 

Did I Tell You About My First Boiling Lake Hike? What an Experience!

p1080633My best friend Kathy visited Dominica in December, and prior to arriving, announced that she will be hiking to the Boiling Lake.  If you are like me, you will do what it takes to grasp quality time with someone who is dear to you, so that urge superseded the deep-seated fear of even contemplating undertaking such a hike.  So, I surrendered to that urge and invited myself to accompany my friend and the guests that she was taking along with her to the island.  Boy, did I know what I was about to encounter?

With a mixture of apprehension and excitement, application for two days of vacation leave from work was made, and the count down began.  I must tell you that days before that hike, I thought I’d pass out with anxiety.  It was then that I tried all sorts of excuses as to why I would not be able to fulfill my wish to join my friend.  Of-course, she constantly just laughed at me and brushed the fear off, as if I was just being coward.  Well, of-course I was being coward.    After all, I was really afraid.

If you ever listened to the horror stories of people who have undertaken the hike, the long hours to be constantly moving, and the need to complete it within reasonable time since it can get dark quite early, you would have probably shared my trepidation.  Fear is a real dark enemy you know, because it really almost deprived me of a never to be forgotten adventure of a lifetime.

As if by fate, two days prior to the hike, I accompanied that friend and her guests up the Indian River on a soothing boat ride captained by a capable staff member of Cobra Tours.

We were joined by some additional visitors, one such being a young man from New York City who shared that he took five days off just to visit the island.  He was a first -time visitor to Dominica as well.  During our descend, he shared that he had an exceptional visit thus far, and was particularly pleased with his hike to the Boiling Lake.  That immediately caught my attention.  In quizzing him about the hike, he offered some things that we should expect, including using ropes, and climbing some rocks, and Lord did I again experience mixed feelings of fear and excitement.  His calm and joy in talking about that particular hike got me sold – I thought to myself, if he could do it, why can’t I?

For the next 30 or so hours prior to the hike, I came to terms with the fact that, this too shall pass, and I must live up to my word.  Besides, this is the opportunity I should relish since I do not get to enjoy much in-person time with my high school friend like this would present.  That was a given, I was expected to honor my promise!

Early Tuesday morning, December, 11th, 2018 a white mini-van (for us a 16 seater bus) arrived by my home and honked its horn to collect this here passenger.  Having been up early, I was set to go.  Everyone seemed quite excited, and that put me at ease.  On the way to Roseau, the conversation about things Dominican was easy and put to flight the inner fright, at least for the time being.  I learned that I was not alone in being a first time hiker to the Boiling Lake – even our driver from Calibishie had never walked it.  Meanwhile, Kathy’s cousin Kelvin was about to undertake the hike for the (wait for it) – for the Fourteenth – yes the 14th time, while Kathy was about to undertake it for the 4th or 5th time.  I thought to myself, these people cannot be serious.  After all the scary stories I heard about that hike, how in the world would someone do this even twice?

Once we got to Roseau, I learned that we would have to meet a tour guide and again that helped to put me at some ease.  We had a tour-guide, that means someone else knows what this hike is about and will most likely be able to make this a good experience.  We met Lenny after a few phone calls and he requested we make one stop to collect eggs.  I thought to myself, this guy knows his stuff.  Lenny got those eggs, and interestingly with all the ebbs and flows of that hike, he maintained carrying them in a flimsy plastic bag only cracking one out of seven while being an exceptional guide all along.

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Lenny wrote his name on the rock in the water. The sulfuric nature of the water makes the rocks rather slippery and grayish like this one.

Anyway, by now you must be wondering when am I going to get to the actual hike.  Well yes we got to the Roseau Valley, got off the bus, refreshed our selves and got our hike on the road.   That was easily shaken when one of our guests got a hard fall that scared us all.  Her hike was cut short, we were down to six!  Did that shake me?  Oh yes it did.  That was a decision moment – “to go or not to go?”

For roughly six hours and forty-five minutes, we conquered what can be easily described as a grueling course.  The moments when we ascended the mountain was refreshing and literally breath-taking.  The sights were shockingly threatening, the heights were growing and we were growing tired.  Once we reached that peak, I was struck with a certain level of fear and frustration that we were in for another 45 minutes or so before we could reach destination – Boiling Lake.

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Friends for life!  At the Peak before tackling the Valley of Desolation

At that point, our tour-guide handed the job to Kelvin in order to precede us to the Valley of Desolation where he could get eggs boiled for us before our getting there.   You would be amazed at the speed at which Lenny descended that mountain – I am still baffled.  p1080611 Meanwhile, the rest of us pressed on and later enjoyed the sulfuric – boiled eggs (as dubbed by Kelvin).  That protein certainly did us well to face the laborious ascension that followed to the actual Boiling Lake itself.

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The eggs are all hard boiled and about to be eaten.  Lenny is wearing the Blue and Black Tshirt

It would be remiss of me not to mention that I was close to quitting at several points, but that would have left me feeling like a looser, and generally it is unlike me to incomplete tasks – so after much pains, but with great encouragement from the hiking party we all pressed on.

You would think that returning would have been a piece of cake?  Well that was where I was tested to the core.  My getting back to the starting point required that I dug deeply into the recesses of my mental power, it demanded that I silently talked to God asking for strength both physical and mental, and that I hung strongly unto a make-shift hiking stick sought for me by our guide.   It is my hope you will realize that by then, my feet were so weak, they were shaking.  My thighs felt like jello, and the pain from a fall on my behind didn’t soothe me in anyway.

I must tell you that all the way up my dear friend Kathy was like a mother hen, reminding our guide to take care of her friends, while she easily stayed at the back like a starring.  I wondered about her, but I think she was storing energy while watching us tackle each step.  This is because on our way back, she showed that she had what it took to complete this hike more than 45 minutes ahead of us.  Her patience was tested, and she eventually gave in.  It was time to move and moved she did with the assurance that we were in safe and capable hands.   Meanwhile, I struggled along with a painful left knee, ridiculously holding back the group.

To say the hike to the Boiling Lake was easy would be a lie.  At least for me it was not.  To tell you that I have an eagerness to return there, would be misleading you, but was this a huge achievement for me?  – You bet it was.  Will I return?  Initially my answer to this question was an immediate NO.  Today, I reflect upon this whole experience and I am so thankful.  It built my friendships, gave me new connections with new people, and certainly tested my metal – an exam I believe I passed though not with flying colors – Passed I did!

If I can take anything from this hike, it would be that we can do anything we have set our minds to – as cliche as this may be.  Factually, had I been hiking and exercising as regularly as I did before, with the aim to prepare for it, the week of soreness that followed my Boiling Lake Hike, would have been a lot less.  I am convinced of that.    Lessons learned, but oh the joy of having this achievement in my memory bank.  Do not talk about the fact that I can now “brag” a little – “YES, I Have Conquered and Hiked the Boiling Lake which is nestled in Dominica’s highest point.”

If you are ever going to such a treacherous hike, get a tour-guide.  Lenny is a great one, I can always establish that link.  I say this because we encountered quite a few foreigners who decided to do the hike with no guide and certainly missed some of the key secrets along the way, as were ably pointed out by our guide.  Plus, the risky nature of this hike requires that you have someone who knows the terrain and dynamics of the place.  Lenny describes his work as a Boiling Lake Tour-guide as “Boiling Lake is like my front door, like my yard.”

Do you think You can do it?  If you have hiked it, would you do it again?  One thing is for certain, the beauty was beyond unprecedented.  Try It!   See for yourself.

Photos Compliment –  Yours Truly – Ceez Paul

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Portsmouth – Let Us Keep The Support for LA Bombers Football Club Alive

We Supporting Bombers

Just a part of the turnout at today’s Football match at Benjamin’s Park

We don’t have to look too far from us, to see what support is all about.  Our neighboring village on the West Coast is super at emptying out their fishing village whenever their team is playing anywhere around Dominica.  While me may not necessarily empty out Possie when Bombers plays, we must empty our homes when the games are on home-ground.  Today, we did a great or fabulous job at that.  As a matter of fact, I felt happy and proud being from Portsmouth, regardless of the result.

While we no doubt came out with the hope of taking home the joy of winning that game, and left with the adverse result, we must not be daunted, nor must we lose focus.  First, LA Bombers FC must not give up the fight, to up their results, and emerge better next time; then we the supporters and community members, must not neglect our own responsibilities to push them forward with our support.

The majority of the team are tender-aged lads, who are still learning the game, learning to gel with each other and the team’s administration, and who are still learning to understand themselves.  Man, is that pressure?  A whole town plus opponents are in one spot watching you.  #Pressure #Pride #Pain too.  Mark you, I am making no excuses for the losses the team has endured lately – that is on them and management, but I am simply asking that all of us hold them dear, and maintain the support in whatever ways possible.

There are a lot of ways to support and we must find our own styles to do so.  With steady parading from the likes of Bombers’ Mascot – Brandon,

 

 

publicity or live game broadcasts from #EmoNews, shouts of joy and exuberance from all of us when a goal is scored, to the fathers like “Peanuts” running across the field at half time to go and give a word of encouragement and support to his son and teammates, and the steady shouting at the players when they mess up – we all show some support.   Continue reading