Saturday, January 8, 2011

Day One: Travel Day

Today's video by Team Mountain Chicken (Matt B., Claire, and Scott):

Thanks for joining us as we begin our several day odyssey from Moraga, California, to the Carib Territory in Dominica.  Perhaps because we are heading to a place where few tourists flock (or because we made travel arrangements at the last minute after the cancellation of our planned Haiti trip), we are making a series of hops to find our way to our eventual destination.  On Friday night, we flew out of SFO to Miami, where most of our group waited for our next flight SEVEN AND A HALF hours later.  For today, we will make it to the island of St. Lucia, a primary Caribbean hub.  Tomorrow we will hop a boat to Martinique, where we will sleep Sunday night.  Finally on Monday we will get on the boat that will take us to Dominica.

Right now we are in the Miami airport crashed all over the floor, taking turns being the "guard dog" for all of the carryons we are sporting.  Our checked luggage load is massive, as we are transporting most of the tools we will need to do our jobs in the Carib Territory.  We also have quite a pile of first aid gear (ready for almost anything!) and a certain amount of food as a backup to the local cuisine that we will eat in Dominica.  It turns out that most of us are really good sleepers, as evidenced by the heavy breathing all around the three current gear guards.

Those who are awake are distraught to watch groups of people in matching t-shirts heading off to Haiti to do relief work during the one-year anniversary of the earthquake.  The gate right next to ours contained piles of volunteers heading into Port-au-Prince as we just watched them go.  Despite these slight blows, though, we are still eager to make our way to Dominica and see what we can learn about the ongoing destruction of the Caribbean over centuries rather than maintaining our focus on what happened in Haiti in the last year.

Right now we are without our Haiti expert anyway.  Claude has already boarded a different plane than the one we await, as our island-hopping adventure would require him -- as a Haitian citizen -- to have visas that the rest of us don't need.  He will take a route through Puerto Rico and then rejoin us on Monday in Dominica.

Team Mountain Chicken (see intro video below) is keeping track of today's journey by videotape so they will post a short piece tonight in St. Lucia (internet access permitting).

Here's a shot of the nap crew just getting organized.  We eventually filled this entire aisle with alternating heads and feet and lots of loud snorts:

Update: We have now arrived in lovely St. Lucia.  We struggled with the vibe of the tourists on the plane, in the airport, and in the town, as they were pretty set on being served by the locals in every possible way.  We (hopefully) share a different approach to our hosts and our location, so we just quickly moved on up to our hillside inn on the north end of the island.  It is not fancy but it is far beyond our expectations of the way we are willing to live while we are here.  We have our own beds, showers that we share with our one or two roommates, and a cook in the building who provided an incredible chicken dinner for us tonight.  

A few of us ventured into town to see what it was like (and to stay awake until a reasonable hour), but we really weren't interested in the tourist section of town.  We will stay here for the day tomorrow, then board a boat to Martinique where we will spend the night tomorrow.  Tune in then to see what it is like for us to jump from an island that uses Eastern Caribbean dollars and has a culture that is all "island" to an actual extension of France, Euros and all.  


  1. I am so excited to "experience" your adventure trhough your videos. How was today's boat ride?

  2. Keep pushing through all the tough travel times and layovers. There's good stuff on the other side.

    Enjoy every moment of your time abroad. Soak in everything you can, the details of the cities you're staying and the feelings you're feeling. I'm betting you'll be happy that they stick with you when you get back.

    I loved that this video helped us blog-readers got to see what you see and hear what you hear. Keep it up!

    Looking forward to reading, watching, and listening to the next few weeks. Enjoy it!

  3. I'm anxious to hear about the boat excursions and see your "home" for the next 3 weeks. Keep capturing every memory of this extraordinary experience. God Bless!

  4. Just spoke with Shawny! The group has arrived safely and happily in Dominica! They are eager to begin their work. We will be following them closely!

  5. SHAWNY!!! It took me so long to find yalls blog! i don't know how i finally came upon it but here i am!! im so excited to keep up with the trip! im sorry things didnt work out with going back to haiti but like i said when we were there, im sure you will have NO trouble finding a worthwhile project in dominica. just wanted to let you know that ill be following yall :) give a shout out to my loves when yall are hanging out tonight doing pictures, videos, and journaling scotchy, lulu bear, claire, jared, trevoh, beutnah, and luke. dang i wish i was still a floater :)


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