We arrived in Soufriere, St. Lucia on Thursday, January 26th, 2012. The morning was beautiful and DH and I ate our breakfast as we gazed out at the homes on the hillsides of Soufriere. We made our way down to the dock to meet up with our tour for the day, Whale and Dolphin Watching. Sadly, our tour was canceled as the boat had broken down on the way to pick us up.
We decided to head out into Soufriere and explore on our own. We had to walk through a port mall to get out onto the street, so DH and I walked through one set of doors, down a hall and had to walk the gauntlet of cab drivers trying to sell us tours. We pushed our way through and out onto the street.
Soufriere is… dirty; it’s not a very well-developed port. We looked one way, looked the other and then decided that we’d walk around the little harbor over to the dock on the other side. We’d only just rounded the corner when we were approached by a man who declared that DH was “too cool” and made the international move of “the fist bump”. DH is quite the cool dude, and after an awkward second, fist bumped the man, who promptly grabbed his hand and told DH that he’d give him a palm reading.
My senses went on high alert, and the palm reader was looking everywhere but at DH or me, so I scanned his arms for track marks. He was obviously on something. No marks seen, I moved upwards and to my utter horror, I found that his neck had a large slash/gash that was oozing bodily fluids. DH was handed a “lucky stone” (in actuality a small piece of asphalt) and much to my chagrin, the gentleman grabbed my hand before I could react, so he could read my palm. I kept myself from shuddering in disgust as I stared at the ooze on the man’s neck while making sure my wedding ring stayed put on my finger, inconveniently in the hands of the palm reader.
My reading over, the man stated that his services would go for at least $15 each on other islands and he’d given DH a lucky stone, so “what would we give [him]”? Without thinking, I laughed and said, “Well, if the stone is lucky, we could just give that back to you.” DH looked at me in horror and the palm reader gave pause, a look of astonishment on his face, before he sputtered out that it’d be bad luck to give the rock back. He stance changed to one of the passive aggressive, taking up the sidewalk. Morning commuters flashed past, mere feet from where we were, and in my head I could hear them laughing at the two rubes that we appeared to be, being accosted here on the sidewalk by what I had decided was a crack head.
DH recovered from my comment and dug a dollar out of his pocket and handed it to the palm reader, who thanked us, and we walked away. I held my hands at my sides, though not touching myself as… I didn’t know what the palm-reading-crack-head HAD and I didn’t want to get it. DH glanced sideways at me and asked what was wrong. I gave him a look of incredulity and asked, “Didn’t you SEE his neck?! He had a gash on his neck and it was OOZING! I need to wash my hands… no, SCRUB my hands… I’m not touching anything until I get to a bathroom.”
DH raised a brow and said, “You’re over reacting…”
My response was, “I’m sure that in a half hour, or an hour, I’ll be laughing about this and we’ll have a great story to tell people… but right now, I really want to wash my hands… because the crack reading palm head…” and I paused, then laughed. “Because the PALM reading CRACK head had an oozing neck wound and I’m a tad bit skeeved out by the whole thing.”
My disgust was thorough and we quickly made our way back to the mall where I scrubbed like I was heading into surgery. Relieved, we decided to head to the excursion desk of the ship, but nothing sounded good so we headed to the Serenity Deck and spent our day in port.
NOW! I’ve shared my amusing anecdote of my brief time in Soufriere, St. Lucia. I have to say that we have to give it another shake. Our friends who were on the same tour as us, discovered that the cab drivers we made such a concerted effort to avoid, gave the best tours on the island. They had stopped at the excursion desk like DH and I had, didn’t like the remaining available tours and were then told that there was a kiosk in the mall that would arrange tours. Our friends made their way to the desk and got the attendant to contact one of the cab drivers she knew. The driver asked our friends what they wanted to see (local rum manufacturers, a local restaurant for lunch and to see the Pitons), told them he knew just where to take them and they were off. Our friends reported that it was their favorite tour of all the islands. DH and I learned our lesson, when stuck with nothing to do, ask more questions and go with a local tour.
Credit for photos goes to DH… I spent a lot of the day sleeping.