10 April 2012

Kittitian Tradition (or Shades of Awesome)

Another long Easter weekend come and gone – another chance to experience St. Kitts' more easygoing, more mellow holiday season of the year.  In stark contrast to the frenetic Carnival season at yuletide, the island's springtime-welcoming Eastertide traditions are all decidedly less demanding: flying kites and hiking to unique locations in the interior is the Kittitian pastime on Good Friday, set to the aroma of saltfish, dumplings, and mashed figs (green bananas).  Saturday and Sunday are spent in largely the same way, with hikes going up every morning and church services lasting about a half-hour longer than usual.  Then Monday sees the competitions in town, starting with the swim meets at the wharf, and followed in turn by the Greased Pole and Ham, the Pole Climb, as well as boxing matches that occur in a makeshift ring right there at the bus terminal, where beer and conkee is the fare of the day.

I got to make good on some of my own Easter traditions as well.  That is, I took part in the hike up to Dos D'Ane Pond (pronounced dieu dawn) on Friday, where due to my and a fellow volunteer's shared impatience with the tractor chartered to give our group of 50 a lift up to the trail head, we ended up hiking a good half-hour longer than everyone else.  This made for a total of 2.5 hours in to the rain-fed, natural pond at the peak of the ridge forming the spine of the island, and about 1.5 hours out.  Needless to say, I was completely spent after an elevation change of roughly 3000 feet in the space of 2.5 miles.  With Saturday to recuperate, and Sunday morning for church, I enjoyed my semi-annual visit to the Marriott on Sunday afternoon, where I took in all the sun, surf, and air-conditioning I could stand for an overnight stay.  Indeed, in the time when I'm so focused on identifying and developing skills that I can refer to in a job interview, I took a brief respite and worked on an altogether different skillset, like finding the ringing phone in a dark hotel room at 6:00 AM.

Getting back into the swing of things come Wednesday shouldn't be too trying, and I've really appreciated the time off from the usual routine.  I have a special coconut shrimp fry scheduled for this evening, where my cooking talents will be on full display for a gaggle of PCVs.  Wish me luck!

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