Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.







**You may contact me by e-mail at livinginbarbados[at]gmail[dot]com**

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Rabbits All Over The Place

Why would I leave Barbados during its major festival weekend and head to the rural hills of Dominica? Why would I do that on the promise of entertainment in the form of an annual rabbit festival? What is a rabbit festival anyway? No one I knew had ever hear of such a thing, so I wondered if it was cover for some thing illicit, like a regional nude poker championship.*******Well, the first piece of stupidity (that's presidential talk) was to think that I could do this without a little help from LIAT. I took them to task already and in the end the half hour off-time departure was not too bad. The flight was fine and the landing was smooth. I had another chance to wonder what drives LIAT's thinking. If you fly from Barbados to Trinidad no beverages or snacks are offered. If you fly from Trinidad to Barbados you are offered free beverages and snacks. If you fly from Barbados to Dominica you are offered beverages and snacks for purchase. Would they stand by a motto of "One Company. One Policy. We Love To Care For You"?*******On arrival, taxi drivers at they fought over the few passengers who came out of the airport. "How a man can't get a fare, man?", "What the f- going on here? I got children to feed." Half an hour later, after we waited for our fourth passenger, we moved off into the hills from Melville Hall, across the mountains to Canefield--crossing some 4 thousand feet terrain. before and she was not going to suffer again. Out came Dramamine and up she hopped into the front of the van. As we drove I could hear her whispering "What scenery!" It seemed too beautiful to photograph and so thick and lucsh.*******We were met by our hostess at the program coordinator had done this trip several timesthethe other end and moved off again to more high ground from sea level to a little village called Cockrane, nestled by the foot of Morne Trois Piton [which is now a national park and UNESCO World Heritage site, and home to native Caribs].*******Hungry people need food and that we got quickly. Red peas soup, with smoked pork. That was a new one. Oh my goodness! This was something special, as we found our yam and dumplings and supped down our bowlfuls on the stoop at the front of the house. That was at about 6.35 pm and after that it was hoping that it settled.*******Well, by Sunday morning it was digested. We woke excited as this was the day. Our hostess started us off with some pre-rabbit breakfast of salt fish and boudin (black/blood
pudding), avocado pear and bread (like French mini baguettes). We thought all that seemed fine for lunch. That will be at 3pm, she told us. The rain had started falling from early morning and did not ease up until around 11am, and we ventured out. As we arrived, the PM and President were listening to the opening remarks and then went to look at the bunnies. They were cute looking in their cages and many people had to quickly dismiss ideas of Flopsy soon becoming fricassee. It's funny when you see a little rabbit and imagine cooked on a plate. For a lot of people it is too much; our hostess would not touch it, instead she cooked some goat. Hmmm.*******But the selections were wide: jerk, stew, barbecued, smoked, with red peas sop, made into 'water'. Oh, delicious. But as the rains lashed we had to accept that wet fete madness is not the same as wet feet mudness--it was getting a bit too much. So, we headed back to the house and hosed off. Then, we could tuck into our purchases. Well, stewed jerk rabbit had my vote, with boiled plantain, green bananas dumplings and yams. Nicest seasoning I have had in a while.*******It was a calm Sunday with only Windies versus Bangladesh to spoil that. But this time the boys did good, including some stunning run outs. Guests flowed in all afternoon, clutch rabbit this and rabbit that. The PC went off with my camera to photograph; she really wanted to hike but no one wanted to get stranded in the rain. She then snuck back in and settled down for some trashy film. Headache, she said. Belly ache I thought.Those with sense--and not that much--drank rum and chasers and talked politics. The noise of the fete went on. Plans were aired for how to deal with the traffic jams next year. What would happen if the festival was held earlier, to avoid the rains? "It would kill it, man." But they needed to deal with mud, and putting down sand and sawdust earlier must happen next time. We discussed if an announcement should be made so that people would know that, despite the rain, the fete was rolling. The rain did not ease much, and by bedtime was again coursing down. Music blared into the evening. Wet feet were now well dried. The mud fete continued as people wet their whistles. I heard that cooked rabbit was running out and wondered if anyone had told Flopsy. The community was happy and everyone had made a little money, it seemed.

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