Sunday, 1 July 2007

More St Kitts

This is an old colonial house that still sits on large grounds with lots of fruit trees and many grazing cows. The formal entrance with the pond/fountain in the middle of the front drive is a common architectural detail of this period.
Allamanda in all its colours
The bread and fruit dish at lunch today decorated with bouganvillae

This ginger is often known by the unglamorous name of "dead man's fingers"

1st Day in St Kitts

Site of Ocean's Edge project.
We went on an island tour this morning to look some of the sites. I'm here doing an article on a development by Newfound Properties, Ocean's Edge.
They have just broken ground on what is to be an exclusive luxury resort that will wrap around the very special Frigate Bay with its sweeping horseshoe beach and rising cliffs ( Atlantic side but very close to the spit that meets the Caribbean sea). Potential buyers can choose from one bedroom and two bedroom beachfront apartments that will be laid out parallel with the beachfront to ensure that each unit enjoys true beachfront; a series of large, semi-detached duplex garden cottages will be set within the lush landscaping and finally, a choice of two bedroom hillside apartments or three to four bedroom executive villa plots each with a commanding view of the spectacular Frigate Bay. A few of the higher villas will also have a view over the South peninsula encompassing vistas of both the Atlantic and Caribbean Much of this southestern peninsula is untenable as agricultural land as it is drier than the lush interior. It is, however, perfect for tourism development because of the long, sandy beaches and easy access to both the capital, Basseterre, and the airport.
Sales have been brisk with almost one third of the available units already sold. With several high end ventures coming on stream over the next few years, the recent opening of a large Marriot hotel that doubled bed space on the island overnight, investor confidence is high. The capping off of the sugar industry means that the government is open to high end development and keen to facilitate the type of tourism that will help preserve the pristine environment. St Kitts has two advantages; by holding off tourism for the last twenty years (this little nation only became independent in the early 1980s) by a long reliance on sugar and light manufacturing, the island was able to look at the development of neighbouring islands and learn from their experiences. The twin state Federation is also well versed in the mechanics of upscale tourism through its experience in Nevis with the successful and highly regarded Four Seasons. Both islands are remarkably unspoilt and still conjure the charming island feeling that is lost forever on many other islands. Certainly no traffic snarls here except behind the browsing, meandering goats or the drowsy cows.
The pictures today are all over the place. It's all things that caught my eye and will help me when I'm building the article in my head.
This week I plan to:
Hike to the Volcano
Visit the National Heritage building and do some research on the history of the island.
Visit James Stephen's cave.
Go to Nevis

How much more pastoral can you get?
This is where we had Sunday brunch. The house on the bluff with the mountains in the background is a classic Caribbean scene but one that is becoming more and more difficult to find.
The restaurant is built around the pool and these thick, cut stone arches show the reflection of the pool water in the blue light thrown back against the wall. The architecture of the old plantation houses does vary from island to island but many features are the same. The big open verendahs, the high ceilings and the thick, cut stone walls combined with wooden shutters are some of the identifying features especially in the English speaking islands that were mostly British colonies.My lunch was delicious- seared salmon with petit pois risotto and sauteed vegetables- yum!

A cathedral of trees

We rarely see this plant in Trinidad anymore. I know it as chandileer bush and it is commonly used for dried flower arrangements. It is also boiled to make a powerful cough suppressant and I know it for that use at home. Therefore i was quite surprised to come across a field of the spiky plant in the middle of nowhere. Set against the backdrop of the mountains, they make a striking contrast.