March 1975

Click here to see all pictures taken of the St. Kitts Sugar Cane Railway

Friday 14 March

We arrived on schedule in Antigua but the LIAT flight to St. Kitts was delayed . There was a steel band in the airport to welcome the Eastern Airlines flight only.

Our first impression of St. Kitts was of its greeness and lush vegetation.  Going through Immigration and Customs seemed to be just so they could put a souvenir sticker on our baggage.  The hotel (Fairview) taxi, driven by Mr. Branch, was waiting for us. By the time we got to the hotel it was getting dark.  All we did was freshen up, unpack, have our complimetary drink and dinner which was tunain a beer sauce, pumpk incrystophine and rice. Dessert was a pancake dripping in rum and coconut syrup. Paul made friends with a black and white cat.. Early to bed. No one had trouble sleeping.

Saturday 15 March

Breakfast on the terrace afire with bourgainvilla. Papaya and omelette. We saw several kinds of birds, crested humming birds, yellow and black finch and some small black birds with red throats. Colin and Paul met a little boy, Joseph, who was taking his donkey for pig feed.

Taxi into town driven by Big Mack in order to change currency and to see the market on the water front.  Lots of different fruits and vegetables we couldn't identify.  We spent some time around the jetty watching the boats and the birds fishing, frigate birds and pelicans. There are special stamps at the Post Office where they were showing a film on VD. Seems to be a real campaign as there were posters everywhere.

We returned to the hotel for lunch. We had intended to have a sandwich but when lobster salad was mentioned we settled for that. Paul had a special grilled cheese and bacon sandwich . We washed it down with rum punch and Carib beer.then tried out the pool..

After a fairly relaxing afternoon we took a walk down to the local beach before supper. Saw some more pelicans fishing, attractive coconut palms - not a beach for swimming however. Saw some minute crabs. Interesting walk through  a small village, goats asleep, dogs and donkeys wandering around. Goats are often tethered along the roadside, maybe they are employed as lawn mowers.

Saw the sugar cane train shunting around from time to time. It only started to opperate the previous Monday so our timing was just right. Saw some cane being cut by hand (machete) but mostly it is cut by machine.

Went for a pre dinner rum punch. Paul had a special fruit punch which, surprisingly, cost as much as ours. Rum is very cheap here. Colin chatted to a guy at the bar who had been a student in Canada. The bartender invited us to watch him play cricket the next day. Unfortunately, our tour of the island next day lasted too long for us to go.

Supper was served later this evening because Saturday night was a barbeque - chicken, spare ribs, curry pumpkin, rice, squash, peas, corn crystophine. For dessert Paul had his usual ice cream while we had a fruit whip. After supper they had an excellent steel band. Paul stayed up for the first number then went to bed.  We returned for a little while when he was asleep.  Paul has made friends with the cats. They are keeping him amused. He sees one particular cat at breakfast . Five so far.

Each morning we find a little green lizard on the window when we wake up.We also had the little black and red birds trying to get in..

Sunday 16 March

Island visit with Mr. Branch - illegible.

Monday 17 March

Market visit - illegible.

Tuesday 18 March.

Breakfast as usual. Trip to sugar factory. Saw various processes. Paul got to taste the various stages.  We returned to the hotel while Colin got a tour of the railway operations. Lunch back at the hotel. Sandwiches and shrimp salad.  After lunch we lounged around the pool then walked down to the beach, pottered around on the rocks and collected shells..

Supper was spicy pumpkin soup, fish, eggplant casserole; ice cream.

Wednesday 19 March

Early swim after usual breakfast. Trip to airport to catch 1120 inter island plane to Nevis. Saw various engined working in the factory sidings. Interesting trip across to Nevis in 9 seater purple plane.We were met at the airport by taxi driver Calvin Ward and were taken into Charleston along incredibly bad roads. The scenery is quite different from St. Kitts. Here there are lots of coconut palms and sandy beaches with pelicans fishing.. Lunch was at the Rest Haven Inn - crab salad with tangerine juice. Collected shells along the beach where we saw a pelican very close up.  

Tour of the island in the afternoon. Church where Nelson married Fanny Nesbit (Fig Tree Church). Morning Star museum - collection of chairs, pottery with connections to Nelson and the British fleet, This is a private collection which is open al year round in a restored wind mill.

Visited several hotels on the island. Old Manor Estate very pleasant, Montpelier, very snooty, Artist Eva Wilkins restored mill - bought a couple of prints. Golden Rock estate, lush vegetation, coconut, breadfruit, papaya, soursop, citrus.  

We continued on to a drier part of the island where they have a real water problem.  Lots of people riding donkeys. We returned to Charleston in time for the ferry. watched things being unloaded, sugar, barrels, furniture, stores, car etc.
Bought a Nevis newspaper
Return ferry 7.30 pm.
Dinner - vegetable soup, fish cutlets, vegetables, potatoes. Ice cream or fresh grapefruit jelly.

Thursday 20 March

Breakfast as usual on the terrace then down nto the towm to change travellers cheques, buy nstamps etc. A cruise ship had come into port There was a remarkable change in Basseterre with the influx of tourists. - more beggars, surly attitude on part of residents.  Maybe because they are American tourists and it has been made clear to us that Kittitians are very anti-US. They are still friendly to us in places we have been previously.  

Drink at Seashore Hotel where we met an interesting American lady who visits every year for three months.  Interestingly enough, the same drink was cheaper at the end of the visit, maybe they decided they liked us.  Bought an attractive applique basket.

Oceran Terrace for lunch - good lunch - mshrimp and salad.  Pleasant place but more for the younger set - music and discotheque.

Went back to Fairview for afternoon swim. Tried new rum drink pina colada. Supper was lobster thermidore and vegetables. Paul had lamb chop, rice, string beans, lemom meringue pie.

Friday 21 March

Hired a mini mkoe for the day. Out before breakfast to try to get pictures of the train working on the pier. No success.  Interesting to be up and about at that time - so many more people greeted us.  

Back for breakfast then out to Frigate Bay for our first swim ion the ocean. Very hot down there. Rum punch at restaurant, met an English lady and son who were living in ST. Kitts. Her husband was a teacher at the Technical college..

Back to Fairview for lunch then off on an island tour on ouw own this time. Took pictures of tains, sandy bay, black sand beach with huge Atlantic rollers.  Swim before supper then packed suitcase. Vermicelli soup, lobster and fish pie, local vegetables, coconut cake.

Saturday 22 March

Breakfast as usual then goodbye to all the staff. We really enjoyed our stay. Mr. Branch took us to the airport.  Paul cried to leave everybody.

Uneventful flight to Antigua.. Had some time to kill. Prepared for a taxi drive in Antigua but the =taxi driver wanted too much money so we passed and stayed at the airport. Paul was very good. We kept him well watered and fed and fortunately there was lots of aerial activity.

The flight to Martinique was just a few minutes late.  We took a taxi to the hotel.. Interestingg driver but difficult to understand.  It is already evident you are lost without some French. Nice room overlooking the see. We were all tired and had to eat in the hotel. Too expensive although the meal was good - stuffed crab, pork chop and carrots, french bread, cheese, peach melba. Went straight to bed.  Unfortunately Saturdays they hold a dance and the music was extremely loud. A little upset about the contrast between this and Fairview.

Sunday 23 March

We awoke to see Paul opening the curtains and telling us about fishing boats and cruise ships in the harbour. We spent some time sitting on the balcony watching the fishing boats make a circle with their nets and slap the water. Went down to breakfast - expensive but enjoyable fresh pineapple, juice croissants, cafe au lait and chocolat chaud fopr Paul..

We went into town although everything was closed, just to see what is was like. Really remarkable, just like a town in metropolitain France. Taxi driver took us along side roads and vantage points so that we couls see Fort de France. and surrounding area - no extra charge! Had patisserie, light snack and had a general wander around.the town. In the evening we had a walk to the next village and bought some bananas, a pineapple and some sweet meats from a woman by the road. Paul was fascinated by a box of live crabs she had for sale. People very friendly ad treat you as an equal. Watched a cruise ship leave.

Monday 24 March

Had an early swim. Paul is improving well and then went down to Fort de France. Changed travellers cheques and had a loot at the musee. Lunch at Lucky Lukas (Martinique Punch ws very strong) then had a look at the fish and fruit market (bought a soursop). Boughtsome tapestries and arranged to hire a car.

Tuesday 25 March

Hired a Simca 1000 and went to St. Pierre via the coast road. Visited a vulcanological museum then had lunch at a little bar on the beach "Le Gai Moulin". Fish soup (blaff), bread, caramel dessert with wine and beer.  We ate in the back because there was no more room. Plastic table cloth. Good lunch. We came back through the tropical rain forest. Very dense growth with gigantic ferns and a smell of rotting vegetation.. Saw a banana plantation. Quite cool but very damp indeed.  We drank the soursop - very smooth drink - rather like a sourish strawberry. Very messy to squash up.

Wednesday 26 March

Went on tour no. 2 via Lamentin, Duclos and Riviere Salee to Josephine's Museum. It is situated in pleasant surroundings with tulip trees etc, and many humming birds. There were enormous vines among the trees. On for lunch at Le Diamantin where I had a good omelette.  Had a swim at a good beach although the breakers were pretty rough. Paul really enjoyed it. Saw large stands of cacti, 25 feet high, on the way back.

We came across the remains of a sugar cane railway at Riviere Salee. It closed some 5-6 years ago, about 8 locomotives remain and many trucks.  We met two interesting characters who wanted to show us around.  We came away with an armful of sugar cane - don't know what to do with it.  

A Davenport

A cane truck

A  row of cane trucks
This evening we ate at Chez Sidone with an American lady and her nephew. Good, if not expensive food - the first good meal she seems to have eaten in the island.

February 1974
   March 1989

Main Diary Page