"" Writer's Wanderings: Health And Safety--St. Lucia

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Health And Safety--St. Lucia

 There have been many phrases associated with the COVID outbreak that many of us are tired of hearing. Unprecedented. The "Curve". As we cruise we are becoming familiar with the phrase, "local COVID Health and Safety" regulations. Castries, St. Lucia,  has been a port with stricter control. We were informed that unless we were on an excursion or book an approved tour/taxi at the port, we are restricted to the port area only.

Upon checking Google Maps, we found that there was a nice little outdoor shopping mall where our ship docked so after breakfast, we walked around the Promenade Deck a few times and then went ashore. After passing a temperature inspection and hand sanitization at the entry to the port area, we got a smile and a nod to proceed.

The port shopping area was a very nice place. Many of the stores were open but we did mostly window shopping. We did take notice of a necklace with a disk of colorful gem chips that surrounded a gold starfish. When Bob decided to sit in the shade for a bit, I meandered over and into the jewelry store to check it out a bit more. 

There was not the usual frantic hard-sell approach that you come to expect in the Caribbean. The lady was very sweet and took out the necklace which had all sorts of accessories to purchase with it, earrings, bracelet and a ring. She said that all the different colored gems were sapphires. I didn't know that sapphires came in different colors and looked it up later. They do. She quickly turned over the price tag and told me it was $2000. I've learned not to gulp. I nodded slowly. But of course, she said, I can give you a discount. Of course. I tried not to grin or chuckle. Her fingers clicked on her calculator and she turned it to me. $995. That's a thousand off she told me, I guess in case I couldn't do the math. I thanked her and said I would tell my husband who was waiting outside. I told him and we smiled at each other. 

There were very few people from our ship wandering the area. Many had gone off on snorkeling excursions or a day trip at the beach. One of the shopkeepers stopped me and asked how many guests were on board. When I told her 305, she shook her head. Not good. Not good. Our ship would normally hold 900 guests and around 600 staff and crew. Staff and crew are not yet cleared to go ashore at any port.

Our laundry suitcase was full so after lunch I spent some time in the free self serve laundry just down the hall from our room. Once that was done, I took the opportunity to go to the Palm Court for afternoon tea and enjoyed the beautiful music of our violinist, Irina Guskova while I drank my Vanilla Cinnamon Dream Tea and tasted the finger sandwiches and a scone and hoped that I wasn't ruining my dinner appetite.

With so many entertainers in quarantine from the last cruise, the cruise director had to come up with an alternative show for the evening. He and the entertainment staff put together a wonderful variety show using the available entertainers and musicians onboard. It was a real treat to see the Irish folk dance featured again. Such energy and the main dancer looks like he enjoys every minute and every intricate step.

On our way to our room after the show, we stopped in to see the National Football College Championship game between Georgia and Alabama. It was just getting started actually because of the time difference. Not a big audience and they were kind of quiet. We went on to our room and watched on our TV until halftime when our eyelids were too heavy to keep open. Are we relaxed? You bet!

As we slept, our personal trackers were plugged in with the chargers we found in our room and the notice of how to charge them. They would be ready to continue to track our contacts with others should we be too long with someone who may test positive later. So far, so good. We have not heard of any guests contracting COVID. By the way, wearing a mask while indoors and onshore among others has not been an inconvenience. It's becoming second nature.

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