Photographer's Note

St. Lucia is a sovereign island at the eastern boundary of the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean, and a member of the cluster of Islands called the Lesser Antilles. Others in the group are Martinique, Barbados and St. Vincent. In January 2010, exactly three years ago, I was giving talks on a cruise that sailed out of Miami, on a course to visit St. Lucia, Barbados, Papillon, and then head south onto Rio de Janeiro.

St. Lucia was first colonized by the French who signed a treaty with the Carib Indians. Hundreds of years before Columbus discovered the New World, the Caribs had swept out of the Amazon and populated the Caribbean Islands — named after its settlers. Also called the "Cannibas," the Caribs were cannibals, who give us the word related to their gruesome practice. In the 17th century the island changed hands numerous times between the French and the British. (The two nations, constantly at logger heads, were at war 14 times, and each owned the island seven times.) St. Lucia finally gained its independence in 1979.

There are two unpleasant memories associated with the cruise. We made a pair of mistake: first, for not procuring visas to visit Brazil — both required for Americans; and second, for not getting vaccinated for Yellow Fever. The vaccine is necessary to enter Brazil, following a visit to Papillon. Accordingly, after touring St. Lucia and Barbados, we had to cut the cruise short, and return to the United States. Far more serious was the experience of sailing just north of Haiti. An unusual number of passengers on the cruise ship suffered from sea sickness from the swells and waves. What we found out was that the swells were caused by an earthquake that had just struck Haiti, devastating the island.

One pleasant memory exists from the cruise. We met the Broadway and Hollywood star, Rita Moreno, and her husband (seen in the Workshop).

While touring the Island in a taxi, we visited a banana plantation owned by the British Sainsbury Grocery Chain of stores. Here a worker is seen spraying the bananas. Just as I jumped out of the taxi, to shoot a few photos of the juxtaposition of the worker, bananas, mist... the man suddenly pulled up a gas mask, charged among the banana plants and disappeared. So... this is not an entirely successful shot!

As for the practice of spraying pesticides on the banana plants, what is sprayed are the leaves, not the clusters of bananas that are tightly wrapped in plastic (the bright blue area just above the spray gun).

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6781 W: 471 N: 12169] (41261)
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