The road curved up and over the forested mountain sides. Heavy rain, pot holes, and a complete lack of lighting meant the night time journey of 40km from the airport to La Haut plantation lasted 1.5 hours.
I was in St. Lucia, but my suitcase was still in Barbados. Damn! Eventually the taxi turned into what seemed in the darkness to be a huge bush. I then saw the white smile of the attendant who raised a metal barrier. He saluted me enthusiastically and pointed me towards the reception. I smiled for the first time in three hours.
The unabashed cheeriness of the receptionist soothed my frown; she promised to phone the airport the following day. She would ask them to notify her when my case arrived. The swaying palms ushered me to my room, with its four-poster bed and shower providing hot water to make me feel clean on this humid evening.
The next morning, after eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, I felt my final tensions ebb away as I surveyed the misty forests, ornate gardens, and wooden architecture of the plantation. I felt at home.
La Haut's meals are served on a patio so the view over my mango slices and guava juice was of the La Soufriere Sulphur Springs on the opposite side of the valley and of the two Pitons towering out of the sea beside the town of Soufriere. The Pitons are two gigantic volcanic plugs that are the symbol of St. Lucia.
Julian Worker has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/details.asp?portfolio=13734