Atlantis Alumni

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Prejudice In Dominica

PREJUDICE IN DOMINICA Our fourth stop, the island of Dominica, is yet another Caribbean nation. It was founded by the French but became English for most of its colonial past. In the morning I took two different tours. One was a bus that transported tourists to a mountainside where we saw the grand Trafalgar Falls. They are actually two separate water falls, both flowing down the volcanic rock in lush rain forests. Bright orange land crabs scurried along the paths, surprising us as we walked up a series of steep steps to reach a viewing platform. Our guide Elvira added extra sites to the tour: a sulfur spring and the botanical garden in the capital town of Roseau, where our Celebrity ship the Summit was docked. Trees from Africa, Asia and Madagascar grew huge in the Botanical Garden. My second tour was an orange trolley that drove through the town. The stops were the Botanical Garden (explained in more detail), the Catholic Cathedral and a lookout point slightly outside Roseau, on a high road. Past the Market we encountered hostile stares and some men shouting mocking words at us, as all the inhabitants knew that the Summit had brought gay passengers to their island this week. Roseau is a small, ramshackle town blighted by poverty. It’s this terrible poverty in the Caribbean, combined with ignorance that gives rise to the prejudice. Earlier the first guide, Elvira, had said that she liked the openness of American gay men, because as she said, then ‘you know where you stand.’ But she also explained that gay men were not considered acceptable in Dominica. Earlier she had mentioned that there were five women for every man on the island. Someone asked why, and she said that most of the men left the island to find work elsewhere. So the trip to Dominica was marred by the sad facts of the island’s poverty and prejudice, which go hand in hand. --Dan

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