Over the past week I’ve found myself obsessively reading up on Dominica, an island nation in the Caribbean. I don’t know why, exactly, but I have been fantasizing about visiting or even moving there, and the more I learn the more attractive it seems.
I’m not alone. Yesterday, USA Today ran a story on Dominica. Coincidence or telepathic conspiracy?
For a small island in the Caribbean, Dominica sure seems to have a lot of web content, which has fueled my curiosity. Here’s what I’ve learned so far, which I’m reproducing to the best of my ability without double-checking.
Dominica (not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) is the least developed of the Caribbean islands. In fact, it’s called the Nature Island. Since the loss of a preferential trade agreement with the United Kingdom, the banana business has been declining. Now there’s a push to develop their tourist economy while preserving their greatest asset: the pristine natural environment. Thus there’s quite a bit of interest in eco-tourism. One place that caught my attention is 3 Rivers Eco Lodge.
It’s a poor country, with a third of the people living in poverty. But crime is surprisingly low, and people are surprisingly healthy. Dominica has one of the highest percentages of centenarians in the world.
The official language is English, but lots of people speak French creole.
The island has one of the few remaining populations of Carib Indians. However, most Dominicans are descendants of African slaves.
Some of those popular pirate movies with J. Depp were shot there, and also some pirate-themed reality show.
Dominica has some volcanic activity, with one of the world’s largest boiling lakes.
It rains there a lot.
Jean Rhys was born there. She wrote The Wide Sargasso Sea.
The biggest city in Dominica is Roseau, which is nicely written up by some Finnish dude in Naturalistic and existential realms of place in Roseau, Dominica. It vaguely reminds me of some neighborhoods in New Orleans. They even have a French Quarter.
Of course, one of the best ways to get down-to-earth perspective on day-to-day life is through the blogosphere. Here are some Dominica-related blogs:
- Living Dominica
- Steve’s Dominica
- Seeds of a Madness Flower
- Caribbean Man
- The Dominican — not a blog, but an interesting news site
Now if only I had a couple hundred grand lying around… I know just what to do with it.
It’s tempting to attribute this obsession to the stresses of living in a disaster zone, but the truth is I’ve been fascinated by tropical islands ever since I moved to New Orleans. Perhaps it’s because New Orleans is a Caribbean port city that just happens to be on the mainland. Every few months I get the bug and start researching and that’s how I learned about Dominica. I’m fairly certain that life on a small island would drive me crazy very quickly, but it’s fun to dream, and maybe to visit, and who knows what that could lead to?