I’d worked with Nickroy for 6 weeks, but this past Friday was probably the most fun we’ve had together. It all started with a few beers at Tomatoes restaurant in Picard with the rest of the JC Ocean Adventures crew, Eaon, Inches and a few others. We were there until after the sun set, and Nickroy missed the last bus out of Portsmouth to Penville where he lives. Penville is up in the northern part of the island past cold sulpher springs, out in the country side so to speak.
Nickroy said he was nervous at first with Richard behind the wheel, but he was cool with Rich’s driving because he drove like a local, even a bit like Nickroy himself. He asked where Rich learned how to drive like that, to which the answer was “Topanga, California”. Rich and I tried to explain the similarities of the two places, the thick woods, the seemingly endless switchbacks and blind turns as well as the dirt roads to which Nickroy called Rich a country boy. I guess Topanga is pretty ‘country’ compared to the rest of LA and if you can drive with confidence there, why not Dominica!
The ride up to Penville takes about 30 minutes. The pitch black was illuminated only by our headlights as Rich zipped through the hills towards the village. When we arrived, Nickroy lead us to a side street to park then took us to his aunt’s bar / snackette. We walked inside where he introduced us to his brother while he played dominos. We were treated to some Kubuli and we took a seat outside to enjoy the atmosphere. It was the first time we had really hung out at a local bar at night, especially in an area we were unfamilliar with, but in these communities, everyone knows everyone, and almost everyone is related so its easy to get acquainted. While we were at the bar, we were introduced to his mother and father as well as cousins, aunts and uncles and we joined in on a few rousing games of BINGO with the women. We drank kubulis, laughed heartily, and experienced yet another part of this beautiful island and the hospitality there.
Before we left Rich bought some fried chicken and fried bread, and we walked around enjoying the quiet of Penville. On our way home we found a place to pull off the road and enjoy the wide open sky full of stars like you never get to see in NYC, LA, or Las Vegas. Rich held me in his arms while the wind swirled around us and we watched clouds float through the sky momentarily blocking out the starlight in spots. It really was stunning. When we got home we could hardly believe the day we had.
Starting with the Lionfish hunt + Lunch earlier in the day, followed by Tomatoes, finished off with a trip to Penville it all felt surreal.
We definitely succeeded at living a ‘PADI’ day, we met new people, LOTS of them, went to a new place- Penville, and tried something new (lionfish hunting) and all thanks to SCUBA and the awesome community of people it breeds. I wish we had taken photos that evening, but after lionfish time I kept my phone in the car and let myself be totally present in all our experiences, of course Rich did the same and that’s how we ended up with no photos of this spectacularly fun evening! We really need to work on that!