Try to leave the port terminal and the locals descend on you in a wolfpack, making Mexico seem tame and vying for Jamaica status. And these were just the local taxi drivers and tour operators. That was my first real shot of St. Lucia. It didn't change too much as we went to different locations and encountered the local entrepreneurs with their souvenirs and soft drinks.
But I liked the island anyway. Like the others it was beautiful, and like most people I have encountered, the inhabitants were a friendly, proud lot. It was a nice place to visit.
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I returned home with a few things from St. Lucia: a bottle of banana ketchup (it's orange in color and doesn't taste that different, to me, from tomato ketchup), a bottle of banana creme liqueur (the duty-free shop gave me a taste, so that's where I bought it), and some "sticks", for lack of a better term, of cocoa tea. Bananas are big in St. Lucia, but I noticed the island nation wasn't specifically mentioned at all in this article:
Does all this mean the great "bananapocalypse" or "bananageddon" is here? Not yet. But it is getting closer. Currently, about 45 percent of world banana production is Cavendish, and the global export of the crop is growing by about 7 percent annually. As its monoculture spreads, the threat to both livelihoods and lives grows. (There is some good news for subsistence crops: Recent tests of Africa’s most-consumed varieties indicate they could be resistant to Foc-TR4, although researchers say more studies are required.)
For Americans worried about whether they’ll continue to have slices of banana floating in their cereal bowls, the question is when the disease will hit Latin America, which grows the bananas we consume. Mozambique brings disturbing news on that front: Farm managers there didn’t just get assistance from the Philippines, but also from Costa Rica and several other Central American nations. Those workers moved repeatedly between their home countries and Africa through 2011.
With an incubation period of about two to three years, it is possible that the same mechanism that likely caused the African outbreak—infected dirt, carried inadvertently—is already at work in our hemisphere. “The workers who set up those plantations are now back home,” says Randy Ploetz, the Florida-based plant pathologist who first identified Foc-TR4 in the 1980s. “So if we assume it is fairly easy to move this thing and soil from wherever it is—Southeast Asia or Jordan or Mozambique—then it is possible it is already in Latin America. Only time will tell.”