Greetings and Salutations,
St. Lucia has plenty of fresh air. Sometimes I wonder if it has too much. For most of the time there is enough. Warm tropical breezes. Generous, balmy days. Travelers to this area are invigorated and delighted by this injection of life. Many arriving for an overnight stay will often extend their stay. Others want to cement their relationship and this is the place. A marriage proposal at the Lake, on the beach or on the top of the dunes. All very romantic options. I know because I did it and she said 'yes!'.
Mine was during the evil days of beach driving so we could do it and we did it on the beach. Actually on the top of a dune, but we drove a 4x4 along the beach to get there. Now beach driving is banned, we are only allowed on designated tracks and roads. So to avoid that been-there-done-that scenario and well trodden phrase, we look for something new and unique. Well, not that I am an expert on the subject, but I am always willing to offer a little advice or arrange a little surprise or two. During the first quarter of 2011 a new viewing deck was opened overlooking Catalina Bay. Great place to view the weather, 24/7. But when I got a call about a young gentleman that was looking for a romantic spot to propose to "tie the proverbial knot" I realized that the new viewing deck was virgin territory, because it was so new and no one to my knowledge had "done the deed there".
A little behind the scenes planning was required. So after numerous phone calls, surreptitiously orchestrated to ensure the maiden to be proposed did not have an inkling of the plans that were being formulated, we set about getting all the logistics to a point where we could get a surprise off the ground. The said gentleman with amorous intentions reserved the whole vehicle, but my daughters accompanied to assist with this romantic interlude. All the goodies, snacks and refreshments had been loaded into the back of the vehicle and a normal preamble to the tour was presented. All along I had to make sure that the wife to be was not aware of his plans. At times I wanted to steal the lime light and jump up and down saying: 'You are getting married, you are getting married!" I suppose death would have been easier and more pleasant. All along the way I ensured that I was doing my job as a dedicated guide. Rhino, buffalo and a variety of antelope. Now if you have heard of the saying "a watched pot never boils." Try waiting for the sun to set, for an intended marriage proposal. I know the sun sets fairly quickly in Africa, that is according to our European visitors. This was not the case.
Back and forth we went, an animal here, bird there, eventually we were on target. As we arrived at the Catalina viewing deck it was filled with a group of late afternoon visitors. "Murphy's law." So, trying to save this moment, I cracked open one of the cooler boxes and starting pouring a couple of drinks, but the love bugs were having none of this. Klaus snatched the hand of his bride to be and snuck her off around the corner away from the crowds and "sealed the deal". By the time they returned it was game, set and match. The "intruders' had left and we enjoyed a classic sunset and champagne moment. The newly engaged enjoyed their moment well after sunset and I think that they never even noticed the sun had set.
Now a strange dilemma struck me, after all the excitement and good feelings about this unique sunset moment - "what to do?" Do you carry on as per normal with a night drive or does one head back to the safe confines of St. Lucia Village and allows these nuptials to continue the moment in a quiet restaurant. Because in a certain sense, guiding is a little intrusive in this situation. In all other instances, guests want to hear and see as much as possible, about animals and how many more they will we be able to see. Since I had promised to produce a tour as close to any other Eastern Shores Excursion, I continued as per normal arriving two hours later in the quiet Hamlet of St. Lucia Village to unleash the two newly betrothed on the restaurant community of this unsuspecting village. But next time I will have to check on the 'proposing' protocol.
Hasta la vista
The Knait Wrydah at sunset.
PS. She did say: "Yes"