Travels in Bananaland
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Relevant and only partially relevant for those interested in St. Lucia, me or other random bits of info.

Info on St. Lucia:
Nice Pictures of St. Lucia

St. Lucia One Stop, a site about St. Lucia, with even links to listen to St. Lucian radio.

(from lonely planet)A spate of resort developments on St Lucia has made this high green island one of the Caribbean's trendy package-tour destinations, but it's still a long way from being sanitized and overdeveloped. Much of it is markedly rural in nature: a mix of small fishing villages, secluded coves, sprawling banana plantations and mountainous jungle. The most dramatic scenery is in the south, where the twin volcanic peaks of the Pitons rise sharply from the shoreline to form distinctive landmarks. If you're worried about visiting a potential second Montserrat, relax - there hasn't been a volcanic eruption since 1766.
Area: 616 sq km (240 sq mi)
Population: 156,260
Capital city: Castries (pop 50,000)
People: African (90%), mixed descent (6%), European and East Indian (4%)
Language: English & French-based patois
Religion: Roman Catholic (90%), Protestant (7%), Anglican (3%)
Government: Independent republic within the British Commonwealth
Major industries: Bananas, coconuts, cocoa, assembly of electronic components, clothing, tourism. Major trading partners: USA, Caricom (Caribbean community) countries, UK, Japan, Canada
St Lucia has two airports: most international flights land at Hewanorra, at the southern end of the island, while most inter-island flights land at the more conveniently located Vigie Airport near Castries, the capital.

ABOUT ME: I served in the Peace Corps in Saint Lucia, in the West Indies, from August 2002-2004, in the 69th group of volunteers there (also called EC 69) as a graduate student at the University of Washington, enrolled in a Masters of Public Administration program called the Peace Corps Masters International (PCMI). I have now returned to the U.S. to finish graduate school and seek a job in international development.

On a personal note, I also have alopecia, which is a condition that caused me to lose all of my hair in 1999. There's still a lot of unanswered questions about alopecia, but doctors think it is an autoimmune disorder. Essentially, I've become allergic to my own hair. There's no history of this in my family, or in me, and it could come back, or not come back, at any time. I was one of the unfortunate types who lost ALL of my hair... sigh. There's a link to NAAF on the right if you have more questions. I do wear a wig, so you'll see me both "hairy" and "au natural" in various photos. This all adds a whole new dimension to my experiences in a place where people are very blunt about physical appearances, and in which I am swimming publicly very often--something which I shunned out of self-consciousness before.

Some facts about Peace Corps EC: We are not allowed to drive, or ride bicycles or motorcycles. We are not allowed to have roommates, or live in the most developed, expensive area of the island, though my apartment is closest of anyone's to that area (Rodney Bay and north, excepting Gros Islet). We are not allowed to leave the island without permission, get married or pregnant during our service. There are quite a few rules regulating our lives here, which aren't too difficult to follow, but come as quite a surprise to many locals when we tell them. We live in sort of a double-fishbowl: always being watched by the locals as well as always being watched by the Peace Corps administration. It is an interesting experience, especially for those of us used to living in fairly big cities with a reasonable degree of anonymity.

St. Lucia Reading List

Eiger Dreams - Jon Krakauer
The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
Jitterbug Perfume - Tom Robbins
Mother Night - Kurt Vonnegut
Lucy - Jamaica Kincaid
Stories - TC Boyle
Holly - Albert French
Ralph's Party - Lisa Jewell
Croppers Cabin - Jim Thompson
The Getaway - Jim Thompson
Saving St. Germ - Carol Muske Dukes
Jazz - Toni Morrison
Midwives - Chris Bohjalian
The Last Time They Met - Anita Shreve
Sea Glass - Anita Shreve
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix - JK Rowling
Foxfire - Joyce Carol Oates
Swimming in the Volcano - Bob Shacochis
Easy in the Islands - Bob Shacochis
The Next New World - Bob Shacochis
Good in Bed - Jennifer Weiner
A Map of the World - Jane Hamilton
A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
Rapture - Susan Minot
The Nanny Diaries - Emma McLaughlin
Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing - Melissa Banks
A Pirate Looks at 50 - Jimmy Buffett
The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks
The Smoke Jumper - Nicholas Sparks
Floating Down to Camelot - David Benedictus
The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
The Victim - Saul Bellow
Open Secrets - Alice Munro
Fear of Flying - Erica Jong
Brand New Memory - Elias Miguel Munoz
Catch Me If You Can - Frank W. Abagnale
Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
The Hours - Michael Cunningham
The Dive from Clausen's Pier - Ann Packer
The Reader - Bernhard Schlink The Timeless Place, The Chosen People - Paule Marshall
LaBrava - Elmore Leonard
The House on Mango Street - Sandra Cisneros
Under The Volcano - Malcolm Lowry
How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accent - Julia Alvarez
Where the Heart Is - Billie Letts
An Occasion for Loving - Nadine Gordimer
If You Can't Live Without Me, Why Aren't You Dead Yet? - Cynthia Heimel
Solibo Magnificent - Patrick Chamosiseax
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
Therapy - Steven Schwarz
Leaving Mother Lake - Yang Erche Namu & Christine Mathieu
Cruel & Unusual - Patricia Cornwell
Finding Fish - Antwone Fisher
Don't Stop the Carnival - Herman Wouk
The Rachel Papers - Martin Amis
Cat's Eye - Margaret Atwood
Sophie's Choice - William Styron
Disaster Mitigation, A Community-Based Approach - Andrew Maskrey
In Her Shoes - Jennifer Weiner
American Pastoral - Phillip Roth
Important Things That Don't Matter - David Amsden
Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
Bodily Harm - Margaret Atwood
I don't Know How She Does It - Allison Pearson
Waiting - Ha Jin
Teeth - Hugh Gallaghher
The Verificationist - Donald Antrim
Long After Midnight - Iris Johansen
Caribbean - James Mitchener
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind - Chuck Barris
Bringing Down the House - Ben Mezrich
Messages From my Father - Calvin Trillin
Family Man - Calvin Trillin
Fingersmith - Sarah Waters
The Law of Similars - Chris Bohjalian
Tales of a Female Nomad - Rita Goldman Gelman
The Liar's Club - Mary Karr
Black Like Me - John Howard Griffin
All New People - Anne Lamott
The Pillars of Hercules - Paul Theroux
A Girl Named Zippy - Haven Kimmel
The Cape Ann - Faith Sullivan
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Best American Short Stories 1990 - Richard Ford(Ed.)
Paradise - Toni Morrison
Operating Instructions - Anne Lamott
A Trip to the Beach - Melinda & Robert Blanchard
Rules of the Wild - Francesa Marciano
Shosha - Isaac Banshevis Singer
Cry, the Beloved Country - Alan Paton
Bag of Bones - Stephen King
The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
Jester - James Patterson & Andrew Cross
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon - Stephen King
Black House - Stephen King & Peter Straub
Living Poor-A Peace Corps Chronicle - Moritz Thompson
Ella Minnow Pea - Mark Dunn
Jemima J - Jane Green
Bookends - Jane Green
Bel Canto - Ann Patchett
Gravity's Rainbow - Thomas Pynchon
The Doctor and the Devils - Dylan Thomas
Three Junes - Julia Glass
Straight Talking - Jane Green
The Crying of Lot 49 - Thomas Pyhchon
Easy - Emma Gold
Life of Pi - Yann Martel
Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates - Tom Robbins
The Brothers Karamazov - Fydor Doestoyevsky
The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
How to Be Good - Nick Hornby
Last Chance Saloon - Marian Keyes
The Woman Who Walked into Doors - Roddy Doyle
Ignorance - Milan Kundera
The Beach - Alex Garland
The Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace

Shyam's photographic life in Seattle

About Alopecia

The National Alopecia Areata Foundation (NAAF)