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On-Site Dominica: Hitching a Ride in Search of Wa Bio Bush Rum, Part I

On-Site Dominica: Hitching a Ride in Search of Wa Bio Bush Rum, Part I
So, I hear you have a rental car…?

As noted previously, the best, most rewarding travel experiences are often the most spontaneous. I’ve confirmed and re-confirmed this uncommon truth, of sorts, time and time again on my travels, but never quite so colorfully as on my last full day in Dominica two June’s ago.

It started out innocently in the calm, cool constitution of an early Tuesday morning, at breakfast at the Zamaan Restaurant (pictured above) at the Rosalie Bay Resort. I, dining alone, had just discovered the wonders of Bello Hot Sauce, a sweetly searing joy soon tempered by the news that my ride down to Roseau (Dominica’s capital) was running a few hours late.

I should stop here and point out that while we at Uncommon Caribbean are big adherents to the tried and true West Indian tradition of “going with the flow,” we’re generally not all that big on setting still to do so. (The operative word in the phrase is going, after all.) This goes double on a last day in a place so blessedly brimming with discoveries as Dominica.

So yeah, as nice a resort as Rosalie Bay most surely is in most every way you might surely imagine, I couldn’t possibly just sit around there all morning. Especially not on this day.

On this day, you see, I did, for a change, have a plan. There was something I absolutely positively had to do before leaving Dominica the next day. Something unique, that I would never forget and could only be experienced on The Nature Island. Something embodied in one word: Wa Bio.

Okay, two words.

Okay, it’s also known as Mountain Dew (so, four words), but rest assured it ain’t no soft drink.

Wa Bio is the local bush rum in Dominica. I’d heard whispers of it from a Dominican friend in Miami prior to my trip, but to that point I hadn’t seen, sniffed, or sampled a drop.

Why? Well, Wa Bio isn’t exactly what you might call legal, though the law tends to look the other way when it comes to this stuff. You can find it, but you have to know where to look. The day before, I had heard from a member of the cleaning staff at Rosalie Bay that I could find some Wa Bio down in town. I arranged a ride, turned in at a reasonable hour, got up early to steel my stomach with a hearty breakfast worthy of the fire water, and… well… no ride.

That’s when I met Daniele.

Better said: that’s when I was set up with Daniele.

They have really nice and helpful waitresses at Zamaan. Waitresses that take the time to get to know you, how you like your coffee, what your interests are, where you’re from, what you have planned during your stay, etc. One such nice and helpful waitress clued me in that the only other hotel guest dining alone in Zamaan that morning, Daniele, was expecting a rental car to be delivered to him at the resort in short order. She also seemed to recall he had plans to head to town…

So, I hear you have a rental car…?

I didn’t know Daniele from Adam. Hadn’t even seen him at the resort til that very morning at breakfast. As much as I travel alone for work, I hardly ever come across anyone doing the same just for pleasure. I was a bit nervous to ask at first, but his size – a shade or two shorter and slighter than mine – relaxed countenance underscored by an advancing five-o’clock shadow, and bright eyes that said, “Sure, I’d love some company!” gave me all the courage I needed. When his mouth echoed the sentiments expressed by his eyes in a thick Swiss accent that suggested my company might be needed as much as it may have been wanted, well, the deal was sealed.

A hearty handshake, a nervous spate of laughter (neither of us had ever driven in Dominica, so we didn’t really know where we were going), and we were off in search of adventure!

Tune-in next week for Part II to learn why “Brenda” is the first name in Wa Bio adventures in Dominica…

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