Friday, March 27, 2009

Names

One of the quaint things about Saba is the names that they attach to people, places, things, etc. There's definitely a sense of humor in their naming practices!

For instance, during the week that I was there, I ran into (or were told stories) about people named Crocodile, Tarzan, Coochie, the General, and more. I'll try to chronicle more about those characters in my next blog post, which I'm thinking of calling "Delicious Gossip".

I tried several times (unsuccessfully) to get an accurate picture of The Road. It's referred to as "The Road That Could Not Be Built" and winds precariously up and down the mountain. It's only *just* wide enough for two passing vehicles, and since many people park on The Road next to their house, bottlenecks often occur.
My Aunt Sue cautioned me very seriously to always walk on the edge of The Road nearest the cliff. At my look of confusion, she replied that I'd have a better chance of surviving a car collision if I fell off the cliff than if I got flattened into the mountain wall.

Charming place, really.

This is called The Level. I suppose in comparison to the rest of the island, it is rather level.

All the houses/cottages have names as well. We stayed with my Aunt and Uncle in The First and Last Cottage. It's located on the outskirts of Hell's Gate.
Now, as for that name, supposedly it's called Hell's Gate for a couple of reasons; there's a sulphur mine up there that spews gas and so looks like the mouth of Hell, and another reason (so said by a sweet elderly lady with white hair) is that by the time you get up there from Windwardside, you just want to gasp, "Oh H----".
The official name on the signpost is Zion's Hill, but for some reason (which I find hilarious), the locals completely ignore that attempt to clean up their humor and stubbornly call it Hell's Gate.

Speaking of Windwardside, here it is. We did the 30 minute trek there every morning to get a paper and beer.

One must have the necessities, after all.
This is Cove Bay, which is right under The Airport.
The Airport had an official name, but nobody knew how to pronounce it. Besides, on an island 5 square miles, what other airport could you be talking about?

Spring Bay is visible from The First and Last Cottage, thanks to Handyman's judicious chopping of shrubbery. (That was an interesting experience involving Yellow Jackets the size of owls and 1,000 foot cliffs dropping away less than a yard behind a man famous for falling off of things.)
Mt. Scenery is officially called "the highest point in the Netherlands" (Saba is part of the Netherlands Antilles). At first I just figured Mt. Scenery was a rather nice name for a mountain. Then I realized that due to the fact that it's almost always cloudy up there (therefore restricting visibility), the nom de plume "Mt. Scenery" might in fact be a rather sarcastic local joke.
My Aunt and Uncle really do have the nicest views on the island. Not only can they see Spring Bay, Windwardside, and panoramic views of the ocean, they are also right at the toes of Mt. Scenery.
Booby Hill. I kid you not. That's really what it's called. People actually manage to say that with a straight face, too! (The Level is located on Booby Hill).

Little Booby Hill. Poor thing. Comparisons can be cruel.
Finally, we have General Sherman and Baby Gabe.

There's a bit of back history here that needs explaining. You see, when my Aunt Erna and Mum went to visit Saba the last time, they laughingly complained about the "forced marches" that Uncle Paul and Aunt Sue made them take. (Really, there wasn't much choice, since walking is the only way to get around). Since Sherman was a northern General during the American Civil War (a.k.a. The War of Northern Aggression) who made deep progress into the Deep South with his forced marches, I figured it was a fitting nickname.

Aunt Sue then became General Grant.I figured this was politically appropriate as well, because while Sherman and Grant were both important Civil War generals, only Grant became a president.

5 comments:

All Natural Mama said...

Looks beautiful!

Ellen said...

This is another GREAT post. What a neat place! Is there a story behind how your Aunt and Uncle ended up there in the first place? I was just curious how one finds him or herself living in such a wonderful place... :)

Loved this post - all the names and pics were so much fun to hear and see.

Ellen said...

Rachel,
I have heard all these names before; Booby Hill, Mt. Scenery, Hell's Gate, etc. but in my typical preferential labotical mode of thinking, never questioned WHY? Your post was humorous and insightful. You look particularly svelt standing next to that sign hiding body parts in such a wise and cunning way :) Keep up the posts. I hope Paul and Sue get to see and laugh as well. Wish I could have been there!
Mom

yoel said...

It all looks *amazing*!! I'm so jealous!

TuttleTime said...

I'm out of breath just looking at all that. :) It looks so lush and green, though. Seems like such a nice place. I just love the cute little outfit you have on Gaby. He looks like a sweet little Kanaka or island native. :) You look like you got a nice tan...I'm so jealous! I need sun so bad. :(