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Limetime 92 lime January - March 2009 LIMELIFE Reflections by Kevin piley W e decided to extend our family on Nevis. We came back from the Leeward Islands with a girl. She weighs over 280lbs, has no teeth and has very large feet. Her skin is also very leathery. She is quite cumbersome and only active for small parts of every day. If she follows anyone, she follows my wife. Although, admittedly, that lady hasn't started attacking small boats. Yet. At the Four Seasons Resort you can adopt a turtle. Every visitor comes away with a tan and a critically endangered leatherback sea turtle. Ours is called " Idun". We have never met and I didn't have to pay excess luggage to bring her back home. Nevis's " Adopt- a- Turtle" programme is run in association with the Caribbean Conservation Corporation and Sea Turtle Survival League. The turtles are electronically tagged while nesting and you can track their movements on a website… Idun is presently in Panama. A photograph of her now stands on my wife's bedside table. I have vanished. When questioned, my wife told me that she has merely replaced one ancient order of reptile for another. There are many similar initiatives in the Caribbean. All very praiseworthy. But I am cynical about eco- tourism. For me, the truly great wonders of the natural world are best seen on television. You can have your lunch on a tray while scuba diving around the Great Barrier Reef. One moment you can be soaring over the Serengeti. The next – at the click of switch – close up and personal with polar bears in the Arctic. What would I want to go and see Andrean condors for when I can see them every week do? Hippos are very similar- looking to red, over- fed tourists who don't put their hand to their mouths when they yawn or burp. I am not interested in visiting the habitat of hairy mammals with over- active scent and musk glands. I have two children and I have been into their room. I don't have to go on special trips to explore the natural world. I don't have to go to the other side of the world to see a Gila monster when I can be just as awe- struck watching my wife weeding on all- fours in our back garden. I don't have to travel days and spend hundreds of pounds to see a mandrill or a Chacma baboon. I just have to walk down to any beach in the Caribbean to watch the tourists get sunburnt. If I want to hear howler monkeys I go to a beach shack at " Happy Hour". I don't need animals in faraway places to remind me of my roots. The nearest holidaymaker will do. talk, chat, rant, gossip, laugh... with lime magazine One of the abiding memories of my travels is not whales in Greenland but the huge nose of a waiter in Marseille in my living- room? Why should I want to see a sloth when one of my neighbours looks like one? One of my friends has eyes that move independently so I am not much interested in chameleons. On the eco- tours I have gone on I have always ended up traipsing through some rainforest behind someone who is far more interesting and amazing than the animals we were tracking. Interesting and amazing, that is, in terms of " I've never seen a backside like it! It's huge!" One of the abiding memories of all my travels is not whales in Greenland but a huge nose belonging to a waiter in Marseille. I shall not forget it. Another great memory is watching a group of Germans eat. They are an endangered species. Not Germans. People who eat nicely. Sometimes I think tourists are more interesting to watch than wildlife. Why go to the sandbars of Africa to marvel at basking hippos when any all- inclusive hotel in Montego Bay will

January - March 2009 lime 39