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Last Updated: Friday, 27 February, 2004, 17:06 GMT
Gros Islet, St Lucia

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Phil Long, BBC Sport's man with the Barmy Army, takes an alternative look at the cities where England will play on their tour of the West Indies.

Here, Phil casts his eye over Gros Islet in St Lucia, where England will play at the Beausejour Stadium for the first time.


England's tour of the Caribbean moves into May and with it gives the Barmy Army their second chance of the one-day series to see England in brand new surroundings.

This time around, St Lucia gets to host back-to-back ODIs and those still following the mammoth one-day series are in for a treat.

The Beausejour Stadium at Gros Islet hosted St Lucia's first one-dayer as recently as June 2002 when New Zealand were soundly beaten by six wickets, and now it is England's turn to enjoy life on the island.

Gros Islet itself is the venue for one of the Caribbean party nights.

Every Friday night it hosts a Jump Up street festival where the dancing locals let their hair down as they knock back the local brew and rum.

And make sure you try the grilled conch from one of the numerous stalls knocking out local dishes, but don't even think about sampling the other, illegal, 'treats' that locals may try to tempt you with.

BEAUSEJOUR S'DIUM, GROS ISLET
Population: 160,000 (St Lucia)
Airport: Hewanorra International, outskirts of Castries
Money: 1: 4.83 East Caribbean Dollars
Time: four hours behind GMT
Average temperature: 22-30C in May
Rainfall: Average total of 143mm in May
British High Commission: NIS Building, Waterfront, PO Box 227, Castries
Matches: 5th & 6th ODIs (1 & 2 May)

Even better news is that the fifth one-dayer is on a Saturday, so you will be able to shake off your hangover and aching limbs watching Michael Vaughan's men in action.

Close by to Gros Islet, Pigeon Point will offer English visitors a great insight into St Lucia's turbulent history.

The British Naval Station was located here and now is the site of a national park, open-air museum and, for sun worshippers, the ubiquitous beach.

Although the cricket is out at Gros Islet, the St Lucian capital is Castries and, set on a natural harbour with a backdrop of mountains, is definitely worth a look.

The island also boasts what is billed as the world's only 'drive-in' volcano close to the town of Soufriere.

As a rule of thumb, all the west coach beaches have superb swimming but are dominated by gigantic resort hotels, while the Atlantic east coast beaches are spectacular and isolated but have a heavy, and sometimes dangerous, surf.

A word of warning about the St Lucian sun: with the strong breeze whipping over the island you may not realise that the sun is taking its toll so follow the cricket tourist's mantra the world over - slip, slop, slap!



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