Guadeloupe Janvier 2012 journee 5 et 6
My husband has set up a line of bread for the bananaquits to feast on. It brings them in for photos for us. The female sings as they wait turns on a nearby tree. Bigger pieces take longer to pick up, giving us better photo times, but they are getting friendlier and by the end of the day we give teeny pieces, and they come to the table, singing, we decide they are thanking us and are happy with our offerings. Any fruit left out gets picked at by them.... so we put everything in cupboards, in bags if it won't fit in the fridge. Roadside market trucks have what we presume to be local fruit and vegetables and we simply hold out our hands with money as we cannot understand creole. Why not trust? Every every conversation here begins with a “bonjour”. A general hello, just like in China,where one always greets everyone with “shi shay”. [sic]
An early start south N2, west coast of Basse Terre. Looking familiar! but always beautiful coves, views. We hope to snorkle at the Pigeon island/Jacques Cousteau Preserve, it is only 10 euros with yr own equipment for 1 ½ hr, boat ride out is 15 minutes. We are assured the operators speak english enough to let us know when to leave, where, what we are doing etc. It is raining and overcast when we get there, so we continue to capital Basse Terre stopping at “Le Musee de cafe”. I forget my husband will have trouble with signage in French, but there are enough beautiful posters and artifacts to explain the general story. We drink and buy chocolates and coffee for friends back home. We stop for Lunch at Chez Alize, I think in Bouillant. Lovely couple there. I get a big salade, with a pile of hot mashed potatoes in the middle, a few hot hush puppies. I inhale the whole thing. There are 3-4 beach restos near each other, overlooking a black beach and we walk to all three, choosing the one with the most customers. This time it worked. DH has a “poulet columbo”[curried chicken, rice and salad]. We drink only water. Our credit cards are taken at the museum, in some restaurants, but not at this restaurant or in big supermarkets. We are missing a symbol that says it is from France/Europe. There are several banks to withdraw euros, so we begin to carry more cash.....we arrive at capital city of Basse Terre and see a Mcdonald's! We photograph Le Palace de Justice, beautiful building and drive thru crowded streets, then up N3 to National forest, to trails leading to La Soufriere[Take photos on the way up! The foggy volcano is cool !]. We return to N2 via a Fond Bernard. Some mountain views. Then find D30. No traffic, little housing, mostly banana plantations. Bananas have blue bags over them.... we assume to hasten riping and keep birds away? Only stop at a cove to watch sunset and men unload fishing boats. Zoom home. It is an 8 hour day in the car...quick meal here then to bar of habitation Grande Ance for a Caribe beer.
Next Day: better breakfast with ingredients of local market...DH leaves @ 8:30 to climb La Soufriere... when he returns @ 5 he says it is a bit anti climatic because it was so foggy, views limited. It was a hike from the west, 3 hours up and 3 hours back. I spend the morning, writing, reading, emailing Am Express which says there is no reason my card shouldn't work. When there is a problem, ask merchant to call Am Express customer service. Not going to do that. Will use Visa/euro instead. Internet is available at pool, so i'm often there, with most people going off all day. The car park is nearly empty. At 3, when I get to the beach,[Grande Plage Anse I am relieved to find the sea less agitated....walk a bit collecting tiny shells. Lots of families. One grandfather and grand daughter sing, dance and play in the water for at least an hour. A joy to hear and watch! Several couples arrive to watch and take photographs of the sunset. Everyone kisses and hugs.
There are runners here every late afternoon , they high five each other. They run singly, but leave in twos and threes, keeping the exact same pace. My husband arrived for sunset, we then go get gas, beer at very busy Total station. We are told all gas prices on the island are the same. Easy use of my husband's credit card. A young man pumps it got you. Many people buy lots of lottery tickets. No whole wheat bread. No 6 packs of beer, but lots of singles [or 12 packs]so we try “Desperadoes” that has a tequila flavoring and added sugar. Oh well. Like it none the less.
Head out to “Metis”, discover Thursday is the night for live music. We head over to “La Savanne” and enjoy the best meal so far. Seared foie gras w/mango chutney, smoked salmon/endive with basamic reduction appetizers. They are each served on a round piece of slate, with a gorgeous tiny glass vessel for whipped cream cheese. They are listed as “entree” here on Guadeloupe.. and “Mains” means the larger part of the meal. The dorado , dolphin, is very good. Little coffee and chocolate liqueur completes the day.