Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Last Martinique Entry

This is one of the prettiest buildings in Fort de France. It's the library named after Victor Schoelcher who campaigned for the independence of slaves in the 19th century.
Photo courtesy of Mr. David Stevens.

This is about as pretty as Fort de France will ever look.
Photo courtesy of Mr. David Stevens.

This is a good view of the lush Martinique vegetation.
Photo courtesy of Mr. David Stevens.

I think the last time I wrote anything for my blog was a very long time ago. My last days in Martinique weren’t all that busy, but my camera lost a battle with an ocean wave and without pictures, I made excuses that the blog wasn’t worth updating. I know, lame, but I’m just lazy, what can I say.

I have been back in the states now for a full two weeks. I have started my new job at Wedmore Place, a new inn on the property of the Williamsburg Winery, and have been trying to get the basics in place before the anticipated opening in May. It seems like it is going to be a good fit for me and I am happy I accepted the job, even though I had to leave Martinique early. I have falled back into a rhythm which includes a 40-hour work week, running on the beautiful Williamsburg trails, and defrosting my car windows in the morning. All of those are pretty drastic changes from my former tropical life. I think the best thing about coming back has been instant communit, closeness to family and NCAA basketball. I tell you no lies.

Where did I leave off….

Right, the kayaking adventures and reggae concerts. The notable events that happened after that:
1) Antigua
2) Final adventures in Martinique, Anse Couleuvre, Slave canal hike, Cap Macré, climbing up to the church on the hill, exploring Diamant and going out to Cabane des Pecheurs and Ti Sable for some weekend evening soirées.
3) Selling the car!!
4) Barbados
5) St. Croix
6) Back home.

Antigua was pretty fabulous. I had a great time on the island with Benji. He was a great companion and we spent a lot of time on the beach, out in the sun, and eating delicious food. Benji had an awful time getting there, but made it around 11:30pm. We spent the next day on the beach, and then in the evening we went out into town, then to Dickenson bay where we walked around admiring all the gorgeous resorts and we ate dinner at a really nice restaurant on the beach.

The second day we did a catamaran tour of the western side of the island and snorkeled in Cades reef which was phenomenal, really relaxing and luxurious. That Sunday we rented a car and drove around to the southern and eastern part of the island and explored Half Moon Bay, and Nelson’s Dockyard. We went to a sunset party at Shirley Heights and listened to a great steel drum band and it was a quintessentially Caribbean experience.
We spent one more day on the beach after that and then we departed Antigua. I had a great time and I would definitely say that Antigua had the prettiest and most pure white beaches I have seen.

When I got back to Martinique, Carnaval was in full swing. I went into FDF once and wore some crazy clothes and painted my face and put on a wig. The streets were filled with cross-dressers, people in crazy outfits and lots of music. I had a lot of fun but only went with a friend of mine from St. Joseph. I can’t really handle the crowds so well so the final day I just kind of laid low. Everything was closed and I couldn’t go grocery shopping which wasn’t so fun, but I managed on what I had left in my freezer.

I tried to go out and see as much as I could my last couple of days. Went to beaches I had missed, went to restaurants I had wanted to hit, spent time with some of the assistants, and taught one more class. It was really nice and relaxing, and I feel like I got to see most of everything I wanted to see. I have pictures posted of some of the cooler points.

I sold my crazy car, which I had finally named Zoey, and said goodbye to her the night before I left. I am very pleased with having been able to sell her. She was a great companion for my adventures. I am really pleased with how my stay in Martinique ended. I definitely had good and bad. But I am really glad for everything that happened and for what I am going to take away from it.

After Martinique, I headed out to Barbados. Landed around 11am, checked in at the hotel, the room wasn’t ready yet so I headed to the beach in Worthing. Stayed there for about 4 hours and had a great time. I went back to my nice little apartment hotel and chilled out until dinner time. I walked through my little area in Worthing and got acquainted with it and had a relaxing night.

The next day was purely a beach day. Just walked down to Dover beach, had lunch at a seaside shack and just relaxed for the rest of the day. Went back and then headed to dinner in “the Gap”, the St Lawrence Gap area which was really nice and right on the water. We ate very well and listened to the sounds of the live band while eating at an “irish” pub.

The next day I had arranged a rental car and drove all over the island, way up to the north to go to the Animal Flower cave which is the northernmost point of Barbados, caves that were created by the massive waves that rock the cliffs daily. Going down into them was cool, but I had expected a little bit more. Still worth a visit, I may have been guilty of romanticizing it from the pictures and info I collected online. That day for lunch we ate at a hotel that was right on the eastern coast. The food wasn’t that good but wow was the view fantastic. I think that is one of the best parts about the Caribbean. It’s the beachside dining and the gorgeous views one can have while enjoying food. It’s so relaxing and makes you appreciate the beautiful things the world has to offer.

The next day had to do the catamaran cruise again. I love seeing the island that way and it’s a great way to get to good snorkeling places. I booked one that included two snorkeling excursions, one with hawksbill sea turtles and one in a big snorkeling area which had two wrecks and a huge natural reef. The snorkeling with the turtles was the best. We were on the boat with a Quebequois basketball team that was down there for a tournament, and we were on the very tip of the beginning of the cricket world cup. There was much excitement and all the cab drivers would talk about it. So Barbados was beautiful and relaxing and I had so much fun, but I was so looking forward to seeing my family and the final step before going back home, I think I had my sights really set on St. Croix.

Unfortunately, I had a pretty awful day of travel. My planes were late or re-routed and my bag was re-routed also, so once again, the Caribbean strikes the baggage claim. Getting to the arrivals gate in St. Croix and seeing my dad and brother was the best, but EVEN BETTER than that was when I saw the villa my dad had rented. It was completely amazing. We had a beautiful view, a deck, a pool, a gourmet kitchen, beautiful furnishings and anything else we could have dreamed of. I loved it there. We all did. It was the perfect place to spend my last few days in the Caribbean.

I spent a heck of a lot of time in the water. It was either kayaking, snorkeling, or diving, but I was always there. We snorkeled the underwater trail at Buck Island which was awesome. It was like an underwater museum. My brothers and I did it together and it was so cool. I did two dives with my dad. Had a great time doing two wall dives that were very different, I liked the second one best. It was like in Finding Nemo when the fish go to “the drop-off” basically, that’s what we went to, or at least the St. Croix equivalent. We saw the wall of vegetation literally drop into the deep blue of the ocean below. It was really interesting. We went kayaking out to some Mangroves and out to the place where Columbus supposedly landed and made contact with some Arawak Indians. I had so much fun hanging out with the fam.

Then I came back to the US, was in Northern Virginia for about .2 seconds, and then came back down and started life in Williamsburg again. It’s been great to be back. I’m not sure what will happen, who is leaving, who is staying, but I know this is where I’m supposed to be right now. So I’m happy. Missing the Caribbean, but happy.
So here are some of the kids that I taught at LP Bateliere. I asked them to say goodbye. They are so gangsta.

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