Pointe-a-Pitre Guadeloupe

Mor Toad / Moy Toad
David and Jocelyn Fawcett
Tue 3 Mar 2015 23:33
We spent 4 nights in the marina here. On the first day we walked into the town of Pointe- a- Pitre an interesting mix of old and new with several markets selling the best fruit and veg we've seen in a while. There were couple of huge cruise liners in so everywhere very busy. We bumped into Alex and co in the market to discover they had brought the dinghy round so we hitched a lift back with them to the yacht as I certainly didn't fancy walking back along a busy main road. First really busy road we've seen in a while bit of a culture shock. Amongstv the older ramshackle wooden houses, some well restored colonial buildings, the newish marina and new university buildings a new cruise liner terminal was being built which looked just like The Birds Nests of the stadium in Beijing. ? Whether Chinese money also being used here too for building as we have found in some of the other islands.

Caribbean food is good but we all ate one evening in La Creperie in the marina and really enjoyed the savoury galettes and the desert pancakes. It was being run by a young couple from Brittany.

Saturday evening Alex and co left in a taxi to go and collect Carol and Bob the other grandparents from the airport. Some excited children. They are now all in a cottage in Deshaise which is on the North West corner of the island.

On Sunday whilst we were waiting for our friend to arrive from the UK in the evening we decided to go for a walk on one of the coastal trails on our map. Easier said than done! Getting a taxi to the start in the first place wasn't easy - the marina office had to try a number of firms. It was Sunday. When one did eventually come he wasn't easy to communicate with ( very little English spoken so it is testing our French). In the end he would only take us so far which turned out to be a long way from the start of the walk. We only had a small scale map and in the end walked miles along roads and through houses before finding the start and even when we got to where it should have started it wasn't easy to find and we nearly gave up. We had tried to get lunch and failed but fortuitously a local lad on a bike realised we were looking a little lost and took us to where the start was. Great walk along the coast, lots wind and kite surfers out, beautiful beaches. The last part of the walk was through forest but very rough path as old coral and very up and down. We eventually arrived at the end and thankfully there was a cafe. Again a lovely beach with trees as the backdrop it could have been the Mediterranean. By this time we were very very thirsty and I downed 2 Oranginas and David a couple of beers as well as a carafe of water. Our next big challenge was how were we going to get back? We were 10 miles from The Marina. The beach cafe people tried ringing for a taxi and again had to try several before one agreed they would come and get us. So we were starving not having had lunch so we both had a salad and then waited for the taxi and waited and waited - by which time nearly an hour had gone and people were leaving the beach and we were getting a little concerned. The people at the cafe said they had rung again and someone said they were coming. Eventually David started asking people in his best French as they left the beach whether they could help us and in the end a young surfer agreed he would take us to The Marina. He was heading that way as he lived there but had been going to stop off at his girlfriends so that was really kind of him. It turned out he was from Lille had been living in Guadeloupe for 4 years having been on holiday and decided to stay. He had a job but also delivered yachts. We invited him on board for a beer as a thank you and he was interested in The Rustler, spoke pretty good English and was interesting to talk to. We learnt a lot about the area and at least we didn't have to sleep on the beach!

Our friend John Eggett arrived on time from the airport. Really good to see him and catch up with his news over the past few months. He is with us for 10 days.

So apart from having difficulty with taxis there is never a dull moment as the two things we needed to do whilst in the marina was washing and restock supplies especially of beer and drinks and wine. The washing proved a challenge as apart from the competition for machines by all yachtsman, the office had few tokens and would only issue one or two at a time and every time you went for another one there wasn't one. Very frustrating and time consuming though Alex did manage to do her washing very early one morning with no hassle and dried it all on the boat! I did eventually resort to taking all the sheets to a launderette and let them do it for €13 - wish I'd done it with everything else.

The next saga. David went to the supermarket early Saturday morning to buy the drink having borrowed a marina trolley. When he got to the checkout none of the tills were working and after that they said the 'informatics' were down. They said come back later (which apparently most of the customers did) but he had a trolley full so just stood there.They said pay cash but he didn't have it and it turned out the local ATM wasn't working either. In the end having just refused to budge he got taken by one of the security guards in his car to the nearest ATM down the road. So eventually it was all sorted and everything arrived back on the boat for storage.

So it's not all sun, sea and Palm beaches by any stretch of the imagination but we are all having fun and it's interesting the same hassles and issues the world over.

The boat is very quiet without the children on board but it's most probably the tidiest it's been for months but it does feel strange and I do miss them and their smiley faces. However I am sure they are all having fun and we shall catch up with them at the end of this coming week when we change over.