This past week I’ve had a very important guest staying with me – my friend from school, Nehal. I never actually liked her before but she just randomly booked a flight and decided to gatecrash so it seemed only fair that I show her a good time around the island. (Joking, I love you really, Nehal!)
I took her out to Diamant and Les Anses d’Arlet to show her my favourite beaches. The weather was good to us and we spent the afternoon hopping between beaches. We left the first one after a rather unfortunate incident with a dog who was probably just play-fighting us but that didn’t become clear until after we’d spent a while running and flailing about trying to get away from it.
On Saturday morning we headed down into Fort de France city centre to have a look round and have lunch. After that we collected a few people in the car and headed up to a beach called Le Carbet where one of the assistants was celebrating her birthday. We had a picnic, an evening swim and then migrated towards Wahoo Cafe where the Full Moon party takes place in a pop up beachside bar with live music. The full moon was actually the week before, but due to heavy rain had been pushed back a week so we managed to catch it. I think pretty much all the assistants came and there was a great atmosphere. It was great to catch up with everyone and introduce Nehal to all my new friends here.
We combined a dropping off Molly and Jacqueline in Sainte Marie with a trip to the rum museum and the banana museum. The rum tasting was actually better this time, as a large group of tourists from a cruise ship arrived not long after we did and they had set up various rums and punches (including the local Ti Punch) on the bar for them and they let us join in. Between us, me and barman/tour guide managed to explain to Nehal about the lime rule with Ti Punch. Ti Punch is made from rum, cane sugar syrup and a piece of lime. Every time you refill your drink, you leave the lime in and add a new one so that at the end of the night you can count your limes and see how many drinks you’ve had. Personally I’d rather not know, but I guess it could come in handy.
We had lunch in a great place next door to the rum museum which was serving a local-style lunch with an open bar (lucky for Nehal, less lucky for me as I was driving us back later) and live band. The locals got up to dance, which was really sweet.
That evening Nehal and I went out to Trois Ilets with Marina and Christina for dinner after swinging by the outdoor salsa event. This was my first time in the centre of Trois Ilets, which is where all the nice hotels and bars are for the tourists. The atmosphere was buzzing, even for a Sunday, which I suppose is down to all the tourists.
After work on Monday we went to the botanical gardens in Balata where we ran into more cruise tourists. It absolutely chucked it own and Nehal and
I got soaked, which unfortunately is very typical of the weather at the moment. We’ve had a lot of heavy rain overnight and it has brought all the mosquitos with it. On Monday night I took Nehal to Lili’s beach bar (which I haven’t been back to since the sea urchin incident but nobody said anything).
On Tuesday afternoon we headed down to Sainte Luce to have lunch on the beachfront and spend the afternoon sunbathing. There were no dogs that day. We stayed to watch the sunset and then headed back to Schoelcher to have crepes on the beach with Caroline and Marina.
The following day was Nehal’s last day. We went to the waterfalls at Didier but found after reaching the first waterfall on the trail that the river was really high after all the rain, which meant we couldn’t cross and follow the trail all the way up. Disappointed, we went to a beach. We returned back to Schoelcher to have a late lunch at a restaurant in Cluny up the hill before heading out to the airport to say goodbye.
Both saying goodbye to Nehal and missing out on the big family get-together for my Grandpa’s 90th birthday have meant I’ve been feeling really homesick these last few days, but it’ll pass. The rainy weather doesn’t help but this is the last hurrah of the wet season before the dry weather. Currently we’re organising our Christmas party and New Year trip to Barbados. It’s going to be amazing! There’s lots to look forward to, including sunnier weather with (hopefully) fewer mosquitos. I killed 12 in my bedroom in a few hours the other day. As I often say to my students: ça suffit!