The Christmas holidays came and went and now I’m back at work again. Sadly, Christmas songs are still haunting me as many teachers want me to revise what we did last term, which was mostly We Wish You a Merry Christmas and the odd Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
A Chanté Nwel was held at one of my schools as an end of term staff party. It was suggested I bring a typical British dessert, so I opted for cornflake cakes. This did not go well for many reasons: 1. I forgot to buy anything to put the cakes in. 2. The chocolate was really thick and didn’t mix well. 3. I used wheat cereal instead of cornflakes. 4. I attempted to salvage the lumpy chocolate by grilling the cakes. Basically it was a mess. One of the teachers asked me if it was called “Hiroshima”. Pretty sure no one ate it and we left before we got to dessert anyway so I’ll never know. All teachers appear to be alive currently so that’s something.
After the staff party I drove me, Molly and her visiting friend Rachel down to Diamant to join Marina, who rented an apartment there for the first few days of the Christmas holidays. We enjoyed some wine, pizza and a stroll along the beach.
After our night in Diamant, I stayed with Molly and Jacq up in Sainte Marie for the last few days running up to Christmas. We went on a walk up in Tartane through the mangroves and showed Rachel the banana and rum museums (staples of any visitor’s trip to Martinique) and went to a Christmas fête in Le Robert, which included the worst Chanté Nwel we’d been to yet. In order to get into the Christmas spirit we made hot chocolate and watched Home Alone (in two parts because we kept falling asleep the first time).
We all loaded up the car and drove back down to my place, where we were all spending Christmas, on the 23rd. This was followed by our Christmas food shop. In the evening we went for dinner at Lili’s and then went to watch the Chanté Nwel at the casino, which was excellent! There was a steel pan band, some great singers and everyone dressed up in Santa hats. You can see a video of it here.
On Christmas Eve I got up early to go for a swim, then we had brunch followed by another trip up to the waterfalls at Didier. This was my third visit to the waterfalls and I have still yet to find the waterfalls themselves. We thought we were onto something, until after a couple of hours of climbing uphill, jumping across ravines and scaling boulders we reached the end of the trail, marked only by a building and not by waterfalls as we’d hoped. We descended down via the river, ending up wading knee deep through water and climbing down small waterfalls which took us a fairly long time to do no distance at all. There ended our search for the actual big waterfalls and we trekked back down the path. I am still determined to find the waterfalls one day, perhaps with a better guide (or one at all).
Christmas Eve was spent making home-made pizza, drinking hot chocolate and eating brioche. We got to try some of the traditional Shrubb, which is a drink made out of cane spirit, orange and cinnamon.
Christmas Day itself was lovely. Breakfast preceded present opening, and we had a fairly early lunch followed by naps. In the evening we ate most of the cheese (all 8 types we’d picked out), drank some planteur and shrubb and turned our living room into something of a disco. It was a great way to spend the day. I even managed to skype with my family – I had to go to a friend’s house to do so as our neighbour cut our internet while he visited France for the Christmas holidays.
As we were fairly hungover on Boxing Day, we relaxed at the beach before heading off to a barbecue chez one of the other assistants.
On the 29th, we flew out to Barbados. We enjoyed days at the beach, nights out at the bars and restaurants and on the final day we went snorkelling with turtles. The water was as blue as reported, and we managed to have our fill of touristy locations, but we were glad to come back to Martinique, which has much prettier scenery and a lot fewer tourists.
That’s all from me for now. Happy New Year!