Beach near Deshaies, Guadeloupe
I got to Guadeloupe in a bit of a frantic positon. In proper Earlene fashion, I only paid $150 to get there (thank you Norwegian Black Friday deal), but when I arrived, due to a lack of proper research on my end and an overbearing sense of optimism, none of the buses were going to Deshaies, which is where my Couchsurfing hosts awaited me. La seule solution, the only solution would be a taxi… or to rent a car. Non, merci. I can’t drive stick. So off I went, the meter, bringing constant pangs to my heart upon every increment.
First thing I notice — the roadsigns; they’re just like those in France, which reminds me, I’m in France. Creole France. Tropical France. Indian
$150 to get to the country and 128 euros to get to where I would be staying. #GREAT. I seriously tried to forget about it, which, I don’t think will ever happen, but I was able to set it aside enough to enjoy the rest of the evening with my hosts.
We bond over the calabasses that they are scraping and using as lamps shades, flower pots, dishes — they used to sell them on the beach.
Ashanty, Cindy, Diatomy — a lovely family that had escaped their 9-5 lives in Grenoble, France to live a life of travel with their little one. 3 years in Guadeloupe, maybe Dominica or Brazil next, Asia or Africa — those are the plans.
The next day, while they work, I don’t leave the house. I’m engrossed in the last of the Junot
books, #rip, and swinging my worries away on a hammock. It couldn’t get any better. Actually, the cat cuddling up like this made it better. I’m more of a dog lover, but there was something about that
The next day, I had an interview with a local chef — it was only about 20kms away, but given the bus system, I was told to leave early. 4 hours to get there — I think: ‘ehh, if anything, I can explore the city a bit’… As I wait for the bus to take me to the second bus stop which will deliver me to the third, I contemplate hitchhiking. I signal to what looks like the bus arriving, and when I board, I realize there is only a schoolkid in the back. Turns out: it’s not a bus at all, but some dude who ended up indulging in my previous thoughts of hitchhiking. “You’re lucky, he says. I own the bus that you’ll be taking to Pointe a Pitre. I told the driver to wait for you.” I still don’t know if it was really his bus, but thanks to him it took me 5 hours versus 6 for me to arrive at Saint Francois…
On the second bus. I’m the only foreigner there, but it’s ok. These local experiences are what I live for… That is, until I’m extensively late for my meeting and the bus driver stops to talk to the passengers that have exited the bus. #islandlife — it seriously wouldn’t happen in New York, and I honestly can’t figure out whether, outside of my frantic mind, it’s a good thing or a bad thing; either way, it was surprising.
The chef is great. Great food, great story. Looking forward to publishing it on Kitchen Connection soon. Given my experiences with cabs and buses, I decide to stay in the nearby area instead of attempting to return to Deshaies. It turns out that the chef’s friend/ taxi driver was the one that I communicated with, who the embassy had nicely arranged to chauffeur me around. Why didn’t I know this? Anyhow, it ended up turning out great — he offered to drive me around during the rest of my time there and that night back to where I was staying.
Sunset from the hostel
E Gwada Hostel
became my home. No pajamas, nothing but the tiny bag on my back, so I slept in my muggy clothes. Luckily though, because of salsa class, I always have an extra deodorant in my bag, so it wasn’t as terrible
as it could’ve been.
I did get stuck in the bathroom though and ended up climbing on top of the toilet to ask for help from the window that was above it.
A long day behind me, a questionable day ahead.
I ended up having breakfast at the hostel with an animal bone doctor; I didn’t even know that was a thing. I was then picked up by Ruddy, the taxi driver from heaven, who drove me back to Deshaies to pick up my things.
With no plans and no real desire to make any, I decided to spend the day with him, taxiing around. I accompanied him to drop a couple off at the airport, to go pick up something at a hospital, and then to a waterfall. It was really a great day, that of Carribean tunes and random pit stops for streetfood in between. There were coconuts and ice cream <3. I came back exhausted, chatting with fellow travelers at the hostel and eventually discovering a restaurant that bled creole music through its pores.
I like whatever that man’s doing, hah.
I forgot my phone charger in Ruddy’s car, and the one that I borrowed didn’t work for my phone, so I ended up not sleeping, just looking at the clock, waiting until it was time to get ‘up’. With a snowstorm awaiting back home the next day; there was no way I was missing my flight.
My experience ended up being great, but I guess the moral of this post is: in Guadeloupe, rent a car, buy a car, find a friend with a car,_____ a car — it’s absolutely essential.
Best food had: This homemade coconut ice cream was incredible! We stopped on the side of the road for it, and it was made with a blend of spices and raw coconut, #yum!
MiamMiamMiamMiam – French for “Yummy”
Best thing done: Seriously just relaxing on the hammock. It reminds me of my childhood adventures in the Dominican Republic and of just sheer bliss and freedom.
Favorite City: Deshaies — I spent most of my time there, but I also think, from doing a sort of cross-country trip throughout the butterfly, Deshaies was the least touristy place (I’m told because it’s beaches have golden sand instead of white), with the most pure, sort of wild beaches, contrasted with vast hills that really make the area lovely.
Interesting thing(s) learned:
I noticed that the bread is really great in Guadeloupe, unlike that of most Carribean countries that I’ve been to (something to do with the humidity getting into the bread), and perhaps because it is France afterall, and they’ve figured out a way to combat the effects of the humidity
There are barely any motorcycles in Guadeloupe, but there are tons of cars, which often leads to crazy traffic jams
I did not see one delapidated car. They were all pretty much in great condition — never have I seen such a thing in the Carribean
It takes the water from 3-5 coconuts to fill up one liter of coconut water
Can’t get more #fresh than this.