My Last Day in Martinique


Although I’d figured out to turn the A/C up to 26C, which was more comfortable for sleeping, I still didn’t sleep well Thursday night because the stupid roosters crowed in the middle of the night! Ah well, as a woman over 60, I needed to use the bathroom again anyway, but it was hard to get back to sleep. When it was early light around 6:30 AM, and I was awake again, I thought about getting up and seeing the beach in the early morning, but decided I was on vacation to relax and refresh myself, not push myself, so returned to bed after drinking some juice.

So my last day in Martinique I didn’t get up till mid-morning – 9 AM Caribbean time, 8 AM New York time, and headed out to enjoy a petit dejeuner. There was a bakery with croissants and other breads, but I wanted a real breakfast. This was the time I sat down at an open air café table and perused the menu in French, both trying to translate what the menu items were, and trying to decide how hungry I was. I settled on the petit dejeuner Americaine – which had 2 eggs, ham, half baguette, croissant & beurre plus jam, jus locale and hot beverage. When the waitress brought my plate, I about fell over. My petit-dejeuner was anything but petite. It was huge. Since it was getting close to 10 AM, I decided this would be a big meal for me and consider it brunch. I took my time tackling my food, and still couldn’t eat it all, but it was tasty and filling.

After breakfast I walked the block back to my apartment, and changed to a swimsuit top but long loose pants to protect my legs from sunburn.  Since my feet were already hurting,  I ventured back out to the shop area to buy sandals without a strap between the toes, where I’d developed blisters. That was when I found the white Birkenstocks with wide straps across the top of the foot. With my feet more comfortable, I walked down towards the beach by way of the small grocery, purchased a couple more cold juice drinks, then crossed the street to the beach cut through and found a place on the sandy beach shaded by a palm tree. The view is of many anchored sailboats out in the Bain du Port du France, with the capitol city across the water in the distance. The beach area isn’t very wide, but vacationers took advantage of every inch of it, lying on towels or white lounge chairs. My skin is sensitive, so I didn’t want to get direct sunlight or go in the water,  I just enjoy hearing and watching the waves roll in, and observing adults and children relaxed and playing.

Close by me was a family from some French speaking country, with brothers about 7 and 10, I’d guess, who chased each other into the water, and had a splashing contest. I think the darker haired one was “Igor” from hearing his mother call to him. The mother wanted them to leave but the boys talked the parents into staying longer. A little girl about 3 with floater wings on her arms, and swim bottom but no top, was entertained first by a long gray haired older woman, then by a dark haired younger one, whom I took to be her grandmother and her mother. Lots of people strolled down the beach in both directions, both older retired couples and young couples. Sometimes men would be walking with each other and a few times women were walking together – it was impossible to know if they were friends walking along – perhaps wives of close friends who’d left their husbands somewhere else on the beach, or lovers. It didn’t matter.

It also didn’t matter what kind of beach body was stuffed into scraps of fabric that passed as a swim suit. There were some very large, and some very obese bodies enjoying the sun and the water. I didn’t want to take a photo of any of them because it seemed rude. Even if I didn’t say anything to them, to have the internal intention of taking someone’s photo because I found them extremely overweight seemed like it would put a negative vibration out into the universe.

There were also a lot of people who didn’t seem to care that they were getting burned – turning lobster red even. One older gentleman who appeared in his 70s, had a fair complexion and ended up red on his front side, still white on his back. While on American beaches I’m used to seeing folks slathering on sun screen and being careful about getting too dark a tan, let alone burning, I didn’t see as many precautions against sun exposure by the French on the plage of Anse Mitan. I also saw a lot of older people whose skin was leathery and wrinkled, making it evident their disregard of sun exposure had been a long term attitude for them.

I finished both fruit juice drinks, and as my shade from the palm tree shifted, finally moved to walk down the beach, trying to walk in the wet sand as close to the water as I could without having a wave get my pants wet. I thought about heading back to the apartment, but chose instead to walk the opposite direction down the beach, walking along where the waves had just receded, letting my poor blistered feet feel the comfort of wet sand. At one end of the public beach near a quay I got a Coke at a restaurant bar. It was late afternoon, so I walked a little way and “borrowed” someone’s vacant beach lounging chair. Apparently you had to pay to have the chair and a towel, but it was the end of the day, after 5:30 PM, and people were leaving. I enjoyed a conversation with a 20 something French woman next to me. A large group close by sounded Italian… even though I didn’t understand a single word they said, their gestures and intonation were very different from the French I heard from everyone else. And the men and women seemed to be in better physical shape, as if they were conscientious about working out and keeping their middle aged bodies toned.

After about 20 minutes, an attendant began gathering up chairs & towels to put them away for the night, and everyone left had to move. I went back up to the restaurant, connected with a hotel, asking to see a dinner menu and when dinner would be served. Not for another hour – at, of course, sept heures. I went down the steps and walked down the beach for a bit, watching the remaining beach goers in the late afternoon take a last dip in the ocean or begin to gather up their beach gear. Along with several others lingering near the water, I tried to take some photographs as the sun set.

Rather than walk back to the apartment, I decided I would indeed have my last dinner at the hotel restaurant. I got back about 6:30 PM, and ended up watching a film being made at a nearby table at the bar. A young couple were being given directions in English to pretend they’d just seen a parade, and to say they liked the vibe on Martinique, and were about to go to St. Lucia – via catamaran. The director was giving such insipid directions, and the young woman and man playing a couple were spouting such generalized and banal dialogue that it was painful to listen to. Several takes were made, and after yet another comment that it was “Awesome” I muttered something trying not to make it sound like an episode of “The Bachelor.” My comment was, of course, unappreciated.

When dinner was finally served, it turned out there was a buffet in addition to the menu items, so, since I was quite hungry, decided it would be quicker to just eat from the buffet. I chose a table near the edge of the open air restaurant above the beach so I could still hear the waves and look out across the water. The salad bar line was long, so I started my meal with ribs, chicken, rice and vegetables. I followed the main course with salad, then tried two of the desserts. A glass of white wine was a nice accompaniment… forget the hard liquor. There were several cats roaming the floor of the restaurant, and I was amused when an older woman at a nearby table ended up feeding a tiger cat from her plate. The cat was long and lean and very polite, stretching out to nibble the proffered tidbits out of the woman’s fingers.

I walked slowly back down the beach towards my T2 near Creole Village for as long as I could, before cutting over to the street. I was sad that it was already my last night in Martinique and I had to leave early in the morning. Once back, I packed by suitcase for the next day, enjoyed my last hot shower, and retired early to bed – wanting to get up by 4:30 AM to make sure I had time to get to the airport and through security for my flight home.




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