3 Fevrier 2018 Samedi

Last night Stine had said that they would meet me at Pointe du Bout, but this morning I discovered a new message that they wanted to meet me either at the Vito gas station or the boulangerie in Trois Ilets. I called Stine and said let’s meet at the gas station. While there, I went ahead and put 20€ more gas in the car. It turned out that Stine’s friends drove up in the car behind me and did the same thing.

Stine transferred to my car and I followed as we drove D7 over to Riviere Salee, where we caught N5 south, past St. Luce and LeMarin, then over to Ste. Anne. The couple knew how to get around the more touristic places to a more remote part of Les Salines, a famous stretch of beaches on the far southwest coast. We made a sharp left near the end of the road and continued on an unpaved road with lots of dips and potholes to avoid or try to negotiate. There were picnic tables off to the side, close to the beach, and they chose one of them, motioning for me to park my car on the other side of the road while they unloaded picnic items from their car.

Regis and Carolina are Stine’s BnB hosts at a house in Anse a L’Ane, just west of the Pointe du Bout area of Trois Ilets. Stine rents an outdoor porch with a hammock to sleep in, which is very cheap – only $20 USD a night. Regis also rents out one of the 2 bedrooms, but that is more than double the price. I gathered that Regis has been in Martinique over 10 years, coming from the Strasbourg area of France. Carolina is his current girlfriend – ironically, the first place Stine had stayed through Air BnB a bit further south in Grand Anse was hosted by a former girl friend of Regis! Regis and Carolina were both very welcoming and warm. Carolina’s English was a bit better, and we had an easy conversation. Regis complimented me on my driving – he has a poor opinion of most tourists on the roads. I explained that my late father used to own Porsches, and I learned to drive from him!

I set up my green beach chair in the shade, where I could see the breakers coming into the beach. I also made the acquaintance of a yellow crab who wanted to run away with any trinkets I could spare. Stine told me a friend had a crab try to make off with her pareo she had left on the sand, and they ended up in a tug of war! Stine and Carolina went swimming in the ocean.

I decided to walk along the beach, taking lots of photos with my mobile phone. The white sand beach, which held very few other people at 8:00 AM, was the essence of paradise. The water offshore looked turquoise, as it does in the Caribbean, and the waves curling as they came to shore were translucent with the sunlight. Some palm trees were leaning over the beach. I walked south, and around the corner so that I could see Devil’s Table, a big flat rock offshore, and see far beyond where the angry waters of the Atlantic meet the calmer waters of the Caribbean – the meeting of the oceans.

We were joined for the barbecue picnic by a couple of young men who had stayed with Regis, geologists, who had come to Martinique to dive. Christoph and Thibeaut had been working in South America on a gold mine, but there was some argument about further development versus local and ecological concerns. Stine had befriended them, and gone out to dinner with Christophe the night before. There were also some local friends of Regis – a couple, Katia (an ER nurse) and Pasquale, and another older woman, perhaps in her 50s, Katti. Katti was from France, but said she was on disability, and her arthritis caused her pain so she moved permanently to Martinique 3 years earlier. They all live in Anse a L’Ane, which I was told was a small enough village that everyone knows everyone else.

F or the picnic, appetizers were some kind of shellfish, which I declined, as I can’t stand shellfish. But the main meal was chicken that had been barbecued in a fire built in the sand. Katya had brought a wonderful Creole salad with corn, tomatoes, cucumber and other vegetables as well as lettuce. Christoph and Thibaut had brought some very expensive rum from Habitation Clement – I tried just a little, then stuck to water. However, to enjoy the baguette and Brie cheese for dessert, I was told I needed to drink red wine, which I easily agreed to.

The day had been partly cloudy, and sprinkled a little earlier, but a real downpour occurred while we were eating. Regis had strung a blue tarp above our heads, propping it up with a pole in the middle, which would occasionally topple over – one time I handily caught it. The tarp helped protect us from the cloudburst, with water pouring off the sides.

The rain didn’t last long, and folks went back to play in the water, or lie on the beach. I was in the middle of the book My Name is Resolute, so I sat on my beach chair, listening to the breakers roll in and reading. Stine checked with me a couple of times to see if I was alright, as did Carolina, but I replied I was enjoying myself, and explained that the historic novel was very engrossing.

An ice cream cart came by in late afternoon, and others bought various flavors of “glace”. I didn’t buy any for myself, but ended up being given a cup with half of what Katya bought, because both she and her husband had bought 2 scoops each. Shortly after that, Katya and Pasquale began packing up to leave, and I moved my chair and beach bag back to the car so I could leave also. I wanted to be back before dark, so I left about 4:00 PM.

The drive back to Pointe du Bout was smooth, except for a traffic back up near St. Luce, that turned out to be the result of a bicycle race. After I got past the roundabout that was policed to let bicyclists and vehicles take turns, for the rest of the route on N5 towards Riviere Salee there were bicyclists sharing the road. I kept thinking of my late brother Charlie, an alternate for the US bicycling team, until he broke his leg in an accident in South America. I wouldn’t want to bicycle on a major highway with heavy traffic!

When I got back, I wanted to shower and get the sand off my body. I wasn’t really hungry enough to go out to eat dinner at a restaurant, and had really eaten enough at the picnic that I didn’t need anything else. As always, I indulged in making myself virgin mojitos – I plan to give the bottle of mojito syrup to Stine before I leave.

I needed to get up early again for Sunday, to be at the Trois Ilets harbor dock by 8:00 PM for my day trip with Kata Mambo, but I stayed up late in bed reading, finishing my book about Resolute. My late mother and aunts all used to read in bed before falling asleep, and I share the same behavior pattern.

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