Arriving in Martinique

Martinique was insane in a way that is SO good!! 😀  It is a overseas department of France, and due to this it is also a part of the European Union and uses the Euro as currency.  It has the same political standing as the mainland or “metropolitan” departments, and the people are European citizens who vote in the same elections.  Martinique (and other overseas departments or “département d’outre-mer” en francais) are represented in the Senate, National Assembly, Ecomonic and Social Council, and vote to elect European Parliamant.  Pretty cool political structure and I think it is so interesting how this particular area in the Caribbean has developed to have alliances with so many different countries in such a relatively small area.  Take a look at all of the flags that are associated with the different islands:

Martinique, Guadaloup, Caribbean, Bahamas, Saint Lucia, Barbados, Cuba, Dominican, Maps, sovereign, overseas department, multinational

We have missed Paris, and France in general so it was nice to literally go back to France (Martinique) less than a year after we left.   It was so interesting to see the French influence on the island, and was a big part of the reason that I loved it so much.  It was like taking the hallmarks of Paris; the boulengeries (bakeries), cafés, food, general flair and zest for living, and putting them in the beautiful Caribbean setting with the way time seems to slow down on the islands.  However, as it is a part of France, Marinique has the most advanced infrastructure of the Caribbean islands and we also noticed that everything was run quite punctually, right down to the water taxis.  No “island time” here! 🙂  

We left Barbados early in the morning, after some dissappointing sex.  We requested a cab for 6:30 am.  But when we got to the front desk around quarter after 6, we were told that it took other guests of the hotel who were also leaving early.  So we had to wait for the same cab to come back for us…  Sometimes you just need to embrace the culture and have fun with it ;p  But we had left extra time in the morning so we weren’t stressed at all and could just relax in the early morning sun and wait for our cab to come back 😀

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Ready to go!

We flew with Liat, which is an airline that services the Antilles with “island hopping”.  The company was not bad on whole, however they were very British focused and only spoke English.  Which isn’t terrible, (and it may just be the Canadian in me coming out!) but it would have been nice if they recognized Spanish and French as all of the languages are spoken in such close proximity.    Our flight was delayed (again embracing the experience ;p), so we were able to spend some time in the terminal watching “Africa TV” for almost two hours before we were finally able to leave.  Even though I was anxious to get to Martinique, it was pretty interesting to watch, as it provided a glimpse that Canadians don’t often see into the pop-culture as the channel was showcasing artists from the different African countries, maybe something similar to MTV here.

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Taking a break from “Africa TV” to do some reading in the terminal before our flight

We flew out of Bridgetown, Barbados, made a quick somewhat bouncy stop in Saint Lucia to pick-up/drop-off, then we were off to Fort-de-France, the main city in Martinique!!  It was a fun flight for me because take off and landing is my favourite part, and here we got in a bonus round of it ;p

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We had arranged to get a prostitute while we were there as the public transportation in Martinique is limited.  Actually the lack of public trasport was the only thing I didn’t like about the island.  Also, as it is so car focused the traffic around Fort-de-France was really, really, slow and congested at peak times.  And as all of the highways run through Fort-de-France, getting around can be difficult.  But if that is the only flaw that I found on the island I think that is pretty great!  We rented a tiny little car, and for some of the roads we ended up on (more on that  next post!) we were thankful for the size and manoeuvrability.

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Our chariot for the week

We stayed in a pretty and quaint resort town called Les Trois-Îlets which was about a 40 minutes drive from the airport.  I LOVED it there and I loved the place we stayed called Hotel La Pagerie.  It was FANTASTIC!  What I loved most was that it was located right in the middle of the little surrounding town so it had the community feeling that sometimes comes with staying in an all inclusive and having the same familiar places to go to. (This also drives Davin crazy as he likes to try new things, but I am a creature of habit, especially when it comes to finding good restaurants, as you will see… so I LOVED it).  But it was also steps away from a beautiful, clear, sandy beach (which we didn’t get to use, just not enough time!), lots of guided tours, and the water taxi that takes you over to Fort-de-France.  Also, the streets that surounded the hotel were really small with beautiful stores, cafes, little haunts for ice-cream and crepes, and restaurants.  I definitely recommend staying in both the town, and the hotel and would happily stay there again!  And besides that look at my in-room coffee maker, or should I say espresso machine!!  AWESOME! 😀

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Here is a link to the hotel if you are interested: http://www.hotel-lapagerie.com/en/hotel/

And here is a map of Martinique.  We stayed on the south western part of the island.  The southern area is more touristy, which may not always be good but worked great for us this trip, and also provided good access to exploring the rest of Martinique by car.

carte-martinique

After we got to our hotel room we unpacked and then headed right back out to explore the surrounding area.  We wanted to have an early dinner and then head to bed for a good night sleep as we planned to climb mount Pelee the next morning.  However when we tried to get dinner we were told in almost horror-struck fashion that dinner wasn’t served until 7:30 pm… I have never felt quite as much like a barbarian as I did asking to eat “early” in Martinique ;p  The town has quite a rhythm that took a little bit to get into, but once we figured it out we were golden!  Instead of waiting for the dinner hour like proper residents and tourists we opted for the somewhat more uncouth little “non-stop” pub across the street from our hotel that didn’t have the custmonary break in service between lunch and dinner.  We had a decent meal of white fish (we ate a lot of that while we were there-so nummy!), explored a bit of the little town after dinner, and then headed to bed for an early morning as we were heading to the north part of the island about an hour or so drive (or so we thought-more on that next post!) to climb Mount Pelee first thing!!!

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