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To Do in Guadeloupe: first scuba dive

3 Aug

What: First Scuba dive of my life

Where: Malendure, Basse-Terre

Product/Service: PPK (Plaisir Plongee Karukera)

The review:

First off, I was pretty nervous. I’m rather risk-averse or so I’ve been told, and fitting with that I could not wrap my head around being under water and breathing. The monitors were extremely kind with the first-time divers. Each beginner had their own monitor who took them for a 20 minute dive at 6 meters. It was stunning.  I can’t believe I waited so long to do that! Breathing was easy, and the Cousteau Reserve is just an amazing aquarium. I saw so many fish, so many colors…really beautiful.

A friend of mine who dives with PPK brought me along. She likes them, as do I, because they make the effort to put everyone at ease. Their main shop or meeting point is just across the road from the Malendure beach parking lot. They put the tanks, wetsuits, masks, fins, and also snorkel equipment on the boat for you so you’ve really got nothing to do except go. While you wait or after you’ve finished your dive, you can snorkel a bit around the boat while the others finish. After the boat goes back to the dock, there is water, coffee and planteur waiting back at the shack! Yeah! I highly recommend the planteur and then a short walk over to Le Rocher de Malendure for a great meal. (Review and pics in an upcoming post!)

I plan to go back and complete my level 1 with PPK!  I do not have any amazing pictures from under water ….in time I will be able to manage a camera maybe plus my tank but for now, check out PPK’s facebook page to see where I was and some of the same fish I saw!

Five out of five ti-punch.

Here’s their facebook with contact info and gorgeous photos from dives: https://www.facebook.com/PPK.PLONGEE

 

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Do and See in Guadeloupe

14 Jan

Going ‘out’ in Guadeloupe isn’t that easy. Why? No information. Little communication. Billboards are taken up by ads for cheap furniture when they could be put to better use to tell people about the handful of events going on on the island on any given night. I’ve found some help though. There are apparently some people making the effort to get information out to the masses who normally have people ‘at home’ or go to a restaurant. Bar culture doesn’t really exist here. So, for your going ‘out’ pleasure, here is the link to the kkfet newsletter:

http://www.mytimusic.com/kkfet-guadeloupe.php

I used this to find out about a concert a few weeks back. The concert was set to begin at 10:00 but actually started at almost midnight. In spite of the fact that it was in a bar which was nothing more than a few tin walls, and no back wall but a big green tarp, it was a great night. They make food there but I questioned it’s quality. Sorry guys. The grill set up on the back counter with a huge dusty fan blowing the smoke into the bar just wasn’t my thing. The group you booked however was fabulous.

 

The Natural Beauty of Guadeloupe

5 Sep

Sometimes it’s just nice to enjoy the nature and natural beauty of Guadeloupe. It reminds me of many moments throughout my time in San Francisco when I would look around, sigh, and say, “Yeah. I live here. This is why I live here”.  It’s such a great feeling. Sunset seems to be the time of day when this ‘why I live here’ phenomenon occurs….

Sunset in nouvelle residence, Sainte Anne

A bit earlier….a bit less dramatic.

Marie Galante and the tree toilettes

15 Aug

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There are actually a few islands that are part of Guadeloupe.: Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre make up Guadeloupe.  The rest are La Désirade, Les Saintes, and Marie-Galante.  The Pirate and I went to Marie-Galante for the day yesterday, a first for both of us. I kind of had that feeling of how the heck were you born and raised here and you never went there? Then I remembered that I didn’t make it to New York City from the suburbs of Boston until I was almost 21. Seriously, self? What were you thinking shopping in TJMaxx all that time when you could have taken the train to NYC on the weekends to eventually become a fashionista who turns into a famous-for-nothing housewife?

Marie Galante is beautifully green. The island is round and flat with incredibly beautiful beaches. We visited Capesterre in the south of the island and did some snorkeling around some beautiful coral reef which was host to plenty of smaller brightly colored fish. We thumbed to Capesterre center from the airport which is about four miles away. The island is small and the locals are kind. This time of year there is not a rental car or a scooter to be found as August 15th is a bank holiday. On the beaches of Capesterre, there are plenty of small beach restaurants and an ATM within walking distance. If you ask for les toilettes as I did you may get the same response as I did which was a shrug of the shoulders accompanied by a big smile and a glance towards the sea, “Beh, pas vraiment…une petite arbre ou….”. Not really…a little tree or…. What’s beyond awesome is that I didn’t even bat an eye. Two years ago I think I would have panicked. These days, all tropicalized and all, this is normal conversation.I actually looked for a tree, but decided to try the public toilet two minutes down the road. I’ll just say I should have stuck with the tree.

Average Sunday in Guadeloupe

20 Jun

Yesterday we had a pretty average Sunday here in Guadeloupe. What’s that like for us, you ask? It’s like sweating, showering, beaching, sweating some more, cursing the laundry that didn’t dry well and smells funny, making fresh maracudja juice, watching American series on tv with the Pirate before bed .  I know, it really  packs a wallop, try to keep up people. Actually in the middle there we spent the afternoon with new friends at the Ilet du Gosier. Pas mal. Pas mal de tout.I’ve never actually stayed on that island for longer than fifteen minutes.  We took part in a big Creole style barbeque, which actually only consisted of really barbequing some fish, while the rest (did you know in French they say ‘le rest’? true.) was brought over in a big caterer’s box, (yes on a boat) prepared by some company. Pretty good eats, standard stuff for here, gratin d’Igname, gratin de christophine, fried chicken, frozen-cooked mini pastry appetizers (you know the ones, mini quiches, pizzas, cheesy puffy pastry balls…) and an enormous pan of Paella. The French proudly mispronounce this as “Pah-ey-LA” and that makes me crazy when anyone who can’t make the appropriate “euuuuu” sound in French is mocked.  I should do a blog post of words that annoy me.

The key item to any Creole style barbecue is not the barbecue. It’s the music. How un-American.  The music must be LOUD. The music sound should be adjusted so that the tinny drum sound in the Zouk music is the loudest thing out there,  impossible to speak over. Impossible to think over. The music must be played at this volume and in this style for hours with absolutely no regard to anyone else, and certainly not to be drowned out by any other music from any other so called barbecue.  Try your best to find songs which sound almost the same, and play them one after the other. It will be a fun game for people to try and figure out if you’re playing the same song or if there is any difference. The equipment is impressive, simply because it’s there, on the island, brought over by people who need to have this music. Yesterday it consisted of a generator that seemed to be on the fritz (I was so thankful for those moments when the music died, I admit), some speakers, a laptop, and an equalizer with the cover removed to make tinkering with the inside easier, and a fan blowing directly on said equalizer to keep it cool. I should have taken a picture but well, it felt rude.

Now maybe you think I’m being a pissy old person about this music. I challenge YOU to listen to Zouk at top volume on a poor quality sound system – heck even a great one- without developing a twitch that can only be cured by more Caribbean rum.

 

 

 

Found an interesting blog by some nice folks who are sailing around the islands. They stopped in Gosier and took some nice pictures:

http://sailingonelephantschild.blogspot.com/2011/01/gosier.html

 

Happy hours…La Toubana in Guadeloupe

17 Jun

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I love a great view, great conversation, and a glass of wine with the Pirate after a long hot day in the beginning of summer in Guadeloupe. La Toubana is a great place for that. They also have a beach party once a month for anyone to attend, but I will confess that it’s not my favorite beach since it’s actually a little manmade beach for the hotel. That being said, they have a small restaurant right on the beach there, with food and drink service to the big comfortable beachy style beds you can pay for which are on the dock, just lovely, really, though I never took advantage.

The main restaurant is up on the hill, by the hotel and spa, and is excellent. The service exists, and is great. A must see simply for an apero if you haven’t got the inclination to stay at the hotel or utilize the spa services or the beach.

>"It’s white sox all the way back to the boat. Careful, they’re marked."

12 Nov

>I’d like to discuss what I believe is an epidemic. Although I’m fairly certain there has never been any formal research done, I just know there are other experts out there like moi who have been witnesses. The epidemic, people, is socks. White socks. Long, slightly slouched down but slightly pulled up, clean as if new, White. Socks.

I can’t find any correlation that sticks, but there are some common ones:

White socks (always as previously described, unless otherwise noted) with:
-Puffy, clean, marshmallow-like white sneakers. Probably reserved for indoor use only.
-No socks.
-Topsiders or other boat worthy shoes.
-People on cruises.
-People who mall-walk.
-People in pictures from the 80’s.
-People wearing black shoes. If you’re not MJ, you can’t. So then nobody can can they because the dude isn’t alive. RIP.
-Socks with sandals. Just..no. N.O. no.

I thought at one time that this was an American specific epidemic. Mais non. I have witnessed other nationalities white-socking it. What I don’t understand is, with all the variety and oh, have I mentioned fashion choices out there in terms of comfortable, athletic footwear and accompanying socks, why would you reach out your hand for the set that might as well come with a bullhorn so that you can yell, “Rip me off! I am nervous about the amount of walking I’m going to be doing, so I’ve got on these super duper comfortable, discreet socks here to bolster me! You there! Two streets away! You ready for me? I’m looking for a bargain and I know you’ve got one for me! I’ve never even heard of Puma or Converse! Reebok three-strap Velcro forever!”

Now, I review this and I think, wow, I am a total bitch. But you know what? I’m not alone. When I mentioned this to a friend in Mexico – at a stop on our cruise – he knew exactly what I was talking about. In fact when we left him, with about seven blocks to walk back to the ferry, he warned us that it would be white socks the rest of the way down the road. He knows this is the way to spot the tourists. We didn’t want to be lumped into this category even though we were also on the cruise ship. We opted for flip flops, which, on a rainy day in the streets of Mexico, in a part of town where the sewage backs up in storms, left us feeling totally awesome about not having sneakers and big white socks. Totally. Awesome. Clean, too. Real clean.

just for fun, and also to prove that I am not alone:
fashion questions the white sock.
tacky tourists in Lisbon and white socks.
This is so awesome and relevant that I almost made a whole seperate entry about it!!

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