Imagine, we are in the middle of winter. It’s dark and cold outside. What can you be dreaming of? Sun and heat, don’t you? Let’s cross the Atlantic ocean and find it …
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In 2000, my mother decided to offer our little family, a dreaming escape. She took us to Guadeloupe, a French little island located in the West Indies. It was my first long haul flight (8h) and jetlag (-5h). Quite disturbing, but when you’re a kid, you can get used very easily to any situation. I always remember my first impression as we left the airport: how warm it was! Experimenting sun and heat in winter is the best thing to boost your mind. When I woke up on the first morning, I think we were close to the typical picture of paradise. Maybe it’s also what thought the first explorers who reached this part of the world.
I’ll try to bring you there. Close your eyes. You are on a beach with white sand. Behind you there are palm trees, you can hear the breeze shacking them. In front of you, there is a lagoon, calm and warm. In the long distance, you can hear the waves crushing into the lagoon rocky border. In the sky, there are these clouds, not flat like in Europe, more like a chimney. The horizon seems so large. Suddenly a short rain, like a shower, not cold, not long enough to get you wet, and if it’s the case, you’ll be dry quickly anyway. You welcome it. Then, you take off your clothes, you could spend the day in a swimsuit, and you run into the turquoise sea, which is at the perfect temperature.
There is no paradise without good food. Missing fruits? Guadeloupe is the perfect place to make a fruit cure: banana, guava, mango, passion fruit, papaya, coconut, etc. What Guadeloupe is famous for is rum (the gift to bring home). Even if I was young I could taste a punch: exotic fruit juice, with cane sugar syrup and rum. Sweet sweetness. Sip it while laying on the beach.
I could have spent the holidays on the beach, but we decided to rent a car, and also a tour guide, and visit the island. We started with Pointe-à-Pitre, the main city. Its market is very colorful, and it’s a good occasion to chat with the local people. If I didn’t understand them at first glance, it was because some of them speak Creole. Then we went to Basse-Terre (the island looks like a butterfly, divided in two part: Grande Terre in the North East and Basse-Terre in the South West), in order to climb La Soufrière. It’s an active volcano. I remember the path in the tropical forest, but not the summit because it was in a cloud. When we reached it, it smelt like a rotten egg because of the sulfur escaping from the ground.
I was really impressed by the flora of the island. It was the first time I met exotic trees and plants. The most incredible was the traveler tree. It’s a palm tree looking like a fan.
I came back from these holidays, with skin dark like never, and in much better health to face the rest of winter.
February 2000 – Family trip – 1 week