Sunday, February 26, 2017

It’s A Date - Dinner And A Parade

So many times in our Cruising past, we have failed to be in the right place at the right time.  Finally we are poised at the cusp of being “Where it’s at” to participate as much or as little as we please.  Word has it that there’s a parade in Marigot… Something to do with Mardi Gras?  

We’ve had enough of boat projects for a day or two… let’s take the day off and head ashore to see if we can find the parade!  Breakfast came to us by way of the Bagette Boat… The Almond croissants are seriously delicious… but good luck trying to convince this cute couple that I can NOT eat them every day!  I think they lapse into understanding only French when it suits them… Well…maybe just one more…
Gated cemetery right on the waterfront in Marigot

I'm afraid to go in and find out what happiness is being served by oneself within...

I always appreciate the pop up art...

Vendors pedal their wares to the tourists

By the time we went to shore, returned to the boat for Bruce’s shoes… and made it back to the dinghy dock… I was beginning to feel hunger pangs again.  We strolled the nearly deserted streets where one after another interesting looking restaurant displayed nothing but shutters…  Soon enough we began to smell food and followed our noses to Rosemary’s.  

The menu looked good, and the welcoming attitude of the server convinced us to squeeze into this crowded little open air eatery…  We ordered fried Mahi Mahi with Creole sauce… mmmmm… 
Festive decorations hanging from the ceiling!

As we sat there listening to the sounds of French conversation, watching pigeons strut around beneath the tables in search of crumbs… and devouring a simple but delicious dinner we couldn’t help but marvel at what odds had brought us to be in this place…  We truly are fortunate.

Just as we were finishing up our dinner and paying the very reasonable bill, we began to feel the thump, thump, thump that would fill in to become very loud music.  That must be the parade!  We pointed our feet in that direction and followed our ears until we could literally feel the thumping as it echoed in our chests and rattled our ribs!  My own heart had to compete for control inside my chest.

Eventually they stopped looking menacing and turned to watch the parade!
We found some policemen where the road was blocked off up ahead and asked around.  Perfect spot!  The parade would come right down this road toward us and then turn to our right.  We would have a primo viewing place right here.  

We wondered why there was no sign of the parade after a bit… and asked our policeman about it.  He said that the lead car had a flat tire so the whole parade had to cool its heels until a repair could be made!  Eventually the music got louder and we could finally see the beginnings of the parade participants coming our way.

First came some sort of evil creature… I’m sure it was symbolic of something.  Must brush up on my Mardi Gras lore… 

Then the Princess and Queen, followed by one after another group of mostly ladies, but a few men… all dressed in bling and feathers!  

The costumes ranged from fully elaborate, to rather simple.  The makeup and the sparkles and the movement to the music made me want to dance!  

A few times people would encroach on our view, but for the most part we had front row seats just behind the policemen.  Several times the crowd had to be pushed back to allow space for the semi-trucks pulling the bands with all of their equipment and VERY LOUD speakers to pass.  Two of them had to make multiple attempts to make the sharp turn without taking out a lamp post or the eaves of the building behind us.  It was all very exciting to watch and I felt for those poor drivers.  I was also very glad that I didn’t have that job!  Driving a boat in wide open waters is very much more my speed!

Several trucks had to make multiple attempts to make this turn.

There were many long pauses in the movement of the paraders… I think it was due to performances for the judges just down our road.  By the time the later groups made it to us, the kids were visibly running out of energy.  The day is warm and the sun is shining directly on them for the most part.  One poor girl looked as if she was going to drop.

Handing out BEER!
There were handlers keeping up with their groups, providing water and food.  They were also throwing out water, t-shirts, and even handing out BEER!  Wonder what it takes to get a permit to hand out beers to random strangers of indeterminate age in the streets!!!  Oh yeah… we aren’t in the US anymore!  NO PERMIT NEEDED!  We didn’t get a beer, but we did get a cold water!  Score!

Looking a little tired!!

What happened to the guns???

Just cuteness!!

Potty break!!
Eventually Bruce started to fidget.  I ignored it for a while, so he had to step it up and actually say that he was ready to head back to the boat.  It was 3pm and very warm.  

Walking back through the empty streets, we caught a small group of paraders waiting outside the public restroom… Wonder how they got those costumes off… and back on again so that they could rejoin the parade just down the alley…

As we backtracked to the dinghy dock it was like seeing the parade again only backwards… and with less energy!  These scary dudes looked positively frightful with a little body language shift…

What a great day it was.  On our way back we passed our friends on Adventure Us 2, who had attended the parade with Smart Move.  We missed them because of our unscheduled return to the boat, but in the end, it was fun doing our own thing, just the two of us.  Trying to keep up with four other people in this crowd wouldn’t have been easy.  As it was, we could hold hands and wind our way through… just like being on a date!  

Friday, February 17, 2017

Life In St. Martin - Grand Case and Groceries

Just getting off of our "bus" $1.50 per person each way
Back when I was living vicariously through so many Bloggers, I used to get a kick out of seeing them meet one another in real life.  For some reason that remains a huge deal to me as it is now Dos Libras who is meeting up with people we have followed for so long... Today it is Summertime Rolls!

Brian and Rebecca are younger and maybe a little more intrepid than we are in many ways.  They are cruising part time, leaving their boat in the islands during hurricane season to go back to the the states for work to replenish the cruising kitty.

Their time on the boat is spent "living" in whatever country they happen to have stopped.  I like how they really get to know the places and people before moving on to the next spot.  They have traveled extensively off the boat and have no problem just jumping right in.  Take public transportation for example...

Bruce and I might have gone a long time before we got up the nerve to just hop onto a public "bus" for a ride to another town.  So when Rebecca invited us to go with them for lunch in nearby Grand Case, we were delighted to tag along!

We followed them through the streets of Marigot until we reached a bus stop, then piled in with the locals.  We had no idea how or when to get off the bus... but a nice woman took pity upon us and helped us figure it out.  Again we were thankful for people who spoke English!

Brian and Rebecca had honeymooned in Grand Case many years ago, so they had been here before, but you know how things change...  The town was a little bit more "grown up" but still remained a tiny coastal town.

One street off the beach we found wall to wall shops and restaurants.  I wondered how they make it in this little place... but soon found that it is one of the Must-Do stops on the island.

After walking the streets a bit looking for a restaurant they remembered... we decided to cut through to the beach.  Much better!

Dinghy dock???

The Lolo

We found Lolo's and took our seats, the best in the house!  Not saying much... but the view is stunning!

I'm not saying that Brian and Rebecca are a bad influence... but I will say that during our three hour lunch... Bruce and I had no less than three "beverages" each... Not something we normally do and especially not at LUNCH!  But it was a late lunch and probably would end up being our dinner... so I'm rationalising it away like that...

We had fun getting to know these two New Yorkers!

I'm always amazed at the electrical engineering in the islands...
Finally we moved on back to the street to look for the bus that would take us back to Marigot...

Nope, that's not it!

I love the tiny island churches everywhere!

Looks like a fun place!
We found a taxi before we found the bus, and for $8 per person they took us back to Marigot and dropped us off at the grocery store, the Super U!

Huge thanks to Brian and Rebecca for giving us a jump-start in getting around the island.  It would have taken us days (or longer) to get up the nerve to roam as far as you took us today!

It's here somewhere...
It's always good to have another cruiser to show you the ropes!

I've gotta tell you, plunking yourself down in a new country, that speaks another language, can be very intimidating.

But once someone shows you around a little bit, it's a whole lot easier to explore on your own...

Foreign names... who would have thought this was a grocery store?

What an adventure!  Foreign foods!  FUN!

Some things are the same... 
It's fun navigating through a foreign grocery store.  You have almost no brand name recognition... you have no idea which brands are good and which are not...  Some foods are completely unknown and it's fun to take a chance on something new...  And sometimes it isn't!  I wish someone had told us that this frozen readymade lasagna wasn't going to be good...  I guess we should have known... $1.75 US

I think it is the equivalent of French Chef Boy-R-Dee!  Oh well... c'est la vie!