Sunday 25th – Thursday 29th September 2022
I guess it was absolutely inevitable that within 8 weeks of travelling there would be a few grim days – well they sort of landed on us this week. On Sunday I’d woken up with a sore throat and general grogginess (even put off going to the gym!) but by that night I had gone into full fever mode – shivering and freezing cold one minute, burning up the next. Steve and I hardly slept and unfortunately we had to be up at 4.15am to get the ferry to Martinique – not great timing!! But it had to be done so I just took the pills and managed the journey the very best I could, including a bumpy boat ride, long passport queues and an extremely loud French taxi driver. When we arrived at our hotel in Sainte-Luce we were 3 hours too early for check in (they were not for budging, but did allow us to leave our luggage) … and killing that time in the local village was the hardest bit ever, I was feeling progressively rotten.
I took the opportunity to go to a pharmacy to buy some covid test kits although I think I’d pretty much guessed that this was what I had. I paid the money thinking I was going to be given a box to takeaway but I was then ushered to a room at the back for the test to be done – within minutes it was conclusively positive. After a lecture from the pharmacist (in Franglais) about safe travel I was asked to wait outside the shop for my receipt. I noticed the other assistants had applied their masks now and clearly didn’t want me inside – I felt like a leper – and stood on the pavement in the heat, feeling very sorry for myself.
Steve managed to get some lunch and we were able to check out the local amenities. It’s a simple little fishing village – lots of fruit, fish and things made out of coconuts stalls, local shops, one ‘superette’ and a few restaurants. A lot of places were closed and we realised later that they have the 12-4pm siesta time here. It was an overcast day although still clammy – we definitely weren’t getting the wow factor.
Then finally at 2pm, after an horrendous night, 10 hours of travelling/killing time, whilst suffering my 1st day of Covid, we got to check into our room and I was able to sleep and sleep and sleep!! But not before that “oh what have we done’ feeling, as our accommodation turned out to be somewhat basic! One fortunate thing was that there was a spare sleeping area, curtained off from the main living space – because apparently we’d been given an upgraded ‘shack.’ It’s been perfect for my recovery though – my own little hospital ward!…. and a greater chance for Steve to avoid the lurgy!
The first couple of days continued in a sort of negative fashion. Having resigned ourselves to Covid confinement, I think each little detail about our rooms became a huge deal. After 4 days of bite-free bliss in Rodney Bay, we were back to being repellant-dependant. It turned out that the rooms weren’t due to be cleaned daily – think, after much discussion in our feeble French, we might have persuaded them round on this one!! The towels were threadbare and we had to ask for some beach towels. The only things supplied were one bin bag, one toilet roll, and a small jug of rum and orange – to last us the whole week! This meant that while I was laid up, Steve had to pay another £60 to get a taxi to the nearest big supermarket to stock up on bin bags, toilet rolls, tea bags and enough food to last us the week, as it’s doubtful that we’ll be able to go out to eat. Luckily we do have a kitchen area. What made it even more painful was that we’d just paid £80 for the same taxi driver to bring us here from the airport … he said to Steve “you should have said, we could have stopped on the way) – grrrr!! And, even though our views are to die for, it continued to be dark, cloudy and rainy … it was going to be a long week.
But things always brighten up don’t they, and we should know this from experience. So many times we’ve arrived in places and thought this is horrendous but they turn out to be brilliant. That’s the adventure of budget travelling – I think my being ill had magnified minor issues. It took waking up to blue sky and sunshine on Wednesday to discover that we were actually staying somewhere quite wonderful. We are literally 15 yards from being in the sea and our little stretch of beach is delightful. Steve had been out running (in the rain) over the last couple of days so had familiarised himself with the area a little and as I was feeling a little stronger by then we decided to try a walk. Turns out we are on a fabulous coastal path (trail) and yesterday and today we have been able to venture out on it – walking slowly, building up my strength – not touching anything or anyone!! We have Caribbean beauty at its absolute best – so many pretty secluded beaches, lush forest, magnificent bird life, beach bars and restaurants (desperately hoping I’m well enough for us to sample by the end of the week). We’ve managed 3 and a half miles so far – hoping to add a bit on each day. And swimming too – the sea is amazing.
So, as you can see, not really a whole load to complain about with this lot on our doorstep. I think we’ll manage!
And even though there’s still heavy rain on and off during the day, it’s not at all cold. One of the best things about being confined to barracks is that we have regular hummingbird visits – our verandah has a sweet water feeder designed for them. Some of the other birds try it out but their beaks aren’t long enough. The colour of the hummingbirds and their quick motion is such a spectacle (they are the only birds that can fly backwards) and each visit leaves us in awe.
And the two regular seabirds here seem to be the Frigate Bird which we’d seen in St. Lucia and a new one for us – the Pelican, both pretty prehistoric looking. And boy can they dive bomb where there’s fish involved!
Hopefully we’re over our grumbles now and each day I’m feeling brighter.
“And I think to myself, what a wonderful world … oh yeh.”