1-8-16 Martinique – In a very small hire car…
Venturing inland we discovered a fairly modern & cosmopolitan island, with a lot of modern infrastructure, including a motorway running up to the capital Fort de France. It felt a lot like being in France, plus it was raining which helped. The proud EU circle of stars was emblazoned on all the new developments – we travelled a thousand miles and we are still in Europe.
This is a stark contrast from the small Anse d’Arlet where in the search for a hire car -once again conducted in best schoolgirl French – we were sent from the Boulangerie to the Epicerie, to a sort of mechanics workshop, for an old guy to lead us down a few side alleys, where he had an engaging & vigorous chat to a lady feeding a multitude of cats, only for us to discover there were none available. (I think he was actually asking if we could borrow her car.) Instead we moved the boat back to Grand Anse to the small location-de-louer we had seen on the front to do the deal.
Car rented, Martinique was our oyster. A stroll around Fort de France on a very rainy Saturday afternoon told us we’d potentially picked the wrong day to hire the car – everything had shut at 1pm – although we managed to find an open sandwich bar for a lunch stop. Even in the rain it was a colourful place mixing old colonial architecture, and modern European style residences alongside more typical Caribbean dwellings and shops.
The outskirts boasted an array of typical out-of-town stores to be found in France. Our eye was drawn immediately to the Decathlon store. In a tropical rain storm we squeezed the kayak, body boards & paddle into the smallest hire car 65€ can buy. With para cord keeping the boot shut & everyone breathing in we now have exciting new capital investments to add to the boat inventory.
Initially intending to leave Martinique on Saturday, this island had drawn us in. We explored more on Sunday venturing to Marlin with its huge marina & all things yachty – obviously all shut on Sunday – then to the very beautiful Pointe Faula in Le Vauclin for lunch at K’bana. The Atlantic coast is a stark contrast to our usual leeward vista & brings rockier shores with big waves to create a surfers paradise. Which the kids enjoyed on their extortionately expensive new body boards.