If The Pink Panther is my reference for the
French language, you know I’ve got problems. EW and I are isolated here in
Pointe a Pitre. Granted, the first week and a half we weren’t fit for company, but
now that we’re feeling more social, we haven’t found any English speaking
cruisers. In fact, it was much easier to find American and cruisers from other
English-speaking countries while we were in the Canaries than it is to find
them here. We have always liked Guadeloupe, but have visited more obvious
cruising ports of Deshaies and Isles de Saintes where we always met new sailing
friends from the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Great Britain.
We love Deshaies and Isles de Saintes, but
unless you need marine services, I don’t find Pointe a Pitre or the complex at
Marina Bas du Fort particularly appealing. All of you who replied to previous
posts and mentioned dining in Guadeloupe, and pan chocolat have not visited
Marina Bas Du Fort recently. Online, they boast “over 100” restaurants and
shops. As our dear friend Carrie would say, “Dat is a LIE!” There are shops and
restaurants, but not 100 of them, and the best restaurant we’ve found is a
popular Asian one. In fact, in these many fewer than 100 establishments, there is
not one boulangerie in the port,
though we finally found one at road exiting the marina complex. While we can purchase baguettes at the
indifferent grocery store in the complex, it was only just this week when I
finally enjoyed a pan chocolat. Here at the marina, there are, however, four
places that offer American style pizza and two hamburger joints -- all in a
place where few profess to -- or actually do -- speak English. It is an
adventure of a different sort.
Except for the rather superior ladies at
the marina, and the most unfriendly grocery clerks I’ve ever encountered,
everyone is pleasant and as helpful as possible. As we did in the Azores, we
work each day to learn new phrases and to use them properly. I talk as slowly
as I possibly can (which is a chore for me) and apologize frequently for not
speaking French. Still, we get “punished” often by these friendly folk when
they project ignorance where it cannot reasonably occur.
Our first meal ashore was pizza, because we
frankly couldn’t find anything else at the marina and were tired and cranky.
The menu was in French, but the proprietor said she had “some English” so we
worked together to place our order, until we got to the “Olives”. She replied
with a frown, “Pardon?” We repeated, “Ol
-live, si vous plait”. She frowned more and shook her head. In my mind, I
heard, “What is this Ol-live, Cato, you fool?” I pointed to the menu. She
smiled, “Ahhh! Ol-LEAVE! Oui!”
Really? You own a pizza parlor and can’t
interpret “Ol-live” to be “Ol-LEAVE” in context? I am not the fool.
The pizza was delicious and just as we had
ordered it, with cheese, pepperoni and black olives.
Five of them. Whole. With pits. In a nice
little circle around the center.
If anyone actually made and offered crepes
here -- we’d order ‘em. In the meantime, I’m back to making our own pizza. I
think we will accept an estimate on the main salon cushions this week and
expect the refrigeration expert to show up finally early next week. While we wait for the cushions, we’ll get on
with our appointed boat tasks, learn more French, and eat more pan chocolat.
Our next stop will be Nevis and St. Kitts.
I understand they speak English there. We are ready.