Fort du France

We spent almost a week in Martinique, reprovisioning and sightseeing.  The city of Fort du France is the capital and the largest city. It''s a great place to wander, which we did a lot.  The Martiniquois are a mix of indian, caribee and European and are a good looking lot and very tall! The skin colors range from kind-of-white-with-freckels (like me when I have a tan) to cafe au lait to the very darkest of dark chocolate.  There were quite a few inter racial couples, something that, while not uncommon on the other islands, was definately more noticeable here. 
The grocery stores are modern and fairly well stocked and we took advantage of the short walk to the dinghy dock to pick up some of the more bulky items: toilet paper, coffee and cat litter.  It's a challenge to shop in a French 'super marche', I have to take a dictionary to see what it is we're really buying.  And then there's the money.  We've gone back and forth and back and forth between the Euro and Eastern Caribbean Currency as we've gone from island to island.  I'm sure I look pretty funny standing in the isle trying to remember which currency we're using today and which way to divide the dollar and is that a good price for a kilo of rice? And, yes, things are in kilos and grams which also adds to the equation. Anyway, it's great fun and we've had more fun trying the new foods that we're finding here.

 We took a look around the Schoelcher Library in Fort du France.  It was designed by Gustav Eifel, built in France and shipped to Martinique in pieces in 1889.  It's a very elaborate building, made of metal and is still used as a library today. It's named after Victor Schoelcher who was a very active slavery abolitionist, there is also a town named for him on the island.

Local rum punches for sale in the market, I like the hats on the upper bottles.
We went through the main Market where there was everything for sale from soup to nuts, literally.  We bought curry and fresh vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks, tomatoes and lettuce. Steve and I were standing having our usual conversation*,  when the vendor overheard us and said "Oh you speak English, so do I! You're English."   Steve said "No, I'm American, my English isn't that good."  The woman was very funny and nice and hardly made fun of my attempts to speak French at all.

* (What's the exchange rate again? No, that's EC, we're using E here. Are you sure? What is this anyway? I don't know, I think it's a christophene. Are they good? I think it's like a potato, only different. Are you sure?)

Produce stall in the market, notice that she takes VISA and MASTERCARD.

We left Martinique yesterday and are currently in Rodney Bay, St Lucia, anchored off a giant Sandals Resort.  There's a lot to see and do here, but we'll keep moving south and try to be in Grenada in a week or so.  The phrase 'tropical wave' keeps coming up in the weather forecasts and we'd like to avoid them if at all possible.

And FYI, according to the guide a christophene "has shallow ridges, is pear shaped, comes in green or white, and grows on a vine.  Somewhat delicate in flavor, it makes an excellent vegetable dish or may be added to curries or stews.  Peel it underwater or with wet hands, as otherwise it leaves a mess on your hands that gives the impression your skin is peeling off.  It is excellent just boiled with salt, pepper and butter and is even better put in a white cheese sauce.  It may also be used raw as a salad ingredient. The seed tastes good raw".


Amanda said...

You speak French now too? Sounds awesome and I can't wait for Christmas.

Anne and Chris said...

I think just about anything is good in a white cheese sauce!