Le requin citron

It’s 2017 and I still want to write one final post about Guadeloupe. I saved the best for last: our trip to Petite Terre. When I heard about the island I was sold on turtles and lemon sharks. The young ones like to hang out in the shallow water of Petite Terre. They are small and harmless. Even the grown ones that don’t come close to the shore are not considered dangerous. The name comes from their colour – they blend in well with the sand.

As the name suggests Petite Terre is a very small island. Actually it’s two islands: Basse Terre and Haute Terre, again named not after their topography but their position relative to the wind. They have been declared a nature reserve and one of the islands is closed compeltely for visitors. Turtles lay their eggs on the beach and they understandably don’t want tourists walking all over them.

The second island can be visited by up to 200 people per day. Which tour operators go there is well regulated. We went by catamaran and snorkelled onto the island while the dinghi took our bags.

The island is uninhabited. There used to be lighthouse keepers, but that’s all automated now. With the supplies for the lighthouse rats were imported to the island. Other than that, there are no land mammals.

We also saw a big hermit crab, which I learned is called bernard l’hermite in French. And fish, or course, we saw lots of fish. After almost two weeks of avoiding it, I managed to get a sunburn. It was on the back of my legs of course and complemented my mosquito bite scratches nicely. After these two weeks I also finally got to grips with the mask and snorkel, just in time to forget again until the next holiday. Next time, I might just shell out for the full face mask we saw everywhere. It looks ridiculous but apparently it’s easier to deal with. A friend who knows France just nodded and said “Decathlon” knowingly. It’s the Intersport or France, I believe.

We went on the trip on Saturday. Suddenly it was only one day left before we had to return.

We spent our last day on the beach.

Last breakfast on the island. I loved the fresh fruit we got there everyday.

Guadeloupean street food called agoulou. It’s a bit like a burger, but the bun is toasted and crunchy. Plus it’s larger, so often cut into quarters. The other popular street food is called bokit. A bokit is a sandwich made with fried bread, a bit like a filled lángos.

bye bye sandals, hello foot prison

The little prince, the book I love to hate, in créole

I was surprised when I first saw boxed wines in France. It doesn’t have a bad reputation though, because bag within the box protects the wine from oxygen, so it keeps longer.
I see why someone would buy a box of wine. 5 litres of rum though…

Not to worry, you can also get 3 litre bags of rum.

The 9 hour flight certainly felt like pain progress.

 


À l’autre côté de la Manche

We had a comparatively uneventful Saturday in London. Gergö needed a new pair of shoes and since I occasionally like to shop, he suggested we do that. I fall for it every single time: I think “oh shopping, we’ll find some stores and check out shoes”. When I want to go to a market I look at everything, touch a whole lot of things, maybe even try on something.

When Gergö needs a new pair of shoes he walks into the first shoe store, locates the chucks, asks for his size, tries them on, decides it’s too much hassle to ask for a different color, because it’s full and loud. Blue will do. Pays and leaves. “Shopping” lasted only about 15 minutes because it took the salesperson 10 minutes to find the right size.

We also wanted to try out an ice bar, where you can have a drink at minus 5 degrees. We found the ice bar pretty quickly, but we would have had to wait for an hour to get a seat. So we decided to go to the Porterhouse instead. It’s an Irish Brewery that has a few pubs in Dublin and one in London. Gergö actually really said “Who drinks beer in the middle of the afternoon on a Saturday?” The answer to that turned out to be: pretty much everyone in London who isn’t shopping on Oxford street at that moment. Northern Ireland was playing Belgium (I think) and we were very lucky to find a table. The only reason it was ailable was, because it didn’t have a view of the screen.

Gergö likes the Porterhouse beer but mostly I think he likes that he can get a set of three small beers to try.

Porterhouse beer

From there we wandered on to the Brewdog Pub. It’s a lot hipper than Porterhouse, with a much higher bushy beard quota. The best part of all that hipness are the names, of course. My favourite has to be Faceless Spreadsheet Ninja. The beer is so-so, but the name is great. I didn’t try weird beard, but I guess I have enough of this at home.

brew dog beer signs

You can get several very small beers there as well, Gergö was very happy.

brewdog beer

Don’t get me wrong, I like beer, but unlike him I didn’t feel the need to send a picture of every single beer we drank while in London to my BFF.

Towards the evening we wandered back to Brick Lane, so I could check out the chocolate store of choclatey goodness. The smell alone!

At this point my camera lense was pretty smeared and the photos came out worse than usual. It might have had something to do with the availability of greasy street food. Despite the “priced out of London”-penguin, we had dinner in the courtyard of a former brewery with food trucks named things like “meat porn” under a giant bow and arrow.

caboose with bow and arrow

While leaving we noticed that there was another market advertised for Sunday. I’m always a bit nervous about missing trains and planes on travel days, so I never want to do much. Another market close to the hotel seemed great.

There was so much food. We had about £ 5 left, so we had to make a very careful choice. We ended up trying a Lithuanian meatball fillled with cheese, with potatoes and some filled pasta. It was delicious. We also bought coffee from a guy who had converted his black cab, so that the roof could be raised. I was too intimidated by the big beard to take a photo (only hald kidding).

It was great, I could have stayed much longer, but our return train left at 2 pm. The check in process was even longer and worse organised on the return trip. And unlike France the UK didn’t even have the friendly passport guy who said “Auf Wiedersehen!” to me. And just as I smugly wanted to tell Gergö about it, assuming he wouldn’t get a similar treatment, he said he was greeted with “Jó napot kívánok!”.

I tried the automated passport controls this time and they are so much slower than the human ones. Sadly the person who oversaw the process couldn’t answer any of my questions. He only knew that the machines had been there for only two weeks, but not how often they failed, how long it takes on average, and all these interesting facts.

The return train was much nicer and had two different outlets per two seat

european and british outlet