Finally, left Point-a-Pitre!
Went earlier in the week, instead of on the weekend as I had initially planned. The weather forecast showed rain storms over the weekend, which I didn't want to get stuck in. Turned out not to be rain storms (there's the weather forecast for you). Still, may have improved my outcomes to have left earlier as I did since I ran into some problem along the way.
I was getting quite frustrated staying in such a small town, as nice as it was in some ways. Also, I had many troubles getting out of town. Leaving during the week had more stores open, which may thus have enabled me to get going.
Some thoughts before leaving:
This place (Point-a-Pitre) kept surprising me at how big it is. Looking at the stats, I see that it's actually a way bigger city than I thought it was.
I'd been planning to carry on this weekend. However, it looks like rain and maybe thunderstorms this weekend. Now I'm thinking of going as soon as tomorrow. Not sure that I'm ready yet!
The history of Pointe-à-Pitre is marked by many disasters: the fires of 1850, 1871 and 1931, the earthquakes of 1851 and 1897 and the hurricanes of 1865 and 1928. The city also experienced several epidemics of cholera.
Seventy percent of residents of Pointe-à-Pitre resided in subsidized public housing in 2009.
Widely varying forecasts, some saying tons of rain, some saying not much, this weekend. Probably depends on whether or not storms develop.
I'm dying to leave!
Often the problems are benefits, as I've noted many times.
I have an encapsulation theory. This compares with how later species, such as humans, go through stages in the womb that compare to the shapes of earlier species. Instead, I'm comparing the stages of an individual life to the hominids. As a baby, one is dependent, as most apes depend on instincts. In childhood, one starts to walk and make friends, like australopithecines. Later, as a teenager, one fights with tools, like early human species. As a young adult, one makes fires and travels, like Neanderthals. Then, one goes through several "industrial revolutions", depending on jobs with more serious machines. In later adulthood, it's like more developed societies, where one becomes increasingly dependent on machines and weak, until eventually the machines take over (life support).
I think I remarked on this before, but so far Guadeloupiens seem to me like some of the friendlier Caribbean people I've met. There's also considerable crime.
The first day was disastrous. Overnight, I was awoken by rain, and some crunching sounds which turned out to be a rat eating some of my chips. In the morning, just about as soon as I set out, a wheel on the stroller I was using broke. It was the same wheel that had previously been hit by a truck while I was walking in town. I'd thought that it held together, but apparently the extra weight was enough to crush it.
As I struggled to push the stuff out of town, the stroller fell apart further. I found a discarded luggage on wheels, and switched to it. I stopped in at a restaurant, eating a delicious courtbouillon de poisson avec racines (a fish stew with root vegetables). Waited out some rain, then kept going.
The luggage also had broken wheels, not sure if they were already like that or if I did that by overpacking it. Soon I was dragging it on the case itself, rather than on any wheels, with great difficulty.
Also, I had to go the bathroom several times on the way out of town, which was inconvenient due to the rain and being out in edge of town.
Before crossing the bridge out of town, I got stuck in another rain shower. While waiting, I thought it made more sense just to stay in town another night, then head out the next day. My phone was out of data. I recharged. Afterwards, I started looking up places, but the phone was too slow to show any. It still had the problems from since I arrived in this country.
After the rain died down, I decided just to keep going anyways.
It turned out to be a pleasant evening stroll. I walked through some challenging wet grounds, then got to a site to camp.
The place was swampy, infested with insects. However, I got some sleep.
You can experience different parts of the past from the present. E.g., phone not working? Go back to the days of 2G! Camping? Go back to before buildings, electricity, etc.!
In the morning, I went looking to buy a phone that would work in Guadeloupe, so that I could work. A few stores were closed. I finally found a phone.
Next, I went looking for a bike or other luggage. After some long, arduous walking, I was getting extremely sore, hardly able to go on any more. As I was getting close to a bike shop, struggling to drag the luggage with broken wheels, a car pulled up. The driver asked if I wanted help. She drove me to the bike shop.
There, it turned out to be one of those expensive road bike shops, not really appropriate or affordable for what I was looking to do. I kept walking.
With just about my last energy, I made it to a mall, the same one where I bought this computer that enabled me to work in P-a-P. In the mall, I bought a bike and some accessories. Kept going!
Felt way different walking with a bike instead of the broken carriers. Instead of feeling slowed down, I felt like I had an ally.
I'd forbidden myself from riding the bike until I got rid of more weight, because it seemed unsafe. When I came across a long downhill, I spontaneously decided to ride it anyways. Nearly died due to some oscillations from all the weight on my front wheel. Still, fun!
Since then, have kept riding as well as walking. Still risky, but I'm covering more ground, and feeling better. Keep at it!
As I kept going, I tried to rent a place. Not much available out here. An Airbnb that I rented, the host didn't provide an address, so I kept going. Did finally make it to another place, where I'm writing now.
Along the way, I've had a tough time carrying on, with so much stuff. Because I left town before I had expected, I still had tons of stuff. Much of it's food, which I've been eating my way through. Still, carrying way more than I should. One of the more important travel lessons it to travel light.
Gorgeous countryside. Coastal hills. Some tough climbs (which I've largely been walking, overweight with stuff). Amazing descents.
Despite all my mistakes, I remember what it's like to bike tour, and why I like it!
A few developments already from this Guadeloupe touring. I now want to rent more, camp less. I now plan to switch to an electric bike as soon as I'm beyond the area where I expect to have to fly off an island soon and get rid of a bike. The hills are a pain while loaded. Also, I want to be able to get places faster. In general, I'm now aiming for somewhat more upscale touring, rather than just winging it.
I'm now thinking of my approach as to have a somewhat normal stay in a place for a week or more, then to ride rapidly to another place. This contrasts against an earlier way that I've traveled, more often traveling. I'm now more interested in work and other activities, but still want to see places.
Also, I'm going back to drinking largely water. It's a refreshing and convenient drink. In North America and some Caribbean islands, it was also the easiest to get, from taps in the US or from the large bottles in other countries. Guadeloupe doesn't seem to have large bottles, so I'd figured I'd get medium bottles of soda or juice instead of medium bottles of water. However, I think that all the sugar and acids in those drinks makes me feel worse, so I'm switching back to water (which also costs less, but not that much).
In the Caribbean, it's often too hot and humid, and also rainy and stormy, for bike touring to be pleasant. I'm now aiming to stay a while in a place, then go on a cloudy but not rainy day to another place, instead of constantly riding.
Made it to another place, where I've extended my stay a few times through some storms. Now it's been a week. I was thinking of heading off again, but having thoughts of staying even longer.
Photo album of leaving Point-a-Pitre here.
I feel like I've finally used up or gotten rid of enough stuff that I can go ahead without needing to get rid of more! While still far from perfect, of course, I feel much better now, having left. Having reupped, in terms of bike and phone and other stuff. Having seen many people and places. Having survived!
At any rate, keep going!