Thoughts from Guadeloupe!

Submitted by eagle on Mon, 03/02/2020 - 19:25

So far, I'm overall digging Guadeloupe.

It's a mix of France and the Caribbean.

My French is holding up basically fine, but I'm making numerous mistakes.

I like the food and music!

Some rude people, but not nearly like other places.

Overall, much quieter. Fewer (but some) loud motors, dogs, people.

One of the funnier things I've noticed so far here is the mix of languages. I often hear French, Spansh, Creole, English, and more.

As I noticed before even arriving, Guadeloupe seems like more of a "real" country, compared to some of the other islands down in this part of the Caribbean. There are farms, residents in jobs outside of the tourism industry, and more. It doesn't feel like JUST a tourist attraction, despite having numerous visitors.

Going back through my calendar, to catch the things that slipped through the immense cracks, it's been quite a journey just to get to Guadeloupe!

Overall, I feel much better in these more European-style places than in American-style places. People out and about, walking, biking, instead of just driving everywhere. Less aggressive, more friendly, in my experience.

Things grow in spirals, often. Growing out in one way, then turning back on themselves, then reversing direction again, continuously. Often we feel setbacks, but I think that those are part of our advances.

I'm now planning to stay in this central town in Guadeloupe for at least a week, maybe three or more weeks.

[Ed.: I've already wandered out, but I'll probably head back soon.]

It takes tons of work, time, risk, sacrifice, support, and more, to do many things!

Some huge discoveries so far in Guadeloupe: delicious, affordable, plentiful French cheese! Likewise for chocolate spread, French bread, and other goodies!

There's an anise-flavored soft drink!

There's also fruit punch soft drink, with fruit juice. Tastes good, but I think it gave me indigestion.

Woke up. Found a free public bathroom. Automatic cleaning. Seemed like a decent invention. However, the door opened automatically before I finished!

Found a café with wifi.

Tons of mistakes along the way! :)

As I'm seeing more of Gouadeloupe, I still like it, and I'm still extra glad I came. However, some of the realities are setting in. It's somewhat limited in size, although still way bigger than I'd expected before arriving. I like the food a ton. The music is mixed for my tastes, some that I like and some that I don't. The architecture's different than anything I've seen before, somewhat playful but also somewhat ugly. The people seem friendlier than in some other recent islands I've been to, but still somewhat rude. I guess it's a mixed bag, like anywhere!

There are tons of vines growing in Guadeloupe.

I've been swinging from some like Tarzan,

Many plant and animal species resemble other Caribbean islands. There are banana, guava, coconut, and other fruits. Snails, lizards, birds galore.

It seems maybe wetter, swampier than some other Caribbean islands?

I had some tomatoes grown here. They were big, juicy, but somewhat lacking in flavor, watery.

The mosquitoes don't seem so bad here, for some reason. Maybe just the season?

I'm feeling strong, fit.

I like walking. After biking, it's refreshing. Different mode of transportation takes you to different places.

The more cars I see, the less I want one.

Planning to spend a while here. A few weeks in town, then a few months exploring the rest of Guadeloupe.

Wrapping up many of my unfinished tasks and projects from the last year of travels.

Then on to the other southern Caribbean islands. Martinique, Saint Lucia, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago. Not sure exactly which, or in exactly which order. Probably depends on conditions, mood.

Then I'm aiming to hit Venezuela (finally!), the Guyanas, and Suriname.

The Caribbean seems to produce some messed-up societies, but beautiful geography.

Tons of crime, poverty, political turmoil. But also tons of tropical fruits, beaches, sun.

Seems like a decent tradeoff for a while.

I'm already looking forward to the mainland, while still liking the islands.

I like the varied mix-up of the Caribbean. French, English, Spanish, Dutch, American, and more. You can often find different foods, music, and other culture than you've tried before.

Common themes run through all the Caribbean islands. Especially rice and beans.

I'm getting accustomed to Guadeloupe. Still much more acclimatizing to do.

Maintain! :)

It's been quite a year! Less than a full year ago (around eleven months), I left Miami. Since then, I've seen numerous countries in different languages, some of which I didn't even speak beforehand.

It was a difficult feat to get started again on the travel, after becoming accustomed to the comforts of one place. After getting going, one places leads to another.

This upcoming year is looking huge! I plan to see several more countries in the Caribbean, and a large swathe of the mainland Americas.

Also, outside of travel, I've finally gained something approaching a consistent yet flexible job.

Some of my hobby projects are even showing signs of taking off!

Je suis maintenant français : je mange mes baguettes !

Things take a while to develop, with ongoing efforts. Keep on givin

Trying some local fare, a few of the prepared foods (like breads) have disappointed somewhat, while some of the groceries have been delicious.

Now eating at a Lebanese place (of which there are many). Super delicious patties, one with chevre.

Another crab, another chicken.

The sliced bread here tastes different, richer to me.

So far the baguettes have yet to overwhelm me. I prefer Puerto Rican and some other Caribbean breads, which are softer. I've even had better baguettes elsewhere. However, so far I've only tried a few, mostly from supermarkets. I'm now starting a brioched baguette from a boulangerie!

Baguette briochée avec pâté a tartiner de chocolat et noisettes!

Whew! Found a place with wifi. And decent sandwiches, too!

[Ed.: And nice scenery !]

There's a catchy jingle on the radio: "Philosophie! Philosophie!" You know you're in France when...

Un autre jour en Guadeloupe !

More Guadeloupe

Submitted by eagle on Mon, 03/02/2020 - 19:10

Now that I'm here, which was a rush to get to, I'm taking things slowly!

Things came out far differently than expected on my first full day here in Guadeloupe.

Walking into town, went by a bank. It was closed. Extended lunch. I guess we're on Caribbean time here.

Kept walking. Went to a supermarket. Didn't accept American cash (I hadn't exchanged yet). Didn't accept my card.

Also, they told me that it was Carnaval, so shops would all be closing soon.

Went further. Tried a taco place. Weird toppings available.

Other shops were closed.

Went by an open restaurant. Walked in. Small place, Spanish language television. Horse on the French-language menu. I asked if they'd take American cash, they said yes. I asked to charge up my laptop, they showed me an outlet. Oops! The outlets here are different, French-style.

After eating, I asked for change from a twenty. They said there wasn't any change, even though it looked from the menu (and the food) like there should've been plenty. Finally they gave me some, I think they still ripped me off but not a big deal.

Along the way, I ran into a few people with bikes. I offered to buy, some people were willing to sell, but the bikes were too new and expensive for my getting-to-Guadeloupe budget.

Kept walking. Not much open, but street vendors setting up for the event. With the change from the restaurant, I bought some cheese, soda, chips, and a coconut patty.

Rested a bit out of the off-and-on rain.

Carnaval got started!

Music, marching bands, dancing.

Then, went and found a place to camp.

After a solid night's sleep, woke up. Walked by the opening shops. Exchanged cash. Bought some groceries. Bought a travel adapter. Found a place with wifi.

You often have to fail a bunh of times before you make it anywhere.

Let's go!






British Virgin Islands, Sint Maarten, Antigua and Barbados, Guadeloupe!

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 02/27/2020 - 15:35


Arrived by ferry at Tortola, British Virgin Islands!

Only got three days here. I thought I'd have up to thirty days.

Small place, basically like the USVI but a somewhat more British accent, and somewhat different population and geography.

Like the USVI, BVI is scenic but not of much other interest to me. Now prepping to leave ASAP!

Kind of fun to have so short a time to find another place!

[Ed.: Also kind of not.]

I made up a word that seems to match the Caribbean, and my schedule:

Exactlyish (adj.): At precisely the appointed time, more or less.

Out of battery, found a café to charge up. Had a bacon butty with HP sauce. Bland. Get me to the French Caribbean!

By the way, I can't count the number of times I've thought to myself recently: I can't wait to get to Venezuela!

I'm feeling like an experienced traveler.

Reciting my recent countries at yet another immigrations officer.

Struggling to book another ticket, things going wrong again.

Hanging out at different transportation stations.

I think it's a normal part of travel, or anything really, for things to seem to be going all wrong for a while. It's important to keep at it, working towards success.

Things come and go in waves.

The southern Caribbean islands are next. There are several different island groups. I started in the northwestern ones, near the US, which happen to be the larger countries. I've worked my way down through much of the mid-Caribbean. Now I'm looking to get to the southern islands, near South America. Not going to every island, I feel like I've had a taste of the culture and geography of the main island groups.

The locals in BVI often seem rude to me, but some visitors and immigrants have been quite nice.

I now have a ticket to Guadeloupe. Hoping I get in, and a decent duration of stay!

Got a lift much of the way through the rain, to Beef Island, BVI.

Camped out right near the airport!

In the morning, went in.

I still haven't received the final confirmation of the ticket from the vendor. I'm getting nervous, but excited to (probably) get out of here!

There was a chicken walking around the airport, and now I've seen a cat walking inside the terminal!

Got to the counter before they had started checking in my flight. The woman let me through anyways!

Relieved, I went through security. They complained about my wet, dirty camping gear. Still, I got through.

While waiting at the gate, one of the staff came and asked me to go back to check-in.

There, they asked if I had a return ticket. I explained that I was going to ferry to other islands.

They told me that I couldn't take the camping gear as a carry on, so I had to repack it with my other checked-in baggage. They also said that I couldn't board without a return ticket. They asked where I had a reservation. Then they had to make a phone call.

After a nervous wait, the woman came back. She said that the place where I had a reservation didn't even exist! I said that it did, and showed her the reservation on my phone. Meanwhile, I had repacked my stuff, with some tape and assistance from the staff.

Finally, after some more questions, she let me through again!

After she reprinted my boarding pass, she had to load the repacked luggage. It was too heavy, she said. I lifted it up to show her. She asked me to put it on the conveyor belt. So I hopped over the scale, behind the counters, and loaded my luggage onto the belt!

Flew through stops in Sint Maarten and Antigua and Barbuda, to Guadeloupe!

The planes had nice aromas, not sure if they added those, or if I just sat near people wearing perfumes on all flights.

When I landed, It was late, I didn't see any messages from the place where I had a reservation, nor did I see any shuttle buses, so I decided to camp by the airport!

Jusqu'a maintenant, j'adore Guadeloupe!!!!!

Les personnes me parraient plus gentilles, respectueuses, interesantes, belles, et plus.

Le pais aussi me parrait beau.

Presque parfait!

Je veux voir plus!

Je doix pratiquer mon francais.

Il y'a des signales pour les activités de vélo!

Beacoups de cyclistes qui vont passant!!!!!

Je suis en amour, son nom est Guadeloupe!


Year Seven: Return to Revvin'!

Submitted by eagle on Fri, 02/21/2020 - 20:31


Here's a quick overview of my last year, if you're interested.

After a couple of years refreshing at the beach, I'm back on the road of adventure!

Over the last year, I've traveled by boat from Miami to Bahamas, walked through Bahamas, walked across Cuba, walked and biked around Puerto Rico, biked around Dominican Republic, biked and bussed across Haiti, spent a night in a detention center in Turks & Caicos (it's a country), and walked and biked over the US Virgin Islands!


Eagle Gamma travel map, year 7!

Also, I have designed a pair of 3D printable sports goggles. If you want a gift pair, please let me know!

You can see tons more of my writing and media at Worlds O Wisdom, which reached its thousandth post this past year!

This upcoming year I plan to continue through the Caribbean, and probably return to the continental Americas.


Eagle Gamma in Year Seven of Travels!

Keep on going!




St. John, US Virgin Islands!

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 02/20/2020 - 14:56

After walking to one side of this island, found a swampy place to camp.

In the night, I felt something on my head. Brushing it away, it looked like an animal. A lizard? Later, I felt something like teeth or claws on my hand. Again I brushed it away. Looking around, I could see a handful of small animals, rats I think. I found another camp spot.

Took a ferry to the third island in the US Virgin Islands, St. John. So far I think it's my favorite of these. It seems smaller, more charming. Still has the same overall feel to it as the other USVIs.

I find it difficult to get things done on these islands. They're understandably catering towards tourism, so they're not very practical. Often tough to find wifi, the food and lodgings are expensive, tons of distractions.

While I was lying on the beach, a Dominican woman who works here came up and said hi. She later asked if I smoke marijuana or crack!

Tons of challenges in traveling to new places, on top of the ongoing challenges. Have to adapt!

Slowly, while appreciating the ride, getting towards one's goals!

Rough night. After I'd fallen asleep, camping on the beach, someone woke me up and asked me to leave. Apparently they have private beaches here. Found another spot, off in the middle of nowhere, fell asleep, then was woken up again by a different person! Finally, third time's a charm. Tons of hill climbing, but managed to get some sleep!

St. John, US Virgin Islands!

Finding ferry info is always fun in the Caribbean. Contradictory schedules and prices, often out of date. Likewise, finding when a food place is open.

I'm now thinking that I'll probably leave USVI somewhat earlier than expected. It doesn't look like there's much more that I want to see on St. John. It's a pain to get anywhere, on the islands or among the islands, and everything is preposterously overpriced, as on many of these small Caribbean islands. They've basically turned these entire islands into Caribbean theme parks. It's OK for what it is, but I have tons of other activities that I want to do now.

The places are extremely beautiful. Every day I'm here I appreciate the beaches, the plants and animals, the food and music, and more. I do like being here, but I also want other activities which are impractical for me here, like more consistent work, and meeting more people who aren't on vacation or working in the tourism industry.

I'm aiming to get some more planning and work done this weekend, instead of walking over to the other side of the island. Then maybe I can catch a ferry this Sunday or something. I don't yet feel ready for the British Virgin Islands, my next stop. Still, I'm ready to move on.

The BVI looks from what I've researched so far like a comparable area to the USVI. They even use US dollars there. I think I'll find some novelty in it, plus the ongoing pleasure of being in the Caribbean. However, I think I'll also want to leave there after not too long. Maybe spend a week or two on some of those islands, then carry on to other islands.

The rest of the Caribbean strikes me as largely these smaller touristy islands. I'm looking forward to the French ones (like Martinique), and the other European-associated islands, for differences in culture. Not sure how European/American/Caribbean they are. I had thought that Dominica would be more Spanish, but the place names on the map are largely in English. I'm also looking forward to Trinidad & Tobago. If I remember correctly, then it has a sizable Indian population.



St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands!

Submitted by eagle on Wed, 02/12/2020 - 18:23

Made it to St. Thomas, USVI!

It's a larger-seeming place than St. Croix.

Comparable scenery, but more elevation.

Had a rough ride getting here. Woke up at like three a.m., in the rain. Walked along the rough roads. On some I was on trails, reaching a dead end. Went back another route. Flat tube, broken tire. Barely making it!

Sea sick on the ferry.

Then arrived!

Now already looking forward to next island!

St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands!

Further in St. Croix, USVI!

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 02/06/2020 - 17:32

Found a place to work, then camp. As I was pushing my bike into the area, noticed the front tire was pushing up against barbed wire! Then, as I walked into the place, felt stinging pain in my legs. Wasps!

People here in St. Croix, USVI seem loud, and often rude. There are notably exceptions.

An ongoing struggle to get wifi, water, electricity, food.

Doing what one can, when one can.

At least the scenery's beautiful!

A nice scene in St. Croix, USVI

Tons of rude people in USVI.

Things cost five to ten times more than on other islands, are of often lower quality, and with ruder service.

Soon going to the next island!


More St. Croix, USVI!

Submitted by eagle on Thu, 01/30/2020 - 21:22

People here seem talkative. People say hi, chat, much more than in other places I've been recently.

(Not always friendly, but often talkative, sometimes friendly!)

Fixed up the bike so that it rides!

Before, I was only comfortable walking it, which was still a huge improvement over carrying my stuff.

Nice scenery here in USVI.

St. Croix, USVI!

Overall, I prefer traveling in Latin countries. I like the food better, I find the people friendlier, and the places are often more affordable.

I'm still unsure how long to stay on this island. Depends on the ferry schedule.

Looks like I'll be here on St. Croix until at least late next week. Maybe I'll leave the weekend of Friday, February 7, or after.

Having a day when many things seem to go wrong. Still, many things going right, too!

When I catch myself getting annoyed at the lack of amenities here, I remind myself that it's called the US Virgin Islands, not the US Town Whore Islands.

Looks like I'm probably spending at least another week on this island.

Tricky to get around this island!