Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The French Way

I love the French, I really do. I love their food. I love their culture. I love their national motto: Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité (Liberty, Equality, Brotherhood). I love that cheek kissing thing they do. Heck, I even love their devilishly difficult language, but I'm having a little trouble with their schedules here in these French Caribbean Islands. If you want to get anything done here, you must do it by their clock. For example: the stores are only open from 8 to noon, and then from 2 to 6. If we arrive by dinghy and a store is just closing, we never know what to do. Should we go back to the boat? Hang out and waste two hours? Go to a restaurant and eat Creole food and enjoy (?) bad WeeFee?
 
Coconuts, Cocoa, Avocados, Mangoes, Pineapples, Cashew Apples, Plantains, Bananas
Speaking of restaurants, there's another schedule-bound institution. They serve lunch from noon to 2 and if you come by at 2:30? Forget it; they won't serve you. They actually lock up the place and leave at 3, then come back for the dinner service at 5.
 
All these schedules make things hard for us cruisers because our schedules are so elastic and we can't always arrive somewhere exactly on time. However, if you can adapt yourself, you will find some amazing things. Like the fruit and vegetable market which is open 6 to 2. And the fish market; same hours. And the spice market. And the boulangerie; but get there early or all the baguettes will be gone.
 
Everything from Anise to Vanilla Beans atop Madras Plaid
 
We have tried to adjust and since we have been in these French islands we have become locovores. We buy fish right off the boat. We buy locally grown fruits and vegetables. We season them with locally grown spices. We snack on coconuts just like the folks on "Survivor". Our only non-local foods are the French wines and cheeses. If this is the reward, maybe adjusting our schedule to fit the French schedule isn't so bad after all.
 
Fish can't get much fresher than that - right off the boat
 
Fish of every description - even a few I've admired while snorkeling
 
Mango and Coconut
 
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