After less than two weeks on the island, I have learned two important things. The first is that everyday is a bad hair day. The second is that everybody knows each other. As for the bad hair, humidity is too formidable a foe and I gave up the fight. Bob (aka “Roh-behr”), on the other hand, decided to take a different path and had us shave his head. Bald is the new black at La Tramontane. With respect to everyone knowing each other, we are reminded by the locals often that le monde est petit (it’s a small world). During our first few days here, we had drinks at our rental home with the owner, Serge, and his friend, Admo, who happened to be the ex-husband of the sister of Odette. A few days ago, after driving 45 minutes to the main office of Orange Caraibes (Guadeloupe’s version of Comcast or Cox) to sign up for internet (since for some reason a phone call couldn’t do the job), we checked in and our neighbor from up the road, Danielle, was in front of us in line. Her husband, Jerome, showed us La Tramontane on our first trip here. We then waited an hour on the semi-comfy sofas at chez Orange while they helped others who checked in after us because they had “express” needs as opposed to our “non-express” needs. So, we chatted with a nice fellow waiting around with us, who now lives in the Dominican Republic. He knew Odette and Louis. After three hours at Orange Caraibes (and a promise that our internet would be working in a few weeks), we drove over to Darty (France’s version of Sears) in an industrial area near the airport to get some appliances. Our salesperson, Fabrice, is a cousin of Serge. Anyhow, you get the picture.
We had our first party at the house on Christmas Day (two days after we closed). At the party were our house guests from America who arrived on December 24, Aida and Wyss and their 10 year old daughter Chiara (Brynn’s bestie). They navigated safely through the curvy, jungly and wet Route de Traversee crossing through the middle of Basse-Terre island and arrived without incident. They are French and Algerian and have traveled the world, so we were not at all worried. Our party guests also included: Paula and Bruno, our Italian neighbors to the west and the proprietors of the beautiful and serene Hotel Au Ti Sucrier; Nico and Fred, our French neighbors to the east and the proprietors of the quaint and charming Bleu des Iles bungalows; Odette and Bruno, who now live across Chemin de Bornave; and our adventurous American friends, Laura and Orin, who drove over from Bouillante.