In December, we celebrated our one year anniversary on the island and the festivities seem never ending. The week before Christmas, we met Paola at the annual Chanté Nwèl party in our tiny village of Ferry where friends and neighbors shared food and drink while dancing, singing and playing instruments.
On Christmas eve, we dined at the lovely abode of Sandrine and Vincent in Petit-Bourg. We imbibed plenty of fine French wine (Vincent is quite the connoisseur) and enjoyed a gourmet meal with Cindy, Pat and all of the kids. And, on Christmas Day (also the day of my birth), we hosted our second annual “Open House” at La Tramontane. While we were proud to have mustered up about a dozen guests the prior year (after having arrived on the island only the week before), this Christmas Day bash brought in over 60 hobnobbers of all ages and inclinations!
The new year was then upon us. It was dinner and dancing until the wee hours of the morn at the New Year’s Eve White Party at the home of Philip and Aline on the grounds of Ecolodges Bungalows Arsenault (conveniently located next to their brewery, La Brasserie Artisanale de Deshaies).
The celebrations continue on. It is Carnaval in Guadeloupe, an annual cultural event that begins the first Sunday of Epiphany and ends on Ash Wednesday (this year from January 7 to February 14). The night parade in Deshaies was a week ago and brought in a healthy crowd of onlookers.
To no surprise, Bob continues to embark on new renovation projects at the property. Our front wall was raised and beautified, and he is almost finished with the master bathroom remodel. It was touch and go there for a while after his electric drill and sander both blew out the same week. After several visits to the repair shop (forget about getting a simple refund or exchange here), we received a written authorization for a replacement drill at Bob’s favorite store, La Palette (Gwada’s version of Home Depot). He is back in action now and is so fond of this establishment that he often sings the La Palette ditty while weed whacking in the garden. Today we went to his second favorite store, Mr Bricolage (Gwada’s version of Lowe’s), and, by nothing short of a stroke of luck, the Carnaval parade entered and marched through the aisles while Bob shopped for sandpaper. Seriously…one could not make this stuff up.
As for Bo, our former dumpster diving canine, she is now living the life of Riley…flea, tick and worm free and 25 pounds heavier. We had her spayed, her hernia repaired, and her teeth cleaned (well…what’s left of them). She now eats regular meals of nutritious kibble and while she still suffers from some sort of back or leg injury causing her imbalance, she clearly exists in nothing less than utter joy in her new home with her new family.
Brynn is still loving island life. She recants stories of pre-teen angst at school and is starting to care more about her appearance and clothes. Here she is shopping at the mall, Destreland, with some of her besties, Lizea and Juliette!
Finally, I started…and finished…a new guide book in ENGLISH on Deshaies and the surrounding areas. The lack of travel information in English on the archipelago was disheartening, so I put my pen to paper (actually…my fingers to the keyboard), canvassed the commune, filled my pie hole with culinary delights, interviewed friends and business owners and completed the guide with the help of many (including Philip Arsenault, Fred Bruet and my editor-in-chief and very fine husband, Bob). From these efforts, Jambo Press, a division of Jambo Publishing, emerged and is now the proud owner of the first edition of the English version of Jambo’s Essential Guide to Deshaies, Guadeloupe (with highlights of Sainte-Rose and Pointe-Noire). While I endured many a grievance from Bob during the time spent on the guide, he complains no more as I average one to two online sales per day since launching www.jambopress.com. Cheers!