Life continues in our little slice of paradise. Brynn and I were in Arizona in March and had the pleasure of taking Brynn’s best friend from Guadeloupe, Lizéa, with us. She is the daughter of our friends, Cindy and Pat (chef extraordinaire and owner of Kaz à Pat Burger). We saw the Grand Canyon, visited friends and went to Universal Studios. It was a real joy!
While we were gone, Bob held down the fort. He kept himself busy and hosted another filming at the house. A new French comedy T.V. show pilot was shot at La Tramontane and we are waiting to find out if the series will move forward.
We were again in Arizona during July and August, where daytime temperatures regularly reached 117 °F and we were locked indoors as haboobs passed through. While happy to be back on Bornave, it is now the start of hurricane season. The tourists are dwindling and the Death in Paradise cast and crew leave in about three weeks.
Our renters and friends, Pascal and Marie-Paul, informed us several months ago that they would be being moving out of the downstairs flat. Marie-Paul went back to the métropole because she was bored and Pascal has since returned to continue working. We miss them very much, but Pascal did come back to the apartment while we were in Arizona to stay with Rex, Bo and Roux. As expected, Bob went to town in the apartment…he installed a new floor (it was pink tile), painted the kitchen cabinets with Bruno (from green apple to gray,) replaced most of the furniture, threw out the orange and green lights and florescent colored curtains, tore out and installed a new bathroom and cut down various bushes and trees to improve the sea view. It’s now on VRBO as a vacation rental!
Jerome and Danielle, the former proprietors of Bleu des Îles, decided to leave Guadeloupe and go back to Le Pays Basque in southwestern France. They sold their home up the street to a Swiss family and we scooped up their boat. Jerome was the first person to show us the lovely La Tramontane on that fateful day in June of 2016, and we are sad to see them go. However, the silver lining is that we are now the owners of a peppy, 21 foot center console motor boat with its own coveted slip in the marina of Deshaies. Although the slips are not formally assigned and the government doesn’t charge marina fees, the locals know which boat goes in which spot and respect the order of things without formality, pomp or circumstance. Acquisition of the boat was not simple and Bob has to take his boat license exam next week in French, but we didn’t expect the process to be quick or easy. Patience and resourcefulness are key to survival here. Yesterday, with the help of Bruno (of Hotel Au Ti Sucrier), Phil (of Ecolodges Bungalows Arsenault and Karett beer), and Nico (of Caraïbe Évasion Excursions), the boat name was officially changed from “Aizea” to “Jambo.”
As for the animals, Rex has been suffering from hip dysplasia, Roux has lost some weight since there is no longer extra food downstairs in the apartment, and Bo’s manners have improved significantly. Abandoned and orphaned animals continue to be a problem. Three small kittens were dumped at Hotel Au Ti Sucrier, just after a young mother cat carried three of her kittens onto the hotel grounds. So, during the summer, Paola and Bruno cared for six homeless kittens and one mom cat. They found homes for all except the three that have remained at the hotel. Patoon, Phil and Aline’s dog, ran away during a move to their new house, so she missed some of her birth control pills. When they found her, she was pregnant. Her litter of puppies were a handful, but all have found homes (including one Phil kept and another, named “Blue,” who is with Fred at Bleu des Îles). Fortunately, Patoon has since been spayed.
My everlasting quest for excellent coffee finally reached a high point on the island. We got rid of the Nespresso machine after trying every brand of capsule available within a 30 mile radius and ordered a high quality espresso machine (with an E-61 group head) and professional burr grinder straight from Italy. To top it off, we found freshly roasted local coffee beans directly from a plantation on the side of a hill near La Soufrière volcano. Aline and I drove to Domaine de Campry in Baillif to visit with the finest coffee grower in all of Guadeloupe, 85 year old Étienne Crane. Monsieur Crane is a master craftsman and the owner of Plantation Café Man Lisa. He comes from a long line of coffee growers and named his plantation after his mother, Élisa (“Man” means mom in Créole and “Lisa” is short for Élisa). He is one of the last people on earth growing the rarest and finest coffee in the Caribbean: Guadeloupe Bonifieur – a 100% Arabica variety and descendant of the same line as Jamaica’s Blue Mountain. Only a few sources of this liquid gold exist in the world and only in Guadeloupe. Check out Café Man Lisa’s facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cafemanlisa. Aline has been using Monsieur Crane’s coffee beans to craft her Karett amber beer…brewed and bottled at her brewery in Deshaies, Brasserie Artisanale de Deshaies (https://www.facebook.com/Brasserie-Artisanale-De-Deshaies-366934843672257). Best of all, during our visit to the plantation, I was given a sapling of this rare coffee variety and we planted it in the shade of our banana trees at La Tramontane! Coffee cherries should appear in 3 to 5 years!!