Yesterday was Monday, January 15th, and it was time for us to check out of Martinique. When we checked in, we had dinghied in to Le Marin from St. Anne where we are anchored to get to the customs office. It was an uncomfortable dinghy ride when we checked in on Friday – much too far to go in high winds and rough seas – and yesterday the conditions were pretty rough ( by Caribbean standards that is), so we decided we would make our way to Le Marin by land. We had seen taxis in town and we knew there was supposed to be a “communal taxi” that ran between towns for a very cheap price – so we decided we would see what we could find. On land we ran into another couple – from our neighboring boat “Zest” – who were also on their way to Le Marin to do their check-in and check-out. We decided to taxi in to town together. After waiting at the taxi stand and talking for about 30 minutes we realized something was wrong as no taxis showed up. We saw a taxi 50 feet away so I walked over to tell him we would all like a ride to Le Marin. The taxi driver had parked in front of the local lottery shop and when I asked him if he would drive us to Le Marin, he very rudely exclaimed that that would be impossible, and waved his lotto tickets at me. Hmmmmm. Ok, so then we saw another taxi parked nearby and I approached him. This guy said, no, he would not take us to Le Marin, he only goes to Fort de France. I told him we would pay him more than the regular taxi fare, but he was not interested. Our friend from Zest had a cell phone and she called the phone number posted on the taxi stand. It was hysterical, as the phone hidden behind the taxi stand – started to ring – but there was no-one there to pick it up except us. NOw it had been about an hour and we had not yet seen the “communal taxi” to Le Marin, nor did it seem possible to get a regular taxi. We waited and waited (while the second taxi driver continued to stand by his taxi, not securing any other passengers) . Suddenly we were confronted by an attractive, well dressed lady, who was intent on converting us to being Jehovah’s Witnesses. Even after our friend from Zest, said no, she was Jewish ( was she?), the lady persisted in her quest to gain at least one convert. She even offered to take up to three of us to Le Marin in her small car, but we were all too chicken to get in the car with her. Meanwhile, our friend from Zest wandered off for a morning beer. It was now 11:45 and we knew that the customs office closes promptly at 12:30, so We were just about to give up, when suddenly the communal taxi showed up. He had a few other passengers who were going to some destinations several miles off the main road. He accomodated them and dropped them wherever they asked. Then he drove us to Le Marin (which is a harbor), and parked the car way up high on a hill. He told us that this was the stop. We looked down the very steep hill and could see the masts from the marina off in the indeterminant distance. Seemed a bit odd, and when we asked him how far it was to town, he responded, with a shrug, and said it was “just there”, not far at all. It turned out to be true to a certain extent. It wasnt far – but was down an incredibly steep hill and long set of stairs. We are still trying to figure out why he didnt just drive us down the hill. We made sure to get a return time from him for the trip back.
It took all of two minutes to check out – and then Mark took care of some internet business in town- while Naomi and I wandered over to a supermarket nearby. Interesting place – very modern air conditioned market – with a huge bull tethered just across the street ( I guess the meat must be fresh). Then we all hurried up the hill to await the 2:00
return bus, but a normal taxi showed up, and much to our relief he was willing to drive us back to St. Anne. It was hot, and we were cranky, but Naomi thought it was all good fun, and kept us in good humour.
Today, Tuesday, January 16th we were sure we were going to be leaving for St. Lucia, but continued high winds kept us from leaving the anchorage. In fact, we didn’t even leave the boat. Had a nice relaxing day – and a great “boat dinner” – meaning a big melange of stuff – canned and fresh.
Just in case anyone is keeping tabs, Naomi had wine both last night and tonight. We are keeping her away from the edge of the boat.