Our time in Gwada is coming to and end and we rented a car one last time so we could visit the few remaining little towns on the island we had not yet seen. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you already know I am a little tight with the money. The locally owned rental car place located near the marina has cheap cars. Because of this, we became regular customers during our two month stay here. The guy in the office speaks English making the whole transaction painless. The price is about 20€ per day (just under US$25). In France and on the French islands, the price of the car includes the Liability insurance. Unlike the USA, the car carries the policy and not the person. Since we do not own a car we have no car insurance. We use our Costco Visa card to pay for the rental. One of the perks of this card is the world-wide primary rental car collision insurance up to $50,000 for any damage we or someone else may inflict. The car we rented was made by Dacia. The value of this car was definitely well below the limit of our coverage. Never heard of it? Don’t worry, we hadn’t either. It is a Romanian car manufacturer whose parent company is Renault (French). The little 3 door ultra-tiny compact drove fine but that was about all it had going for it. I had to always skip 4th gear since I could never find it without grinding. It was easier to shift from 3rd to 5th. The clutch was very sensitive and Cindy complained of whiplash about 10 minutes into our trip. Nothing on the car worked particularly well. But like I said, the price was right.
The area we traveled was the northern part of the east butterfly wing. This is really off the tourist beaten path. We like to get off the tourist’s path. Cindy mapped out our route and off we went. Our first stop was the sleepy little town of Port Louis. In the center of town is the beautiful Hotel de Ville. Okay, time out here for a minute. It seems as though every little town we visit has a Hotel de Ville. What’s up with this? We started to notice this in towns of Sainte Anne’s and Moule. Then again in Basse Terre and Pointe-à-Pitre. And, now here again in Port Louis. Normally the Hotel de Ville seems to be located on the town square. I do not understand how an island can have so many hotels called Hotel de Ville. This must be a little confusing to the tourists. Can you imagine arriving at the airport and asking a taxi driver to take you to the Hotel de Ville? And, if you are booking on-line and a friend recommended staying at the Hotel de Ville on Guadelopue, good luck with that.
We later found out the Hotel de Ville translates to town hall – no wonder there is one in every town
Next on our agenda was the even smaller sleepier town of Anse-Bertrand. Upon entering the town I took a left turn by mistake and we found a fabulous beach and restaurant where we had lunch. The nice thing about being off the tourist path is locals who speak English want to practice their English when they hear us speak. We love this! We can learn a lot more about the town and area if this happens. It did happen. A lady running the restaurant, I think she might have been the owner, struck up a conversation and we had a great chat after we finished our lunch. She wanted to buy us a drink but I was driving a car with a sensitive clutch and no 4th gear and this didn’t seem like a good idea. It was too bad she wasn’t there when we were trying to order our lunch with the waitress who didn’t seem to understand my pathetic French. The waitstaff gets confused when we order a light lunch. This is because for the locals lunch is the main meal of the day. Most businesses close for two hours allowing for a leisurely lunch. If we order just an appetizer or a small salad, this often causes confusion. We wanted chicken salads each. Our waitress seemed concerned we might die of starvation if this was all we planned to eat.
Our stay here was a little longer than we expected for a couple of reasons. First, the island has so much to see and secondly because the marina is dirt cheap. We paid a little over 600€ (US$735) for a month long stay. This rate included electricity, water and Wi-Fi. This is about half the rate of other marinas in which we have stayed making it an exceptional deal on a beautiful island. In addition, the marina is within walking distance to shops, restaurants and grocery stores. Using the dinghy, we can get to the main city of Pointe-à-Pitre or we can hop on a bus. But alas, it is time to move on. We are both getting antsy to move. Our next stop is not very far away. It is only about a four hour sail to Îles des Saintes. Last year, Îles des Saintes was our favorite stop in all of the Caribbean. This island was one of the places hit pretty hard by hurricane Maria and we are wondering what’s in line for us there. We’ll let you know soon.