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Published: July 11th 2017
July 11, 2017 - I woke up a lot last night, knowing I would have to get up early today. At 4am I set my alarm for 6am, just in case I was actually asleep. I was not. I got up at 5:45am and began the final packing process. Everything fits in my bag just so, and I can only pack it once I have put everything away - pjs, toothbrush, etc. I did a little adjusting and then had some breakfast. Honestly, I ate too much yesterday and am also probably eating too many baguettes. For breakfast I had half a baguette and a yogurt. I finished getting ready and was out in front of the guesthouse at 6:55. There was another car waiting there, right in front of the guesthouse, and it made it awkward to just stand around. Even weirder, about fifteen minutes later someone from the guesthouse yelled down and motioned that I should open the gate fully. Once I did, the car that had been waiting pulled in. I think it was a workman. Why didn't he just do it himself, or ask me to do it earlier?
The more concerning part was that at
this time, my friends were already about 15-20 minutes late picking me up. I began to wonder how long I should wait before going to the bus station to start my long journey to Cilaos. I went back to my room to use the bathroom, and when I came out, Kitty and her mom were there. Phew.
We drove back to Salazie to pick up Karine and her daughter Kira, and then we stopped at the gas station to check the tire presure and oil levels. Kitty did all the leg work and added some oil. Then we started the two hours drive to the volcano. It was a scenic drive, and we stopped a couple times for photos. We were very lucky with a clear sky today. They said it's not often like that. The landscape close to the volcano is more like being on the moon, or on Mars, as a lot of the rock in red. When we got there, we parked and walked to the viewing area to see the crater. It's huge. And there are little(r) craters forming inside it. You can walk to the top, and we could see people on their way.
We did not have time for that - it's about a seven hour return journey. But it was great to see it. By the time we left, the clouds were starting to roll in. We also stopped on the unpaved road on the way back to look for rocks, as they wanted me to take something from the volcano back to my classroom. Karine found me a few good rocks. They are surprisingly lightweight.
After the volcano, we stopped to get some cheese, as they said I must try the cheese from Reunion. A cooked chicken and a couple of baguettes later and we were stopped for a picnic. Again, I ate too much. But it was lovely. By this time, the whole sky was nearly full of clouds.
From the picnic, we drove to St. Pierre in about half an hour, and this is where Karine lives. We went inside and I gave her the photos and video I took while we were together while I pet one of her cats. Then it was time to go. I said good-bye to Karine and Kitty drove me to St. Louis, which is quite close to St. Pierre and
where I needed to catch the #60 bus to Cilaos. Just as we neared the bus station, I saw the #60 leave. I pointed it out and she asked if she should get me on it. I said yes, and they only come once an hour or 90 minutes. She got ahead of it and drove a few stops up. I had enough time to get my bags, say a quick good-bye, and then get on the bus when it pulled up. Perfect timing.
The ride took about 90 minutes and the views were absolutely gorgeous. The cirques really are stunning. There were clouds, but there was sun and some blue skies too. It also started to sunshower a bit, and this produced a beautiful rainbow in the cirque. Really lovely. At one point we drove through a really narrow tunnel, and I could have touched the sides of the tunnel from either side through the window. Insane.
We reached Cilaos around 3:45pm, and the directions I had to my airbnb were a little fuzzy, so I wandered quite a lot before coming back and starting again. I found every other residence on this street before I found
#11, but I did find it. Trouble is, no one was home. Since I don't have a phone, I sat down and waited until she came home. It took about an hour.
It turns out she had been on a five hour walk with a friend. They invited me to come to the bakery with them, and despite needing to stop eating, I went. She bought me a cookie type of thing with chocolate. On the way home she bought sweet potatoes for dinner, and then cooked them for us. She also made herbal tea for us, as I am getting a cold. It made me feel tired all day. Right now all of my dirty clothes are in the washing machine, and she even lent me a pair of hiking pants for tomorrow, if I need them while mine are drying. This is the kind of airbnb experience I enjoy.
Hoping to wake up feeling healthy tomorrow.
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