Saturday June 23 - School ended on a busy note. The week before, we had the Duke of Edinburgh International Award, so I was away for four nights, Tuesday - Saturday, camping with kiddos. I left again on Sunday to go to the Polar2018 conference in Davos for two nights, coming back late on Tuesday evening. Wednesday we finished our classes and Thursday was the Idols talent show. Then it was a rush to get my classroom in order, books inventoried, etc before starting the summer packing. Friday was our last day of work, ending with a bbq, and then by 2pm, I was heading home to continue packing before heading out to watch and support Jeroen in the company run. We ate and got back late only to have me frantically packing away at the last minute, something I always say I will never do again but always do. I'm the worst at preparing for travel. It was a late night.
Saturday morning I woke up around 6am to make sure everything was ready and we left around 8:30am. Jeroen came to the airport with me like a champ, dealt with my tears, and sent me on my way
with a "better you than me." My flight on Air France left a little late to Paris and flew to the Orly airport instead of CDG, the worst airport, or so I thought. It was not better. The signage was not great and it just led you out to departures where you had to begin the whole process again. I felt like I was going to miss my next flight due to the short turn-around time, but it worked out. My seat was next to the window, three deep. I prefer the flights that have a 2-4-2 setup, but this was 3-4-3, making it feel slightly more cramped. The flight went directly to the Caribbean, flying into the island of Martinique, an island owned by France, so it was technically a domestic flight. The flight was fine, but the plane seemed a bit old, with older electronics for watching movies, etc. I spent my time watching three movies, four tv shows and snoozing a bit.
I arrived around 3:15pm and getting my bag was fairly quick. There was no passport control since I was still in France. I was waiting for my ride Damien to show up, the guy
I was staying with through airbnb, and eventually I asked the woman from the tourism office to call. There was apparently some confusion about what time my flight landed, but he came to pick me up not too long after. For $20 I had my own room and bathroom, and he stopped at the grocery store on the way to his place so I could get some food. I got some bread and cheese and eggs to tide me over since I would only be there for 24 hours. My host works evenings, so I had the place to myself and went to bed quite early with the six-hour time difference. The weather was the same from arrival to bedtime - cloudy with a bit of rain.
Sunday June 24 - I woke up early to find the weather in a similar state, just with more rain. I spent the day trying to organize myself. In the evening I will take the ferry to Dominica, where I will be volunteering on a bat biodiversity survey with Operation Wallacea. I'll be working there for four weeks, but I have a week off next week, so I'll be going to St.
Lucia for my actual vacation. I've been trying to sort out the hotels, etc and realize I was double-booked for a few days and there is a cancellations fee, so I'm trying to sort through those details and see if I can get it changed without a hassle, but I will not have access to the internet while in Dominica, so I am hoping to sort it out now. It didn't really work. I did go for a short walk between rain bursts, but the place I was staying in was in a residential area a bit far from anything, so I didn't stay out long. I was pretty exhausted from weeks of low sleep, so it was nice to just hang out and relax. Damien drove me to the ferry terminal in the late afternoon for my 6:15pm ferry. When the ticket office opened I tried to buy ferry tickets for the return journey to St. Lucia, but the ferry I expected to get had been canceled, and then I wasn't sure which date would work for them picking me up again, so I decided to wait until talking to someone with Opwall before buying the tickets.
ferry. Let's just say it was a two-hour ride, but one hour and two hard-boiled eggs later, the seas got rough and I lost my dinner. Several times over. I had to ask for a second plastic bag. It was a hideous experience and it made me feel I should just forget going to St. Lucia next week, as that journey is at least double the time. I don't know if I can do it again, and I do have to take the ferry once more for my flight home.
(see Dominica for the rest)
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