Sunday, March 21, 2010


The only reason we stopped in Martinique was to go food shopping. Now that isn't an insult to the island. We've been there four times, rented cars and toured around the place. It's a lovely island and well worth spending time in. No, this time we wanted to get further north. But it's one of the best places to provision the boat. Visions of pates, cheeses and french bread danced in our heads as we crossed the twenty mile stretch of open sea between it and St. Lucia. Happily it was a beautiful day with comfortable seas.
We anchored in Anse Mitan, one of the oldest resort communities on the island and presently looking a bit worse for wear. They evidently sustained damage during the last hurricane as a good portion of the waterfront we remembered from past visits was gone, the Pontoon Restaurant and Marina for example. The big high rise hotel was dark at night but showed signs that it will be rebuilt.

After lunch we walked over to the charming "Creole Village" where small shops and cafes surround a small square to have a cup of coffee. That's Scott there in the photo at the top. Then we took the ferry from the Point over to Fort de France (the second photo shows us entering the harbor at Fort de France)and attempted to find the bus/publico which would take us to one of the huge Carrefour supermarkets (hypermarche), either in Dillon or at the Galleria. It wasn't easy as one taxi driver followed us trying to get us to go with him (for thirty euros). Finally we located the big bus that went to Dillon at the far west end of the huge parking lot in front of the ferry docks. Fifteen minutes later it dropped us off there (just after you pass under the highway). This is a cruising provisioners dream with a department store and pharmacy included.

We had a big list of groceries but were constrained by how much the two of us could carry back to the ferry - so no wine. First on the list were cheeses and pates, several kinds of each. Then long life bread in a variety of styles. In Bonaire and Curacao you can buy a huge variety particulary french and italian types, but here think ethnic. Clearly the boulangeries have legislated that people must buy fresh - so no french bread or rolls, or croissants. Instead we bought pita bread, Naan, panini with olives, Durum and M'Semmen (last two were flat breads for wraps), and guava filled rolls (photo above left). These had dates to be used by from 4/3 to 4/10.
We use UHT milk regularly but also love UHT heavy cream and cooking cream which isn't available everywhere. Here it's in every size - see the photo above right opposite the huge christophenes (so good raw in salads, steamed or gratineed). The fruits and vegetables looked very great although I had a trip to the open market planned for the following day so we only bought a few "foreign veggies/fruit" like brocolli and apples. I splurged on two rib eye steaks and some lovely pork chops as well as the two packages of lardons we find so useful. Why don't they have them in the States I've always wondered?

In the end we each had two heavy bags to carry but it shouldn't have been far. Unfortunately we took the wrong bus into Fort de France and ended up 10 blocks from the water. Then of course we missed our ferry for Anse Mitan (our dinghy was right on the other side of that dock so we didn't want to go to the Point). Still sitting on the bench waiting for forty minutes wasn't that miserable. Luckily we knew from a past trip that the ferry stops first at another harbor or we would have been more concerned at the route it was taking.

The next day I took the dinghy in and left on the ferry two seconds later, managing the lock up in record time. This time I wandered around downtown before doing my shopping. The third and fourth pictures above show the view right at the waterfront in front of the ferry - McDonald's front and center. The poster shown here displays what the french get on their burgers - real Parmesano Reggiano! Also above is the cathedral on the park not far away.
The market itself is mostly tourist souvenirs during the week, but there are at least four or five vegetable fruit stands with good supplies. There were also fresh flowers and enfusions of every kind of fruit with rum. I was able to buy fresh local eggs, potatoes, carrots, yams, pineapple, mangos, celery (in the Caribbean it's mostly leaves
but they are great for seasoning), christophenes, onions, lettace, tomatoes and spinach. Yum! The seasoning packet shown in here in the bucket of water looks like a bouquet, doesn't it? This time I had the ferry schedule figured out and had only a brief wait before my return.
And finally there was the enjoyment of our labors and the products of France. Scott shown with a lunch of two kinds of pate, lovely runny brie and french bread while I'm enjoying fresh croissants and grapes for breakfast.

No comments: