We boarded American Airlines for Guadeloupe in the French West Indies on October 17th. Our route was via Dallas, Miami, Puerto Rico and on into the Eastern half of Guadeloupe [Grand-Terre]. Our arrival was somewhere around 10:30 at night and although they normally close at 08:00pm, the car rental people had someone wait for us. Their rentals were in the middle of nowhere, the first one would not start, and we finally drove off into the rain in one with every panel marked as damaged. The lot attendant spoke only local French, we had no map, signs were nonexistent, yet we found our hotel in about 20 minutes and 14km later.|
Checking in at the La'Creole Beach Hotel resulted in extra bag carrying as the first room was not as expected and we had to make it back to the lobby to change. [Not a short walk]! Shortly after midnight, we are asleep in room 336 and happier. La Viva La France! The hotel was nice, good food and drink, expensive and with sub-par service, and the best around. Nice pool, patio bar and great location as it was but a couple of km off the island's only good highway.
The first day, Oct. 18th, we drove our no-zip car through Ste Anne and Ste Franciois to Pointe Des Chateaux. This is the eastern end of the island and has some great beaches and scenery.The surf was pretty rough and hid some pretty bad rocks. We took pictures and relaxed. After getting some guidance from a Creole version of a Circle K clerk who could point well, we found a place for currency conversion. With Francs, we returned with munches, beach towels, etc.
On the 20th, we toured the entire western half of Guadeloupe [actually a separate volcanic island named Basse-Terre]. A pretty drive, even when we ended up on a path road in the rain forest while searching for a great water falls. We encountered a 500 horse power hill, covered with moss, in heavy rain, in a 3 horse power car and soon gave in to logic and survival. We turned around and overheated the transmission on the way home. We enjoyed the burning smell so much that we just kept on driving.
The morning of the 21st was quiet. I mean really quiet! No one was leaving the Hotel and Management was trying to run the place. We turned on the TV to a Paris channel and the first thing we see is a hot news story about a strike and riot on some island called 'Guadeloupe' ! The streets were blockaded with old refrigerators, trees, etc., and we could not reach the highway. The airport is closed and no hotel staff reported for work. We have an early morning flight in less than 24 hours. Around 9:30 that night, we made it through the blockades to the main highway and filled the tank with gas. Feeling we can do it again around 5:00am, we return to the Hotel for some sleep. The electricity and phones had been cut, so after a nap, we packed and checked out using a zippo lighter for light. [Smokers are wonderful]! We returned the car (they didn't bother checking for damage) and happily boarded our flight for the U.S. of A. Jo doesn't care much for pickup trucks, however, she