Goodbye Guadeloupe it’s Martinique on Monday!

Pointe des Châteaux

I can safely say that I now know the island of Guadeloupe pretty well. I’ve been to Basse Terre, Grande Terre, through the middle, flown over Les Saintes, been up part of the Soufrière volcano, snorkeled around the Réserve Cousteau, hung out of the beaches of Sainte Anne, Bananier, Bouillante, seen the carnivals in Sainte Rose, Pointe à Pitre and Gosier, visited a coffee museum, tasted many rums, eaten various fishes, bokits and coconut sorbets, swam the Atlantic and Caribbean oceans that hug the island’s coasts, been to the Marinas in Pointe à Pitre and Saint François, been to Pointe des Châteaux, the island’s narrowest tip and spoken with locals of all ages.

In terms of musical endeavors, I have seen several spontaneous jam sessions full of percussion and singing, have watched a floury of musical groups parade by during the carnival festivities, have been to a few créole concerts and discussed the topic of Guadeloupian music with residents as well as tourists. Gwo ka, zouk and dancehall are the dominant and popular genres of music here, and they represent Caribbean island culture so well.

It is fascinating how one can become so adapted and used to a place after a few weeks of exploration and discovery. I know my way around the island, I feel somewhat adapted to its culture, I have been to most of the hot spots and also frequented areas hidden from tourists. I feel not like I have visited Guadeloupe but that I have lived here.

The best part of traveling for a month in each island has been the learning. Once I feel like I’ve settled down, I leave and explore a new environment. Many may not see the appeal in this but I love the thrill, the fast pace, and learning how to adapt quickly and open-mindedly to everything which is exposed to me in each and every discovery. I enjoy the fact that I have just started to settle down in Guadeloupe and that I am leaving on Monday to Martinique. Four weeks will be my time limit to consume as much of this last island as I possibly can, before writing my final Tropicalove articles…

Leaving to another island..

Advertisements

Mele Kaliki Maka!

Time is flying by and these are my last days in Hawaii. Whether it be in Maui or in Oahu, I have been made to feel at home since day one and for that I will miss Hawaii very much. Of course, it is certainly easy to get used to being here on these beautiful and bountiful islands.

I am making the most of my last days by soaking in the sun, walking across the shoreline daily, swimming alongside the tropical fish, sipping fruit juices, meeting people and listening to ukuleles. I try as much as possible to practice the Aloha Spirit. I am very fond of this culture and will take this state of mind with me wherever I go now.

Hawaii has taught me to be happier person. Perhaps because I have taken the time to travel and discover what I love – music music music – but both Maui and Oahu have added so many surprisingly heart warming things to my travels so far: brave, genuine people, places rich with beauty and grace, tranquility, healthy lifestyles and much talent.

Both islands are heaving with rich creativity whether it be in music or other forms of art. What a discovery… Every concert I have been too has woken up some inspiration in me. Granted some were more skilled than others, but all musicians I have come across have demonstrated passion and originality which I didn’t know was going to be so prevalent before arriving.

At home, we have the habit of seeing our usual street buskers, listening to our favorites, sharing music with friends perhaps, going to concerts hosted by familiar artists or genres and styles we are used to – it is rare that we venture off in unknown musical territory purposely, and even less so in different countries or geographical regions. And honestly, when you do, it opens your musical mind and it is truly worth it. I recommend paying more attention to foreign art forms when traveling, this will definitely enhance anyone’s stay.

I can’t wait to see what I discover next in Tahiti and in the Caribbean. Who knows what musical treats are lying there, and also what their cultures have to offer in terms of state of mind and mentality? It is exciting, and I’m also looking forward to simply exploring and continuing my tropical travel adventures.

Mahalo Hawaii, and Mele Kaliki Maka to everyone!

Settling in

It was a stunning day today in Maui! Sunshine, warmth and good vibes!

Yesterday evening I met Ina, Brendan’s boyfriend from Samoa who came to the yoga shala to pick up a few things from Brendan’s room. He is a surf instructor and is in the process of trademarking his own surfing brand called ‘Boobie Shack’. (Contrary to what you may think, ‘boobie’ actually refers to the boobie bird, a bird with flippers and a rare capacity to dive into the water from the surface of the water. Most birds have to dive from a few feet high…) He has cleverly chosen the word ‘boobie’ to attract attention, and is doing very well. His logos are awesome. He said he would give me a hat, and surf lessons for free!

Ina's jeep

We got talking and as soon as I mentioned I played guitar and sung, he insisted I come chill with some of his Polynesian friends and have a little jam session with them, Polynesian style. So we jumped into his yellow open-air Jeep, and we cruised up to his friends’ place with loud music blazing! He gave me the half of his delicious dinner wrap, which I ate on the way. Such a friendly guy, he kept asking me if I was alright, if I was warm enough, if I needed a drink and that he had some carrot juice in the Jeep if need be! LOL. He has such a positive friendly vibe to him.

After a 20 mins cruise up the hills of Maui, we arrived. Their chill room was mind blowing. I was stunned at what a great spot this was: very spacious, with plenty of couches, cushions, soft carpet, a large fridge and a big TV. He mixed his ‘Kavah’ – a Polynesian drink which is essentially a mix of roots and water, placed in a very large wooden bowl (bucket size) in the middle of the room. He explained that it acts as a sort of muscle tranquilizer, and that it relaxes you without you feeling out of control. At first I was a bit apprehensive, as I am admittedly with anything like that. However, once I began drinking this muddy water, I realized that the stuff was completely harmless and actually made me feel great. Relaxed, mellow, optimistic and completely in control of what I was thinking and saying. Aaaaah, very nice.

part of the chill room

Four people joined us in different successions and drank Kavah with us: a Samoan lady with her 9 year old daughter, a Fijian and a Tongan. The two dudes played guitar and sang with us. It was one of the best jam sessions I’ve had in a long time. Everyone in harmony. I played along with them when they played traditional Polynesian songs, and fell in love with their soothing music.

Two things struck me as I listened to them discuss and talk:

One – the Fijian guy was talking about a friend he was concerned about who had developed a bloodshot eye and bad health symptoms. He reckoned it was because he drinks spirits instead of just sticking to beer. He said he didn’t understand why people drink spirits, and even asked me if I knew what spirits were… He explained that those things can’t be good for your insides, and probably effect your liver and other internal organs. The other guys all nodded and agreed as they sipped the Kavah.

Two – Ina was talking about how this group of very loud Americans from Las Vegas had come into the surf shop to get lessons. He described them as wearing lots of make up and wearing small revealing bikinis. He said that they were loud and rude and kept ‘throwing money’ everywhere, demanding for receipts and special care. He said, and I quote, ”these girls had tight bodies, and their boobs were up to here – it was disgusting”. I was expecting him to say ”they were hot!”, but no…

So, here I was with these older Polynesian guys (in their 30s), playing excellent music and very happily imbibing their culture of respect and positivity. The talked of respect for elders, how Jack Johnson was such a good man, how we should organize a BBQ next weekend and watch the rugby World Cup.

These are the moments that I have been waiting for. This understanding is what I have been searching for. I feel so at home with this culture 🙂