Hooray for having reached over 1000 Tropicalove visits!

Never would I have thought that my travel blog would have attained more than 1000 visits! I hope that it has provided some insightful, captivating and interesting snippets for all you readers… and made you believe that dreams can indeed come true! 

I have now moved to Trois-Ilets in Martinique, and have been here for barely a couple of days. Unfortunately, the weather is pretty dull and drizzly since my arrival, so my exploring has resulted in finding cafés and watching the rain pour down. Another added challenge to my explorations is the fact that I am living on top of a very steep hill, but I think in the long run, this will be good exercise! Also, my room is equipped with a nifty little balcony that looks on to a panoramic view of the sea and Martinique’s capital Fort-de-France, which lights up beautifully at night.

Trois-Ilets is a very touristy part of Martinique which perhaps makes it less authentic, but makes it safe for me, as a young solo girl, to mooch around without feeling uneasy. Don’t get me wrong though, there are plenty of locals, fish markets, traditional scenes and sights around the place, but there are also a lot of boutiques, souvenir shops and eateries catered for holiday tourists. The ‘Village Créole’ is where I have been taking refuge in cafés these past days – it is a charming little outdoor shopping center where you can find all sorts of neat colorful boutiques, attractive restaurants and bars.

I have found out that there is a little ferry which takes one to Fort-de-France everyday. It is quicker and much cheaper this way than to rent a car. Perhaps tomorrow I shall embark on the ferry, brave my sea sickness, and discover Martinique’s capital for while…

For the mean time, I am taking my time, exploring at my own pace and getting a feel for my surroundings. Yesterday evening I heard some lively music coming from down the hill, so I decided to follow it and see where I’d turn up. I ended up in Hotel Bambou, situated right on the beach, where there was some lively dancing happening. I looked up the hotel’s event board, and was pleased to see that there will be several exciting events hosted at this hotel such as a steel band concert, a traditional market night, …

It is early doors, and definitely difficult for me for the moment to compare Martinique to Guadeloupe. Speaking of Guadeloupe, Tropicalove Episode 4 is already up and ready. Check it out!

♥ Tropicalove – Episode 4 ♥

Tahiti, Miami, Puerto Rico and Guadeloupe

cocktails at the Sofitel bar!

Despite having prolonged my stay in Tahiti from 10 to 14 days, time flew by and I tearfully left Papeete airport Sunday evening. It is so easy to get used to the Pacific laid-back lifestyle and beautiful surroundings, but even more so when you share it all with someone you love.

I had an unforgettable time in Tahiti, and what I discovered, saw and learnt during my short stay was fantastic. Granted, it was strange not being with family on Christmas day, and weird not being near home for New Year’s… No snow, no fondue, no fireplace, no snowboarding – but instead sunshine, Mahi Mahi, Tahitian sashimi, Marquisian dance shows and snorkeling. We did however get a bottle of Moet Chandon and some foie-gras, for these delicious traditions are difficult to avoid…

We spent quite a lot of time alongside Marie and Flo, who are friends and fellow students at Geneva’s hotel school which Alex goes to – they are also working in Tahitian hotels as part of their internships. On Christmas day we went out in kayaks and snorkeled in the turquoise waters nearest to Alex’s hotel. We had a Christmas dinner together a few days later, as Flo’s parents had sent him some top notch foie-gras and champagne from home, which we shared with a nice home-made meal. Last Saturday we rented a car and circled the island of Tahiti together, discovering all the coast’s treats – great surfing spots, the tallest largest waterfalls I have ever seen, black sand beaches, breathtaking coastal views, and we ate in a very tasty French restaurant.

giant waterfall on Tahiti's east coast

The last days I spent there were surprisingly wet and rainy – it showered from Friday through to Sunday non stop, flooding the streets and cooling the temperatures. However, it added a wintery touch to our Christmas together, and Alex and I especially appreciated it on the Friday evening when it commenced as we were shelter under an enormous parasol facing a lit up pool – the pouring rain was almost torrential, and we were snug under our shelter for two watching it get more and more intense.

I even got to play a concert with a band one night, as one of Alex’s colleagues kindly offered I’d play with the band on that particular evening. A lot of Alex’s fellow interns showed up, with some of their friends, and we had a big table in front of the stage. I was nervous at first about playing with a band, because I am used to playing solo, but the bassist, guitarist and percussionist followed my every move and I didn’t have to worry about anything. It was great fun, and I played two sets, and in total, about 15 songs. It actually went so well that all the drinks ordered on our table were given for free, as the director of the bar was happy with the performance. And I overheard the director of the hotel had come especially to watch, and personally told Alex the following day at work that he had enjoyed the performance. Thumbs up all round!

concert with Acoustic Party band

You can understand why it was so difficult and sad for me to leave Tahiti, but I did and eventually got to Miami where I spent one night in a snazzy/hip/modern hotel slap back in the middle of Miami Beach, called ‘the New Hotel’. It was very comfy, and had a strange yet cool vibe to it – I arrived in the night, and there was lounge-y music playing quite loudly out on a lit up pool, couches, candles, an open cocktail bar, red lights, blue lights, a projector screen just above the pool replaying that night’s American football game. The concierge brought my heavy bags up to my room, and told me I could order a cocktail on the house in order to relax. I had a strawberry mint Mojito which was delicious to say the least. The hotel room was very nice, the bed especially soft and snug – perfect for resting after two long flights: Tahiti-LA, LA-Miami.

strawberry mint Mojito @ The New Hotel, Miami Beach

And yesterday I flew to Puerto Rico, waited there for 3h, and eventually got on to a plane to Guadeloupe. The wait in Puerto Rico was a bit frustrating as I have never visited this country, and being stuck inside the airport with the gift shops selling shirts and souvenirs I felt was a bit of shame. What was amusing was the plane ride to Guadeloupe – one of the oldest, smallest planes took us there. I could see the giant propellers from my tiny window seat revving up, and making an incredible noise. But the cherry on the cake was the fact that all of the chaps at the front of the plane had to relocate to various parts of back and middle of the plane, for balancing reasons! I was the only remaining person at the front, exempt from moving as I was the only lady at the front from the outset. The plane made an absolute racket the whole way from Puerto Rico to Guadeloupe, and thankfully I still had a pair of ear plugs in my bag from my Air Tahiti Nui flight.

I have now arrived safely in Guadeloupe. I haven’t had much time to explore yet, as I have just come back from breakfast, which I ate on the beach front. There are interesting Caribbean treats such as coconut jam, banana jam, fresh guava juice… And I’m sure so many more exciting Guadeloupian discoveries are on the horizon for the coming next weeks!

Pasadena, Los Angeles

on my walk down to Lake avenue

My first stop is Pasadena, in Los Angeles.

I am staying at my father’s house, which I come to on average about once a year.

It’s a very easy going area, where everything seems to be possible. You walk into a supermarket and everything you could possibly dream of is in there. It is a colorful place, with lots of palm trees and large sidewalks. The streets are in grid formation, which makes driving places easy-peasy.

The choice of food here is amazing, Mexican, Asian, burgers, tropical, Mediterranean, fresh, fast-food, slow-food, sea food, Indian, whatever.. It’s here. And tasty.

The people are friendly and always ask me how I am feeling. Wherever I go.

I am here for a week. I have been finalizing my flight bookings for the next 3 months, looking at prices for a larger suitcase, looking at some hard guitar cases because the one I am traveling with is on it’s last legs, and ordering salted caramel mocha frappuccinos at Starbucks.

I bought a pair of shoes yesterday that had Jessica written on the inside of them, and a number 23 written in handwriting on the back of them. Big deal for me as the number 23 follows me absolutely everywhere. I took this as a sign, tried them on, they fit like a glove, so I bought them with no hesitation.

It has been warm and sunny. However this morning, I hear rain falling from my room. It will do the gardens some good.

I am going to grab a warm cup of coffee now and wake up LA style, by taking it easy.