All the colors of the rainbow

Anse Mitan

Walking up and down the streets of Trois-Ilets, the sweet smell of colombo and massala spices cooking away in small houses, the sound of waves gently crashing on Anse Mitan beach, the lively market stands selling punch and fruit, live zouk concerts here and there, … all these wonderful things have been part of my daily routine this past week.

Unfortunately I have been unable to rent a car due to having a young person’s driving license. To rent a car, one must have at least 3 years driving experience, and I only have a little over a year. On the upside, this will save me quite a few pennies! My main mode of transportation has been the ferry boat which goes from Anse Mitan to Anse à l’Ane (which I have yet to discover!), and then to Fort-de-France. Of course, I have also been walking around a lot, and have come to know the areas of Trois-Ilets and Pointe du Bout very well.

On board the ferry

What is particularly exciting is the fact that the official carnival festivities commence this week, and there are all sorts of events organized in many villages, including the one in which I currently live in. Make-up workshops, parades, stand up shows, a different dress code every day, live concerts, costume fashion shows, … All these events will be happening as of tomorrow, and I will make sure to be in the heart of things and imbibe as much as I can.

Fort de France

On Saturday I had ventured off again to Fort-de-France, and spent the morning roaming around the markets, boutiques selling carnival gear, cathedral, the famous fort and then lounged the beach. In the afternoon, like in Guadeloupe and Tahiti, all the shops close. What is really striking is the fact that in the morning the streets of the capital are heaving with people of all ages, cars, trucks, stands, pets, musicians.. It is almost exhausting just walking from one block to the next. However, once midday strikes, the shops almost immediately close their doors and the streets become completely deserted – only the pigeons shuffle around as the the cathedral bells announce the arrival of the afternoon.

There is so much color every where you go – young women will mix lots of different bright colors in their attire, men tend to wear loud checkered shirts, houses are painted in yellow, orange, pink, purple, green… And all this color adds a genuine touch of gaiety and charm to Martinique’s surroundings. Of course, so do the palm trees, bougainvilleas, hibiscus flowers, banana trees, royal palms, etc… Once again, it seems I have landed in yet another beautiful bountiful island.

Cathedral

I hear a lot of reggae, dancehall and zouk being played on beachfronts, in restaurants, bars, cars. These seem to the most popular genres. I am looking forward to all the live musical performances organized for the carnival, which will be entertaining without a doubt. Also, the weather has been much more inviting than it was at the start of my stay, so fingers crossed, sunshine and warmth will also be on the carnival’s menu.

Rainbow - view from my room

But I am realizing as days go by that I am on my ‘final’ island, and that this tropical adventure of mine is coming to an end… Thus, I am trying to soak in as much as I can before I get on that plane ride back to reality.

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Spanish guitar, dub step and Mishka’s reggae

Minds Wide Open première @ Café Mambo - http://www.mindswideopenmovie.com

On Friday evening, we went out to watch a windsurfing film première at Café Mambo, in Paia. ‘Minds Wide Open’ was the name of the film, and was impressive to say the least. The café was packed, we stood outside and watched the film through the open bay windows. The quality and precision of film was excellent, not to mention the snippets of windsurfing skills and giant waves.

When the film ended, we went to grab a few drinks in Charley’s bar, and ended up drinking and dancing there until the doors shut. A French DJ played the last set, and entertained the crowd with some electro dance, followed by some good old dub step, which I admittedly have a shameful soft-spot for. I think that if love was a video game, dub step is what it would sound like.

Argentinian guitarist @ Café des Amis

Saturday was a grey day, so I stayed in and had a chic-flic moment. I watched ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’, which had its moments but all in all did a good job at making me cringe. I did however enjoy the journalism side of the story which inspired me to write more. I then made it down for margaritas at Café des Amis for 5PM, l’heure de l’apéro. I was also looking forward to what I had read in the Maui Time – an Argentinian guitarist was going to host the evening with some spanish guitar playing. True to his South American roots, he arrived about 1h30 late – so his performance was highly anticipated.

And it so rightly was because this music was truly worth it – it made me travel back to Europe, in Las Ramblas of Barcelona, cobbled streets of Sardinia or some similar setting. Spanish guitar is incredibly romantic, and one of the boys at the table I was sat at put it nicely: ”All the couples sitting at this café must be saying such wonderful things to one another with this playing in the background”, and I couldn’t have agreed more.

Mishka @ Charley's

A more pressing matter was on the party’s mind Saturday evening though: Mishka, a budding solo reggae artist from the Caribbean was going to play at Charley’s bar. So, after being swayed and serenaded enough by the charming Argentinian, we made our way down the streets of Paia, to the bar, paid our way in and waited for Mishka’s concert. Mishka has a very interesting background – he grew up on a sail boat, traveling from one Caribbean island to the next with his family. As he aired in the bar, speaking with various enthused fans who looked enamored, he blended in very well – he wore a Rastafarian beanie hat, some unassuming clothes, and smiled a lot. Kyle, a Canadian friend of mine, asked me whether I was ready to whip out my camera and take a photo of him with Mishka, as he was going to brave it up and ask him to be photographed with him. Upon asking him ”Are you Mishka?”, to be certain it was him, the musician replied ”I think so, yes,” in his charming Caribbean accent.

His performance was excellent – his vocals, guitar and aura took the stage and pleasantly impressed us all. I would pay close attention to the popularity of this artist, because I predict he is going to become a big hit. His songs are catchy, his style is unique, his guitar playing is captivating, and his overall vibe is enamoring. When I looked at the crowd’s reaction, I could tell they were feeling what I was too – a feeling of luckiness to witness the creations of this musician so close up.

Sunday night, we went out to the infamous Fish Market of Paia, as I was told it would be a mistake not to go and eat here before I leave. Admittedly, my ‘Hawaii for Dummies’ book recommended I go to from the outset – I remember reading about the restaurant before even landing in Maui. A very laid back diner type atmosphere, hanging fish ornaments, a generously priced menu and many very hungry men occupied the place. I had a Mahi fish burger, which was delicious.

Tomorrow I will need to start packing away my belongings, and get ready to begin writing chapter II of the travel adventure…

Bahama Mama

Yesterday morning I awoke to a symphony of men and women all chanting ‘OMMMMM’ in harmony and in several sequences during a yoga/meditation class next door. It wasn’t a bad way to wake up!

Moose's

The previous night I had gone out to Lahaina, about an hour drive from here, with a francophone group of buddies to a bar called Moose’s. The attraction were the 1$ drinks served from 10PM onwards. I have never been one to want to drink excessively, but I made the most of the deal in my own way by ordering some elaborate cocktails, namely some ‘Bahama Mamas’, which were 3$ instead of 8$. The bar  was situated on the second floor of the building, so our table gave on to a balcony view of Front Street, Lahaina’s main road – an entertaining people watching spot.

It was quite an international setting – I was sitting with three French boys, a German guy, a Spanish girl and a Canadian dude. The bar, which I would best describe as a USA sporty type of a place, had its charms but was a bit tacky. Lots of TV screens, framed photos of people drinking beer, road signs, burgers and nachos… It eventually turned into a night club, and out of nowhere it seemed, a lot of very under dressed women, loud men and wet sticky floors seemed to take over the night’s festivities! The music was your average club music – 50 cent, Katy Perry, House of Pain, etc.. I watched the dance floor for a while, thinking I may bust my moves for a bit, but the whole floor was jammed full of not-so-sober bumpers and grinders!

Maoli

Friday night’s festivities were a bit more up my street (and literally too!) – a reggae dub group called Maoli played live at Charley’s. They were amazing, and I’m glad I took some film of them. They had a fresh young style and made the atmosphere in Charley’s the best I’ve seen it since I’ve been here. I very happily danced to them!

Today I went to the kitesurfing spot of Kahului, and watched the impressive amounts of surfers out there. It is pretty cool to watch as you can see all the different kites and their colors dancing in the sky just above the waters. Closer kitesurfers are entertaining to watch because they will occasionally do a trick or two, leaping into the air, twist and turn into all sorts of shapes and land back down onto the water, only to be whisked away again by the kite into another direction. I went up and down the beach, which had lovely sand. Today was super sunny, and I may even have got a bit of a sun burnt nose.

Yesterday I had gone to Paia Bay Café to wait for the bus, I tried their chocolate chip banana bread which was yummy. I had it in mind to go to Kihei, one of the funnest spots I have come across. Whilst I sat there waiting for the bus, another regular of the café, a man in his 50s perhaps, introduced himself to me. A theater teacher, who also practices spiritual healing, and said that he could align my Chakras if I so wished some time. I have no idea what it means, but it was certainly very nice of him to offer! He said that next time he sees me at the caf, we should have tea and discuss this particular topic – so it looks like I’m in for an interesting discussion next time I go for coffee in town.

Wailea

I hopped on to the bus, and having arrived at Kihei, I decided I would stick it out a bit more on the bus and wait until I got to Wailea. Wailea is, I have come to learn, the richest most chic area of Maui – the grass every where is very well trimmed, it has a Beverly Hills air to it, sports cars can be spotted a lot, and everything looks perfect. When I finally got off the bus, I mooched around a bit, and came across an outdoor shopping center. Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Guess, art galleries, real estate agents, a very expensive steak restaurant, and some very pricey coffee/ice cream joints. I walked around the high-end shops and boutiques, and found the place really charming – it had impressive water pieces, palm trees and fancy escalators too. I caved in and bought myself a scoop of ice cream at one of these little cafés – coconut, caramel and macadamia nut, and ate it in the sun by a water fountain.

I lent a hand to Ryan this morning by helping him move a big mattress out of his old house up in Haiku. The drive up is nice, and seeing as it was such a sunny day, the views were amazing from up there. Only a week left though until I leave to another island – and I am feeling like I need to make the most of Maui before I leave by really soaking up all the views, the atmosphere, the good feeling as much as possible!

What I’ll be up to..

Update from yesterday’s first introductory session with Ras from 4Pm to 6PM:

Boy, there is a *lot* of work to be done! He has recently moved into his new home in Paia, so he is in a bit of disorganized mess at the moment. My role will be to help him out, act as a sort of agent, help him re-organize. This means taking all his contacts (festivals, musicians, fans, promoters, radios, blogs, etc), getting back in touch with them, sending them promotional material, organizing some concerts, getting people to buy his mp3s online…

I will also be assisting him when he does shows around Hawaii. There is a very exciting special festival he has been invited to, scheduled at the beginning of November, which, fingers crossed, I will be able to assist as his agent. It is called the Awesomeness Fest, and costs about 12,000$ if you want to attend as an outsider! There are 200 to 300 incredible speakers, artists, musicians which attend, and it supposed to be one of the best experiences ever. The author of ‘The Secret’ will be there. It will be hosted in Maui this year, and is only for exclusive invitees. So I’m counting on your positive thoughts, and hopefully I will be able to be part of this festival of awesomeness!! http://www.awesomenessfest.com/

Awesome Fest 2011

I have downloaded this program called Band Manager, which will help me get all his contacts sorted out. This will also be a good addition to my professional experience. Also, getting in touch with all these musical contacts will be great and will hopefully enable me to become more familiar with how the music biz functions.

There is certainly a whole bunch of productive work awaiting me – yay!! It seems I will be able to work from my room here in the Yoga Shala, which is great because it is such a calm, quiet and beautiful spot to work from. I will also be able to couple all this day time activity with yoga classes and exploring the island principally on the Maui bus, which I have got a schedule for. There is a lot to learn and be visited!