Ça plane pour moi!

These past few days have been unbelievable. Last Thursday, I treated myself to two nights in La Caravelle, a Club Med resort, as there was no more room on that Thursday night at the Canella Residence. I was warmly greeted with a cocktail and a refreshing towel, and escorted to my spacey room which gave on to the beautiful views of the club’s beach. As soon as I arrived I whisked out my bikini from my luggage and stepped outside to explore all the club’s treats.

During my very short stay at the club, I did some yoga, stretching classes, pool and ocean aqua gym, archery, danced, participated in games, I even won a medal which I picked up on stage. The club was surprisingly full of people, mostly families, making the most of the sun and warmth of the Caribbean. There was all sorts going on at the club, including the usual games and competitions, and themed nights with lots of alcohol a-go-go (especially rum, of course), and dancing until 1 in the morning.

Arnaud came to pick me up on the Saturday afternoon at the club, and was amazed at the pretty surroundings. We whisked off to the private side of Pointe-à-Pitre’s airport, and met up with a colleague of Arnaud’s who is a pilot. We walked over to a little airplane which we were going to get into and circle around the neighboring islands of Guadeloupe called Les Saintes. The pilot did all the necessary checks around the plane, noting and jotting down all the information into the black booklet. He asked us to check if the front and back lights came on, and other things like wing movements. After about 30 to 40 mins of checks, I hopped into the back of the 4 person plane, fastened my seatbelt and began gazing at all the different switches, buttons and monitors on the deck. After Arnaud got in, the pilot switched on the corresponding radio, and began interacting with the command tower. It was so exciting hearing and being part of the communications, let alone being in this authentic little plane in the Caribbean, about to jet off to circle around little islands.

The take-off was excellent – the pilot revved up the noisy engine, speeded down the runway, and all of a sudden the plane felt like a feather and was floating above the ground getting higher and higher. We left the island of Guadeloupe and approached Les Saintes, which are a combination of little islands with magnificent bays and lagoon waters. After circling them once the pilot turned over to the co-pilot and myself and said ”Shall we go around again?” with a grin, and we nodded with much enthusiasm. We thus went around them once again, this time a bit lower to better observe the lands. After that we cruised around the coast of Guadeloupe, on the Caribbean ocean side, which was a little more turbulent, but much fun. You could see the volcano craters so well, which is what inspired me to go and take a closer look at Guadeloupe’s main volcano ‘La Soufrière’.

I filmed the landing, which was a bit unnerving, especially as it was the first time I was able to see the runway approaching and getting bigger and closer by the second. In the end the landing was smooth, and we parked the plane back to its original space. What an experience!

That very night, we went to a small Saturday carnival hosted in Sainte Rose, where a few groups marched up and down the streets, dancing and sounding drums along their way. They were essentially warming up for Sunday’s big main event. We ate delicious Bokits, Guadeloupian hot sandwiches, and watched until the festivities ended.

The following day we had planned on going to Marie Galante, another neighbor island. But having arrived at the busy port, we were informed that the return boat ride was much later than we had anticipated, and would mean us missing the main carnival. We therefore decided to visit the Soufrière volcano, and being rather unprepared for the idea, I hiked up part of it in flip flops! It was a very steep, difficult and long hike up, but was worth it when arriving at the Savane des Mulets, a part of flat ground which gave on to superb views of Guadeloupe’s Caribbean coast.

The day continued with visits and coastal cruises around Basse Terre’s upper part. We stopped at the Réserve Cousteau, an ideal spot of diving fanatics. A grey sand beach welcomed us, as well as lots of little boutiques, shops and many diving schools offering guided dips and lessons. Apparently this area is where you can see the best sea life, which convinced me to take a look myself. I got on to a small boat of fanatic divers, and I was the only person on board getting ready to snorkel! When I jumped into the waters, I was astonished by the diversity of color and amount of fish I saw.

There were coral reefs of all shapes, sizes and colors, and enormous tropical fish in groups or solo picking at bits of coral, or just aimlessly swimming around. I spent 1h gazing at all the sea life, discovering another fascinating part of this planet which I often tend to forget exists in such vast amounts. I saw gold scale fish with red tales, giant turquoise fat fish, trumpet fish, blue, yellow, and black tangs, and maybe another 20 or 30 types with no exaggeration. I also saw one of my favorites – a really long (about the size of my arm) box fish airing around, which I followed for quite some time. However, I got a little unsettled when I suddenly spotted about 10 meters away from me, a giant Barracuda, longer than myself, starring at me. It frightened me and so I stayed very still. It eventually swam away, and I was later told that a lot of solitary male Barracudas have a tendency of hanging out in these shallow waters, and can be quite startling…

The day ended with a visit of a pink sand beach, and a lovely gaze out towards the sunset near Sainte Rose. We directly went to the carnival, which had started at 2PM, and watched the more animated and louder groups parade by. This was a more ‘serious’ carnival, as apparently there were judges who would note all the passing groups. There was more of an observant atmosphere in Sainte Rose’s crowds than a participant atmosphere which was very present in last week’s Pointe-à-Pitre festivities. But this was definitely a larger carnival which had demanded much more organization and practice.

I am now back at Canella Residence, and have been moved to a master room with a very large bed. I have another 2 sunny weeks left here in Guadeloupe…

Advertisements

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!

Aloha!

my lei

It is a beautiful day on Maui island today. I arrived yesterday afternoon, and was greeted by Ras, a musician whom I will be working with for a little over a month here in Paia. He put a pretty lei around my neck, and I jumped into his white Jeep.

He asked me whether I wanted to go straight to my place, or whether I was up for a little walk to discover on of Maui’s most beautiful spots. Despite my fatigue, I couldn’t resist! I can’t remember the name of where he took me, but it was stunning.

Apparently this was where Jurassic Park was filmed (the part where you see expansive views of vast mountainous regions, and lots of green). It took about 25 mins to get up there in the Jeep, but it was definitely worth it. I walked round with him, admittedly in a bit of daze, saw waterfalls, guava plants, traditional Hawaiian huts, lots of chickens and flowers.

We then drove down to Paia, a small beach town I am currently living in. We drove by the beach, and I saw about 35 dudes surfing the waves. I then met his wife and 2 year old pretty daughter, and had a look round his music studio.

I was totally overwhelmed. I guess traveling from LA to Honolulu and then waiting for 3 hours in Honolulu for my flight to Maui kind of tired me out. And then arriving in Maui just blew me away: the views, the atmosphere, the colors, the vibe.

I am currently staying in a three story house called the Yoga Shala. It is absolutely stunning. On the bottom floor there are yoga classes every day. On the second floor, I am sharing an enormous living room, kitchen, two terraces, bathroom with two persons I haven’t met yet. I think there is a couple living on the third floor.

My room has a very comfy mushy double bed, a couch, and glass doors that give on to the front terrace. The shower has a little windows which look onto the the back of the house and the expansive views behind it. It is so much more spacey than I had imagined. It is calm, and there is a very good vibe about the place, there are Buddha statuettes everywhere, candles, a very large TV, and a swooping couch in the living room.

There are Buddhist prayer flags in my room. There are no locks, which could appear freaky at first, but there is such a positive and calm atmosphere about the neighborhood that I sincerely doubt there is anything to worry about.

I went to bed early last night and got up today around 6.30 AM. It gets dark very quickly here, and light very early. This morning I walked down to Paia’s main town, bought some breakfast in Tiki Bar, and read the Maui Times. I took my soya milk coffee to go, and went down to the nearest beach. I walked barefoot on the sand, and walked across the shore line for a bit, thinking how lucky I am to be here and to see all this.

I have been exploring all morning, getting lost, sitting down in front of the sea and taking photos like a typical tourist. ”Beautiful spot, isn’t it?” said one old couple who was sitting not so far from one of the best views I had found this morning. ”Yes… lovely!” I replied.

And ‘lovely’ is the first word I choose to describe this place.

walking on the beach in hawaii