Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Iles Des Saintes

Iles Des Saintes, Guadeloupe
15 52.1N 61 35.1W

Don’t they all look the same after a while? a friend asked one day, when talking about the Caribbean Islands - without a doubt the answer is no. Not only they look different but they also feel different.

Les Saintes, a little group of islands just south of the main island of Guadeloupe is one of our favorite places in the whole Caribbean. The picturesque setting of Bourg Des Saintes, the beautiful snorkeling around the islands, the best baguettes and pain chocolats in the Caribbean and the relaxed attitude of the people makes this place very special. Try to imagine a place where children can run free, where you never lock your doors, where the beaches are spectacular, where the weather is almost perfect and where you can get the best food and wine France has to offer.

We had a lazy and enjoyable week or so with our good friends Wendy and Peter of Keesje II. We walked all over the islands, eating, drinking, liming well … cruising. What a great time, what a great life.

We had originally planned to visit Guadeloupe and Martinique but both islands were completely shut down by a general strike. Islanders are requesting equal salaries and living standards (price of food, petrol, etc) as on main land France. Also, they are making the point that people living on the islands don’t have equal opportunities as most businesses are being run by the “Békés” , the first French immigrants to the islands, and that their control and attitude towards the other islanders is overpowering. Slavery has ended but the descendants of the same white families that owned the plantations now own the tools of capitalism, while the descendants of the slaves work minimum wage jobs in the area with the highest cost of living in France.

Luckily most of this feeling is not present in Les Saintes and it manages to both look like and be a paradise!
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