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jerber160
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Joined: 09/14/14
Posts: 331
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
29July2017 trip report-sorry long.
      #1741265 - 08/18/17 05:32 PM (76.125.190.133)

The goal was to balance trying new things while repeating satisfying experiences. Well, we missed the Market in Marigot on Wednesday, since we’d just flown in and our favorite mode of transportation, Aquamania’s water taxi, doesn’t run on Saturdays (the Market’s other reportedly busy day) so we took a car-cab. I had a great need to restock on jams (guava, banana, tamarind) so skipping Marigot was not an option. Add to that that I’ve been catching up on Black Sails- the insanely detailed pirate series on Starz. The storyline of the fort on Nassau hiding the Urca gold plus prisoners is playing heavily in Season Three, so I thought the time was prime for a hike to Fort St. Louis. It was and this was a very cool way to kill an hour or so.
The trek is fairly easy but we made good use of shade and water bottles. The bit of history presented on the plaques was just enough to satisfy but the view from the top made the steep climb well worth the effort. Black Sails’ living visions of slaves rebuilding their fort in the pounding heat and thundering battles with explosive grit fired my imagination as there are canons still aimed into the Marigot bay, over the town and at any approaches to Fort Louis. Despite the soca music making its way up the hill from the Market, it was easy to retreat in my head to a time those canons had been in use, mostly to protect from the marauding English arriving from Anguilla to pillage warehouses storing coffee, sugar cane and rum: modernity juxtaposed on the bygone, I was really enjoying myself. So we acknowledged the small cell, the canons and loopholes and embrasures built for firing muskets, as well as a family of iguanas living on a lower level, but the panoramic vibrancy from the high point forced me to recreate for myself the photos of thousands of tourists before me but more importantly, just stand and breath in the beauty surrounding me. The peaceful time spent at Fort Louis was well worth the hike.

(This climb had been in my mind for a while and I’d tried to take photos of the Fort as we’d sailed up the coast on the previous day, but the distance was too great for decent shots. Oddly I can’t find any on line!)

So, we retraced our steps down the hill where I could commence my vacation jelly hunt. I’d small need of more of the wonderful crafts items for sale in the Marigot Market, as I’d gladly spent a bundle here two years ago, shopping for hand dyed pillow cases, silver necklaces and hand painted tiles but after a brief but essential sojourn in an air conditioned kitchen store I found my jams and jellies, determinedly skipped the seasonings and spices as I had said supplies left, but did buy three cds of local music and an iguana t-shirt along with my jams. While I was taking care of business, M was making her own tour. Many restaurant representatives were exerting their wiles to lure lunch patrons and M promised one that she’d return later with me in tow. As I wasn’t starving when she led me back, we decided to cruise the area and peruse menus and the persistent (Ok it seemed like he might be on speed) maitre’ d wasn’t happy but gave in. He seemed very ‘NYC Little Italy’ and I thought he was fun! Each restaurant in this quarter of the Market seemed of an ilk: open air, creole and curry on the poster board menus, friendly staff inviting you in. Some were more crowded than others and we decided to return to the original huckster’s place since he’d worked so hard to draw us in and he’d sworn his Creole Conch was superior. (I was on a conch hunt in addition to my jelly quest and as an aside, it was kind of cool this week to note various pronunciations of a food I don’t normally cook at home. European Frenchman Francois of the Celine 2 used a soft ‘ch’ sound when mentioning conch while a Marigot born cabby uttered the hard ‘k’ sound I was used to. I’m siding with her as it seems to be the most common pronunciation.) To continue, our energetic repas à l'invocateur had vanished when we returned to Francis Restaurant but we were seated immediately and then we enjoyed a fine gastronomic encounter. I indeed ordered the Creole Conch and found most of the diced mollusk was tender but a few bites were a bit chewy. After a judicious spritz of Matouk, I again closed my eyes and let the conch and attendant peppers, onions and light glaze wrap around both sides of my tongue knowing full well this is a strange behavior that doesn’t happen with other foods. My entree was accompanied by nice salads: greens with carrot, tomato and dressing, a solid potato salad plus a teasing macaroni salad. Subtle and delicious rice with beans rounded out the meal which we enjoyed while taking in various Market workers, tourists eating and drinking fresh coconut in a general feel-good island atmosphere. M had ordered the Grilled Shrimp which came with sides identical to mine and she insists it was her favorite meal of our week. This is a remarkable statement because we had some fine food and it makes me happy she enjoyed her meal so much.

When we decided we didn’t need to partake of any more shopping or noshing in Marigot we skedaddled to the cab stand and motivated by our desire to visit more local beaches took the convoluted path past the PJIA to Karakter where I’d heard rumor there would be live reggae all day. Here I had to acknowledge my sun-slut fixation has begun to fade. I don’t know why but for the first time in my life I did not HAVE to be in the sun. (well, I do know why but had to guard against mentioning ad nauseam how old I’ve suddenly gotten-that and the weight I’ve regained-it’s all tied up together) So even though no chairs or umbrellas (free to paying customers) were available and we hadn’t brought swim suits, (ordinarily I would have just lost the shirt and tanned) I was more than content to sit at Karakter’s covered bar, sip Carib, watch the sights and listen to the music.
As for sights, Simpson Bay near the airport really is an insane turquoise. The wait staff seemed to be French and pure eye candy. Customers seemed completely at ease, enjoying a light party atmosphere. I watched a man strip discretely right in front of us. He wrapped a towel around his waist, dropped his drawers, upped the suit then headed for the beach chairs putting his gauchies in a bag. I had to wonder why he’d chosen to do this at his dining table rather than off to one side but as I said, he was discrete and the atmosphere was relaxed.

As for music, a reggae band did play a song or two but the island music of the afternoon was provided by a DJ, which was fine by me. I was happy to be here. Chilling, swaying to the music, content in my shaded inertia you can’t not look at a new place’s menu and when I saw dates and plantains wrapped in bacon, I was intrigued despite the fine meal I’d just consumed. They were really good although I prefer my bacon to be fairly crispy and when I try this at home, I think I’ll dip them in apricot or guava jam before broiling! We also sampled a Desperado- a tequilla flavored beer. A simple NO will do here.

Feeling happy and in vacation-mode we chatted up the owner a bit and I envied his ease and position. It was strange as he was easy to identify as ‘The Owner.’ You just kind of know.

Continuing our jaunt, we decided this was the day for JabJabs, the new boat bar in the bay off Kim Sha I’d heard about. You phone (the area code however isn’t posted on the sign) and owner Stephan sends a launch. Stephan and Kristen seemed very eco-conscious and worked hard to keep debris from blowing into the bay. While whipping up the daily specialty drink that included ground nutmeg, he’d mentioned a lot of turtles in the area and was careful to keep straws and whatnot out of the water. I chatted up a few bar patrons and one, Michael turned out to be part owner of the Celine Too. We’d done the Celine the previous day and I butted in to Michael’s conversation about the Friday adventure. (never mind) Michael was partly in charge of a benefit concert for a local musician scheduled for Sunday at The Red Piano where we ran into him again. (That was a rockin’ good time!)
So JabJabs had reggae, and beers and the coolest cup holders that would NOT blow into the bay. The vacation buffoon (maybe I’ll learn how to post pics) put in an appearance then Stephan dropped us at the Aquamania dock, sparing us a climb up the hill! Thank you sir.

M had declined but still raring to go, I wandered to the Red Piano but no one was there yet! I ended up back at the Pelican for a nightcap and was in bed by 7. Yes, 7. Good Grief.


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pat
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Joined: 04/18/01
Posts: 11268
Loc: Brookfield, CT.
Re: 29July2017 trip report-sorry long. [Re: jerber160]
      #1741266 - 08/18/17 05:50 PM (75.133.113.202)

I always love enjoying someone else's take on things I've taken for granted for so long. The view from the top of Fort Louis is incredible. You should make the trip to the top of Paradise Pic (but with company....) next. Is there more to follow?

If not, TY for sharing ......

--------------------
Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."


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jazzgal
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Joined: 06/01/09
Posts: 2907
Loc: Portland, OR
Re: 29July2017 trip report-sorry long. [Re: jerber160]
      #1741271 - 08/18/17 09:25 PM (97.115.11.239)

Very nicely written; I enjoyed every word.

I didn't know there was more than one owner of the Celine Too?

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fabila
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Joined: 01/26/02
Posts: 6630
Loc: Westchester County
Re: 29July2017 trip report-sorry long. [Re: jerber160]
      #1741280 - 08/19/17 05:13 AM (148.74.249.46)

Great read.

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ruralcarrierModerator
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Joined: 03/31/01
Posts: 12460
Loc: Ohio
Re: 29July2017 trip report-sorry long. [Re: jerber160]
      #1741281 - 08/19/17 06:55 AM (24.123.78.164)

Thanks for the report.

--------------------
J.D.


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Carol_HillAdministrator
Administrator


Joined: 08/01/00
Posts: 63330
Loc: Central Florida!
Re: 29July2017 trip report-sorry long. [Re: jerber160]
      #1741286 - 08/19/17 08:24 AM (107.77.253.1)

Wow, wonderful reading!! I hope there is more to the story!

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bluejacket
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Joined: 12/13/10
Posts: 252
Loc: Detroit
Re: 29July2017 trip report-sorry long. [Re: Carol_Hill]
      #1741288 - 08/19/17 08:30 AM (68.58.218.217)

Cool! Thanks.

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[url=https://www.TickerFactory.com/]

[/url]


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Jim_Laraine
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Joined: 01/06/06
Posts: 272
Loc: Kent Island Maryland
Re: 29July2017 trip report-sorry long. [Re: bluejacket]
      #1741297 - 08/19/17 09:20 AM (208.78.55.75)

Great story and nice writing!

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Bahston
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Joined: 11/05/06
Posts: 1062
Re: 29July2017 trip report-sorry long. [Re: fabila]
      #1741299 - 08/19/17 10:17 AM (96.233.64.153)

7? I blame early nights on the "sun zap", too much tropical sun during the day. Nice write-up of your adventures. Thanks.

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jerber160
Traveler


Joined: 09/14/14
Posts: 331
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
sorry oops [Re: jerber160]
      #1741310 - 08/19/17 01:46 PM (96.94.98.14)

I just realized I called it Fort St. Louis. This would be an example of muscle memory and poor proof reading. apologies.. AND that water color at Karakter is more electric aquamarine than turquoise isn't it?

Edited by jerber160 (08/19/17 04:35 PM)


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