Sunday, February 7, 2016

Martinique --> Dominica

Sunday, Day 31

I tried to sleep in some this morning, but the loud cars and motorcycles weren't allowing it.  So I got up around 7:30 and had a bowl of fruit and finally finished off the last of the quoina with the last of the eggs.  


I planned on going snorkeling and seeing the city (Fort De France) today, but I just wasn't feeling it this morning.  So tired from not much sleep, and I think I might be allergic to something here.  Probably the cigarette smoke.  Yuck.  

Anyways, that meant I decided to just have a super lazy morning and spend it around the apartment getting caught up on this blog and figuring out Dominica.  I finally got a hotel booked in Roseau, the main town, walking distance to the ferry terminal (I think).  Paid way more than I wanted to, but convenience is key, especially on the Sunday of Carnival, when buses and maybe even taxis will be scarce.  I'll figure out the lay of the land and get the week rolling from town.

So, packed up and left the apartment around 1pm to return the car at the airport and then take a taxi (another crazy expensive taxi) back to the ferry terminal for the 3pm departure -- which I may or may not have a ticket to.

It was paid for online, but the website was in French (like everything in Martinique) and no confirmation anything was ever sent.  I'm hopeful...

Had to drive around awhile to find a gas station, but got the rental car returned with a full tank of gas around 1:15, took a shuttle to the airport (about a block away), and caught a taxi from there back in to Fort De France ferry terminal.

The taxis here are so dang expensive!  I mean it's like 4 Euros just to get in one.  And it was racking up quick!  I swear he was driving slower just to get more money. ;)

Traffic got worse the closer we got to the city, and soon, streets were blocked off and people all dressed up for the Carnival parade were lining the streets.  We made it through one barricade, but got stopped at the next one.  They were not letting any vehicles through, so we had to get out and walk.  But while the taxi driver got out of the car to argue with the police officer...the fare continued to rise.  30 Euros for a 15 minute taxi ride.  Ouch.

At least we were close to the ferry terminal.  Just a couple of blocks, thank goodness, because it was a scorcher.  Over 90 degrees today and the sun was just brutal.

It was only like 1:45 by this point, so I was really surprised to see such a long line at the check in counter.  It wrapped around and around...and took over 30 minutes to get through!  It was just like an airport.  Worse than an airport, actually.  I mean they weighed and tagged the bag and everything just like an airport.

Of course when I got to the front, I got pulled aside to have my bag checked.  OF COURSE. Come on!  I must really look suspicious.  My bag has gotten checked so much here!

I was holding my breath up at the check-in counter, just praying they had a ticket with my name on it.  And after some searching and explaining that the credit card was charged, but no confirmation was received...she flipped through some pages and found my name.  Yesssss.  Sigh of relief.

I got a little nervous again when she asked about an onward ticket.  All of the islands down here won't let you in unless you have a ticket out.  Which I do not.  Thankfully she took word for it and didn't make me show her anything.  That could have been a big mess.

I walked back out to the front of the building to get some snacks.  Chips and crackers.  Seriously.  I'm going to have gained at least 10 pounds from the crap I've been eating down here.  And it only got worse once I got inside to the waiting area.  They had paninis, which was basically just bread and cheese...but I got one.  And ate it all.  Yikes.

They announced something in French around 3:15 (ferry was supposed to depart at 3:30) and all of a sudden everyone jumped up and just crowded around the gate.  I mean, we all have a ticket.  What's the big rush?

I have no idea, because even once we got on, there were plenty of open seats all over the place!

My Dramamine did it's job -- either that or my neck pillow and T-Swift - because even when the water did get a little rough, I felt fine.  I was still really happy to get off the boat, but honestly, I did fine.  Which is a shock to me!

Roseau, Dominica, where the ferry docked, is the biggest city on the island of Dominica (not to be confused with Dominican Republic).  I was one of the first ones off, so didn't have to wait in line at Immigration, and he didn't question me at all about a return flight.

They brought all of the bags off the ferry and just piled them up outside to grab.  Sure didn't look safe to me, but again, since I was first, it didn't matter.  I grabbed mine and took off out the door.

Got hassled by a couple of drivers, but the hotel I ended up booking, Garraway Hotel, was walking distance.  It was so close, in fact, that I walked right past it!  It was like 2 blocks away, right on the water and close to all the action!  And by action, I mean the action that we missed, because they were just taking everything own from the Carnival that had happened earlier in the day.


Got checked in and right up to the room.  Standard hotel room, that I way overpaid for because of Carnival.

Once I got rid of my bags, I immediately set off to walk around the city and find some food.  The girl working at the hotel said everything was open since it was Carnival.  Usually, places are closed on Sundays.  I think she was wrong.  I could only find one place open:  an Italian restaurant.

I stopped back in at the ferry terminal on the walk to try and find out about getting the ferry to Guadeloupe (closest neighboring island) later this week.  But, no luck.  I guess with Carnival, all the ferries are full until next Monday!  I'm not staying here a week.  So, flight it is!  I'll have to figure that out later tonight.

After walking around for awhile, I ended up back at that spot.  Turned out to not be my best decision. I ordered a side of veggies -- everything else was too meaty or cheesy or pasta-y.  And TWO HOURS LATER - no joke - my veggies came.  Apparently there was some problem with the gas line and they had to bring in a new propane tank.  I don't know.  I mean, they were super apologetic and really nice, but man, that is a long time to sit and wait for veggies, especially with no wifi!  At least they were good.

Of course I walked right back to the hotel after that, ready for bed.  But the Super Bowl was on in the bar!  AND I have a tv in the room, also showing it.  I have to stay up at least for the half time show!!

Super Bowl showing in the bar at my hotel ^^

Not sure what the plan is tomorrow, but I do know one thing:  it will be a short night.  Carnival starts at 3am.  NO joke!  They start playing music in the streets from 4-6am, and then a parade at like 7am I think.  I'm going to regret booking this place right in town tonight I think!

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