Today it is exactly 4 years since you received my last blog post into your mailbox.
It was then that I was wrapping up my 4-months long sabbatical trip with the 10-days long kite-surf vacation in Dakhla, Western Sahara.
In all these past years, I was playing a lot with the idea to start blogging again. Especially some two years ago, when I left for a career-break year. But somehow, it never happened.
Until a few days ago, when I received one of these “memories” that Facebook shares for us; a memory of my time in Senegal in April 2016. A memory about the blog post I wrote at that time about a day trip to Lac Rose (Pink Lake).
It was the trigger I needed.
In short, the idea was to come here for a month and a half to do some intense French classes. Learning French in a beautiful environment, with the view over white-sand beaches, seemed like an excellent idea. Except that due to the measures around the virus, the school had to close down.
I arrived on Saturday mid of march only to learn two days later that the school will close its door. But I am here, settled in, exploring the tiny world I am allowed to explore. And doing French classes online. What an irony. 🙂
I am safe. And well. And I haven’t been sick or had the virus, despite taking that flight just before Belgium went into the lock-down. And I happy to know I haven’t spread the virus around.
It was a risk, going on that plane. I am aware. Was it selfish? Probably a bit. And yet I am happy I did it. After all, in a way, according to my current lifestyle, ‘I WENT HOME’.
Guadeloupe in these unusual times…
For those of you who don’t know, Guadeloupe in an overseas territory of France. So I am literally in France, in the European Union, with only one difference – some 8 hours flight away, on the other side of the ocean. 🙂 🏝
This means that Guadeloupe follows the same restrictions as France when it comes to the whole Covid-19 situation.
We need to stay home. Like the rest of the world. Everything except supermarkets, grocery stores, and pharmacies is closed. Yep, all the bars and restaurants… closed as well. Now imagine all these gorgeous beaches more or less empty? Great or? Yeah, it is… just that we are not allowed to lie around and really enjoy them. The most one can do is to go for a walk. 🏝
There is a sort of curfew in place as well. We are not allowed to be outside at all between 8 PM and 5 AM. During the day we are allowed to leave our homes only for urgent matters such as shopping, going to the pharmacy and for those who have to work, to go to work. We are allowed to leave the house to do sports in nature as well, but apparently only up to 2 kilometers from home, for a maximum of one hour.
If and when we do leave homes, we do need to fill out a form, a kind of “self-authorization” form, sign it, print it out and have it with us. In this form, we need to write our name, date and place of birth, address where we live, and the reason for our exit: work / necessary shopping / doing sports. We need to state the date and the hour when we leave the house and sign it. Yes… so much about the French Administration. Thye take rules seriously. There is police out there checking if we have the form with us. If not, one can pay a fine of 350 EUR.
So far, I have filled it out and had it with me exactly once. And even that in an electronic way. Well, I took my chances. I don’t have a printer, and it is a tiny bit too much of a text to write by hand every single time I go to the bakery. But I am not sure it is wise. So I might be more obeying now.
My life on Guadeloupe in short
Like the majority of people around the world these days, I also mainly stay at home. Like everyone else, I only go to the nearby supermarket or bakery to buy the necessary. And a few times a week, I go for a short walk or an easy-going jog in nature.
You might think… “So you flew all the way to a paradise island, not to be able to explore it?” Yep, that’s exactly how it is.
“Do you at least have a view over the sea from your apartment?” Noup, I don’t. 🙂 I wish I would.
“So, how do you cope?” In short, I love it. I have a moment here and there when I feel lonely, but hey, show me a single person living on its own right now, that doesn’t. Luckily the wifi works well. 🙂 So, I can connect via What’s App, Zoom, and other platforms with my friends and family.
My home is where my bike is
I am happy I brought my bike. The idea was to explore the islands with it. And to commute to French classes on a daily basis. Now that the school is closed, my bike serves me really well as my means of transportation. 🚵♀️🚵♀️🚵♀️ Very happy I brought it with me.
Besides going to a cash machine to the town of Le Gocier 5 kilometers away and to buy food, |I haven’t cycled much for leisure – only once so far. When I ended up hiking with a bike instead of riding it. Oh my!!! What an adventure that was. 🙂 But that would deserve one whole other blog post.
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