10 Things to Look for When You Visit Martinique
When you are provided opportunities to see new places in the world, if you’re like me at all, you jump at the chance. During my year living in Martinique, my eyes were always open to all that was going on around me. Here are 10 things to look for when you visit Martinique that I thought were surprising and interesting.
I don’t have photos for all of them, but I’ve seen them all, sometimes going 90 km per hour. Those photos end up being big blurry messes.
Bicycles, holy cow! This is especially true as we are driving to church on Sunday mornings. It’s like the Tour de France sometimes and is probably the reason there are so many of them. The roads here are crazy windy and steep, so these people have to have amazingly strong legs. They wear all of the bicycle wearing gear and the bicycles are expensive here, so it’s not a poor man’s sport. I’ve seen thousands of them and only one lady out of the bunch.
Barbecues on the side of the road, all over the place, especially on the weekends. By this I don’t mean the family barbecues, but rather people set up on the side of the road with their barrel grills cooking meat to sell. You can smell it long before you get to them and it smells amazing. If you’re a tourist you might wonder if it would be safe to eat this food. It is and you must try it. Especially the chicken. So good.
Traffic lights in seemingly odd places, like on a road in the middle of the rain forest. Seriously, we’ve seen them. Sometimes they are for construction and sometimes they are for the one lane road or bridge coming up. Sometimes they have timers on them so you know just how much longer you have to wait. This particular one did not.
Stocking up on a lot of things is super important here. Almost everything is brought in on huge ships and if there is a storm or strike, you won’t get a shipment until it is settled. If you go into a local house, you will see the evidence of this. Also, if there is rumor of a gas strike, the gas lines will be miles long and will also back up traffic for hours.
Animals on the side of the road, mostly tied up and eating the grass. I saw this pig and she was wild, although she didn’t even lift her head while I was taking her photo. She must have been hungry because I took about 20 pictures of her.
However, this cow is one of the animals I saw on the side of a road, with a chain around it. I’ve also seen goats and sheep. I’ve seen them on the side of the busiest roadway as well, just eating the grass that grows there. I guess it’s good for everyone.
Produce stands are all over the place and they sell fresh, local produce. If you are lucky enough to find a vendor that speaks your language, you can even tell them the day you want to eat said fruit or veggies and they will find you just the right one. A word of caution, the stands on the main, busy road are more expensive than the grocery store or the stands on the smaller roads. However, the stands generally have better stuff than the imported stuff in the grocery store, although you can’t find everything on the stands that you can in the store.
Fish, so much fish. This is how you will see it in the grocery stores. If you are in the right place on the road, you will see them selling it right next to the beach too, on long tables. The local fishermen catch huge fish, like tuna and marlin, and then sell them in pieces on those tables. It’s pretty impressive.
There are bakeries and pastry shops all over the place here. Some sell the most beautiful pastries, like this one. Others sell just bread and it is so good, like the shop by my apartment. There is usually a line at these places, so don’t count on getting away quickly. Be sure to try some of them though. Your tastebuds will thank you.
Cars parked up on sidewalks, blocking the only safe place to walk, are everywhere. No kidding. Even when there is a perfectly good, empty parking lot 50 feet away. It’s so crazy to me. They don’t get towed or ticketed either. It must be okay, but I don’t get it.
Finally, the cats. If you like cats, this is the place for you. They are everywhere and there are so many of them. In our apartment parking lot alone, there are about ten. They don’t bother you, they are just there. They live in the woods or on the beach, or places like our parking lot where they are fed. I’ve never seen so many wild cats in my life.
Some are more friendly than others, like this one at the beach who was rubbing up against my husband. You must beware of your food though when taking a picnic to the beach. We actually saw a group of about 8 cats working together to steal someone’s lunch that they had left on a table, in a bag. You really can’t do that here. You must have it in some type of container that they can’t break into. They are sneaky little critters.
I hope you enjoyed this fun post about 10 things to look for when you visit Martinique. This is such a beautiful, diverse island. The people are wonderful and the beaches are incredible. What is the oddest thing you have seen someplace that you have visited? Leave me a comment below. I love reading stuff like that. Also, if you have an Instagram or Facebook account, you can follow along there.