We are in love with this little house! Brian is not in love with the mattress, but he rarely is with his craptastic back. It was cool all night from the breeze and the fan, and the best part? NO MOSQUITOES!! We got up and did a little hike from the house. Came back and promptly took a short nap. It’s that peaceful and relaxing here! After we woke up, we decided to drive down to a little area called Scott’s Head, which is basically the bottom of the island and just a mile or so down the road. Along the way, we picked up Manuel. Manuel speaks English. We do not speak the same English as Manuel, and caught about 10-15% of what he was saying! Dropped him off, turned around, and headed to Hell No, Roseau to drop off the car.

The little town of Soufriere with its church and colorful boats!

Beautiful, colorful Soufriere from the hill above town. If we had to move to Dominica, we’d move here (and bring our own FOOD!)

On the way, I read a message from my neighbor who was going to take Annie. Her daughter was baby sitting someone’s dog, and their dogs literally freaked out having another dog in the house- cowering and crying non stop. Her dogs were traumatized as puppies, and apparently still have some PPTSD (puppy post traumatic stress disorder). I can’t risk taking Annie back and Tina’s dogs not accepting her. I can’t keep Annie. So I had to make the decision to let her go to Canada. I’ll never see her again. I’m heartbroken.

This was the day we had to pay for the damages done to the car on day 1. They took us around to see the vehicle, and I got Brian’s picture with it.

Ok, not really. But the running joke for every vehicle like this we saw along the road (and there were LOTS of them), was, “Seriously, Brian?”!  He finally started getting out ahead of me by saying, “I didn’t do it!!” every time we passed one!  I have to say, the car rental people couldn’t have been lovelier while processing Brian’s card for $5800!! They were kind enough to waive the relocation charge (we picked up and dropped off in different towns), and another fee as well. They said over and over it was ok and they were just happy we were alright- I didn’t mention my still super painful tailbone. After we settled up, they drove us to the ferry landing. I lamented the fact that there is NO food in this country and we were starving (as per usual, it had been about 20 hours since our last meal.). The driver said there is food, you just have to know where to find it! Um, I’m not a hunter and gatherer- more of a drive thru-er and gatherer… Dear Dominica, Tourists like to eat a couple of times a day at least. We have money. Please take it in exchange for food. And make it easy. Love, Mary. Anyway, he showed us where a street food vendor was setting up, introduced us, and told us it would be ready in about 20 minutes. We thanked him and walked to the Dominican Central Intelligence Agency Fresh Market- home of the previous day’s Dr. Pepper photo infraction. Got a few Dr. Peppers for the road and managed to escape without setting off any high level alert sirens.

Went back to the street food vendor. There was a big crowd of about a dozen people! Great sign! Must be good. Brian got in line, and I sat at a folding table with all of our stuff. I watched for almost 20 minutes while he was completely ignored by the guy running the stand. Over and over. He wouldn’t even make eye contact with Brian. Finally, people in the line actually started speaking up and saying that Brian had been there a long time and to wait on him. Fucking ridiculous. And definitely not adding to my “favorite things about Dominica” list. We got our food, sat down and ate. It was good, but not Pinky’s good. And the treatment we received definitely left a taste in our mouth as well.

Time to board the ferry! They said to be there 2 hours early, and they weren’t kidding. I have never seen such a painfully slow process. First, you check in and get your ticket. Then, you go through immigration- first, paying a $33 exit tax each for the pleasure of leaving Dominica. I would have paid triple at this point… The woman handed Brian back his passport and said he needed to fill out the departure slip. I asked did I need to do one as well. Actual quote out of her mouth, “No.” So I figured it was like a “family form”. Brian finished, handed her his passport. She stamped him, then handed me mine and with an attitude of utter disgust informed me that I needed to fill one out, too! I asked Brian, “Didn’t she just say I didn’t have to do that?”, he nodded. Our final interactions with Dominicans are not going very well… Then customs- one or two people were let into the room at a time, and it was so slow. But the guy was nice. Then, sit and wait. Ferry got there at 4:30 for the 2 hour ride to Martinique. Really, it was an entire day wasted since the ferry changed schedule (some people in line had actually showed up at 9am based on the earlier ferry schedule and then had to wait around until 4:30! Thank god we waited to book, or I would have swam to Martinique #nolie). The ride over was fairly smooth, but my tailbone was not pleased. The seat was extremely uncomfortable, it was impossible to walk around because of the rocking of the boat, so I ended up in some weird contorted position for 2 hours.

Those green shirts? The entire Dominican women’s soccer team was traveling on our ferry!

From the upstairs waiting area for the ferry.

Our carriage awaits!

Looking north along the gorgeous coastline.

Looking south- that little rock off the end is Scott’s Head where we had driven to earlier this morning

As we approached Martinique, we could easily see that it was only 60 miles, but a world away from Dominica. From the water you could see modern buildings, the likes of which are no where in Dominica or Antigua that I saw. Got off the ferry, quickly whisked through friendly immigration and customs just waved us through. Exited the ferry terminal and needed to find a taxi. There was a whole line of taxis, and a woman approached us. As soon as she did, a guy came up and motioned us to go with him, and started arguing with her quite loudly in French. Brian and I literally stood there for 2 minutes listening to them fight and having no idea what was going on. I’d had enough and walked right past them to a man sitting in a taxi and asked if he could take us to the airport. No problem, and he spoke English! He explained that the woman was from another town and wasn’t supposed to be hawking for passengers in Fort de France. He dropped us off, we walked over to Jumbo Rent a Car where the friendliest ladies had fun speaking English with us and explaining everything. Took a shuttle to the offsite place for the car which literally arrived like a minute after we were done with our contract. Got the car. All of that in less than 45 minutes from when we exited the ferry. Efficiency. I like it. Vive la France!

Something else I like here are the roads!! Viva la (le? damn genders) Infrastructure! No potholes, everything clearly marked, people driving like they understood they weren’t the only ones on the road. Oh, my tailbone was so much happier! And then……we saw……..FOOD!!! We went through the drive through at McDonalds (because sometimes you need something familiar!). Ordering was um, interesting with the language barrier. But we figured it out and only ended up with one extra cheeseburger. We literally could not find the Airbnb because google maps wasn’t bringing up any of the landmarks the host said to look for. She eventually had to come and get us. Such a friendly woman! And the airbnb was perfect– large room with a private bathroom and a hot shower. And….WI FI!!! For $30!! Martinique- I think I like you!

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