Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Music

With this post, I think I'm going to get mostly caught up on music in. _Unrated smart playlist in iTunes is only at 111 songs.

But 1st, a music out update. From June 1 to June 5 I played 3 paying gigs: with Steve & Chris at J. Render's Friday, filling in in the house band for Dane Sadler at the Squires Tavern Sunday jam, and in the house band at the Tuesday's Sherman House Blues Jam at Lynagh's. I have been 2nd guitarist of record st the Tuesday Jam for a few weeks now, with Brent Carter on the other guitar, Matt Noell (whose gig it is) on bass, and Roger Barber on drums.

So, we did Purple Rain last week and everybody seemed to like it. I figured we'd close out the night with it again. We get like 4 lines in & the bar owner, our patroness Amy, walks up to me and says "I love you guys to death, but no Purple Rain". So we stopped ?!?!? Really kind of freaked me out. A mental blow of some sort - plus I suspect that this songus interruptus is going to leave "Purple Rain" stuck in my head for days. And what about 1A?

I just had a birthday, I'm 67 now, at some point I'm assuming I will be too old to keep going out and playing blues and rock in bars - this made me think maybe it's time to quit - or maybe to quit playing at Lynagh's. I think it's at least 1 strike.

Music in, let's see what we got. I have determined that in general it takes a max of 4 listens to rate an album.

  • "Soul of a Woman", Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, 2017. Is the 1st posthumous album I've rated? Ms. Jones death was untimely. This album is as good as her others - open up a can of funk. 4 stars. Here's "Searching for a New Day".

  • "Diamonds", JOHNNYSWIM, 2014. Not sure where I found this. A male/female singing duo out of LA. Very listenable. I had this as 4 stars, but I couldn't find a track I liked enough to include here, so, 3 stars
  • "Utopia", Björk, 2017. The world's greatest living composer. She has recently done themes for albums: all brass, all voices. This one has lots of woodwinds, but also songs without them. Like this one, "Arisen My Senses". What a weird-ass video. Wow, this woman is such a genius. 4 stars.

  • "The Greatest Gift", Sufjan Stevens, 2017. This album has both remixes and new material. Several of the remixes are some of my fav of his songs, so 4 stars, because I really enjoy his music. He was raised in some sort of christian cult, sometimes he seems to be carrying some of it with him. Several of his songs reference "the cross". Here's the short title tune.

  • "Tribute To 2", Jim James, 2017. Mr. James is the leader of the most successful band in KY history, My Morning Jacket, out of Louisville. I was confused. I thought this was a "tribute to" 2 artists. But, no, he earlier released "Tribute To", a general "old standards" type album, this was the 2nd edition of that concept. None of the songs really work much for me. 3 stars.
  • "How To Solve Our Human Problems (Part 1)", Belle & Sebastian, 2017. Only 5 tracks. 4 stars. Since they upped their energy level a little while back, I have liked their stuff a lot more. Here's "We Were Beautifil".

  • "I can feel you creep into my private life", Tune-Yards, 2018. 4 stars. Still not as good as her 1st album but better than the last. Here's the 1st track, "Heart Attack".

  • "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts", Brian Eno/David Byrne, 2006. Byrne describes this album almost as a sound-effect-making effort in his book "How Music Works", reviewed/summarized here. It is odd to listen too, but its 17 tracks will be something different when they come up individually on shuffle play. 3 stars.
  • "Always Ascending", Franz Ferdinand, 2018. A good album, but they are a bit brash for me at this state. 3 stars. However I did like the song "Huck and Jim": "We're coming to america, we're going to tell them about the NHS."
  • "Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt", Moby, 2018. Moby writes such beautiful stuff. 4 stars. Here's "Like a Motherless Child".

  • "Nudes", Lucius & guests, 2018. 4 stars. I still like their songs best when the guys get to sing too. They do a cover of "Right Down The Line". Here's "Tempest".

  • "Yellow House", Grizzly Bear, 2006. 4 stars. I mentioned to my drummer nephew Max how Grizzly Bear was probably my favorite "new" band. He questioned the "new" - well, new to me anyway. He referenced this early Grizzly Bear album as one he listened to a lot Back In The Day - thanks Max. A lot of this sounds more like Department of Eagles than Grizzly Bear - that offshoot continues to be a source of confusion to me. Here's "Lullabye".

  • "Valleys of Neptune", Jimi Hendrix, 2010. 4 stars. In March "Both Sides of the Sky", a posthumous album of unreleased recordings came out to generally good reviews. I learned that this was the 3rd album like this that had been produced. So I decided to go back to the 1st 1, "Valleys of Neptune" and work up to the latest. I liked a version of "Sunshine of Your Love". Here's the title track.

  • "American Utopia", David Byrne, 2018. 4 stars. Byrne continues to produce great albums. Here's "Every Day Is A Miracle".

  • "The First Sip", Whilk & Misky, 2014. 4 stars. 4 tracks. The Goddess of YouTube decided I should see the 1st track of this album after something else I had requested. What a great tune! Plus I love the mouth trumpet. Steve & Chris has added this song to our book. The band is a duo of white guys out of London. Here's that 1st track, "Clap Your Hands". This is a great video too.

  • "My Round", Whilk & Misky, 2017, 4 stars. Those 4 tracks weren't enough, this album has 6 more. Here's "Oh Brother (featuring Nia Wyn)".

  • "Clean", Soccer Mommy, 2018. 4 stars. I bought this album by mistake. Soccer Mommy was playing at The Burl and I really enjoyed the 1st act, Madeline Kenney (see below). So I went to the table and brought a CD - for the headliner. Regardless, I have enjoyed it. Very laid back indy rock type stuff. Here's "Last Girl".

  • "Sex & Food", Unknown Mortal Orchestra, 2018. I think I got referred to this album because I liked Tame Impala - basically a 1-man Austraiian band - and UMO is a 1 man New Zealand band. 4 stars. Very creative, particularly on the orchestration. Here's "Hunnybee", with a tasty opening guitar lick followed by a disco beat.

  • "The Cloud And The Clearing", My Brother's Keeper, 2017. I saw these guys at the Twisted Cork open mic and at Willie's Locally Known. Very tight and clean 3-piece bluegrass. Got the album and, listening, found every song to be pushing serious theist propaganda. Ugh. 2 stars.
  • "Let's Make Love", Brazilian Girls, 2018. 4 stars. 13 tracks. Better than their last couple of efforts. Wow, it's been 10 years since their last album. Great dance music. Here's the 1st track, "Pirates".

  • "Treasures from the Temple", Thievery Corporation, 2018. 4 stars. 12 tracks. What a great mix of influences these guys put together, particularly the reggae. Here's "Water Under The Bridge (featuring Natalia Clavier)".

  • "Night Night At The First Landing", Madeline Kenney, 2017. 4 stars except for 1 track I didn't like. This the woman who opened for Soccer Mommy (see above). After I figured out I hadn't bought her album, I found it online and downloaded it. She was playing a Strat largely on the low strings, with a female drummer and a male bass player. Some really unique sounds, in a fairly laid back indy rock framework. Here's "Rita".

  • "Dirty Computer", Janelle Monáe. 2018. 4 stars. 14 tracks. She has such great concepts, but I don't think the tunes on this album are as catchy as some of her prior work. Here's a nice dance number, "Make Me Feel".

  • "Last Man Standing", Willie Nelson, 2018. 4 stars. This got good reviews, and us old guys got to stick together. Damn, Willie is 85. I will buy all his albums from here on out. I like the lyrics to the title track: "I don't want to be the last man standing. But, wait a minute, maybe I do."

  • "7", Beach House, 2018. 3 stars. A review of this said "Finally an album you can listen to with other people rather than just by yourself". Still seemed a little too laid back for me.
  • Eponymous, Rage Against The Machine, 1992. 4 stars. My FL friend Joe Fink (drummer) posted a cover of "Wake Up" by Brass Against The Machine. What a strong video. This is the music from the end of the 1st Matrix movie, when Neo flies off into the sunset. Strong female singer, good guitar player, drummer, horn section of sousaphone, bari sax, 2 trombones, 2 trumpets. I really seem to hear a bass guitar, but can't spot a bass player in the video. The Rage Against The Machine album is a lot brasher than I usually listen too, but it is great stuff.

    The message of this song is so topical now. But this song originally came 26 years ago. So the line at the end "How long? Not long!" has not played out. A little discouraging. But, still, we gots to keep on keepin' on, and fight the old lizards.

Wow, 26 albums, and we are current through the end of May! FTW!

Monday, June 11, 2018

This Time For Sure

Posted as a comment to this article:
Look. Capitalism has worked. The world is awash in capital. We used to have tons of nature & not much capital, now we have tons of capital but a rapidly diminishing amount of nature.

Since the 1950s we have been in a post scarcity economy - else the marketing industry would not be spending $$$B to convince people to buy things they don't need.

There's plenty to go around, for the whole world. We just need to thank capitalism for the great job it did accumulating capital and then adopt an accounting system that changes our score keeping algorithms to where everyone wins, not just the .01%.

The filthy rich will still be filthy rich. We may not even need to go to the punitive 95% tax levels of the 1950s - the greatest decade ever, right, old white people?

Money is software. We can literally say "OK, everyone is rich now!" and make it work. Everybody won't get a McMansion. but, we can have universal health care; universal education, academic or trades, to whatever level you are capable of; universal basic income; universal capital access; and NO HUNGRY CHILDREN WITH STUNTED BRAIN GROWTH.

I've said this so many times, I think I keep on doing it periodically because I hope that at some point I will state it perfectly and it will go viral and everyone will say "Yes! That's easy! Let's change our post-scarcity economy into a post-scarcity utopia!"

You know though, the biggest problem may be the need that some people seem to have, that there be people that they can look down on. Come on, folks, can't we get past that?!?!?

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

7 Down, 34 To Go

My Unread shelf in the Kobo eBook app on my iPad was up to 41 books, so I decided binge some science fiction.

1st up, "Overclocked", by Cory Doctorow, 2016, 388 pages. 8 most excellent stories mostly dealing with computing and artificial intelligence, which Doctorow totally gets. I particularly liked a couple of stories that feature robots who were programmed to obey Asimov's 3 Laws of Robotics and robots who weren't. "The Man Who Sold The Moon", I had already read in the excellent "Heiroglyph" collection, blogged here. I didn't reread it.

Next up, "Null States", by Malka Older, 2017, 432 pages. The sequel to "Infomocracy", blogged here. So the system of micro-democracy proposed in "Infomocracy" may not be working out. Plus ninjas. Almost all the major characters are women, plus it has the same international feel as "Infomacracy". All in all a page turner.

Next up, "Head On", by John Scalzi, 2818, 336 pages. The sequel to "Lock In", blogged here. People with consciousness locked into their bodies (Hayden syndrome) who escape into VR and robot bodies. The same characters as "Lock In", the Hayden FBI agent and his bad-cop-from-hell partner. A snappy police procedural, definitely a page turner.

Next, 3 short pieces by Scalzi. He sells these for $0.99 or occassionally $1.99, which is more than you would pay for them in a short story collection. It's probably a nice supplemental income for Scalzi, and they are usually pretty amusing. They were:

Finally, "Infinity Wars", edited by Jonathan Strahan, 2017, 356 pages. Apparently Strahan has done a number of collections with "Infinity" in the title. This is 15 short stories set in the future concerning war. I was around 1/2 way through before there started being some interesting stories. The 1 that really stood out was "Weather Girl", by E.J. Swift, about US info-warriors using cyber-warfare to hide climate crisis induced weather events from their future victims so as to maximize the damage. Horrifying and cynical to a level reminiscent of Frederick Pohl. I have ordered Ms. Swift's latest novel, "Paris Adrift".

It looks like the 35th Year's Best Science Fiction will be the last. Gardner Dozois died May 27, 2018. Reading that collection has been an annual ritual for ... 35 years. I'm not sure if I'll pick a new annual collection to read or not.

I'm on the magazine stack for June now. I think more sci-fi up next, still need to get that Unread shelf down to size.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Martinique!

Before we bought a house in Naples FL in 2009, for many years my wife and I would take a vacation the week of Valentine's day to Grand Case, French St. Martin in the Caribbean. We loved it there. Boulevard de Grand Case was billed as "the gourmet capital of the Caribbean" - and indeed, many fine French restaurants, some Italian, some California, some bar food - but with the occasional "house with chicken coops" thrown in. A real place, not a f#cking Disneyworld. Plus, in the peak of season, you could walk the 1 mile Grand Case beach and see maybe 30 people.

So last year we decided to go back to St. Martin, to see what had changed, and what had not. I booked rooms for the 2nd week of Feb last summer, and even so we were going to have to change rooms in the middle of the week. The Google said to wait until 6 weeks before flying (Thanksgiving) to buy the plane tickets.

Then, October 6, after trashing Dominica, Hurricane Irma completely trashed St. Martin. The Grand Case Beach Club, where we were booked to stay, lost 43 of 62 rooms and all it's common facilities. Wow, they just announced they will reopen October 1, 2018.

So, I asked my wife, "Well, maybe stay in the states, go to San Diego?" She's like "No, I want to go to the Caribbean."

So I ask The Google, "Where in the Caribbean is like Grand Case, St. Martin?" And I get 2 posts back basically saying, "Les Trois-Îlets, Martinique".

So I check it out. French St. Martin has a population of 40,000, 90% of whom speak English. Martinique has a population of 425,000, 25% of whom speak English. Martinique tourism is 80% French (All the French Caribbean islands are states of France, like Hawaii is to the US), 15% other European, 4% American. Basically from almost anywhere in the US it is a 2 day trip. But, if you're in SW or S Florida, it is a 1 day trip - direct flight from Miami to Fort-de-France (capital of Martinique) - and $252 for a round trip ticket!!! Flying to St. Martin was going to involve my wife and I meeting up in Charlotte, and the tickets were ~$1000.

So I looked around at hotels, and finally decided on the Hotel Bakoua. The rooms were $270/night, vs $430 in St. Martin. Martinique is about 40 miles long by 25 miles wide, and the books recommended renting a car, so we did that.

February 9, my wife flew from Lexington into Punta Gorda. I picked her up at the airport around dinner time, so we drove to Fisherman's Village and had dinner before driving back to Naples.

The next morning, Feb 10, we left Naples at ~ 6:30am and drove to Miami International Airport, around a 2 hour drive. We left the car there in the airport parking lot, probably many cheaper options. We had plenty of time for our 10:50 flight.

We arrived in Fort-de-France at ~3:30 pm - plenty of time to get our rental car - a Romanian Dacia (now owned by Renault) Sandero, with a stick shift, of course. Fort-de-France is on the north side of the Baie de Fort-de-France, the airport is at the east end of the bay, and Les Trois-Îlets is on the south side of the bay. Here is a Google Earth screen capture of Martinique with the places we visited labeled.

Here's Martinique as we approached its west coast.

You fly right up the Baie de Fort-de-France. There was usually a cruise ship or 2 docked at Fort-de-France.

We were incredibly lucky in our choice of travel dates. As we used to do when we went to St. Martin, we went during the week of Valentine's Day - which in 2018 was also Ash Wednesday (and Easter Sunday was April Fool's Day ?!?!?) - so we were there for Carnaval! The airport was decorated for Carnaval.

Les Trois-Îlets seems to refer to the region on the south side of the bay, but there is also a town with that name slightly to the east of where we were staying. We stayed on Pointe du Bout (the end of the end), a peninsula projecting north into the bay. Here's what Pointe du Bout looks like from Google Earth.

We really liked the Hotel Bakoua - a bakoua is a conical straw hat, as shown in their sign.

I would estimate it was 40-60 years old, but very well maintained and very clean. Here's the lobby.

The entire sprawling 1st floor, which included their main bar and 2 dining areas, was open air.

In what was maybe the only snafu of the whole trip, there was no bellman available to show us to our room, and I think we got told to take a right when we should have been told to take a left. Then we were asking for our room, #41, as "quatorze et un" (14 and 1) instead of "quarante et un" (41). But we did finally find our room. The room wasn't large, but the bathroom had a big tub, and there was a very nice covered front porch area.

Here was view from the door to the room - 10' to the beach and 40' from the water!

We went up and down these stairs from our room at the beach level to the bar and dining areas many times. We later found we could follow the beach and get into town with no stairs. Breakfast was included in the room price, and they had pretty much every kind of breakfast food you could imagine (in French), including custom made omelets and crepes.

Here's a night view of Fort-de-France across the bay.

Sunday, February 11, was Dimanche Gras (Fat Sunday), the 1st day of the 4 day Carnaval celebration. They even celebrated on Ash Wednesday?!?!? The patron saint/sacrificial lamb of Carnaval is named Vaval. He changes every year, usually modeled after a public figure. On Wednesday, the celebration concludes with him being burned! So, a Fisher King / Wicker Man meme. Here's the Carnaval schedule. Every day had a different color theme.

The Grand Parade was Sunday from 3 until 5:30. In the morning we explored out to the tip of Pointe du Bout. There were fortifications at the end.

The old fort appeared to have been used as a amphitheater / performance space, and had some nice tagging and local art.

We took the ferry over to Fort-de-France just after lunch. Waiting for the ferry, we talked to a couple of US citizens. Both were retired and lived on sailboats they sailed around the Caribbean. They are very much at the mercy of the trade winds and sometimes have to stay on an island for weeks waiting for the winds from the east to die down to where they could sail east.

We wandered around Fort-de-France sightseeing for a couple of hours before he parade started. Here's the main churcn.

Here's the library, named for a a famous French abolitionist Victor Schœlcher. The town just to the west of Fort-de-France is named Schœlcher.

This civic center had programs helping people get ready for the parade.

A Valentine's Day ad.

An old friend.

A memorial to war dead.

There were lots of cars with murals painted on them. We saw a lot of them in the Carnaval Parade, I'm not sure if they stay that way all year round. I like the 1 showing our Dear Leader some well-deserved love.

The parade started with a lot of these cars, a lot of them being ridden by buff young men, shirtless and in stockings and tutus. Dressing in drag is apparently a Carnaval tradition. We both liked the "Disney Princesses".

Then the 1st band came through. The music was incredible. I have already posted all the videos I took of these bands. Here's some of the rest of the stuff in the parade.

Butterfly ladies.

Clay people?!?!?

Princesses.

The Red Devils of Martinique. These look a lot like what my sister Katie has seen in Germany.

Not sure what, but, nice!

Black and white people. I thought these were harlequins, but "harlequin" means multi-colored.

A dance troupe.

Creepy clowns.

Porcelain doll ladies.

And finally, a float whose message and meaning I have completely forgotten.

The 1st 5 days we were on Martinique, it rained 3-4 minutes every hour or so, usually hard for 20-60 seconds in the middle. It rained 3 times during the parade. My wife would duck back under one of the tents of the vendors selling Carnaval goods, I just stayed out in the rain - you would dry off in 5 minutes or so. The paraders just kept on going. Here's a couple of pix of paraders getting pelted by rain.

We headed back the 200 or so yards to catch the ferry at around 5. The ferries were very crowded. On the way back we passed by Fort Saint Louis, which has an historical part you can tour (we didn't) and an active French naval base which you cannot tour.

With all the rain, there were many rainbows, and we were treated to one on the ferry ride back to Pointe du Bout.

Walking back to Hotel Bakoua from the ferry, we saw these carvings done in some dead tree trunks. Art!

Ha ha, I have to include this "Dogs forbidden" sign. It was a standing joke on St. Martin that we never walked on Grand Case beach, which featured a great big sign "Les Chiens Sont Strictement Interdit Sur La Plage" ("Dogs are strictly forbidden on the beach"), without seeing a dog or 3.

Monday, Feb 12, we decided to drive up to Mont Pelée. This is the highest mountain on the island. On May 8, 1902, Mont Pelée erupted, killing all but 1 of the inhabitants of St. Pierre, the capital at the time - 30,000 people. It was the largest volcanic disaster of the 20th century. The capital was then moved to Fort-de-France.

We drove through St. Pierre to get there. It was the most dingy and run-down town we went through - I'm guessing capital was skittish about tempting the volcano again.

The volcano museum on the north side of St. Pierre was closed when we came through. We headed east though the town of Le Morne Rouge. Given the volcanic mountainous terrain, the roads were hilly with many hairpin turns, but they were well maintained and well marked, and my wife did a fab job as navigator using her iPhone.

There was a 3 hour trail to the summit of Mont Pelée. We thought we'd go a little ways, but it was chilly and the peak was covered in clouds, so we decided against it - wisely as it turned out, as it started pouring 10 minutes after we left.

Here's a couple of views from the trail parking lot.

Here's what the view towards the summit looked like.

On our way back south, we stopped at the Martinique Zoo in Le Carbet. It doubled as a botanical garden. It was interesting in that it was built from the ruins of a sugar cane processing plantation. A lot of the animal enclosure walls were left over from the plantation buildings - found architecture.

Some of the yuccas and other familiar looking plants were well over 6' tall.

Animal-wise, they had a jaguar, which the sign said gets bigger than leopards. The flamingos and the scarlet ibises were beautiful. We have white and glossy ibis in Florida, I did not know there was a scarlet ibis.

I think we spotted this mural in Le Carbet. I love murals.

The normal route back to Pointe du Bout involved going through Rivière-Salée, which was having its Carnaval parade that afternoon. So we detoured to the east and south and wound up going through Le Diamant on the southern coast. If featured a striking conical island offshore - I did not get a pic.

Tuesday, February 13, started out with a beautiful rainbow, as a lot of the days did.

We decided to visit Village de la Poterie, on the coast just east of the town of Les Trois-Îlets. This was apparently the sponsor of the clay people in the parade?!?!? There was a brick and tile plant there but not that much pottery. There were several small shops. My wife got some earrings that were custom modified by one of the owners of a jewelry coop. We both liked the soap shop. This prismatic display featured 53 different colors/scents of soap.

That evening, we had the best meal of the trip at Le Café De Paris, which was just south of Hotel Bakoua on Pointe du Bout. The majority of the restaurants had their menus in French only. This one had a menu board in English, but not translated by a native English speaker. The Flying Fish appetizer was delicious. The "Crosy Fish of Carbet" turned out to great big crawdads. Very tasty. We definitely had some surprises, particularly from the French only menus. Most places had 1 person who spoke English when our French failed us.

Wednesday, February 14 was Valentine's Day. We went back to Le Carbet to visit the Gauguin Museum there. He only spent a few months on Martinique before illness made him return to France, but supposedly the time influenced his work. It was not exceptionally content-rich, but worth a visit. We lunched at a beach restaurant right across the street. They had a gallery with works by a local artist whose name I have misplaced. We both liked her work. Here's a sample:

We had our Valentine's Day dinner at the hotel's restaurant, Le Chateaubriand. We had had a good meal there our 1st night in. For Valentine's Day they had a fixed menu dinner, which was paced very slowly and was OK but not great. It included sauteed pâté de foie gras - OMG, possibly the fattiest thing I have ever eaten! It must definitely be an acquired taste.

Thurday Feb 15 we decided to visit the Jardin de Balata, the best known botanical garden on Martinique. On the way there and from the garden there were striking views of the Pitons de Carbet.

The garden was very nice. Coming in there was a feeder swarming with hummingbirds of at least a couple of species.

It also featured a walkway through the canopy. There was a bit of a wait to get onto this as each segment was only supposed to have 2 people on it at a time. In the queue, we chatted with some Brits who had come in on a cruise ship. We shared their dismay at who got elected as the current president of the United States. But when I mentioned, well, you guys screwed up with Brexit too, the guy was kind of like "No, there were good reasons to vote Brexit, but it hasn't been executed well." So a Brexit backer - an old white guy, of course.

As well as the beautiful foliage, the garden also had beautiful views.

Friday, Feb 16, we decided to visit a rum distillery. The one most highly recommended was on the far northern tip of the island, so we decided on one a little further south: the St. James distillery in Sainte Marie on the Atlantic coast. It also featured the Rum Museum. Some sampling and purchasing of rum was done.

The Atlantic coast was supposed to be a lot rougher than the Caribbean coast, but it not particularly seem so.

On the way back down the east coast of the island, we encountered an apparently abandoned kiddie ride. I doubted that Disney was getting any royalties for the use of its IP, but, who knows, France is a developed country so it probably toes a pretty hard line on IP protection.

My fabulous navigator spied out a shortcut back from the east coast, which worked great, saving us maybe 10-15 minutes.

On our last evening on Martinique, there was, as usual, a beautiful sunset behind the Hotel Bakoua's Coco Bar over the water.

Saturday, Feb 17, our flight back to Miami was at ~4. We just walked around the nice shops and restaurants of Pointe du Bout and the adjacent areas. I took this last picture on the ride from the rental car company to the airport. It is of a field of sugar cane. There were a lot of those, with all their production currently going to the rum distilleries. The main other crop they grow there is bananas, which are exported to mainland France.

We wound up back in Naples I think near midnight.

It was a great vacation. We felt like we chose something a bit outside our comfort zone that turned out fabulously. The Carnaval parade in particular was a really moving experience. We did not get to the far north of the island, or to the southeast part, the main town of which is Sainte-Anne. There were several other botanical gardens we didn't visit. So I think we will be back, and probably before we try St. Martin again. And we may also try Guadeloupe, the other large French Caribbean island, 2 to the north of Martinique - which got smashed on September 19, 2017 by Hurricane Maria.

Until the next time, Hotel Bakoua! We'll be back!