Quite the difference.
For those who have yet to visit, it’s probably hard to imagine the extreme difference between the two adjacent islands of Martinique, where our boat now lies at anchor, and it’s neighbor Dominica to the north. Not to pass judgement about which island is more favorable, because that would depend entirely on your tastes, but I fail to see any similarity at all, at least when using the cosmopolitan city of Fort de France as a measuring stick.
To begin, there is the obvious language issue, Martinique being French while Dominicans speak primarily English. That’s just scratching the surface though. While we find that Dominica is 100% Caribbean in flavor, Martinique makes me think of what Paris may be like, if we were ever to visit there. The streets of Fort de France are lined with cafes, bakeries and clothing stores which are filled with, what I assume is, the latest fashions (we’ve been out of the fashion loop for a fair period of time so aren’t really in a position to judge “what’s in” these days).
Busy streets lined with shops.
An actual “shopping mall.”
Rebecca splurged on some new ‘Cheap Sunglasses.’ Her last pair of sunglasses are lying somewhere on a hiking trail back in Les Saintes.
Not speaking French, the language barrier is no doubt an issue for us. So, it could be that, or it might be a city thing, but while walking the streets yesterday, the majority of the pedestrians seemed a lot more aloof when compared to Dominicans. Perhaps when we get outside of the city we’ll notice a change.
While we’re on the subject of differences, can someone tell me why the Wi-Fi services in all the French islands SUCK when compared to that of their neighbors? I’m not just talking about unlocked signals here. I’m referring to any signals accessible from a boat. St. Martin was brutal in this respect and so was St. Barth’s. Martinique, at least in Fort de France, is no better. Dominica, on the other hand, had multiple signals available, both unlocked and paid, and so did Antigua and St. Kitts. I don’t get it. Come on guys… opportunities are being missed!
We do love the shopping opportunities here, and you can’t beat the fact that to clear in with customs in Fort de France you do so via a computer terminal at Sea Services, the best-stocked boat chandlery that we’ve seen since St. Martin. While one of our goals for Martinique is to resist the temptation of spending a bunch of money here, there were a number of boat things that were on “the list” and we were happy to be able to find virtually all of them in that one store. Now that we’ve done so though, I see a work day or two in our future!
Our “booty” from the chandlery.