A Quick Trip to Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe carnavalI won’t lie. Guadeloupe wasn’t on my radar at all. I was looking for something to replace my cancelled group trip to Haiti when the opportunity to visit the butterfly-shaped country came along. I spent a short time doing some preliminary research on it’s safety, how easy it was to navigate, and how expensive it would be to visit. Once I was comfortable with the information I received, I booked.

Guadeloupe is a part of the French West Indies, and is made up of several islands. Because of timing, I only visited Grand Terre, but I would love to return to visit other islands in the country – especially Basse Terre for the hiking and waterfalls.

My first day began early as I departed my Airbnb in Le Gosier and headed to Pointe des Châteaux, located at the southeast tip of Grand Terre. It was raining lightly when I arrived, which may have been the reason why there were so few people around. I didn’t expect any crowds, but I imagined that there would be more than a handful of other people. By the time I got out of my rental car and crossed the street to begin the trek to the hilltop, the rain had stopped. I reached the hilltop quickly and captured some of the most breathtaking views.

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Departing Pointe des Châteaux, I drove to St. Anne based on the recommendation of my Airbnb host. Apparently St. Anne beach is the place to be on Sundays, as the locals and tourists like to party all day long. I stopped at a local grocery store to purchase a baguette, cheese, and ham for my lunch on the beach, then found a spot at the beach to relax. I may have had Pointe des Châteaux mostly to myself, but that beach was full of French tourists and their Speedos. Although beautiful, St. Anne’s beach was a bit too touristy for me that day.


After baking in the sun for a few hours, I walked from the beach to the main road for the biggest event of the day – one of many parades that lead up to Carnaval. Undeniably, this was the highlight of my visit. Groups from all of the islands flocked to St. Anne for this celebration, and I can only imagine the energy on the day of Carnaval. The costumes were beautiful, the music was blasting, and everyone was having a great time. The parade went beyond nightfall and the party continued to Pointe-á-Pitre. Instead of following the crowd to the country’s largest city, I called it a night and headed back to Le Gosier.

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The next day began with a drive northward to Petit-Canal. Here was Les Marches Aux Esclaves, the March of Slaves. The monument commemorates the permanent abolition of slavery, but no current evidence can confirm that slaves walked from the slave ship and up those steps. The scene was powerful nonetheless. From the top of the steps, one can view the ocean just a short walk away.

DSC_0082March of Slaves

In my travels across the Americas, I find it interesting that damn-near every nation abolished slavery years before the United States did. Guadeloupe abolished slavery in 1794, but it was reinstated in 1802, despite a strong fight against the French by Louis Delgrès and his troops. Slavery wasn’t permanently banned there until 1848, but that’s still decades earlier the U.S. There location has a bust of Louis Delgrès to honor his fight against the French.


On the way back from Petit-Canal, I came across a fascinating site – Cimetière de Morne-à-l’eau. This was a black and white, checkered cemetery near a roundabout in Morne-À-l’Eau, and I had to pull over because I had never seen anything quite like it. It was beginning to rain, so I snapped a few photos and headed back to my rental car.

Cimetière de Morne-à-l'eau

I made my way to Pointe-á-Pitre to stroll the streets and grab some dinner. The streets were narrow and it took me a while to find a parking spot. I eventually found a spot next to a man selling musical instruments made from a conch shell. Vendors in the main square were selling fresh produce, fish, and spices. I browsed the small shops selling clothing, shoes, and souvenirs. A few locals tried to start a conversation with me, but my French is nonexistent, and Google Translate was to much of a burden to even try to use. I just smiled.


I noticed newly-opened Mémorial ACTe, a contemporary museum that focuses on the slave history of Guadeloupe and its indigenous peoples. It was closed that day, but I would have loved to visit. Overall, I left unimpressed with Pointe-á-Pitre, and relieved by the fact that I chose not to purchase lodging there. There was no particular reason for me to have those feelings, but it felt more lifeless than St. Anne or Le Gosier, despite being the biggest city.

The following day began lazily. It also ended lazily because that’s what one does on a gorgeous island. I lounged around my Airbnb for a while and chilled outside in a hammock before deciding to drive to the marina for a leisure stroll and lunch. Not to much was happening there, so I grabbed a few snacks, thought about going to the beach, decided against it, and headed back to my Airbnb for more hammocking.


My only regret about Guadeloupe is that I didn’t stay longer. Because the country wasn’t on my radar, I was unaware of the greatness that awaited me on the small island. A second visit is needed for me to spend more time gallivanting across each of the islands, and I would love to do it during Carnaval week.


Montreal: A Failure

Montreal was… let’s just say I need a do over. I believe it’s a great city, but things didn’t go well for me. My intentions were to check out the street art scene and stroll aimlessly through the neighborhoods – stopping whenever something caught my eye. But, it was a cold weekend in early November. The weather was supposed to be a bit warmer and more tolerable for my Louisiana blood, but Mother Nature had jokes that week. I wasn’t interested in being out in those below freezing temperatures, yet a lot of the things I wanted to do involved being outside.

Well, uhhh, what was I going to do now?!

I spent half of my first day buying supplies that I failed to pack in my luggage – a lock for my locker at the hostel, an adapter for my headphones, and a hat to keep the wind from blowing in my ears. Since I was in the area, I decided to walk up Mont Royal to get some of the best views of the city. That probably wasn’t the best decision for my current physical shape, which is the worst shape of my life. Honestly, I’m just a hot mess in every aspect of my life. I somehow made it to the top after taking several short breaks and allowing the various other tourists to pass me by. This trek was worse than when I was sick at Teotihuacan. The cold and windy weather didn’t help at all, and I wasn’t wearing gloves for some idiotic reason. Add that to the fact that I didn’t have any water with me, and I had only eaten a slice and a half of toast earlier that morning. Again, it just wasn’t my best idea. Continue reading

The Charm of Dublin


Ireland isn’t on a lot of people’s wish lists, but I was eager to see the beauty of the country. After strutting my way through Amsterdam and Bruges, I made my way to Dublin on RyanAir. RyanAir probably wasn’t my best idea. It was a short trip, and I didn’t have any problems with being overcharged for luggage, but I couldn’t even find the check-in counter. Since I spent so much time walking around the terminal searching for it, I had to rush through the rest of Amsterdam’s airport with no time to take a break in a lounge.

Once, I arrived, I used Aircoach to get to my hotel in Ballsbridge. It was pretty simple, and I didn’t have to book in advance. Once I stepped out of the airport, they were located right out front and to the left. I told them where I was going, paid for my ticket, and waited about ten minutes for the bus to arrive. It cost €14 roundtrip, and there was a space under the bus to store the heavy luggage. The bus wasn’t crowded at all, and was pretty quiet. There was wifi, and a charging port.

One thing worth noting is that Ireland drives on the left side of the road. My brain never quite adapted to it, and I was always looking in the wrong lanes before I crossed the street. There was no way that I would have been able to drive in that country, but I noticed that a lot of travel packages to Ireland come with a rental car.

Navigating Ireland was pretty easy to do without a car. I mainly used the bus and taxis. There was a specific Leap card for tourists, which provided access to the buses and metro. The problem with this was it was only sold at certain places, and all of those places close around 5 pm. I wasn’t able to obtain one until my third day in Dublin because of this. The first day, I arrived right after it had closed. I spent my second day at the Cliffs of Moher, so wasn’t able to get it then either. They offer 1-, 3-, and 7-day cards, but I would do the math first to determine if it is even worth it. ​The buses run regularly, and I never had to wait more than five minutes for one to arrive. They were all pretty full, but not extremely crowded. I always had a seat.

Since, I couldn’t get a Leap visitor card, I chose to walk on the first two days. Sure, I could have taken a taxi, but my feet worked just fine. I strolled from Ballsbridge down to Temple Bar on my first night in the city. taking everything in. Dublin really is a gorgeous city. I did a musical pub crawl that first night. The concept was just what one would expect – traditional Irish music and several pints of beer at local pubs. There was even a special riverdance performance. I don’t drink beer, but I think I would have been more impressed if I did. Continue reading

A Day Trip to Cliffs of Moher


When I saw a photo of the Cliffs of Moher, I knew I needed to visit Ireland. It was just beautiful, and I wanted to witness it for myself. While I was in Dublin, booked the Cliffs Of Moher, Atlantic Edge Ocean Walk & Galway City Day Tour with Wild Rover tours. The bus was equipped with wifi, and our guide was entertaining. He walked down the bus and chatted with every passenger. We spoke for a while about the beauty of Haiti, and the time he got high in Jamaica and almost missed his bus.

They don’t mention this in the tour description, but we stopped for a break at the Obama gas station before we arrived at the cliffs. I didn’t know this was a thing, as I was entertained by the fact that it existed in the Irish countryside.

When we arrived at the cliffs, our tour guide recommended that we walk to the area with the best view right away in case the weather worsens. The hazy fog blocked any clear view of the cliffs, and I was disappointed because that was the most convincing reason for me to visit Ireland. I kept walking along the trail, glancing at the sky every once in a while. The haze was moving slowly, but I could tell that clear skies were approaching.

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A Day Tour to Northern Ireland


I’m not ashamed to say that I didn’t know Northern Ireland was a part of the U.K. and not Ireland. So when our tour bus was halfway to our destination, I was surprised to hear the tour guide announce something about having our passports. My heart sunk immediately because I didn’t bring it. I’m usually good about these types of things, but I didn’t know it was needed. What were they going to do? Throw me off the bus at the border? Shouldn’t that have been something they checked before I even got on the tour bus?

“Oh, shit!” the guy seated next to me exclaimed as he turned to his wife to announce that he didn’t bring the family’s passports with him. I didn’t feel so bad at that moment. At least I’d be sitting at the border with other people. I realized at that moment that the entire bus had gotten silent because no one had their passports with them.

“I’m just kidding!” our tour guide said in an Irish accent after a long pause, and there was a huge sigh of relief all over the bus. A distinct border between Ireland and Northern Ireland didn’t even exist. Bruh, you can’t play with people’s emotions like that!

My trip to Northern Ireland with Wild Rover tours included a trip to Giants Causeway, Belfast City & Carrick A Rede Rope Bridge. I normally don’t use tours because I like to go at my own pace, and I like to visit an attraction before the busload of tourist arrive. However, I used this company for Northern Ireland and my trip to the Cliffs of Moher as well. One thing I noticed about Wild Rover was that they had problems overbooking. There were two pickup locations in Dublin for the tours, but the bus usually filled up at the first location. There was an instance where a couple that arrived at the second location couldn’t do the tour because the bus was already filled. They were furious because they had already paid and planned for the day. The guide explained that the company had seen a surge in bookings, and hadn’t been handling it well. The issue may have been resolved by now, but I would arrive early to the first pickup location just in case.

When we made a break stop at a gas station on our way to Belfast, our tour guide recommended we buy something for lunch there because of the time constraints and the lack of available food options at the causeway. There was a restaurant at Giant’s Causeway, but he warned that they moved slowly and most of the time would have been spent eating lunch and not viewing the causeway. I heeded his warning and grabbed a random sandwich.

The first part of the tour started in Belfast. There was the option to take the black taxi tour or visit the Titanic museum. I chose the black taxi tour without a second thought because I hadn’t had any interest in the Titanic since fourth grade. Everyone except for the family seated behind me took the black taxi tour as well.

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Find a Friend

IMG_8389Solo in Dublin, I hadn’t been on Irish soil for more than a few hours before I decided to leave my hotel and grab some food. I had been running late for my flight out of Amsterdam earlier, so I didn’t get a chance to eat that day. I walked over to this burger joint in Ballsbridge and found a table inside for lunch. Once comfortably seated, I glanced around at my surroundings and noticed another black woman also sitting alone at a booth adjacent to me. She had her head down while looking at her phone, and her overall vibe gave me the impression that she was on holiday. I was wondering if she was American because she was rocking a small afro and a shirt that said something quirky.

I ordered and received my food, and looked her way every once in a while to see if she noticed me. I was trying not to stare, but I wanted to make eye contact so I could start a dialogue. I needed a friend, and she was about to be it.   I checked her body language and assumed she was an introvert. Me, too! We already had something in common, BFF! I eventually heard her speak to the waitress, and confirmed by her accent that she was definitely American. Oh yeah, she was about to be my bff for the next few days and she didn’t even know it.

I had navigated my Eurotrip without making a single friend. It was unusual for me, even as an introverted solo traveler, to have experienced all meals by myself. I didn’t realize how much I missed the sense of friendship until the possibility of it presented itself.

I was chewing on a really good burger when I noticed her gathering her things and standing up to walk out. I’m socially awkward, so I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t say anything because my mouth was full, but I was still staring her down, hoping she caught the energy of my eyes watching her. I slightly waved my hand hoping to get her attention, but she escaped without seeing me.

Damn. As quickly as the excitement of navigating Dublin with a friend had come, it had also gone.

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An Extended Weekend in Biloxi


The New Orleans airport has always been a bit hectic during 4th of July weekend because of Essence Fest, and I wanted to avoid it. Instead of flying somewhere for the holiday, I decided to take a spontaneous road trip with a friend. We decided at the last minute to take the scenic route to Biloxi, Mississippi.

Now, I hadn’t been there since the summer before 7th grade. I only remember because I had just gotten my braces, and I have a picture of my brace face with my parents at a pizza place in Biloxi. The last time my friend had been there was immediately after Katrina destroyed it. Needless to say, things had changed a lot. Poor Mississippi suffered through Katrina and the BP oil spill and it took a gargantuan hit on the economy.

I honestly never held a positive opinion of Mississippi. That state is always competing with Louisiana to take the crown on the “worst states” list, and usually wins. I know that it isn’t a bunch of racist hillbillies stuck in the antebellum, but I just never felt that it had anything to offer me. I’ve met a lot of men from Jackson. Apparently, the dating scene there is horrendous and there are lots of black gays with and abnormally high rate of HIV.

We stopped at a couple of markets on the side of the road in Louisiana as we made our way to Mississippi. Can I just mention how much Louisiana makes me smile sometimes? Where else can one see a sign on the side of the road that says “FRESH GATOR JERKY?” How can one not stop on the side of the road and buy some? It was good, too. We bought gator jerky, cracklins, liquor, and chocolate covered strawberries.

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Irish Assholes

PictureMy birthday trip to Europe did not begin the way I would have preferred, and I still had some pent up frustration about my hair appointment being cancelled the day before I left. Those unfortunate events were all it took for me to be peeved, but I was handling it well. By the time I reached Ireland, the third country on my visit to Europe, it was a distant memory and everything was fine.

I hadn’t been in the country for a full day before I had an altercation with two guys who were being creeps by peeping into the women’s restroom in a bar in Temple Bar. That was the first of two separate incidents with Irishmen – boys, rather – but I won’t share that story. The second incident happened a couple of days before my trip ended, and let me tell you about it.

I was having a good day, actually. I had just discovered the greatness of Penney’s and I had been shopping in City Center most of the day. Listen, Penney’s is one of the best things Ireland ever came up with. Fuck the potatoes and the Guiness. It’s all about Penney’s.

Once I finished shopping, I headed from City Center to Temple Bar to grab some lunch before heading back to my room. It was pretty crowded because that was a common area for tourists, and it was also Easter weekend. I started walking towards Ha’penney Bridge, and noticed two college-aged guys walking ahead of me being sophomoric. One of them was yelling expletives while kicking a large water bottle down the street angrily and forcefully like it was a soccer ball and he was trying to score a goal. His friend was giggling like the scene was the funniest thing, and he eventually picked up the water bottle so the angry friend could kick it in the air. How immature.

Something within me told me to hurry and walk past these kids before something crazy happens. Something bad was brewing, and I didn’t want to be involved in their nonsense when it came to fruition. It was going to be a fight if they got me wet, I thought to myself.

I passed them up and continued walking toward the intersection. There was a crowd in front of me, so my walking slowed to a stop behind the crowd. All of a sudden. I heard the sound of water splashing against the back of my jacket, and I felt it trickle down to my boots. The boys that I had passed up had caught up to me and threw water on me.

Oh, hell naw. I didn’t know if it was an accident or intentional, but I got angry. I immediately turned around to face them, and to my surprise the couple of boys had multiplied to a group of five or six. I said “Who did it? Who the fuck did it?”

They all froze.
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Ireland’s Barack Obama Plaza


There I was on a bus headed to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin, and the driver announced that we were about to make a rest stop. I was listening to music on my headphones because there was an annoying teenager sitting behind me, so I only half-listened as the driver spoke. He sounded like he was making jokes about how the rest stop wasn’t like the others; it paid tribute to a very special person in Irish history. Then I heard him say something about Barack Obama, so I knew not to take anything he was saying seriously. Next thing I knew, we exited off the main highway and a red and white sign revealed itself. We were stopping at Barack Obama Plaza.

Now what now?

The volume of discussion increased inside the bus as they noticed the sign. Some snickered and said they weren’t going to get off the bus because the hatred of the former U.S. president was that deep. I smiled with intrigue and rolled my eyes. I frankly didn’t care what the name of the place was. If they named it Donald Trump Plaza, I would have still gotten off the bus if I needed to use the restroom. I didn’t agree with many of Obama’s policies, but a girl needs to relieve herself.

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Positive Vibes in Amsterdam


Amsterdam had been on my radar for some years, and I had every intention of making the trek this year. Imagine my surprise when the stars aligned perfectly, and a flight deal from my regional airport revealed itself to me. Getting a deal out of my home airport was such a rarity that I almost didn’t believe my eyes when I saw the price. Average ticket prices to Europe from my home airport were usually in the range of $1,200, but flights were priced at less than $400 at the time. I booked for my birthday week without even thinking in case the price increased before I had an opportunity to take advantage of it. If it didn’t work out, I had the 24-hour cancellation policy for protection. Book now, think later has been my travel motto.

I stayed in the Old West section of Amsterdam at CityHub. The hubs were cool, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m too old for community shower areas. I enjoyed the location for its closeness to the tram stop and the fact that it was right next door to de Foodhallen. Foodhallen is an indoor food market that was a great spot for eats. There are several vendors serving a variety of cuisines. I hit up quite a few spots in de Foodhallen while I was in Amsterdam, and really enjoyed le Big Fish, Baowowow, and The Butcher.


fish buns at le Big Fish


ramen at Baowowow

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