I felt the need to get away by myself. So I hastily (in about two weeks from when, on New Years Eve, I decided to go) booked a trip to an old area in my mission. Guadeloupe was the place where the news reached me that my mother had died in a car accident. It seemed fitting to return to bring together and put into context the losses that I've suffered of the two women closest in my life.
I chose a quiet, restful place away from the cities, in Sainte-Rose. Habitation du Compte was more bed and breakfast than hotel. It was perfect.
Okay, so I splurged for a fun car. Cruising around the island in my Peugot 308 convertible was a blast!
My old apartment in Baie Mahault was new and clean when we were there. It has since become dirty and worn down. The apartment can be seen through the old balcony, second story on the left.
By contrast, the apartment building in Pointe-a-Pitre was always old and worn down.
The old chapel (really just a small house) is also looking pretty shabby. There is a new chapel within close walking distance.
Downtown Pointe-a-Pitre and La Place de la Victoire. Had to show off ol' Felix Eboue. :)
Ilet de Gosier
Reservation Gusteau and a glass bottom boat. I got to do some snorkeling. There's a pic of me still painfully pale white!
La Plage de Malendure is on the west coast of Basse Terre. The glass bottom boat went on the other side of the islands seen in these photos. Everyone on the beach enjoyed a fabulous sunset. This sweet old couple set up right in front of me, and I stole some pictures of them. I did tell them and show them the photos when we all got up to leave. They were very friendly.
There were some emotional, very personal moments at this place.
The sand on the western side (this is Malendure again) is dark, volcanic material. It is still very soft and fine.
White sandy beaches on the southern shore of Grande Terre. This is where all of the big resorts are.
Pointe des Chateaux is on the eastern tip of Grande Terre. It is kind of a desolate place, and my mood matched as I visited it late in the day.
There is a poem that uses the metaphor of footsteps in the sand to tell how Christ walks with us throughout life. The poet sees two sets of prints most of the time but only one set during those periods of life's greatest trial. He complains that God left him alone during when he was most needed. Christ gently reproves him saying that it was during those times when he carried the poet.
As daylight was fading, I walked by the surf. I looked back on my prints, thinking of the poem. Of course, I only saw one set. Feeling quite alone, I took a photo and began to put the camera away. As I did, a large wave washed up, erasing my prints and soaking my shoes.
More beach photos. There's one of me, now well tanned.
My last full day in Guadeloupe, I went to La Soufriere, the volcano on the western island of Basse Terre. The peak was completely enveloped in clouds. So I decided to go around a lower portion of the rim. It was very wet and rainy. Despite not climbing all the way to the top, climbing up the slopes of a volcano before returning to reality sounds kind of symbolic, doesn't it?
Now, why am I posting this to Lynn's blog? While she is on my mind daily, this was a trip for ME. As much as there was a blending of my losses, it was about me doing something adventurous and solely for my benefit.
Well, one of life's little coincidences prompted me to post here. While in Guadeloupe, I placed myself "in a time warp" in a Facebook update as I took out my mission journal and wrote new entries almost twenty years after the prior ones. I feel like I just went through another. Before leaving, I purchased a new camera because Lynn's DSLR is too bulky. I had never thought to check the date and time.
As I downloaded the photos on the computer today, I noticed the dates. The last day of my vacation was recorded as July 12, 2012. This was the date of my last anniversary with Lynn, our tenth. Though I contemplate what life will be like in the years ahead without her, she really is there with me. She was with me on this trip that might have taken together. And she will be with me always!