Another cloudy day, alas. We are lapsing into slower and slower time, and breakfast is a long leisurely affair. I have finally come to terms with the knowledge that I really am not terribly keen on croissants. The occasional one is fine, but after two or three days I don't want any more. I reached that point a while ago. I am not a big bread eater either, nor cheese. My mother likes some soft brie or camembert every day. I eat cheese maybe once a week.
With the slow pace and the cloudy weather, not much was on the agenda yesterday. We are pretty much out of attractions. Our old Lonely Planet Guidebook gives some examples of things to do like...
"the brochures say that (Yaté) is reminiscent of an Alpine village, but in reality it is just a small hamlet overshadowed by an enormous white power station generating so much electricity that the village is enveloped in a constant crackle and hum."
"Today this gritty little town (Thio)with its colonial building and bare surrounding mountains is a cheerless place where shop windows and homes are covered with a rusty hue."
"Hidden by the central mountain chain the east coast mining region ... tends to leave travellers in a mixed state of awe and unease. The mountains droop with the burden of mining and most people's lives are veiled by the sombre day-to-day burden of work."
Unless you are big into hiking, camping, active water sports like scuba diving, parasailing, windsurfing, and full-on snorkelling, there isn't a great deal more to do than we have already done.
We look out of our balcony and count the swimmers. Today there were a couple of fishermen.
We finally roused ourselves to go out around noon. We thought there might be some interesting shops at Le Meridien, a big classy resort nearby. This shows how desperate we are now for things to look at. It being noon, everything was closed until 1.30 or 2 pm. Fortunately we didn't see anything in the shop windows in the hotel that we couldn't live without. Pearls are lovely, of course, but mostly these shops cater to the Japanese tourists.
Next on the agenda was to shop at the supermarket, to keep supplies of essentials up. We opted for the supermarket at Port Plaisance this time. They had almost nothing in the way of fresh fruit and vegetables. No bananas (shock horror! We are in a banana crisis!), no avocadoes, no pawpaw or pineapple. They do have local vanilla pods in a jar at the cheese counter though, so I bought three of those. I bought whitlof because I love it, and a lentil salad from the deli. That would be lunch today. Whitlof leaves make excellent scoops for things like lentil salad.
Our freezer now holds five different kinds of ice-cream. Chocolate for Mum, coconut (very rich) to go with the intense vanilla (nearly finished), the butter pecan for me, and a refill of the vanilla for Michael.
Shopping always includes chocolate. Cadbury Fruit and Nut for me, everything else for Mum and Michael.
Sodas are included - Coke Zero for Michael and Orangina (light and regular) for me. I join with Julie and Martin in having developed a taste for this drink. They discovered it on their honeymoon in France, and I will take some home for them (if I don't drink it first). Michael claims with no evidence at all that it is just like Fanta, but there is a world of difference. Michael can never resist a baguette, particularly as they are still warm from the bakery. I don't think a baguette has made it home (or even to the boot of the car) intact. I see at the checkout lines that it is de rigeur to pull off the ends of one's baguettes and eat them as soon as possible. I thought I'd try a palmier to see whether I liked it better than croissants.
As we come into the last days of the holiday I realise that my swimming opportunities are dwindling. The water temperature is 23 C, so despite the cloudy day I decide to swim. Nobody else joins me. I swam along the rocks where the fisherman could be seen above, and saw an array of tropical delights. Anemones with clownfish, a seasnake slithering away from me, coral with iridescent blue tips, large brain coral and other varieties, clouds of small pale green fish, sergeant majors, moorfish, a large long squid, neon blue and yellow fish, lots of brown/yellow fish that looked like mini-sharks all lying still on the bottom, striped, coloured, spotted, clear, big, small, round, long, fish of all kinds. Then swam back to one of the pontoons, and back to shore. It was great. I have never been for a swim where I've said "I wish I hadn't done that." (Except, maybe, for the time I had to be rescued at Whale Beach, although I've had many a good story out of that.)