Living abroad, I often find myself trying to explain where I come from and how I ended up in Kuwait of all places. But trying to conciliate the idea that I can be Caribbean and French at the same time seems to be a huge bag of bones for people are seldom aware of the complexity of the French colonial history. I admit I kind of gave up giving history lessons, but it helped me realise how much I love my homeland and value my culture. So in an Eureka moment, I decided to do what I know best — blog about it.
Guadeloupe? Never heard of it…
If you don’t come from the Bahamas, Seychelles or Hawaii… nobody’s got time for you and your island they never heard of before. Welp, since Google is everybody’s friend, it’s time to get your pricey iPhones and check out Maps. Type in Guadeloupe and zoom in… again… yes, again… stop! Here we are… welcome to the Caribbean. See this island right there? It’s my home, baby!
A butterfly in the Caribbean sea
Guadeloupe is a gift that keeps on giving — Marie-Galante, la Désirade, les Saintes form Guadeloupe’s dependencies. The French part of St Martin and St Barthelemy used to be dependencies too. Today they are autonomous.
Guadeloupe is a name given by the Spanish settlers when Christopher Columbus stumbled upon an island previously named Karukera by the Kalinagos — the land’s Natives — while he was looking for a road to India. It comes from Santa Maria de Guadalupe de Extremadura, after the image of the Virgin Mary venerated at the Spanish monastery of Villuercas.
Karukera translates to “the island of the beautiful waters”. It’s not just a title, our white-sand and black-sand beaches, rivers and waterfalls stand no comparison and if even the New York Times praises us, it must be true! But see for yourself…
This incredible diversity is only possible because Guadeloupe is not made of one but two islands so close to each other, they look like one. On one side, flat-as-a-crepe calcareous Grande-Terre and on the other, Basse-Terre, the home of a luxurious rainforest and an active volcano, La Soufrière.
Guadeloupe is the safest island around. Here, you have no chance of getting love bites from scorpios or smothering hugs from wandering anacondas (hello French Guiana).
We do harbour raccoons though. However, these little cuties don’t really venture out of the forest. Note they can be aggressive when disturbed so you don’t want to get on their bad side.
If you roam around Basse-Terre and les Saintes, you will most certainly meet the biggest iguanas you’ve ever seen. They’re not too keen on company so if you stay away, they’ll stay away… or at least, not make a move.
Then who wouldn’t like the daintiest symbol of all — the humming-bird! Look at this beauty, Nature’s perfection…
This is it for part 1. Stay tuned for more to come 😜
📷 Sandrine Néel (featured image)
What do you know about Guadeloupe, anyway? – Part 1
What do you know about Guadeloupe, anyway? – Part 2
What do you know about Guadeloupe, anyway? – Part 3
What do you know about Guadeloupe, anyway? – Part 4