Humidity. The sweet fragrance of bougainvillea and other sub-tropical blossoms.
The musical chirp of ... frogs? crickets? Not sure, but they sing a noisy chorus. Sub-tropical storms and rainbows.
Getting drenched in the rain and catching cold. Driving the tiny rental car up the slick, 17%-grade driveway to the hostel after the rain, sliding back down on the first try.
Two of our six passengers (including our first mate--it wasn't supposed to be me this trip) cancelled at the last minute due to illness. The remaining four of us met in the Miami airport and made it safely to Point-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe; Budget rental car; and E Grada Hostel at the top of a steep hill.
In the evening, we sat for an hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic en route to a Carnival parade, and fantasies of a good French restaurant, in the nearby town of Le Gosier--only to arrive just as the last set of marchers danced past. Then the skies opened. Drenched to the skin, in a stiff breeze and already suffering from a cold, one of our crew took to bed early, without dinner, battling a fever.
And that was all on the first day (le premier jour) here in French-speaking Guadeloupe! We haven't even picked up the boat (le bateau) yet!
If we recover--health-wise--the four of us can still look forward to: Strong trade winds. Cocktails on the deck at sunset. Sandy beaches and tranquil coves. Local markets. French food. And, on the minus side: Strong trade winds. Six-foot waves crashing on the shore. Hatches open to mosquitoes that carry dengue fever and chikungunya, the current tropical diseases here in the Caribbean. Maneuvering a sailboat through narrow openings in reefs. Anchoring in 30-to-40 feet of water with lots of heavy chain.
That's what it's like with addictions, isn't it? You take the pain with the pleasure--the first time, and every time. You get knocked down. And you get up and do it again.