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the Final Countdown...

Location: Grand Case, St. Martin

We're getting down to our last few days here, and trying to pack everything in. For lunch yesterday we hit La California, to check out their renowned mussels. The Moules Provencale were excellent (as were the requisite frites). That said, when it comes to mussels, I am thoroughly spoiled, and have yet to see a place top A Cote back in Rockridge, CA. We ate at Bistrot Caraibes last night to try out the lobster and see who won the contest. It wasn't quite as good as Alain's straight off the grill, but I tell you, the garlic butter for dipping was crazy good and worth every calorie. I almost lost my nerve when they had me select my lobster out of the pool. Apparently it's harder to pass a death sentence when it looks you in the eye. 

After dinner, we hit Calmos Cafe, our usual spot of getting into trouble, and yet again, we were true to form. We ran into the dive shop crew and drank several mojitos before stumbling home. 

On Tuesday I went for what is probably my last dive of the trip (though I'm still contemplating going out tomorrow afternoon) with, of course, Octopus Diving. Even though it was the usual beautiful, warm, sunny day up top, the wind was howling, and the water was angry, so I was relieved when we decided to hit the local Creole Rock and Turtle Reef instead of venturing into open waters. I had gone there on my second dive, but you always see different things, so I had no problem going back. We saw several turtles, but even cooler, were the mating stingrays. The visibility was only OK, so at first we couldn't tell what was going on with the stingrays - it just looked like one huge stingray with some white on it's back, which of course made no sense whatsoever. When I got closer to get a photo, the white detached, flipped over, and swam off nonchalantly in another direction. What I learned were two things: stingrays do it missionary style, and apparently they don't like an audience! Or maybe they were adulterous stingrays, and that's why the smaller one did the swim of shame. She certainly didn't look happy to see me with my camera. 

In retrospect, thinking about the Crocodile Hunter, I probably shouldn't have been so quick to follow these guys... doh!

The real excitement came when we returned to the dive shop, and I went to wrap my towel around me, and out popped a fairly sizable centipede! I screamed and lost control of the English language, which caused Stuart, who was also barefoot next to me, to scream like a school girl. Since no one had shoes on, the centipede was free to hide under the bookshelf behind the desk. Lucky for Sally we *think* she eventually tracked it down with a broom and killed it, after anesthetizing it with mosquito spray... but we only found half of it, so it may or may not have been the same centipede. I have to say, I wasn't surprised to hear she was going away for a few days, and wouldn't be sitting at the desk in the dive shop. Coincidence? I think not ;). I definitely learned my lesson to shake out my towel BEFORE wrapping it around myself. Those things can put you in the hospital. 

Tonight we're heading out to Le Chalet for a taste of Raclette and Fondue. Though it's not exactly Alpine weather here, I'm a sucker for good fondue, and looking forward to the interactive food experience with traditional French food. I got hooked on Raclette and fondue during my time in Grenoble back in the day. After Le Chalet, it's back to Calmos where we're (in theory) having our last night out before we settle down to prepare for our departure.

I can't believe our time here is almost at an end. When we first arrived, we had big plans, thinking we might buy a house down here, and then we settled in to make sure we would still like it after six weeks. The answer is unequivocally yes. Now, with only a couple days left, we're frantically thinking about when/how we're going to make it back here. This trip has definitely changed our outlook on life, and our priorities. 

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