Our stalking abilities aren’t by any means covert, but the longer we’re here the easier things are getting. After driving by the old red house at the point half a dozen times, we finally managed to connect with one of our missing models from Tuesday. When we spoke about a 1:00pm rendezvous, it meant if the weather was favourable enough for an afternoon outdoors. Thankfully our persistence was rewarded with an amazing calendar shot. This one has February written all over it.
We got a nice compliment today from one of the first people we met. He seemed pleasantly surprised to hear all of the things we had accomplished in our week in Saint Pierre. On our first morning here, Fabrice spent an hour educating us about the island. When we ran into him this evening he said, “I couldn’t tell you everything in an hour, you have to discover some things yourselves.” This was said in a thick French accent, so it’s likely not verbatim. He’s a bit like an island Yoda.
Timing here is everything. We aren’t talking about getting the sun at the right angle to light our shots—that now seems easy. It’s coordinating everything else. Being at the right place at the right time now has a whole new meaning.
Shops are only open for a couple hours here and there, same for restaurants and museums. Each place has their set hours and none of them are consistent. They fluctuate from day to day, so it’s hard to remember all the different hours. For instance, Elise needed a new notebook because she’d run out of paper and we had to schedule making it to the store. This store is only open from 10:00am to noon and from 2:30pm to 4:00pm, four days a week. Once the sign even said open, but the door was locked. We passed by five different times before the stars aligned.
We’re not sure how people manage to coordinate their schedules around all the services they need. Perhaps they were programmed with the French schedule at birth, as most people we meet were born here.
Another challenge seems to be getting gas. There are only two gas stations on the island and we’ve never seen them open. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if the gas gauge in our rental worked, but since it doesn’t we have no idea how much fuel is left. Our fingers will have to remain crossed until it opens again on Monday.
As for eating, we’ve settled into the mandatory French etiquette of making reservations. They only do one sitting per evening, so it’s possible to arrive early to an empty restaurant only to be turned away if you don’t have a reservation. All the tables are full by eight or eight-thirty and people generally make a night of it. We’ve felt pretty smug the last couple of nights already seated at our cozy little table, being the tourists in the know.
You can probably appreciate how difficult it can be for us to keep our supper reservation when we are busy taking photos and being swept away by creativity. Today at sunset we were out on the edge of town getting caught up taking pictures of horses, ducks and chickens. What can we say? This place is a gem.
Demain et le quatorze juillet.