This has been my chanson this last week in Cayenne.
As I'm assuming everyone reading this blog already knows, I am demissionering early from my job here in Cayenne in order to take an opportunity presented to me to work at a translator (English/French) in St. Louis. So although I'm sad to see this beautifully hot and wonderful (at times) place go, I am pretty excited to start a big girl job back in the states.
With my departure looming ahead, I've been trying to get absolutely as much as possible out of the last days I have here. Last weekend was the top (for some reason I can't get my head out of French mode today so a lot of what I say is basically just a direct translation- apologies for non-francophones).
Friday- Fun pool party at Jess' house with almost all of the assistants present to celebrate her birthday and just generally have a nice potluck evening together and swim in her pool.
Saturday- Woke up bright and early to drive out, pick everyone else up, and head off to Kourou! (I rented a car, they let you do that at 21 here). So we went to Krou and caught the first ferry out of the city to go to the Iles du Salut (in English they're called the Devil's Islands though technically they should be Salvation Islands). These are the sites of the former French prisons back in the day, think Alcatraz style. The currents between the islands are such that anyone trying to swim off would just be pushed back and smashed against the rocks. Also, the French figured (correctly) that most of the prisoners would die of dengue or malaria before they even had a chance to try to escape. Now the islands have the remains of some of the old prison stuff, but mostly it's just lots of amazing forests and nature.
Things we saw:
- a Pig on a Helopad. For some reason we all just found this hilarious.
- Agouti! Described as "rabbits with deer legs", "mini-tapirs", and (my favorite) "ginger butts", possibly the most adorable creature ever
- 3 macaws flying overhead, then we saw them again up close. They're not scared of humans at all so you can get really close to them. I ended up getting a little too close and one of the red ones tried to bite my toe.
- a children's cemetery, this one was pretty sad. Most of them were under 1 yr old from the families of the guards for the prisons
- Flora. There are more shades of green than you could ever imagine.
- a parrot that tried to land on Rob's head.
- Iguanas. We spotted two of them sunning themselves before the rains started
- DOWNPOUR. lots and lots of rain which happened to come just as we were sitting down for picnic lunch.
and best of all...
-MONKEYS. Different kinds! Not at all afraid of humans so you can go right up to them and feed them! I fed monkeys!!! (at this point telling the story I kind of just turn into a giddy five year old and can't do much but just say monkeys over and over again- there's a video to prove it) We gave them cashews, petit laits and baguette. MONKEYS! Ok. Got that out. They were amazing.
Sunday- Wake up earlyish to drive out to Cacao, the Hmong village on the other side of Cayenne. Not too much to say about this except that it was a crazy drive through the forest and the market was really neat. Lots of great Asian food and beautiful needleworked fabric goods. Got back to Cayenne in time to go see week two of Carnival. We watched the parade through the streets of Cayenne. It's the most disorganized thing you could possibly imagine but the people are all dressed up in fun costumes and there is more music and bright colors than one can really take in. The big popular thing is to bang on drums with all sorts of different rhythms but when they come together it all sounds great. Also, the men like to dress up as women which is really funny to see happen in this terribly homophobic place. Later that night we ended up in the Brazilian part of town for late night carnival dancing and singing and music. Generally just a good street party.
And now I'm tired, very very tired. It's Wednesday and I still haven't quite recovered from it all.
It's been a great last couple weeks here.
Photos are being uploaded.
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