In the Background

There’s a background to every part of our lives, isn’t there? We’re focused on things, but plenty of other stuff is whirling outside of our field of focus. I am on the final rows of my Purl Soho “Cuff to Cuff” sweater in a shade of Mediterranean blue that I love. It conjures up memories of my time in Greece from almost 50 years ago, and it also is the shade of many shutters and trim on Caribbean houses. I wanted to change the silhouette of the design by adding shape to the side seams. My first attempt was a failure!–although I thought it was so clever. I picked up and knitted stitches all around the front and back side seams, and then did double decreases (sl1, k2tog, psso) at the center stitch of the underarm. I did this for 30 rows, and it did not do what I expected. So much knitting, and then I tried it on and sighed. Not good at all! I needed to sleep on that small debacle for a night, then luckily the next morning I woke up ready to get down to another possibility. I ripped it out quickly, and the 2nd idea went much more speedily and looks much better. I did short rows that tapered up to the point of the underarm. It only took about 22 rows, and because of the short rows the number of stitches overall was less than the first attempt. I tried it on and liked the look!

This is the background in which I’ve been knitting. At the point of this photo Bob and I were leaving the tiny villages sprinkled throughout Les Saintes and heading for St. Pierre, Martinique, the home of the infamous volcano Mt. Pelee.

A few more days down the road (uh…sea) finds us now anchored in Fort de France, the capitol of Martinique since Mt. Pelee erupted in 1902, and destroyed St. Pierre (we spent almost a week there). Fort de France is both historic and modern. We are anchored right near the 17th fort of St. Louis. It was started in 1683, and finished in 1710. Bob and friends keep quoting the French from “Mounty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail.” Hmmm….

When we go ashore to the dinghy dock we are in a large park where people gather with their children to use the playground equipment, or they gather at the beach–that tiny strip of sand in the far left foreground– for swimming.

There is a gazebo in the park where drummers gather in a drumming circle every day. We can hear the percussion onboard Pandora, all evening and into the wee hours in our sleep. I think these sessions are practice for Carnivale that starts tomorrow.

I have mixed emotions about being here during Carnivale. Two years ago, this is where we were were, amidst thousands of revelers, when we learned that the world was about to shut down. We sailed south to St. Lucia when all the Windward and Leeward islands closed their borders. If we’d known this would happen, we would have sailed north to Antigua. But we couldn’t know. It took us about a month to get north to Antigua, when the border there opened for a brief 3 days, and then another two months or so to get to the USVI and then to Florida. These are not good memories for me, so being here gives me a certain level of angst. In spite of French curfews here of 11pm, newly extended from 8pm in mid-February, it seems like Carnivale will be just as crowded and chaotic as past years. Will the revelry go on until about 4am, as in past years? I’d rather get out of here to some of the remote coastal villages.

Down here we live with scattered rain showers, especially if we are near islands with rainforest, and showers always mean rainbows. Bob has about a thousand photos of rainbows, just from this year.

Our friends on Hero, Stephanie and Jim, took a photo of a rainbow encircling Pandora. You’d think that might bring us a bit luck, but if that’s true, what we got was a bit of bad luck. Bob lost his wallet in the big city of Fort de France. We don’t know if he lost it on land which could be very bad…. or if it possibly fell out of his pocket while we were in the dinghy. If it’s lying at the bottom of the harbor we are not so worried.

And we thought for certain that this photo, also taken by our Hero friends, with the end of the rainbow right on Pandora, would bring us luck finding Bob’s wallet or a pot of gold. We’d take either. No luck for us! Note the double rainbow which is also a frequent occurrence everywhere in the Caribbean.

So we lurch ahead. Bob has no driver’s license now, no credit cards, no ATM card, and no medical cards. We lost the cash we had, about $200 in euros and a little US cash. It’s inconvenient for sure. Yesterday Bob asked at a hotel if we could have a small package sent by DHL, but the concierge emphatically said, “NO!”–even wagging her finger at him and looking angry at the suggestion. These are trying times for being a stranger in a strange land. I don’t fault the hotel at all for not wanting mail from anyone not staying there. The banks here are only ATMs, with no actual human employees. We’re not in Kansas anymore. My ATM card and credit cards are all the same accounts as Bob’s, so it’s still a dicey situation, but we are going to use them until we can’t. Bob checks our visa account every day to see if there are any charges not made by us. I guess we’ll be holding our breath until May, when he gets home. Although I’ll get home in April, I can’t cancel cards that he needs to use!

That’s all the news from here that’s fit to print, with a bit of background beauty thrown in for fun. It’s a beautiful backdrop to my many concerns and worries at the moment.

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