But back to the positive side.... Everywhere you look, coconut, banana, mango, and papaya trees rise majestically against a sky of azure. Beaches have an equal share of palm trees and imposing baobabs. Twelve-foot tall poinsettia bushes add their sober hues of red and creamy white to the more exotic rainbow shades of bougainvilleas, hibiscus, flamboyants, and pendula (name in English?? Heliconia rostrata). Frangipani (plumeria) and jasmine perfume the air.
Adorable little geckos, a green variety (gold dust?) as well as a white (Tjicjac), skitter along the walls and beams, doing their best to eat the mosquitoes, but if our cats don’t leave the creatures alone, we might just get eaten alive by the bloodsuckers. The cats have yet to catch any of the skinks. The only other reptile I’ve seen was a dead chameleon on the beach. :-(
Power lines, bushes, and fences serve as supports for the Néphile, or golden-web spider (I have no idea of the real name in English). The female, abdomen and legs included, can measure more than 10 centimeters across. I wish a few of them would move in around my front and back terraces. I’ve seen one centipede...a dead one! The kind I like. Apparently, they, too, are more abundant during the rainy season. Joy.
We have yet to see any lemurs. Apparently, they are rare—-nonexistent?—-on Petite Terre. Though they can still be found on Grande Terre, the best place to see them is on the island reserve, M’Bouzi. I saw a sea turtle during my first dive, ANNNNNND I saw baby turtles crawl out of their hole—easily a hundred—and flap their way to the ocean. One got snatched up by a Magpie Crow, though, before we spotted the nest.
Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the list of all the fish, coral, shells, etc. I’ve seen during my dives and snorkeling. Except that I have to say that our second dive was cancelled due to a misunderstanding, so we went on a whale-watching safari instead. We saw a large pod of dolphins and, after lots of boating around, finally spotted a cow and her calf (maybe a humpback in English) and we got to get in the water with them. I got close enough to see her form before she dove down and shot off.
As for all things “maison”--or “nyumba” I should say now that I’m learning Shimaoré--we still don’t have any furniture. Aside from our bed and major appliances, the house is rather empty. Well, we do have a bookshelf and on our back terrace, which is covered and has a wooden deck, we’ve installed a type of outdoor living area with African-style chairs; two big cushions; a low, round table; and multiple blanket/rugs. I guess I could take pics, but that will be for another day—a day when I have the net at home and can take my time uploading stuff. Speaking of which: We don’t have a phone line yet and surprise of all surprises... We have three jacks, but the phone service was never connected to this house, so who knows when we will have a line, and therefore, the internet. :o(
It is 99% sure that I will be teaching English, at least 12hrs/wk, to adults and children—majority children—with a private school/club. *sigh* I know I should be grateful for the opportunity to work, but I’d rather be writing and snorkeling and being artsy and...Well, who wouldn’t?
Whoa, it is waaaay past my bedtime (at home and will send from an internet café tomorrow). We are usually in bed by 8:30-9 and asleep at 10 at the latest. I don’t know if we’ll ever be night owls again. I’ll have to stop getting up at 6:30 if I plan on staying up late.