Why is Martinique rum so terrible

Before departure


Before departure

How blown away?

To fly

Charter flights to the Lesser Antilles are not much cheaper from German providers than scheduled flights. This is completely different for flights to the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and possibly Jamaica. There are some great offers that are cheaper with a hotel than a normal flight. However, the time to stay is rarely longer than two to three weeks. From there you can go to any other island. (But what you should clarify beforehand, it is not always that easy; some people have flown quite a long way to get to where they wanted: e.g. D - Antigua - London - Barbados.)

For the French Antilles, French travel agencies keep offering cheap tickets. It's really worth looking into here, you can sometimes fly at half the Air France price. That goes from Paris or other French cities. They are also offered with all kinds of special conditions, such as open end and increased luggage volume.

There are hardly any direct German flights, everything goes through France and especially Paris. The advantage of flying over Paris is that open jaw flights are possible within Europe. That means that you fly from one place to the destination, but land somewhere else on the return flight. (Voluntarily, because you want to do something there.) For example, start in Munich, arrival after flight back in Düsseldorf. Air France is very free and easy. You don't pay increased fees. (The flight prices for outward and return flights from both airports are added up and then divided by two. There are three price zones in Germany, depending on the distance to Paris.) The smaller and cheaper companies do not necessarily offer this. But since you have to stay at the airport in Paris for quite a long time when you fly out of Germany, it doesn't really matter whether you come by train or plane, you also have to lug your luggage one way or another. The RER trains also go to the airport from the train station in the city center, so you can get to the airport quickly.

Airport change in Paris:

Charles-de-Gaulle is responsible for international flights and Orly for domestic flights. Although flying halfway around the world, the flight to the French Antilles is a domestic flight. (sic!) You cannot check the main baggage directly. That means you have to drag your luggage from one airport to the other yourself. There is, for example, the Air France transfer bus or the Metro / RER. Stays in Paris are quite long on Air France flights, around four to eight hours. It takes just over half an hour to get into the city, and around 50 minutes for the entire distance between the airports.

The Air France bus leaves from Charles-de-Gaulle Airport, exit 12 and costs 64 F. Get off Orly Ouest (second stop). It runs every 20 minutes from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. The signs cannot be overlooked.

The RER, line B (blue), costs around 67 F. The RER takes you right through Paris, so a little detour is possible. Timetables and general plans are available from the ticket machine supervisors. Drive towards St. Rémy-les-Chevreuse (B4), not towards Robinson (B2), which turns off beforehand. Get off and change trains at Antony, then to Orly Ouest. The other way around: RER line B3 (Charles-de-Gaulle), not B5 (Mittry-Claye).

Everything you need is available at both airports, especially ATMs for Euro and Visa cards. The baggage counters for check-in only open about two hours before departure, and they close about half an hour to three quarters of an hour before departure. Security checks are quick. You can take your time when changing airports, you just sit on your luggage anyway.

Danger: On the routes to and from the airport, the Metro / RER is very happy to use inspectors who also speak amazingly good English, sometimes even German. They want the penalty for dodging in cash immediately and also take foreign money (DM or US $). If you don't have one, you have to show an ID with your address and it will be written down. In the case of German driving licenses, misunderstandings are possible: You take the address of the issuing authority for the address of the disdainful black driver. I don't know anyone who has been sent home the sentence. In principle, however, this is possible.

All the following information is as of summer 95. The French airlines have a kind of traffic light system for prices: A calendar with red, yellow and green days is printed in the flight plan. This shows the average occupancy like a traffic light. Red is the high season and the most expensive, while green is the cheapest. The dates are different for every airline. The following roughly applies to the Antilles: red is around Christmas, January 1-5 and from the end of June to mid-July. There are mixed levels, i.e. prices for flights on which, for example, the outbound flight is red but the return flight is green. Then there are plenty of discounts for students, young people, seniors and so the confusion becomes even bigger for frequent flyer tickets.

Air France

flies several times a day to Guadeloupe and once to Martinique. Most of the flights go via Paris. There is one flight a week from Lyon, two from Marseille and one from Toulouse. In the '95 season from Paris, the cheapest return flights (green) cost around F 4000, yellow F 5500, red 7200 F (the latter ticket is only valid for 45 days). There are the usual discounts for young and old. One-way flights possible. The student card for 100 F up to 26 years allows 50 kg of luggage and a bike or surfboard.

Air France: Pointe-à-Pitre 82.60.00, Raizet / Airport 82.62.77, Minitel 3615 AF. Martinique, Lamentin: 55.33.33, information: 36.68.29.72 (landline number!)

Air Liberté

The monopoly breaker has given Air France a lot of trouble with its low prices and friendliness when it comes to excess baggage. The struggle has now ended, and both companies are resting on their laurels. Pointe-à-Pitre 8/93/58. Martinique: 42.18.34 or 42.18.35

Lufthansa

offers flights, but is far too expensive. There is a Frankfurt-Antigua-Guadeloupe plane from L-Tours.

AOM French Airlines

flies from Paris-Orly, Lyon and Marseille to St. Martin, Pointe-à-Pitre (Guadeloupe) and Fort-de-France. Since the German normal travel agency does not have AOM in its computer, it makes sense to have a brochure sent to you, especially if you are not flying during the main travel season. Red (high season) is from 20.-26. December, January 1-5 and from June 23 to mid-July. That's the most expensive. On the cheap green days, the cheapest return flight (tourist class), regardless of where in the Antilles, costs around F 4000, on the yellow F 5500 and on the red 8100 F. AOM has branches in all major French cities. Here is a selection of addresses:

F.: AOM, Strategic Orly 108, 13/15 Rue du Pont des Halles, 94526 Rungis Cedex 0033/1/49791234 or 0033/1/49754712 or 0033/1/49756212 fax: 0033/1/49791016; Minitel 3615 AOM

Switzerland: Air Promotion AG, Niederdorfstr. 63, 8625 Zurich, 12.61.18.17

Martinique: AOM, 26, Rue Ernest-Deproge, 97200 Fort-de-France, 9/70/16 fax: 9/70/19; Lamentin Airport: 51.74.85 (42.16.21 or 42.16.22)

Guadeloupe: 35, Rue Boisneuf, 97110 Pointe-à-Pitre 83.12.12 fax 91.20.10; Raizet Airport 82.93.71

St. Martin: Les Portes de St. Martin, Bellevue, 97150 Marigot, 29.25.25 fax 29.25.26

Nouvelles Frontières

Flies from Paris and is worth highlighting because it is quite cheap and flexible. The French holiday airline. Again the already explained traffic light calendar system. Green / green 2960 F, yellow / yellow 4380 F, red / red 5440 F. There are one-way flights and open return flights (+200 F). Weekend flights always cost F 100 more, security fees around F 75. Packages and package tours.

They often also offer special flights aimed at the French public, e.g. at the start of the holiday; out 27-29.7, back 5-7.9., 2430 F

According to my investigations, the cheapest option from Paris. Paris 0033/1 / 43.73.10.64 or 42.66.92.00 (announcement) Minitel 3615 nf

Martinique: Corner of Rue Schoelcher / Lamartine, 97200 Fort-de-France, 70.59.70 fax 60.00.91

Guadeloupe: 15, rue Achille René-Boisneuf, 97110 Pointe-à-Pitre 90.36.36 fax 91.63.64 and another office at 28, rue Delegrès, Pointe-à-Pitre; Raizet Airport 83.71.71

St. Martin: Le Village- 15, Rue du Général de Gaulle, 97150 Marigot 87.27.79 fax 87.27.80

Air Guadeloupe

flies to Martinique, Dominika and Guadeloupe (and from there to all branches). Most of the flights are daily, sometimes several times. Reservations 82.47.00 (Guadeloupe / Le Raizet) or 82.28.35. Martinique, Lamentin 42.16.70 or 42.16.71.

Air St. Barthélémy

flies from - who would have thought - St. Barthélémy to Guadeloupe, 12 times a week. 91.74.69 (Pointe-à-Pitre) or 91.44.76 (Raizet) 27.71.90 (St. Barth)

CASM CIE Airienne

(what a name!) flies seven flights from Basse-Terre, St. Barth, St. Martin per week. 81.09.25 (Basse-Terre) 27.79.79 (St. Barth) 87.21.73 (St. Martin)

Air Martinique

connects Martinique with Guadeloupe, Saint-Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Luce, Barbados and flies 2-3 times a week to Paris. 57, Rue Pierre-Charron, 75008 Paris 0033/1 / 42.56.21.00; Lamentin / Martinique 51.51.51 (51.08.09 or 42.16.60), office Fort-de-France 51.09.90

Air Caraïbes

has aircraft with 7 to 19 seats and flies from Guadeloupe and Martinique mainly to the Grenadines. Martinique / Lamentin 51.17.27 fax 51.39.04; Guadeloupe / Le Raizet 82.12.25 fax 83.54.66; St. Barthélémy / Gustavia 27.99.42

Air St. Martin

Flies around the Caribbean, especially St. Martin. Guadeloupe / Abymes 82.96.63; Marigot / St. Martin 87.25.42 ditto: Winnair Pointe-à-Pitre 83.89.06

Nouvelle Liberté

Charters planes from other companies and flies 2-4 times a week to Bordeaux, Nantes and Paris. Paris 0033/1 / 42.73.10.64, Raizet airport 26.80.98 or 93.08.58 or 93.58.59 fax 26.64.02

Otherwise?

The market is fiercely competitive, and sometimes there are real bargains. Many of the small providers or charter companies such as Nouvelles Frontières also offer packages, some of which are very interesting. Here are a few other providers: Go Voyages Minitel 3615 Go Voyages, Jumbo Charter: Minitel 3615 jumbo; Soldair: Minitel 3615 soldair Paris 0033/1 / 49.23.26.28; SOS Charters Paris 0033/1 / 49.59.09.09; Forum Voyages Paris 0033/1 / 47.27.77.07.

Corsair, American Airlines and Liat also fly to Martinique.

ship

Crusaders, yachts and freighters

Since the islands are heavily dependent on imports, there are many Cargo ship connections, especially to motherland France. Some of them take passengers with you, but they are more expensive than the flight. Only the banana steamers are mentioned Compagnie Générale Maritime (CGM). The main ports of destination are Bordeaux, Rouen and Le Havre, but in principle you can start such a voyage from all major European ports. The crossing takes a little longer than a week and costs around 6000 F. Amazingly, there is also a swimming pool, library and other amenities on the cargo ships. People who made this trip are blown away. The food should be good, the sailors extremely nice. Captains dinner is the norm. All freighters should have a satellite phone for home connection. No freighter has stabilizers that compensate for the swell. Shore travelers are longer because the ship is usually unloaded and loaded. Tickets and information are available from agencies, e.g. Sotramat Voyages, 12 Rue Godot-de-Moroy, 75009 Paris 0033/1 / 49.24.24.00; Transat Antilles Voyages, Quai Lefevre, Pointe-à-Pitre / Guadeloupe, 83.04.43 or 82.95.74

A list of the agencies should also be obtained from the CGM itself: Paris, CGM, 22, Quai Galliéni, 92158 Sursenes Cédex 0033/1? /46.25.70.00 fax 0033/1? /46.25.78.05; Guadeloupe Agence CGM, Extrémité Voie Principale, B.P. 92, Z.I. Jarry, 97100 Pointe-à-Pitre, 0033/590 / 26.72.39 telex 0033/590 / 91.98.80; Martinique Représentation Générale, 8, vol. de Gaulle, B.P. 574, 97206 Fort-de-France 0033/596 / 55.32.00 telex 0033/596 / 91.20.49 or 91.26.10

Ferries

There are many ferries between the islands. They are cheaper than flying and have their own charm: You sit on them for longer, but very often you have a beautiful view of the islands and can look at your fellow travelers. For longer journeys (rarely) it is advisable to take provisions with you, at least enough water, because it is not cheaper on the ships. Often there are only sloppy sandwiches and dish water coffee.

On the subject of "Columbus discovered": He really didn't need sharp eyes with the islands, they are all very close to each other, on a clear day you can see the coast of the next island from one island. And even if you can't see them: there are always clouds over the islands, infallible.

Danger: When ferry traffic between the French islands takes place, a police check takes place, which also takes place all Needs vehicle papers, otherwise they may not transport you. Since the check is often carried out by some kind of deputy sheriff who is an employee of the ferry company, it is particularly disgusting. You're dealing with a little asshole all over again. Don't get upset, he has to ask the policeman before he can leave you there. The policeman is usually more relaxed.

With a rental car you need prior written permission to translate. It is imperative to get hold of it at the start of the rental before paying, otherwise you will wait a hundred years for it alone. Without one you will stay safely on the island.

You need a passport or ID card to buy the tickets.

Brudey ferries

Martinique, Guadeloupe and Dominika are connected by the Brudey ferries. They also transport cars between Guadeloupe and Martinique. The one-way passage Martinique - Guadeloupe costs 304 F, return trip 418 F. Guadeloupe - Dominika one way 275 F, return 400 F. There are also port taxes, around 9 US $ (30 F) at different rates, depending on the port. There are discounts for the usual group of people, but only for students if they are enrolled in the Antilles. (Try it out! Sometimes it works. Since there is also a discount for early registration (more than 72 hours before departure), but you only get a discount once, you can think about it a little earlier.) Motorbike simply costs 250 F, Return 400 F. Auto 522/794 F. Bicycles and mopeds can also be taken to Dominika. Depart from Guadeloupe every day except Thursday, mostly in the morning. Tuesday and Wednesday only 2 p.m. Departure from Martinique every day except Monday, mostly in the afternoon, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Departure Dominika towards Fort-de-France, Martinique Fri and Sat; Direction Guadeloupe Sat and Sun. Tickets are available from many travel agencies. The drive between Martinique and Guadeloupe takes around 4 hours. Meanwhile, you can pass the time with bad video films or looking out. Those who take the Brudey ferry to Guadeloupe receive a 20% discount on trips to the branches with the same company.

Addresses T-Maritimes Brudey Fréres:

Guadeloupe: Center St-John Perse, 97110 Pointe-à-Pitre 590 / 91.60.87; Darse de Pointe-à-Pitre, 97110 Pointe-à-Pitre 590 / 90.04.48

Martinique: 108, Rue Victor Hugo, 97200 Fort-de-France 596 / 70.08.50

Dominika: Trois Pitons Travel, 5 Gt Marlborough Street, Roseau Domenica 809/4486977 (from the French West Indies)

l'Express des Iles

Martinique, Guadeloupe, Les Saintes, St. Luce and Dominika are over l'Express des Iles connected, but without car transport. Martinique - Guadeloupe every morning, sometimes even two ferries. The other islands are called at least once a week, Dominika more often as a stopover. Martinique - Guadeloupe 315 F / 450 F, Dominika and Les Saintes from Martinique or Guadeloupe 305 F / 450 F. Stopover on Dominika or Les Saintes is possible on the one-way trip. The usual discounts. Tickets that are bought in Dominika are to be paid in EC $ and are cheaper.

The Express has the fastest and most modern ferries in service between the islands.

Addresses L'Express des Iles

Guadeloupe: Gare Maritime, Quai Gatine, 97110 Pointe-à-Pitre, 83.12.45 fax 91.11.05

Martinique: Terminal Inter Iles, Quai Ouest, 97200 Fort-de-France 63.12.11 fax 63.34.47

Dominika: HHV Whitchurch and Co Ltd. 809/4482181

St. Luce: Cox and Co Ltd. 4522211

Paris: Representation by Nouvelles Frontières (see information above)

Caribbean Express

Caribbean Express sails to Guadeloupe and Dominika 12/60/38 or 12/63/11; 18, Rue Ernest Deproge, Fort-de-France.

Otherwise?

If you have the time and inclination, you should go to the harbor or rather one Marina (Sailing port) ask for a boat to take him. The odds are not bad. It won't necessarily be cheaper than the ferry, but it might be more interesting. In the large marinas it is almost impossible not to meet sailors in the surrounding pizzerias etc. Since sailboats are apparently particularly suitable places for interpersonal disasters, a new crew member is often needed. Passages from Europe can also be found via sailing magazines or yacht clubs.

In Martinique you can certainly find fishermen from Grand-Rivière who go to Dominika.

Packing & preparation

What to take?

Luggage to your taste. Not too much, the airlines are gross when it comes to excess baggage. It doesn't matter on the ship.

Sunglasses, sun hat, sunscreen are an absolute must. The sun hats sold look pretty stupid, the glasses are expensive or junk.

Rain jacket or (better and) umbrella are also indispensable. It often rains, even in winter when it is actually the dry season. But it usually only rains briefly. But that doesn't help at all, because it comes suddenly, and without an umbrella you are completely sodden in a few minutes. An umbrella for sun protection is common and practical. In the cities, however, there are enough rainproof shelters that invite you to chat.

Mask, snorkel and fins. First, the Caribbean is a big aquarium, and second, it's very expensive to borrow. In a pinch, you can buy a cheap set in the supermarkets for around 50 F if you are looking at something. If you want to dive, you should look under diving - or under water. Who doesn't, too. It is great!!!

Books! One waits everywhere and forever. German books do not exist or are only weighed against gold. Some good paperback books go a long way. At the end of the travel budget, you can sell them to other tourists at amazing prices, because there are really hardly any German books anywhere. (Libraries in tourist resorts often have something, e.g. Marin / Martinique.) In bookstores you can only get crap in German, in English it works to a certain extent, the selection is not great.

A cheap and light one Mosquito net (without frame and made of cotton) saves a lot of nerves. Hole width 1 mm. The mosquitoes (Creole yen-yen) are not too bad, but they are just annoying. In addition, instead of malaria, there is another nasty disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes: Dengue (see health). The nets sold locally are heavy, expensive, made of plastic and horribly colorful. By the way: The anti-smoking coils are sold very cheaply everywhere. They look passable, even outside. It just stinks. (French companies approx. 10 F for 10 spirals; they all work the same, with the high humidity the spirals are hardly crumbly, so you can take the cheapest ones.)

walking boots. Light hiking shoes or trekking shoes are best. The double-stitched seams in the Alps quickly become too heavy. In the jungle there is orange, strongly coloring, slippery clay soil. Roots, rain-soaked lava rocks and small rivers invite you to take a sprained ankle or take an involuntary bath. Even with good shoes you are not safe from a fall, but it happens less often and you don't look completely filthy after the hike. And the hikes are definitely not to be missed.

Earplugs. You can buy it anywhere, but you definitely need it and they don't weigh anything. Because of the tropical windows, making European windows doesn't help. Even in a quiet hotel room you can hear your own air conditioning or that of your neighbor. The tropics are also a kaleidoscope for the ears.

If the worst comes to the worst, it makes things a lot easier Copies of passport and plane ticket Has. On the one hand you have the information necessary for the consulate, on the other hand you are no longer a nobody and are treated better. In the case of flight tickets in particular, the chance that you will be able to fly with the copy shortly before the gate closes is very high. Without one you are safe outside the door.

If you take a credit card with you, it makes sense to take that too Bank fax number to have with you. Sometimes the magnetic strips strike, sometimes the banks. Also clarify the credit limits beforehand. Eurocard has fucking problems with the service in the French West Indies. Visa has no service.

dress

Easy, it's hot. Long trouser legs and the renouncement of beach clothes when shopping create a pleasant contrast to the rest of the tourists and save enormous amounts of sunscreen and annoyance.

When packing, you should also keep in mind that there are many opportunities to do sports, especially water sports, of course. If you want to hike (and everyone should think twice about that, because it's very, very great), you should take the right shoes and whatever else you need with you.

In addition to the behavior, which is generally perceived as quite funny, the small day pack has become a distinguishing feature for tourists. The cameras are no longer used as often as belly decorations. They have obviously gotten smaller; the apparatus! I didn't need a sweater, a sweatshirt is enough, depending on the time of year when you arrive back in Europe. As I said: a rain jacket is great if you want to move around uninhibited.

Apparently you are more formal than here. Shopping in a bikini is a nono; - not with us? At least a T-shirt and Bermuda shorts are required. Some (better) restaurants require at least a jacket, in casinos big evening gowns are the order of the day. You are consistent, and it is a little embarrassing for Herr Obermacker to have an employee point out the correct etiquette to you. The bow tie with a tuxedo is better than any tie.

You notice the wrong clothes by the fact that you are in trouble because of trivialities, the right clothes, that things work that would otherwise not work. Doormen at nightclubs are crazy about it. The people themselves pay a lot of attention to clean (!!!) and tidy clothes. Unkempt hair is also not particularly popular, regardless of the length. If you want to have nice and interesting contact with people, you shouldn't forget that.

Health care and vaccination

Actually, traveling in the Lesser Antilles is pretty safe for your health. There is no malaria and there is no compulsory vaccination. Martinique and Guadeloupe once again stand out positively from the other islands, here travel is almost completely harmless to health. By the way: There are American travel guides who recommend more preventive health care, especially vaccinations, for trips to Europe than for the Caribbean.

Nevertheless: being sick is bad. Being sick and traveling is even worse and, on top of that, expensive. But it is - at least partially - avoidable. The entire Caribbean is in the tropics and there are different and in some cases much more dangerous diseases than in Europe and North America. In addition, there is an increased burden on the body from the journey and from the confrontation with pathogens that are harmless in themselves. The risk is very different from island to island. Especially the big islands (Haiti!) And Venezuela are dangerous.

There may be language problems with doctors, but they usually cope well with local diseases. Many doctors speak English, some of them speak German. Everyone in the French West Indies speaks excellent French, of course - all of them studied in France for several years.

doctor

Before leaving should a Doctor and a dentist be visited. Toothache in particular is preventable and particularly bad.

To the Diving a medical certificate (in French) is required. Get it at home because it's easier and cheaper! Information under diving. Otherwise you always need a medical certificate outside of tourist areas if you Sports want to drive. If you get one anyway, make sure that it says: For all sports, especially ..., except ... (French: apte à la pratique de tous les sports, notamment ..., drinking ...)

who Wearers of glasses If you need special medication, you should take replacement glasses with you. If the doctor is already working, he can also make a brief diagnosis, which is then translated and taken with him. Every village has at least one pharmacy and during normal opening hours there is what you need.

Incidentally, this applies to everything you need on the go: You can buy it, for sure. Only where and when and above all at what price is open.

Excursus: If you have little time and are easily irritable, you should travel package deals. EVERYTHING takes an incredible amount of time. It happened to me that it took me an hour to buy a pack of cigarettes, during normal business hours, when the traffic was low, and the shop was across the street. They just keep you waiting. Since the prices are incredibly high, you can usually simply not afford to say yes to the first offer. And since the people themselves are incredibly patient, there will be little sympathy for the urge to rush. This is especially true for elementary needs such as living and driving.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations are not a major concern across the Caribbean. A vaccination program is only necessary if a tour is planned. Visiting individual islands is often possible with little or no vaccinations. However, if you are traveling to or from Central and South America, you should plan a full program.

The chapter is there anyway and is so detailed because nobody can imagine an epidemic in our country. They do exist and modern epidemics are caused by international travel. Anyone who has seen the Bavarian method of how the public administration deals with epidemics gets scared or is a little dumb. See Gauweiler and AIDS measures catalog.

You just have to be aware that there are some diseases that travelers especially like to afflict, especially in poor hygienic conditions, no matter where you are. This is especially true for hepatitis, polio, tetanus and diphtheria. You can get them in Europe too, so why not take precautionary measures? The desire to travel seems to be considerably greater for most people than the desire to vaccinate. For this reason, e.g. in the case of hepatitis, the risk of illness in Germany has increased to such an extent that the introduction of mandatory vaccination is being discussed. Diphtheria is already widespread in Eastern Europe.

There are all kinds of vaccinations against all kinds of diseases, some of which are sufficient for half an eternity, others only for a few weeks; with malaria it becomes very difficult. In addition, some vaccines do not get along well with each other, so that intervals between vaccinations are necessary. Sometimes multiple vaccinations against a disease are necessary to achieve full protection. In addition, being vaccinated is exhausting and quite expensive, you often hang around for a few days, or you have pain around the puncture sites. Some vaccinations (yellow fever) may only be carried out by licensed tropical doctors or tropical institutes.

That's not quite as bad as it sounds. It is only necessary to take care of it in time.

It is sensible to visit the family doctor at least two months before the travel date (with vaccination certificate, if available). He can do some vaccinations, some of which are paid for by the health insurance company, but you often buy the vaccine yourself in the pharmacy. Vaccinations that you should have anyway, e.g. polio and tetanus, can also be refreshed. What the family doctor cannot do can be obtained - for cash - at the nearest tropical institute or tropical doctor. Both are not very common. If you are late, you get an emergency program. The people in the tropical institutes are very pragmatic. Addresses at the end of the chapter.

An entry in the yellow international vaccination certificate can avoid border annoyance. Allegedly there are free vaccinations in France, information from the mayor's office.

Island overview:(I have listed all islands for round trips) The British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Haiti still have tuberculosis; in Central Europe too, nobody wants that to be true. Protection against smallpox is occasionally recommended, but almost all of us who were born up to around '68 were vaccinated as children.

Overview of the vaccinations:Information gives:

D: Telephone vaccination information from the Tropical Institute in Munich: South America 089/333369 (announcement tape, miserably long) Leopoldstr. 5, 80802 Munich, 089/333322;

Tropical Institute Hamburg, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Ship and Tropical Diseases, Bernhard-Nocht-Str. 74, 20359 Hamburg, 040/311021

Queen Elisabeth Street 32, 14059 Berlin, 030/3032701

AU: Institute for Specific Prophylaxis and Tropical Medicine at the University, A-1095 Vienna, Kinderspitalgasse 15, +43/222/434392

CH: Swiss Tropical Institute, Socinstr. 57, CH- 4051 Basel, +41/61233896

Vaccination service from Air-France Paris 0033/1 / 43.20.13.50, Pasteur Clinic Paris 0033/1 / 40.61.38.00 or announcement from the tape 45.68.81.98

Written information is available e.g. from the Tropeninstitut München, Leopoldstr. 5, 80802 Munich, 089/333322; Brochure, 85 p., DIN A5, 12 DM Contents: precautionary measures, vaccinations, first-aid kit, self-help, poisonous animals, addresses of tropical institutes in D, AU and CH, extensive bibliography.

travel pharmacy

The family doctor can put something together, and it may then also be paid for by the health insurance company. Above all, however, you are sure to get medication that you can tolerate and that are also effective in the tropics. (Heat, humidity!)

In no case should be missing: (All things are also available on the go, there are pharmacies in abundance. The only question is whether taking it with you is easier and less annoying.)

Adhesive plasters, different sizes

Remedies for diarrhea: Lopedium ISO (from Hexal) have proven to be very helpful. Charcoal tablets (e.g. Kohl-Compretten, Merck) are harmless, but some consider them to be ineffective.

simple pain relievers (aspirin or something similar. Not just because of the rum.)

Broad spectrum antibiotic - especially for the ear, nose and throat area. Weighs nothing, costs nothing (health insurance) and works wonders in the worst-case scenario.

Sunscreen. The sun is brutal. Travelers from Europe mostly come in winter and are very pale. The sun protection factor can hardly be too high, and you get a tan anyway. Recommendation: initially very high, over 15 European, later 4 to 8. The cream should be waterproof because you sweat a lot. American sunscreens have a different sun protection scale than European ones, the American numbers are higher with less protection.

Mosquito repellent. Well, I don't really want to advise that. The stuff is only healthy if it doesn't work, always disgusting (clove oil). The mosquito plague is only really annoying in certain places, for example in swampy parts of the jungle and in the mangroves. A mosquito net works much better at night.

Health insurance and other insurance

It is very easy with the French Antilles, since the same conditions exist here as for a trip to France. You pay cash. (sic.) You can take a bunch of pieces of paper home with you and submit it to your insurance company. You can safely leave the foreign health insurance certificate sent to you by your own health insurance company at home. In the case of privately insured persons, it depends on the contract, usually worldwide protection is included. The reimbursement is usually a drama because of course nobody in the insurance can speak foreign languages. You want the invoices to be precisely specified and in German. You should have a German translation done on site. Otherwise, describe exactly what was done. Statutory health insurances only pay part of the costs.

Foreign health insurance, with a validity period of up to one year, is also relatively cheap. Check package offers with other insurance companies (luggage, etc.) critically! The period of validity is often limited to 62 days. The travel agencies then sometimes want to sell two short-term insurances in a row. This is much more expensive than calling the insurance company yourself and inquiring about a special long-term rate.

Information: Europäische Reiseversicherung AG, Vogelweiderstr. 5, PO Box 800545, 81667 Munich, 089 / 4166-1 (-800 for luggage).

Travel repatriation and similar insurance ("advice & action" package) are usually too expensive in relation to the services and the likelihood of the damage occurring.

Since you probably fly a lot between the islands, there is a chance that your luggage will be lost. And all airlines pay a maximum of US $ 20 per kilo of luggage - which is almost always too little. Luggage insurance will take care of the rest, if you have one.

Danger: Photo and film equipment can only be replaced up to half its value. In the event of damage, do not list more than the total sum insured. Otherwise the insurance company may reduce its benefits. Example: Sum insured: 3000 DM (cheapest). However, the total baggage value stated is DM 6000. Then the insurance only has to pay half of each piece, no matter how much is really gone.

Insurance companies often think that they can deduct around 20% because of "new for old". That works in principle, but mostly they withdraw more than is allowed. Don't get involved or appreciate something more generously. (But don't really lie, that would be a cheat!)

You rarely get the full sum insured unless you stand around naked. Because clothing on the body is also luggage.

Health while traveling

A comprehensive brochure (leaflet no. 23) on health in the tropics is available from the Federal Office of Administration, Information Center for Foreign Workers and Emigrants, Marzellenstr. 50-56, 50668 Cologne, Tel. 0221 / 758-0, Fax 0221/7582768, costs 3 DM + postage. This brochure is also available from local emigration advice centers (e.g. Diakonisches Werk, Caritas)

Eat: There is the beautiful phrase for food: "Wash it, peel it, cook it or leave it". He is usually correct. If you don't want to believe it, you should pack a little more charcoal tablets, just to be on the safe side. But the French Antilles are very European.The risk of diarrhea is not excessive. Since insecticides are expensive, fruit can usually be eaten just like that without scrubbing it first.

Sun: If you want to come back mega brown, you should either pre-tan in the solarium or with a cream. For the first few days, apply only a high sun protection factor and put it in the sun in a moderate amount. Once the skin is burned, two weeks' effort is in the bucket. Only when the skin is somewhat brown can you use sun oils with a lower or no sun protection factor. Even get out of the sun immediately if it gets uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, the acquired tan does not last long, after two weeks you are almost as pale again as before. You don't get really dark either, rather golden brown.

First aid for sunburn: Put yogurt (without anything) on ​​it in the shade and leave it on for half an hour. Takes away the pain and cools you down nicely. Keep it greasy, put on a high sun protection factor in the morning before you go out, no sun! Put a sun blocker on places that cannot be covered with clothing. You can get real scars, not to mention skin cancer.

Drinking water: In the Martinique, Dominika, and Guadeloupe areas, the tap water is safe to drink and there are some mineral water springs. It tastes good, at best it is a little lukewarm.

Salmonella. You have to be careful especially with self-cooked food. The things don't last as long - even in the refrigerator - as they do with us. Egg products and poultry are particularly vulnerable. Don't keep anything for more than a day. The one offered by the roadside Sorbet (Ice) is harmless.

AIDS is also available in the Caribbean. And not too close. Martinique is number two in political France. Guadeloupe is still ahead of Martinique and both well ahead of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Condoms (French: Preservatif) are available from vending machines in front of many pharmacies. Some supermarkets also have them. They are obviously used with pleasure, as a large number of used copies in the most impossible places proves. Anti-AIDS advertising in Creole: Chapo pa mi bobo! (??)

There is no malaria, but there is another nasty disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes. Dengue it is called in the French Antilles and works like a real flu virus, but without a runny nose or cough. You have a very high fever for about two to three days and then you are very tired for another week. There is no medication and no prophylaxis, other than not being bitten by mosquitos. Locals recommend: aspirin, vitamin C (juices!) And lots of sleep. In normal constituted people it is no worse than the flu. It's over after a seizure.

Colds: Strangely enough, quite a few vacationers in the Caribbean catch cold. The cause is likely to be air conditioning and fans. Therapy is well known ...

boredom. It may seem a bit baffling, but boredom can become a real problem. The cause is probably partly the unfamiliar weather, partly also that everything is difficult to organize, takes a long time and is annoying. If you are already tired from the heat, tip a few more rum or beer and finally nothing more is possible. As already mentioned, the consequences of excessive rum indulgence are dire. The success of a long-term treatment is a full blown depression, which is then known as tropical fright. Prevention: Avoid overdosing, take enough books with you, socialize with nice people.

Poisonous animals and plants

Dangerous animals are rare on land, not at all on Guadeloupe. In the sea, on the other hand, there are jellyfish, cnidarians, sea urchins, etc. Tropical marine animals in particular often have nettle cells to protect themselves against enemies. Usually the contact is no worse than that with nettles. There are also flat fish that hide in the sand and give you an electric shock if you touch them. When scuba diving, first clear the boat with the fin before kneeling down.

It is not really dangerous, you just have to be careful where you step and not reach into dark crevices while diving or snorkeling. It is possible that the residents feel disturbed and bite. There are plenty of small moray eels, around 30 cm. They threaten with open mouths. If you nudge them on the nose, they'll run away in panic. There are both very large barracudas and sharks. In theory, they could be dangerous.

There are Lion and stone fish, even quite often. They are the only real danger, their dorsal fins have extremely poisonous spines. Normal bathers have no problems, the animals are shy and can only be found from a depth of around three meters, and also not on sandy soil. As a diver you see them all the time. They already look like they cannot be touched. And you shouldn't sit or kneel on corals anyway, they are sharp-edged and also break in the process. Anyone who has had unpleasant contact with such an animal should break off the dive and speak to the diving instructor, a doctor is often necessary.

sea ​​urchin like to appear on rocky or stony beaches. Almost never on the sandy beach. You can see them well from outside. Where there is a stone in the water, there are also sea urchins. They come in all colors, white, red, green and black; also some with 20-30 cm long spines, but those deeper. The risk of stepping on any of these hedgehogs is as high as in the Mediterranean.

If you have entered one, a candle, which is sold in pharmacies, helps against the spikes. As long as the sting is still fresh in it, you can drip the wax onto the spot and pull out the sting, which otherwise vehemently defends itself against removal. Otherwise, only a needle or - better - a disposable scalpel will help. The cut heals quickly and doesn’t hurt as much as slowly leaking out.

The sea urchins with the very long spines are called diadem sea urchins. Their spines break off easily and are very painful because they inject poison. The injured area turns purple immediately around the sting. Don't operate on it, put vinegar on it. The pain subsides considerably after an hour. The spike splinter comes out by itself after a few days. For divers, the unpleasant contact - the nasty parts stick through the thin wetsuit - is no reason to call off the dive. Unless, of course, you feel lousy.

The pretty beach shoes made of 100% plastic don't help much. They are sold at scary prices in tourist shops, don't last long, look stupid, and if you step on a sea urchin, a sting is always long enough. But of course they protect sensitive feet from stones.

On land - near the sea - there is an evil tree, the Maceniller (Manzanillo, Latin hippomaniac mancenella). It has small green fruits that look like unripe apples. Don't eat, deadly! Juice and leaves have toxic and corrosive milk that causes severe irritation. Do not touch, do not sit under it. Especially not after rain. If you have suffered irritation through contact, a visit to a doctor is very advisable.

You can recognize the tree mainly by the warning signs, sometimes a white or red band or color; or because the fruits are brown and wrinkled on the ground.

In the La Caravelle National Park in Martinique and in other places with signs you can see some specimens with descriptions, and you can often see them in the dry forest. The Carib Indians have prepared their poison arrows in the milk, which has breathed out the light of life for so many colonists. Later, people liked to plant them on the beach to avoid unwanted landings by soldiers. They are still growing there today. (sic.)

Some beaches make you happy Sand fleas. Like mosquitoes in this country, they get disgusting, especially at dusk. The stitches hurt but are not dangerous.

There are Mosquitoes (Creole yen-yen) and that of the nasty little kind. They occur at estuaries and near inland waterways and mangroves. In Martinique they are very fast, in Guadeloupe they are quite slow, but they hide better.

They prefer to target newcomers, who seem to taste better. Very many Europeans initially have a strong allergic reaction to mosquito bites, with huge itchy bumps and swollen eyes, often also weakness and aching limbs. That gives up after a week at the latest. Overall, they are still relatively harmless, but Autan (poisonous?) And mosquito nets or similar save the annoyance. If you were already there, a hot tip: Natron (French: bicarbonate) leave to dry on the sting, mashed into a pulp with spit - approx. 1 / 2-1 hour forced rest - helps very well. So good, in fact, that any feelings of disgust from sensitive people are usually overcome after the first application.

If such an animal buzzes around the ears in spite of the mosquito net, it is seldom because of the large mesh size, more often because the net has not been tucked neatly under the mattress in all places. Holes can be eliminated with a small knot.

Air conditioners drive away mosquitoes, but only if they are really cold. Then you just catch a cold. Fans are only supposed to help. You have to make a storm to keep the animals from sucking blood.

There are some places Schistosomiasis, a worm disease. You can get them while bathing in inland waters. The larva bores into the skin and nests there. Ask people before bathing. If you got it, go to the doctor. The initial stage is harmless, later there can be really nasty complications. Doctor. Especially Guadeloupe is affected, especially the river Goyave on Basse-Terre. Don't swim there! In the lovely mountain rivers and in the waterfalls the risk is zero, you are more likely to step on a (scissorless) crayfish.

There are (very rarely, but still) poisonous ones in Martinique snakes, namely the endemic lance viper (F: trigonocéphale, lat. bothrops lanceolatos). They exist only and exclusively in Martinique.

It is a pit viper related to the rattlesnake. It becomes between 30 cm and 1.5 m long, very rarely up to 2 m. It is also nocturnal if you don't step on it during the day. Although attempts have been made to eradicate them, the success has not been complete: they have mongoose (sometimes also called mongoose, lat: herpes des javenitos) exposed, small predators that love to eat snakes. Unfortunately, they also quite like to eat lizards, some species of birds, and chickens. The fact that there are no more parrots is largely due to them. They reproduce like rabbits and cause the same problem on Martinique as the rats on other islands. It is precisely that with the chickens that people take particularly badly at the mongooses: They cause similar massacres in the stables as martens in our home. As a result, they are being driven out of populated areas. The area around Fontaine-Didier (near Fort-de-France) and Case-Navire is particularly affected.

You can almost certainly find the lance viper in sugar cane fields, but no tourist wanders through there. Since nobody else walks through and is only harvested once every 15 months, the place is nice and quiet, ideal for a shy snake. Incidentally, this is also one of the reasons why the fields are torched during harvest; cutting with a machete is not without risk because of the many snakes.

As always in areas with lots of snakes: (actually a stupid tip, I was there for a long time and only saw the animals in the photo.) Sturdy shoes, long trouser legs (jeans) and appear properly. The tremors from footsteps almost always drive the snakes away. You should also not move larger stones with your hands or grasp them in crevices without looking first. Sometimes there is a snake there and wants to sleep in peace. Poking the path with a stick on impregnable, dry grass also prevents ankle sprains.

The lance vipers are really poisonous, but serums are available in every hospital. It should actually happen now and then that you don't notice the bite or think you have stung a thorn. If you feel sick for no apparent reason, with fever and vomiting: See a doctor immediately.

Formalities and message

The respective embassies responsible for the French Antilles are all in Paris. The smaller - independent states - often find their embassy in Trinidad-Tobago. Usually there is an honorary consul on site who takes on minor embassy tasks. The fact that he speaks German should not be taken for granted as normal. That he or she is nice and caring, absolutely.

In general, one should not overestimate the help provided by messages. They are necessary when you need papers. In the event of serious difficulties, the embassy takes note of the process and, if necessary, notifies the relatives. In positive cases there is some support, e.g. a conversation with a representative of the embassy in prison and some reading material, possibly addresses and the mediation of legal help from lawyers. There is no more. Litigation support is also more symbolic. For those who have done something bad, the message is not Zorro. This applies 100% to drug offenses!

If you are completely broke, it happens in rare cases (illness or helplessness) that the embassy allows relatives or friends to deposit money with the authorities at home and then pay out the money. Usually just enough to get home the quickest way, often in the form of tickets. Very rarely do you get some kind of credit that you have to repay in Germany, usually in the form of the cheapest home travel ticket.

Otherwise there are only the stamps for a call for help home. It can of course turn out differently - better -. But I wouldn't rely on it.

Carte de séjour

If you are staying for up to three months for tourist purposes, you only need your identity card as an EU citizen. Take your passport with you anyway. Word has not yet got around that it is EU and our identity card looks different from the French one.

If you stay longer, you would have to apply for a residence permit (carte de séjour). Nobody knows exactly when you entered the country, since normally there is no stamp in your passport. But they just do it like this: You need this thing for all kinds of authorities, e.g. to register a car or get a reading card for the library. Sometimes you can get the authorities around with a letter addressed to your own address or a confirmation from the landlord, but not often. The more official the sender, the more likely it will work. EDF, i.e. the electricity bill, or France Telekom (telephone) are good.

Then you have to apply for such a thing:

It's relatively easy to get hold of and doesn't cost any fees. However, it is best to do this kind of paperwork from home. Sometimes a doctor's certificate is required, but this should not be lawful without a special legal order. This arrangement exists for certain professions. The examination costs about 500 F, which you have to pay for yourself.

Otherwise, they require a reason why you want to stay, study or work or otherwise sufficient financial means for the entire (!) Period of validity. This is also illegal in itself, as there is full freedom of movement in the EU - which has now been clarified by the European Court of Justice. But you do it anyway, sue them!

So, as always with the authorities, anything they dislike is "done" terribly slowly and with terribly precise interpretation of the law. You don't want half of the EU youth in Martinique to sleep in banana plantations and scrounge up people. Therefore: Go there very neatly dressed, make a dignified impression so that even your own grandma would be amazed, have paperwork ready and a good story why you are a useful person to society and how you plan to make a living yourself. The confirmation of employment that you have to present can either be obtained from an entrepreneur friend of yours, or you just look for a lousy office job (which are relatively easy to get) and then quit. (Maybe it's not that bad after all.)

You also need a passport photo, identity card (and a copy of it) and passport as well as a reasonably permanent address. Then they fill out a green note that every agency is happy with.

The other part of the letter goes to the local police, who supposedly interview you after about 2-4 weeks, it can take half a year. The same applies to this as above. If they like you (if you follow the tips almost certainly) you will get them after a long while carte de séjour. But that can cause a lot of trouble again. (Papers can no longer be found, nobody is responsible, something has changed, etc.)

It seems to be problematic if a residence permit has already been rejected and no legal defense has been taken against it. If you really want to stay longer, you should act from Germany. If you only realize on site that you want to stay, there are two alternatives: Either you need one for something very quickly carte de séjour or you still have time. If you have time, instruct friends to do what is necessary from home. Otherwise, just walk to the immigration office as shown above. With the preliminary carte de séjour you can at least register the car, rent the apartment, etc. But that really only works once.

Passport

As already mentioned, an identity card is sufficient for Martinique and Guadeloupe. The other islands are close by and you may well feel like going there: take your passport with you. As a German, you hardly need a visa. The passport should be valid for a while. Often a return ticket is required - depending on the wickedness of the borderline person, even back home. It's a pretty sure sign that somehow you've made yourself unpopular when asked about it.

Sometimes proof is required that you have enough money with you. Traveler checks are accepted, cash is better.

Travel time

You can travel to the Caribbean all year round, but it can be a bit exhausting in summer. When it is winter in Europe, it is peak travel season in the Caribbean. The main season is from about mid-December to the beginning of April. In summer and winter, the temperature and position of the sun are more or less the same. In the "winter" it rains a lot less and the winds are not as strong either. On the other hand, the prices during the main travel season are rough compared to the rest of the year. Near the coast and in the tourist centers it can get really bare during the dry season. But if you like Greece, you won't find it bad. During the rainy season, i.e. in summer, the islands are much greener - and therefore more beautiful - than usual. But it is very humid. Most find the period from mid-June to the end of September particularly stressful. See also climate.

time

In the Eastern Caribbean, the Atlantic Standard Time (CET minus 5 hours) applies; in Trinidad and Tobago, the Eastern Standard Time (CET minus 6 hours) applies. When it is summer time with us, there is an extra hour of difference. So when it is 12 noon in Fort-de-France, at home it is already five pm, and in summer even six in the evening. The other way round: If you call Fort-de-France from Europe at 8 a.m., you wake up the poor in Fort-de-France, where it is 3 a.m., in summer only 2 a.m.

It gets dark sooner and faster than you might think.

information

Tourist Information

One should not expect too much from these government sponsored facilities. The people there get paid whether they do something or not. Ignorance is therefore not uncommon. Sometimes they feel disturbed by a phone call. Consequence: If someone picks up at all, you will be connected five times until you are either back at the beginning or with the stupidest person in the whole office. She then searches for hours until she finds out that nothing is there, or at least she doesn't know anything about it. Meanwhile the unit counter is ticking.

A detailed catalog of questions is usually "answered" with a few colorful brochures, which are, however, unproductive.

D: Caribbean Tourism Association, CTA, Guteleutstr. 45, 60329 Frankfurt 069 / 230441-44 telex 4170324 cta d

French Tourist Office, PO Box 100128, 60001 Frankfurt am Main or Westendstr. 47, 60325 Frankfurt, 069 / 756083-0 fax 069/752187 Telex 414459 coget d (I didn't get an answer from this office, neither on the phone nor in writing. A fax finally came with a list of German flat-rate providers and a few Colorful little pictures from somewhere else. A proper transfer form for 4.-DM postage is included. The useful part of the list is updated below for package providers, but order a new one if necessary.)

French Tourist Office, PO Box 150465, 10066 Berlin, 030/2182064, fax 030/2141738

Tourist Office of Guadeloupe, Bethmannstr 58, 60311 Frankfurt, 069/283315 fax 069/287544

AU: French Tourist Office, Hilton Center 259 C 2, Landstraßer Hauptstr. 2a, A-1033 Vienna, 01/7157062, fax 01/715706110

CH: French Tourist Office, Löwenstr. 59, CH-8023 Zurich, 01/2213578, fax 01/2121644

French Tourist Office, Thalbergstr. 2, CH-1201 Geneva, 02/27328610

F: Office du Tourisme de la Martinique, 2, Rue des Moulins, 75001 Paris, 0033/1 / 44.77.86.00, fax: 0033/1 / 49.26.03.63 or 40.20.01.14

Package provider

The common big tour operators (e.g .: DER, TUI, Meiers, etc.) always offer the same four or five tourist ghettos. Expensive hotels with pools that look the same all over the world. There are more German providers for Martinique than for Guadeloupe. The hotels are not the best the islands have to offer, but seem to be quite close to the tastes of many people. I've listed some of the more interesting travel agencies, often specialty tour operators targeting audiences with special needs (sorted alphabetically). Cargo ship provider see above.

Note: You should compare the prices for package tours as well as for flight-only trips like a fox, if necessary also inquire in France or in a neighboring German country. The prices vary considerably. Since package tours have been released in price, this has gotten even worse. Those who are stubborn can save over DM 1000 on a two-week package tour for exactly the same trip! As such, travel agencies are obliged to sell you the cheapest trip of the same kind. But they don't because expensive providers can also pay high commissions. Legally, you will often fail afterwards due to difficulties in providing evidence, so think ahead of time.

F + B Golfreisen International, Bahnhofstr. 36, 67227 Frankenthal 06233/20051 fax 06233/20056. The real thing for golfers: there are excellent golf courses on both islands that can be enjoyed as a package. A week between 3000 and 4000 DM.

Madinina Reisen, Margarete Le Guillarme, Waldstr. 8, 63755 Alzenau 06023/31807 fax 06023/32272. Specialist for Martinique. Offers small apartments and holiday flats in the regular program. Everything also with rental car and German-speaking pick-up service. The range also includes hotels, some of them in the luxury class. The focus is on the south of Martinique, a few offers relate to Guadeloupe. Excursions such as "bivouacking in the tropical forest" are also offered. The prospectus is very convincing.

Nouvelles Frontières, Augustenstr. 54, 80333 Munich, 089/5234056 fax 089/524914. An interesting travel agency, also for package tours. The German agency only offered me package tours, but the French offices also offer flights only, some of which are very interesting in terms of price. Rental cars are cheaper than on the islands. One week with flight approx. 2000 DM.

Trans Atlantik Reisen, M. Petersen GmbH, Kurfürstenanlage 1-3, 69115 Heidelberg, 06221/27181 fax 06221/10362 telex 461715. You have several hotels in Guadeloupe and Martinique under contract.

Syndicats d'initiative

Syndicats d'initiative are the local tourist offices. They can be found in practically every place in France, including the Antilles. They're gold pits or grub shops, depending on the situation. Very often the former. The first address in town where you should ask, it saves a lot of journeys. The other way around: if the office is no good, the place is often no good in terms of tourism.

Almost every village, no matter how small, has one Syndicat d'initiative. They are usually in the town hall, the Mairie or Bourg (in very small towns) or just next to it. Most of them are now housed quite well; a few years ago they were sometimes run by the only community employee on the side. It still happens that the sign is bigger than the office.

In addition to the usual pamphlet stuff, you can find out about the local suppliers for anything and everything. Incredible. Often times they also have lists of the local ones Gîtes (Apartments). If you want to stay in the place for a while, you can also get information about local festivals, communal facilities, such as the library, concerts, etc. There is also precise information about hotels or workshops, etc. The people who work there live in the place, so they know their way around. Everyone is helpful. Often they also feel like working in the tourism industry and are currently learning English or German. Nevertheless, things are sometimes a bit Antillian: you have to pull everything - but really everything - out of people's noses that they know. Chat for a while and leaf through pamphlets, then it'll come.

Most of them are closed between noon and 2pm. On weekends, the afternoon is sure to be closed and Saturday mornings are only open in exceptional cases. Wednesday afternoon is also like to.

Minitel: 3615 itour, all Syndicats d'initiative.

Minitel 3615 infotour or 3615 aux antilles also offer a comprehensive service.

Internet

On the Internet you can find fairly up-to-date information at the following addresses. Of course, nobody has a computer with them on vacation, but if you like, you can get in the mood a little from home.

As always, there is a risk that the server or the file will no longer exist. But at least with the "worldwide waiting loop" (WWW) there is always something new to be found. The university in Guadeloupe has an internet connection, but nobody in Martinique (yet).

Especially interesting to find out about current festivities or statistical data.

http://gnn.digital.com/gnn/bus/wview/cityhigh/ch1fdf.html - current festivals in Martinique.

http://nyo.com/Martinique - tourist info, pretty useful.

http://www.ircam.fr/solidarites/sida/depistage/outremer.html#Martinique - List of hospitals that carry out anonymous tests for AIDS.

http://www.odci.gov/94fact/country - CIA reports on various states, including the two islands. Should be up to date.

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/libs/pcl/map_collection - A kind of travel guide to nudist beaches in the Caribbean and a little commercial chat, hypertext link to the CIA reports and some nice maps and pictures of Guadeloupe.

gopher: //wiretap.spies.com/00/Library/Classic/world90.txt - world data from 1990, with Guadeloupe and Martinique.

gopher: //umslvma.umsl.edu: 70/00 / library / subjects / criminal / crimebook / narc93 / narc93e - Report on the drug situation in the Caribbean.

ftp://lemming.uvm.edu/rec.windsurfing/places/...(Guadeloupe or Martinique) current windsurf information.

news: soc.culture.caribbean - newsgroup, but a lot about the English-speaking islands.

http: //www.city.net/countries / ... (Guadeloupe or Martinique) Hypertext link to the CIA Factbook, French for travelers and an ethnological database with information on Creole, among other things.

Other helpers

Foreign Office in the event of a disaster, i.e. earthquakes, hurricanes and similar hardships. Anyone who has easily excitable relatives should report to the consulate if they are still alive, if not at home.

Study Group for Tourism and Development e.V. Kapellenweg 3, 82541 Ammerland / Starnberger See; they also have a very good booklet on travel to the Caribbean. See: "Readable"

Federal Ministry for Development and Economic Cooperation, Information and Education Department, Postfach 120322, 53045 Bonn. It publishes free aid information, including some information on the Caribbean. Also interesting for people who are looking for long-term - also economic - contacts. Such an audience is also in good hands with the Franco-German Chamber of Commerce.

Travel consciously

The community of St. Anne in Martinique advertises its compatriots with the slogan: The quality of our tourism is also the quality of our environment. And they put up tons of trash cans, which are also emptied. Such an example clearly shows the influence that tourists can have on the region visited. It's not just the locals or the hotel groups when cheap concrete castles for cheap beach holidaymakers sprout up on the most beautiful beaches.

This is especially true for souvenirs. Whoever weeps about the coral death or mourns the rainforest, but takes home poorly made carvings made of coral or mahogany, shouldn't be surprised. An artist who doesn't make any money with art will sell lousy, naive Haiti kitsch or airbrush stuff. That also applies to good money. Those who don't pay enough are cheated, those who act too much get trash.

This is even more true for tour operators: grievances that have annoyed everyone for ages, except for those who have earned it (see robber baron cartel of taxi drivers in Martinique), or at least reduced to a tolerable level, if people (rightly) - eg complain to the tour operator or tour operator. The tour operator does not care about any moral argument as soon as he can no longer pay the electricity bill. And if he is afraid for the good reputation and the good money, he does something.

Species and environmental protection

There is the Washington Convention on Endangered Species: It prohibits import, trade and trade in products from endangered animal and plant species and, of course, trade in these animals themselves. But the problem rarely arises on the French islands: what was to be exterminated is essentially already exterminated. Imported products made from tortoiseshell are very rarely offered. Hands off!

right one Ornamental corals There are few protected animal species, mainly the racoon, a type of raccoon that occurs in Guadeloupe. It still sometimes ends up in the (private) saucepan, because unfortunately it not only looks very sweet, but also tastes good. However, it is quite difficult to catch and - at least on paper - adequately protected. Its tourist importance is limited to its use as the heraldic animal of the national park in Guadeloupe.

Unfortunately, all sorts of coral and fish stuff from other islands in the Caribbean are offered again and again by particularly poor people. Including a number of protected species. Well Shouldn't be bought.

Comment on this in a travel report about Grenada by Peter Martin: "The cruise ships choke their contents on the promenades, where they have to be processed quickly before they perish in the blazing sun. T-shirts change hands just as indifferently as protected marine animals. Usually you only wake up at customs at Frankfurt Airport - not because of the T-shirts, of course.

A pretty great wildlife conservation novel is The Roots of Heaven by Romain Gary. He plays in French Africa, but it doesn't make any difference. Unfortunately the German translation is out of print, but it is available in Martinique and Guadeloupe in every bookstore under the title "Les Racines du Ciel".

Underwater hunting is allowed in large parts of the Caribbean and is very often practiced. This has caused an enormous decline in the coastal underwater fauna in the last few decades. There are a few other reasons that are responsible for this, e.g. increasing environmental pollution, the destruction of the mangroves and fishing with very fine-meshed nets, which have unfortunately become very stable and cheap in the meantime, but the wasteland above the coral stocks is mainly due to the Underwater fishermen who have bare the reefs.

It is actually a very effective method: the hunters select the fish, the "waste" is low - and the selected fish has no chance of escaping. The small harpoon is faster than any predatory fish and if you don't aim wrong, you will hit.

Unfortunately, this efficiency, and the fact that the harpoons are cheap, causes some amateur fishermen to clear entire reefs. - It doesn't matter whether the animals are edible or not, whether they are too small or not. Somehow they can be sold. And if not: it wasn't much work. Sometimes people go on the prowl at night, and irritated by the light of the lamp, without cover, the fish are helpless and defenseless. Even the last dork can catch anything. Remember, for example, a 2 kg lobster puts over 300 F on the market and comes out of the protective cave at night. They seldom run away in the lamplight. All you have to do is pick them up.

In addition, the tourists also like to swing the harpoon. You should let it go, no matter how difficult it is. All the locals who dive and mostly hunt themselves agree on this: Ten years ago there was a lot going on underwater during the day, but today it is dead. The fish are often stationary, i.e. they stay on their coral reef. Once you have fished the last pair away, that fish is no longer there. It is often enough if the population falls below a certain minimum number. The natural enemies then do the rest. (Unfortunately, predatory fish are rarely stationary, so they are not decimated when a reef is fished.)

In addition to this negative development, there is also the fact that fishing bans are not accepted and, in practice, are not monitored either. In the Reserve Cousteau / Guadeloupe it is the diving schools that drive away the fishermen. The police are unable and unwilling to do anything. Often the police and the culprit know each other. If anything happens at all, often only the catch is confiscated and maybe even ends up in the policeman's pot - but the harpoon stays with the fisherman. The fact that the diving schools ensure compliance with a sensible ban, which is also not excessively burdensome for the local people, shows what power tourists have. They should be used.

Black corals are occasionally offered by hawkers and souvenir shops. These are not the calcareous skeletons of real corals, but a kind of underwater wood.Preparing the black corals for processing is miserably time-consuming. Hence the high price. The workmanship is usually not great. From an ecological point of view, the purchase is quite safe.

Tropical wood products are unproblematic. Clear-cutting is usually not possible because of the difficult geographical conditions, so that the forest has to be used "gently". (By cutting down individual trees, which the owner is already replanting in the clearing in his own interest.) The purchase is more likely to promote forest farmers and local handicrafts.

Readable (literature, maps and games)

travel Guide

Martinique, Guadeloupe - one volume each, in French from Gallimard in the Guides Gallimard series published travel guides that have an incredible number of pictures in them. Everything in pocket size. Everything you want to know is well explained and illustrated. From the formation of a cyclone to the plants, costumes and customs. The history and local parts are also very well done. Highly recommended if you can speak French. The address part is very poor. If you depend on it, then good night (eh, not). Still worth the 200 F as a reader.

There is a certain lack of German-language travel guides: All of them are sick on one side or the other or are translations from French. But the French can cope with everyday organizational stuff on their own because they are practically at home. You are also very often here all-inclusive. Many guidebooks have a larger frame and are tailored for crusaders. The island parts are then correspondingly thin. The general part is often good to very good.

For example Apa-Guide "Lesser Antilles". I was wondering how you can research so many islands thoroughly and then sell the book for that price. Not possible: The parts of the island are extremely poor, actually really bad. But the story part is written very well and sensitively. The pictures are good.

The general part of the Du Mont "Correct Travel", but the place descriptions are very thin (even if everything important is there), the address part is extremely sad. The target audience is the average rental car owner who leaves the island in a few days. Nevertheless, it is recommended.

It is useless interconnections travel guide Guadeloupe, Martinique and others Antilles Islands. It is obviously an aged adaptation of the famous Guide Routard. Half of the addresses are incorrect, the ratings and unfortunately also facts are often from somewhere, but not from reality. The history and general part are poorly researched chat hours. In 1995 the stuff that was printed in 1993, but apparently researched forever beforehand, is still being hawked. A real imposition. He's number one among the flops for me.

Reading books - further reading

If you are going to stay in the French islands for a while and have mastered the language, take the opportunity to get your reader's card from a public library. The larger towns have a very well-stocked library, in tourist towns there are sometimes German books. (e.g. Marin / Martinique) There are mostly local newspapers in the air-conditioned reading room. You have a huge selection of literature on the Antilles as standard equipment. You won't find anything like that with us. Novels, travel guides, history, maps, statistics and knows the vulture! Absolutely recommendable.

"The Restoration of Slavery in Guadeloupe" by Anna Sehgers. A reading book for those interested in literature. The subject is exciting and you can see both clearly that Anna Sehgers was a staunch communist and an outstanding writer. History does not dwell on data and a scientific overview, but lets people speak very sensitively.

Madras - an encyclopedic dictionary on Martinique. The 5th edition was published in mid-1995. Everything, but really everything, is in there. Addresses, statistics, people, hotels, restaurants, history of even the smallest nest, etc. If you want to live in Martinique or stay longer, you can't do without it. The fourth edition cost 120 F. Paperback, well: Over 700 pages, more like a pocket cabinet.

Maps

Maps of both islands are available from the tourist information office. They are reasonably useful for an overview on Guadeloupe, but good on Martinique.

The Institut Geographique National IGN publishes very good maps of all French islands. They are just as expensive on the islands as they are here: 50-60 F. They are available on a scale of 1: 100,000 (Carte Touristique) and 1: 25,000 (Bleue series)

If you can't get it in the bookstore or the nearest card shop, you can get it in the mail Institut Geographique National , service des ventes et editions, 107, rue de la Boétie, F-75008 Paris 0033/1/42560668 or 2, Av. Pasteur, B.P. 68, F-94160 St. Mandé 0033/1 / 43.98.80.20 fax 0033/1 / 43.98.80.31 telex ign smd 210 551 f, minitel 3615 ign.

In Munich, the Geo-Karteladen on Vikualienmarkt (Rosental 6, 80331 Munich, 089/265030 fax 089/263713) has the IGN maps in stock as well as an excellent selection of maps and travel guides. Shipping.

Mairs Geographischer Verlag, D-73760 Ostfildern (Kemmat), Postfach 3151 also sells the IGN cards. Shipping.

There is a real house of cards, or rather a house of maps, in Stuttgart: Internationales Landkartenhaus, Schockenriederstr. 44, 70565 Stuttgart 0711 / 78893-40 or -54 (fax). They also send out all the cards.

For Guadeloupe you need the IGN card 1: 100,000 if you stay longer than three days and don't just want to visit the huge tourist attractions, otherwise you get lost all the time. It may be useful to have a hiking map from the south of Basse-Terre to the Soufrière. (No. 4605 G, everything of interest is from the Route de la Traversée up to the Soufrière massif. It is missing Monts Caraïbeswhich is a shame.)

For Martinique you can do without a card, the free ones are a print of the IGN card 1: 100,000 in different quality. (One note: so far, the tourist cards distributed "carte routiere"Imprints of the IGN map. But apparently someone is planning something similar to the one in Guadeloupe: In some very new editions, the map is specially designed for advertisers. A lot of cartographic information is then left out or stylized so that the advertising is more recognizable . If this occurs frequently, you can forget the tip. This advertising card is no good.) At most a hiking map from the north is interesting if you don't buy the map set published by the ONF with a French description, which costs just as much. The set consists of individual maps with This gives you an impression of where you are going, unfortunately they are sometimes placed a bit stupid on the map, but both are relatively unnecessary, as the marked paths are equipped with good information boards.

language

If you don't speak French fluently, a lexicon and phrasebook are very good advice. A German / French grammar is also helpful. You shouldn't go out without knowing French. The language courses from the "Kauderwelsch" series are very helpful for quick learning. You only learn a correct gibberish with it, but it is understood and it happens very quickly. There are cassettes.

The Langenscheidt phrasebooks have a good vocabulary section for all situations, and the cassettes are also good. But as far as the selection of instant sentences is concerned, I wonder who is still having such a conversation today. Argicly obsolete.

Otherwise?

"Chronoique - Laisse-moi te dire", from" Pancho ", and a second,"Chronoique - Fais ça pour moi"is a comic from the French Antilles about the French Antilles. Published by Editions Exbrayat, Morne l'Eventée Nº 5, Route de Balata, 97200 Fort der France, 596/646058, fax 596/647042. Costs 39.90 F. Is in the A well-made cartoon about some events between October '88 and September '89, which gives a nice ironic insight into everyday life and the emotional state of the people. The illustrator has also made other very good cartoons à la Seyfried , the newest is called: "Les interdits"60 F. French with many Creole expressions.

The editor is a dynamic and personable man who is also responsible for other editorial benefits: The fact that there are comparatively few ugly postcards in Martinique and Guadeloupe is due to his account, as well as the beautifully made botanical guides to the tropical plants that are everywhere Tobe offered.

The Study Group for Tourism and Development e.V. Kapellenweg 3, 82541 Ammerland / Starnberger See 08177/1783 publishes a very good brochure about travel to the Caribbean. Her name is "Understanding the Caribbean - for crusaders"and on 48 DIN-A5 pages contains a really good insight into the way of life and problems of the people in the Caribbean. 6. DM prepayment in postage stamps or checks. It is one of the best (short) publications about the Caribbean and is warmest recommended.

Mise up to date, Les Pays de la caraïbe, Revue Trimestrielle d'information, - Numbers, addresses and everything that is hard facts. Very helpful. Current information is published here under a main topic, unfortunately in French.

Money and banks

In general, one can say: if you want to see how a process works at the minimum human speed, you should go there. Martinique is worse than Guadeloupe in this regard, hence an extra chapter there. (please refer ...)

There is no information, you have to queue for half an hour (that's true!) Until this person mumbles at you that you are at the wrong counter. Regardless of whether there are other switches. At no bank there is everything you need to get so-called "foreign currency" in cash, is an expensive game of patience. Especially with currencies as rare as US $.

Changing DM is like having Chinese silver boats with you as currency. Apparently no banker has ever seen a 100 DM note, at any rate he shows himself to be very interested in each of them for a long time. The service is just bottomless. Anyone who knows the conditions in France can get an idea of ​​it if he multiplies everything that is bad by 10 or any higher number. An employee at the Crédit Agricole managed to convert US $ 100 into F for half an hour. No wonder if the first telephone bank in France has such tremendous growth rates.

When dealing with bankers, it should be borne in mind that they consider themselves enormously privileged. First, they have a steady job, which puts them above a third of the people around them, and it pays quite well on top of that. No notice is given. After all, all major decisions are made in Paris, and that is a long way off. Being able or willing to decide is not a quality that is in demand. On the other hand, being able to wait and avoid anger is extremely important. The bank employees have an even worse effect on the "supplicant" than officials at the social welfare or immigration office in Germany.

It is annoying when the means of payment you have is not taken. A good solution, especially on longer trips, is to take everything you have with you. Something is always taken.

Bank opening times see "When nothing works". Since US $ is accepted almost everywhere in the ports, it is not necessary to find an exchange office immediately upon arrival. But that's pretty easy, and much cheaper.

Cash

Take! Francs are the currency. Only cruise tourists pay in US $, but they look like that. Beware of the prices, even if tourists have the impression that "foreign exchange" (US $) is cheaper. Recalculating helps. The franc is also a hard currency. It is not uncommon for the merchant to have problems converting or to be very generous with the exchange rate. The fact that the prices in US $ are excellent indicates that you are in a tourist shop. Maybe first go for a little stroll through town and do the math.

You can change DM anywhere, apart from the annoyance involved. Unfortunately, the damned banks give the cheapest rates. In the exchange offices you pay at least 5% on top. But sometimes I wonder if it's not worth it. It is said that local businessmen and shop people like to trade "black". You then take the course from the newspaper. Why they do this is completely unclear to me, maybe because of the tax, at least they don't seem to cheat often.

Currencies: (In the entire area) Tip: If you come from or to Dominika, St. Lucia - or other islands with EC $ - you can buy tickets for flights and ferries there very cheaply, and you can make nice exchange gains when swapping.

Credit cards

Are a great thing. Even if you have thoroughly miscalculated the need for money, you can still get cash, without forms, etc.

The machines are of course the best: You can get money without having to go into a bank! With a PIN you can get cash just as easily as with us. The Crédit Agricol machines have proven to be the most reliable. They give you a maximum of 1,800 F per withdrawal, with my card about twice a week. They work astonishingly often, compared to e.g. the machines of the Banque National de Paris (BNP). Advantage: You pay the foreign exchange letter rate, which despite the commission (usually 1-1.5% on the rate, at least approx. 10-15 DM) is much better than the rate for sorts (notes). Withdrawing by card is more expensive than paying by card because of the machine fee (depending on the bank 10-15 DM).

There is usually a lower limit for withdrawals when you go to the bank (roughly around 400-500 DM) - don't fret, it usually corresponds to the minimum commission for the card company, so it is still cheaper to return or unneeded money to be exchanged in US $.

On the French islands, communication is made easier if you don't ask whether they take Euro or Visa cards, but only whether they take carte bleu (pronounced: kate blö). If so, the machine or ticker also swallows the others. Otherwise there is a lot of confusion: the banks are very reluctant to take checks hors place, i.e. those that do not come from local banks. This also includes the Euro-Check. So people think that this also applies to credit cards and they don't want them. But that's nonsense. People are getting their money.

Danger: In the meantime, many of the old RitschRatsch devices have been replaced with electronic queries. This can result in the friendly but specific message "Please call your bank". Then there is no money. So it can happen that, for example, if the PIN has been entered incorrectly three times at the machine, you can no longer buy anything in the store. There are no machines to unblock German cards. You have to fax to your bank. Clarify limits at home beforehand, possibly write down the fax number of your own bank. Never give the card to a banker when the machine is crazy. They tend to just type something in, and after three times the shop is closed. And get money in good time, because sometimes the bank staff is on strike or the banks are closed for some inexplicable reason or the machine doesn't like the card or ...

Danger: If you can receipt has signed, it is as if cash had gone over the table. The credit card companies don't like to argue if it doesn't work for them. So they mercilessly deduct everything from the account for which they have received a receipt with a card imprint and signature. Even if you've been betrayed, she doesn't care. They refer you to the dealer. So: first goods, then signature. Keep receipts and never sign them blank. The matter is different with rental cars. (Look there)

checks

EC checks are apparently fairly common in the French Antilles. You can withdraw the guarantee amount of F 1400 at large banks (sic.). Passport and debit card are required to redeem. If you haven't waited an hour, you get the money as a mercy.