This week, our Travel pics series is F for Fort-de-France.
The capital of Martinique, in the French West Indies, is not a particularly large city – with only about 165,000 people.
In fact, the whole island has only about 350,000 residents and about 7% of the workers are employed in the tourism industry.
Amongst those are the taxi drivers and minibus operators who descend on the Fort-de-France wharf when cruise ships arrive, to offer their services to day-trippers like us.
There are, of course, organised ‘shore excursions’ offered by cruise lines – but there are cheaper, ad-hoc tours offered by enterprising drivers at pretty much every port of call on a cruise.
In places like Martinique there are a coupe of difficulties for monolinguists. For example, while English is spoken by many of those working in the tourism industry it’s not a first language – or even a second.
Most locals speak a combination of Creole and French so there are sometimes things that get lost in translation – or simply not mentioned, because its too hard to explain.
But some things don’t require a lot of explanation.
Like the beauty of the rainforests above the coast fringe of Martinique.
The island is incredibly fertile. The volcanic ash from the still active Mont Pelee and other more dormant volcanoes gives the island a lush carpet of greenery.
And that’s nowhere more obvious than the ‘Pitons du Carbet’ – a series of five dormant volcanoes that ring the Bay of Fort-de-France.
Our driver wasn’t able to give us much background on the geology, or the botany of the rainforests we were driving through – but they were spectacular.
Even more so, I suspect, if you don’t come from Queensland’s rainforest regions as our party did 🙂