Happy Carnival season! We've been in Cayenne for the past week for Carnival break, enjoying the parades and the fact that every place you might need to go is closed. We head back to Maripasoula tomorrow, and have 6 (count 'em- 6!) straight weeks of school before another vacation!
WE GOT OUR KITTEN!!!!!!!!!!!! His name is Tucker, and he is utterly adorable. He's a little redhead and is about 9 weeks old now. There are pictures up on facebook if you're interested :-) We got the name Tucker for two reasons- first of all, he likes to tuck himself into a ball (or a pocket) and cuddle or sleep. Secondly, he sleeps A LOT. When we first got him (when he was 6 weeks old) he would run around like crazy for about twenty minutes before tuckering himself out so much that he slept for the next 2 or 3 hours. It's kinda ridiculous, though, how much he likes to be around us. We have to continually find bigger and better barriers to keep him out of our room so he doesn't climb up the mosquito net, but he just wants so badly to be with us :( Also, Cody found a poison dart frog, and kept it for about two weeks (he says it was to keep Tucker company when we were at school).
This past installment in Maripasoula had some nice improvements. We came back from the Christmas holidays and were pleasantly surprised- instead of getting robbed (like we thought we were going to be), we gained some things! First of all (obviously) was the kitten. Our landlady also surprised us with a nice big freezer, which is invaluable in Maripasoula because every time we come back from Cayenne now we can bring lots of frozen vegetables and meat and seafood and things that we can't get in Maripasoula (especially because our fridge is fit for a dorm room and not even quite waist-high and has virtually no freezer compartment). Unfortunately, we also gained some ant infestations- and not just any ants, but ants that bite and sting you for getting too close. We sprayed down the house right before we left a week ago, so cross your fingers that when we get back tomorrow they're all gone!
On a good note, Cody has finally started doing some of his hours in Papaichton! Some people think they have been able to figure out a way to reimburse him for the cost of the pirogue ride (40 euros per week), so now we just have to hope that they follow through and that the payment office (which is in Martinique and is completely and utterly unaware of everything that goes on) accepts the proposal.
But then we got a break from our 10-12 hour work weeks, and now we are in Cayenne. For the last time?
We've been making full use of our vacation time with the amenities that being in Cayenne brings. Such as:
-lunch at McDonald's (only once!!)
-using the internet to apply for lots and lots and lots of jobs for the summer and next year
-getting to call our families
-watching Carnival parades
-catching up on tv shows
-going to the doctor's office
-traveling to Cacao, a Hmong village about an hour's drive away
-being offered a car to borrow by people we barely know (Thank you Jennifer and Jean Christophe!!!!)
-going to the beach
-fishing and seeing dolphins and a sting-ray
-hiking on trails that we are fairly certain we won't get eaten on
-going to an exhibition of different bugs, butterflies, months, and spiders of French Guiana
-getting frustrated with the Post Office (still waiting on that Christmas package to be delivered...)
-climbing up to an old fort in the center of Cayenne
-stocking up on yogurt and cheese and other things to bring back to Maripasoula
-visiting MONKEY ISLAND
So monkey island. Absolutely incredible! We were trying to decide if we wanted to go to Monkey Island (actually called Ilet la Mere) or Iles de Salut. Ilet la Mere is closer to Cayenne and smaller, but Iles de Salut are a huge tourist attraction in Kourou. We ended up choosing Ilet la Mere, and we are so glad we did. Apparently you can see monkeys on Iles de Salut, but because there are so many people, they are not like the ones on Ilet la Mere. The ones we got to see not only let you feed them, but they would eat out of your hand, climb all over you, and practically pose for pictures. Cody got a banana out that we had brought to feed to the monkeys, and as soon as they saw it, it was peeled, broken into pieces, and completely devoured in less than 15 seconds right from his hand. We barely had time to revel in our first wild squirrel monkey sighting and we were already getting the dandruff picked from our scalps. It was quite hard convincing Cody to leave at the end of the day!
A little anecdote to show you how small FG is: During this vacation, we've seen several people from Maripasoula as we were walking around. It's nice to be in a city, but still recognize quite a few people. Then, we went to Monkey Island with about 10 other people, so a total of twelve people. Well, two or three days later, when we went to Cacao, which is about an hour drive away from Monkey Island, we ended up seeing six of the people that we went to the island with. So with us, that makes 8/12 people that went to the island also decided to go to this village on the same days. It was kinda crazy.
Tomorrow is back to normal life. Well, as normal as Africa being picked up and dumped in the middle of the rainforest of South America can be. We'll let you know how our last hoorah in Maripa goes in our next post! Meanwhile, check out the facebook pics, and comment to let us know how you are doing!