MEET JOHANNES

Johannes arrived and we went back to the boat talking until we were falling asleep. He is a very fascinating 26 year old and has been to every continent. His family has 1000 acres of land in Germany where they grow, wheat, barley, and hemp for commercial consumption. He has been entertaining us with heaps of stories about life on the farm and the various trial and error they have experienced.  We are enjoying his stories about life in Germany, Uni, and living in small village.  It is very interesting to listen to another way of life and how that can shape the person you become. 

We are getting ready to leave St. Lucia and continue on our journey north to Martinique, but first we will spend the day wrapping up chores and getting groceries. It was a sad morning when Matt woke up and opened his iPad and it wouldn’t start. F$@* (that is what Matt would say and you have to yell it and emphasize the U and K – higher notes on those). Trying to stay optimistic I tell him it probably is the charger going bad. We dingy into town and tie up at the dock. The dock boys are there and we have been wondering in the past few days if they just live there because sometimes we see one or the other just sleeping on some cardboard they put out on the dock, you even have to step over them to get by.  Normally, we would not give any money to these “dock boys”. 

Be careful as a cruiser in these situations. A couple examples: The boat boys come to your boat and offer to take your trash for $5.00, in some cases they will drive away with your trash and then just throw it overboard. Another example, you arrive to a dock and the some men come over and help you tie off then demand $10.00 telling you they will watch your dingy. As soon as you are out of sight they will leave and most likely go to the bar. People on charter boats make this difficult for us cruisers because a lot of times they just hand over any money that someone might ask for. Then when we arrive to the dock and tell them politely, “No thank you, we would like to tie up ourselves. No, that is alright we don’t need anyone to watch the dingy, but we appreciate it.” Sometimes they can get very mean and aggressive. 

The first few times we arrived at this dingy dock with those two dock boys we did not let them help us and did not give them money. But they were still extremely polite and always seemed to be sitting there. Eventually we let them help us and gave them a dollar each time. They are sitting there at the dock as we arrive, we throw them our line and I let him help me out of the dingy and he calls me Princess, he always calls me Princess (and I am sure he says that to all the girls on the dock). 

It is Sunday and most everything is closed. We get the groceries and find a place to try and charge the iPad. Nothing! Argh this is so frustrating, why do all the electronics we seem to own go bad. Did I mention the keyboard on our Mac Book Air went out. I have to carry around a external keyboard that connects via bluetooth. 

We head back to the boat and make some lunch. Johannes would like to ride a bus and see some of the island so we give him advice and drop him off at the marine. As we head back out, with a little more water we picked up, we see a 256′ gorgeous yacht pulling into the channel. Matt immediately recognizes that it is Steve Jobs yacht. Said he’d seen it before when he was anchored in West Palm Beach. Sure enough you can see the control room, where the Captain is, with wall to wall Apple computers. Everyone has stopped to watch this boat dock. I wonder if any of the other boats know who this yacht belongs to. We stay to see the crew get off and the toy room open to show the bicycles, and huge tender. Later when we have internet we look the boat up, Venus, and it now belongs solely to his wife and she does not rent it out for Charter. I want so bad to yell at them about our iPad and Mac Book Air (as if they are responsible or could help). Matt makes sure we are always out of ear shot distance. 

We had agreed to met Johannes at our favorite brewery in town at 5:00pm. We all catch up on how our day went and use some fast internet for a while. Johannes has decided to make us Kaese Spaetzle a very traditional dish in Germany. It is perhaps similar to a mac n cheese he tells us. Back at the boat we get everything out and turn on the music. He mixes the flour, oil, and egg and starts “cutting” it into hot water. I am chopping heaps of onions. When the mixture starts to float in the water then they are ready and he spoons them out into a casserole dish. We saute the onion in a little butter and oil. Make a layer of noodles, cheese, onion and noodles and cheese and pop it in the oven to melt everything. Oh it is delicious and not really like mac n cheese. The noodles taste so fresh!! We plan to make it again when we met Matts mom in Martinique. We want to give her some to try. 

We pull anchor the next day and have an amazing sail to Saint Anne in Martinique. When we dingy into town it is about sunset so we walk around and enjoy the view having a few drinks and complaining about the lack of wifi, guess we have to sit and talk with each other instead. 

The next day we check into the country and change our courtesy flag from St. Lucia to France. The land of baguettes and good cheese. We dingy over to the marina and go up to the Tourism Office in hopes that someone there might speak English. No such luck. So far in our experience people in the French islands only speak French. Our plans to ride the bus to another part of town were crushed when we learned it would cost us nearly $30.00 a per person round trip. Nope, don’t have that kind of money. We are told there is a place to rent scooters a few roads down so we decide to walk and check that out. We stop to take photos along the way and try to convince Matt he is not hungry and does not need to buy BBQ ribs, chicken, and pork covered in creole sauce from the street vendors. We didn’t actually convince him, it was when he asked the price and they told him $8.00 euros that he decided he didn’t really need to eat a platter of street food. Usually, street food should just be about $3.00 US. When we were in St. Lucia we brought a piece of chicken for $1.50 US and some roasted peanuts for $0.50. 
I am starting to drip sweat and can feel my body getting hot in the sun, we have not walked that far and I did make sure to wear better shoes but I am carrying the backpack with the laptop, backup keyboard, Nikon, and water bottles. Matt always offers to carry it but I like to because it gives me a better work-out. Eventually, we realize we passed the place and turn around heading back down the road when some guys stop us to ask for a push start on their car. I pull the camera out to snap photos of all the boys but it happens to quick and I just get the tail end. I notice later how the guys pants were falling down. 

As we are walking back, we discuss the situation with Volkswagen. Johannes seems very knowledgable about the subject and tells us that Volkswagen is setting aside billions for the lawsuit in America. He explains how that seems crazy because when GM had the issue with the keys that killed 100 people they only had to pay $600 million. We each give our opinion and discuss the various laws within our countries and ultimately agree that what Volkswagen did was not that bad in the grand scheme of things. There are cars on the road that legally put out more emissions than those TDI’s and get horrible gas milage, like the Ford F150. 

We stop at a grocery store to try and cool off and grab an ice cream. I catch my reflection in the mirror and see that my face is bright red. Well that is embarrassing, but it is part of my genetic make-up so I have to deal with it. I put my hat on to try and hide it a little. Back outside with our ice cream we sit on the ground because there are no benches. I feel like some of the homeless hippie kids you see sometimes, wearing our backpacks and sitting on the ground eating ice cream. I wonder if we put a hat out if anyone would throw change in it. 

When we arrive to the scooter rental place, we are able to communicate just enough to realize that they have rented out all the scooters until Feb. 10th. HA! That figures, the place kind of looks like it is their house so I suppose they might only have 2 or 3 scooters. 

Once we are finally back to the boat we eat some lunch, delicious sandwiches. We cut up all the veggies we got from the market and the baguette we just bought. Johannes is a vegetarian so it is keeping me and Matt a little healthy. Always eating fresh veggies for lunch now-a-days.  Afterwards we get on our swim suits determined to spear a fish for dinner. We snorkel all around the area and all we see are some baby lobster, and some nice coral. Where are the fish in the Caribbean??

We make a plan to head to another anchorage on the island, perhaps it will have better wifi, hotter nightlife, and a place to rent a car (crazy that in this case it is cheaper than taking a bus). 

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