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the Zouk is a type of music which is played a lot on radios but is also a slow dance where you have to be totally stuck with your partner.
one of their favorite hobbies when they are dancing is to try to dance with your partner on one floor-tile and not get out of it.
in the beginning of the century, zouk meant a quit "hot" country ball. it was not advised to well educated women.
and my advise to women today would be:
think twice before you say yes to this dance as sometimes it can be putting yourself in few minutes of embarrassment.
Written Aug 14, 2004
if you come across to pass close to a cemetary and can hear some singing and see lighten candles, this is the way in some places that people mourn a departure of someone as they think people should be remembered in a happy way.
Updated Jun 19, 2004
Think French!!! Outstanding buys in perfumes, Parisian fashions, silk items, porcelain, crystal, liqueurs and vintage wine can be found.
The standard Guadeloupe souvenir is a puffed up, porcupine spined puffer fish (poisson lune). I suppose, if you wanted to, you could make a lampshade out of it as the islanders suggest.
Written Sep 7, 2002
When sighted by Columbus in 1493, Guadeloupe was inhabited by Carib Indians, who called it Karukera, 'Island of Beautiful Waters.' The Spanish made two attempts to settle Guadeloupe in the early 1500s but were repelled both times by fierce Carib resistance and finally abandoned their claim to the island in 1604.
Three decades later, French colonists sponsored by the Compagnie des Îles d'Amérique, an association of French entrepreneurs, set sail to establish the first European settlement on Guadeloupe. The party landed on the southeastern shore of Basse-Terre in 1635 and claimed Guadeloupe for France. The French drove the Caribs off the island, planted crops and within a decade had built the first sugar mill. By the time France officially annexed the island in 1674, a slave-based plantation system was well established.
The English invaded Guadeloupe several times, and between 1759 and 1763 they developed Pointe-à-Pitre into a major harbor, opened profitable English and North American markets to Guadeloupean sugar and allowed planters to import cheap American lumber and food. Many French colonists actually grew wealthier under the British occupation as the economy expanded rapidly. But the party ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, under which the French traded their claims in Canada for the return of Guadeloupe.
Amid the chaos of the French Revolution, the British invaded Guadeloupe again in 1794. In response, the French sent a contingent of soldiers led by Victor Hugues, a black nationalist who freed and armed Guadeloupean slaves. On the day the British troops withdrew from Guadeloupe, Hugues went on a rampage and killed 300 Royalists, many of them plantation owners. It marked the start of a reign of terror resulting in the deaths of more than 1000 colonists. As a consequence of Hughes' attacks on American ships, the US declared war on France, prompting an anxious Napoleon Bonaparte to dispatch a general to Guadeloupe to put down the uprising, restore the pre-revolutionary government and reinstitute slavery.
Throughout the 19th century, Guadeloupe was the most prosperous island in the French West Indies, and the British continued to covet it, invading and occupying the island for most of the period between 1810 and 1816. The Treaty of Vienna restored the island to France, which has maintained sovereignty over it since 1816. Slavery was abolished in 1848, following a campaign led by French politician Victor Schoelcher. In the years that followed, planters brought laborers from Pondicherry, a French colony in India, to work in the cane fields.
Since 1871, Guadeloupe has had representation in the French parliament and since 1946 has been an overseas department of France. Both Guadeloupe and Martinique use French currency and stamps and fly the French flag. Guadeloupe's political status hasn't satisfied everyone, however, and a local secessionist movement has occasionally resorted to acts of terrorism. The peace has also been disrupted by the local volcano, La Soufrière, which erupted in the 1970s and still belches sulfurous fumes today. Though agriculture remains the mainstay of the economy, the importance of tourism has grown in recent years.
Guadeloupean culture draws on French, African, East Indian and West Indian influences. The mix is visible in the architecture, which ranges from French colonial to Hindu temples; in the food, which merges influences from all the cultures into a unique Creole cuisine; and in the local Creole patois that predominates in the home.
At festivals and cultural events on Guadeloupe, you're likely to see women wearing traditional Creole dress, which is typically a full, brightly colored skirt, commonly a madras-type plaid of oranges and yellows, with a matching headdress, a white lace-trimmed blouse and petticoat and a scarf draped over the shoulder.
In the arts, the most renowned native son is the poet Saint-John Perse, the pseudonym of Alexis Léger, who was born in Guadeloupe in 1887 and won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1960 for the evocative imagery of his poems. One of his many noted works is Anabase (1925), which was translated into English by TS Eliot.
The islands have a thriving music scene, including zouk, calypso, reggae and beguine, which Guadeloupeans claim they, not Martinicans, invented
Guadeloupe proper comprises twin islands divided by a narrow mangrove channel, the Rivière Salée. The islands are volcanic in origin, with a total land area about half the size of Luxembourg. The two main islands join to form the shape of a butterfly, though while their outline is roughly symmetrical, the topography is anything but. The eastern wing, Grande-Terre, has gently rolling hills and level plains, much of which are cultivated in sugar cane. The western wing, Basse-Terre, is dominated by rugged hills and mountains wrapped in a dense rainforest of tall trees and lush ferns. Much of the interior of Basse-Terre has been set aside as a national park. It includes the Eastern Caribbean's highest waterfalls and Guadeloupe's highest peak, the 1470m (4810ft) smoldering volcano, La Soufrière.
Of the nearby offshore islands, Les Saintes are high and rugged, Marie-Galante is relatively flat and La Désirade has an intermediate topography with hills that rise to 270m (895ft).
The islands' diverse vegetation ranges from mangrove swamps to mountainous rainforest. Basse-Terre has an abundance of tropical hardwood trees, including lofty gommiers and large buttressed chataigniers, plus thick fern forests punctuated with flowering heliconia and ginger. Birds found on Guadeloupe include various members of the heron family, pelicans, hummingbirds and the endangered Guadeloupe wren. The bright yellow-bellied bananaquit, a small nectar-feeding bird, is frequently seen supping at unattended sugar bowls in open-air restaurants. Guadeloupe has mongooses aplenty, which were introduced long ago in a futile attempt to control rats in the sugar cane fields. Agoutis (short-haired, rabbit-like rodents that look a bit like a guinea pig) are found on La Désirade, as are iguanas, which also roam Les Saintes.
Pointe-à-Pitre's average high temperature in January is 28°C (83°F), while the low averages 20°C (68°F). In July, the average high is 30°C (88°F), while the low averages 23°C (75°F). February to April are the driest months, when measurable rain falls an average of seven days a month and the average humidity is 77%. July and November are the wettest months, when rain falls for about 14 days and the humidity averages 85%. Hurricanes come to call during this humid time. Because of its elevation, Basse-Terre is both cooler and rainier than Grande-Terre. The trade winds, called alizés, often temper the climate.
Written Aug 26, 2002
Si la nouvelle créolité est encore à ses débuts, les Antillais se retrouvent encore dans un ensemble de pratiques qui les soudent. Ainsi en Guadeloupe, c'est à travers le folklore, le langage, la gastronomie, les danses et la musique, l'habillement et les croyances que la population puise ses référants d'identité culturelle.
Cette pluralité des cultures qui ont droit de cité dans les îles de l'archipel fait qu'il se passe toujours quelque chose quelque part, que ce soit dans les campagnes ou au sein des villages et des villes.
Les fêtes communales, les combats de coqs, les veillées culturelles, les 'lewoz' ou fêtes, les veillées mortuaires, les fêtes des différentes communautés comme les Indiens, les courses d'attelage tirants, sont autant d'occasions qui sont offertes au visiteur à longueur d'année, d'apprécier la vitalité des traditions culturelles des îles.
Principalement dans les villes telles Pointe à Pitre et Basse-Terre, se trouvent les principales structures de diffusion et d'expression culturelles: salles de spectacles, galeries, musées, bibliothèques, etc.
Des manifestations, des spectacles en tous genres, des expositions d'oeuvres artistiques de qualité sont régulièrement programmés, où alternent des artistes locaux comme internationaux.
Certains évènements et manifestations attirent régulièrement de nombreux visiteurs. Il s'agit bien sûr du carnaval de janvier à mars, de la fête des cuisinières en août, les combats de coqs, les fêtes patronales, la route du rhum tous les quatre ans et les festivals.
Written Aug 26, 2002
They have a 'Pani Problem' philosophy in Guadeloupe which translate in No Problemo. Altough it's the perfect philosophy for a vacation, it can gets in the way of your important stuff, like catching your flight back! Double-check even if they tell you everything is under control. Same rules apply if you rent a car; I've been warn that some dealers are illegal.
Written Aug 25, 2002
If you don't know French, learn as much as you can before you go. Very few people speak English. Even at the Tourism Office in Guadeloupe's largest city, I could not find anyone who spoke English. My high school French just wasn't enough. If you try to speak French, no matter how poorly, people will be more willing to try their poor English. Usually (but certainly not always), their poor English was way better than my poor French.
Guadeloupe was called Karukera - island of beautiful waters - by the Caribs who inhabited it when Columbus first landed on Basse Terre. Guadeloupe became a French colony (except the many times when it was seized by the English) based on a slave economy. The Carib were killed or forcibly removed to nearby Dominica. Slavery was finally abolished by official decree in 1833. Since that time, groups of Indians and Chinese were brought in as laborers. A majority of citizens now are either black or mulatto. It is a visibly well-blended society.
Since 1946, Guadeloupe has been a French overseas department with all the rights (ostensibly) and benefits belonging to other French citizens. Its dependencies are la Desirade, Marie Galante, les Saintes, St. Barthelemy and St. Martin.
There have been movements for independence, autonomy and federalization. There remains some resentment toward 'bekes' (Creole term for the white landowners) and the 'French French' but, at least on the surface, every one appears to get along well.
The main culture is Creole.
Remember that this is a Catholic country especially if you need to do any thing on Sunday. The only places open in Point a Pitre on Sunday were a Kentucky Fried Chicken and a McDonalds. Luckily sidewalk stands opened up upon the arrival of a passenger boat from Les Saintes. Oddly enough, most St. Anne grocers, bakeries and ice cream stores and some restaurants were open for at least part of Sunday.
Written Aug 24, 2002
take your time to do things as they mostly do there especially in the smaller villages and dont worry if for example the shop keeper carry on talking to his/her friend instead of serving you.
Written Jul 5, 2004
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