New Year's Eve day, my friend Camille and I decided to go exploring Langevin, a settlement not far from St. Pierre that has several waterfalls on the drive up. We stopped at the uppermost waterfall and worked our way down to the last one, stopping briefly in the pouring rain to swim under the falls. It was freezing, but we both decided that we needed to be able to say that we swam under these famous island falls.
Later on in the evening, we decided to hit up the party that was erupting all over St. Pierre. From fireworks, drum lines, chinese lanterns and naked swim dares, we tried to experience all that St. Pierre could give us on the dawn of a new year. At midnight, the firework show started off with the entire sea wall erupting in fountains of sparkling fireworks, and the large bursting fireworks lasted well over a half an hour. Then it was time for a jaunt down to the beach about fifty feet away. Our first act of the new year was to walk into the Indian Ocean and experience more fireworks from the water. Later, we ventured down Front de Mer (the main street) and were stopped by a large group of people playing the drums followed by others playing other random instruments. Dancers brought up the rear. At every intersection, the drum line stopped to play for several minutes before proceeding on down the street. The parties continued until well into the next morning, and that afternoon, I had never heard St. Pierre be so quiet.
The next couple of days proved to be a banging start to the new year as Dumile, a category two hurricane, blew its way to Reunion. It missed St. Pierre, but it hit the western side of the island pretty violently, and even though it has been several weeks, the roads are just now beginning to open back up in places. I weathered the storm in a suburb of St. Pierre known as Bois D'olive, a community on higher ground. Camille and I got steadily more and more bored as the power was out, so we made a deck of cards and had quite the epic run of rummy.
|before the storm|
|securing the gate|
|after the storm... no one around|
|shops preparing for Dumile|