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Sunday 6 Jul
Cayenne, French Guiana

Lovely home cooked meals!

We got up at dawn again to try and see the turtles but there was a storm brewing- strong winds blowing the palm trees and sand everywhere. There weren’t any turtles either so we headed back to the house. We had some breakfast together and tea (from a tea-pot- very nice!). Then we set out on a walking trail with Sophie. This time we walked along the beach and then over a jungle hill to the next beach. There were lots of interesting trees on the way. Then there was a trail into the mangroves which were really beautiful. It had a board walk to go in amongst them which ended jutting out onto a lake with waterlillies and lots of birds. The noises were amazing- so many different sounds of the rainforest. On the way back we saw a woman swimming in the sea playing ball with her 3 dogs- playing as if she was a dog with them- so sweet. It is really nice that in Cayenne there are so many short and accessible nature trails around the city.

For lunch we had a lovely meal cooked by Sophie- to an indigenous recipe. We had a fish called ‘vivaneau’ (a pink scaled one fished locally). She steamed it in manioc juice (couabio) with a chili pepper in it. She served us the fish then spooned on sauce, alongside some ground manioc powder (cuuac). The meals name is ‘cachipipo’. Alongside it was also some manioc bread. Sophie has told us a lot of things about the uses of manioc here by the Amerindians and it seems we have tried it in every form since staying here! Sophie has a poster showing the process and it includes grinding the manioc with a large grass woven tube thing. We had seen it on the bus in the Amazon but didn’t know what it was for. Also, since Peru all along the Amazon there was a yellow condiment on the table with lots of floating super-hot chili’s in. We thought it was vinegar but now we know that was also manioc juice. For starter she gave us a mango with chili pepper seasoning which was a really tasty dish. For pudding we shared a fruit we had never seen before (yet another one!). Sophie bought it at the market from a man who just had a couple to sell that he got from his garden. It was like a mango texture but tasted like apple’s. It is called an apricot here but it looks more like a honeydew melon but brown. It had 2 big seeds inside. We said goodbye to Sophie. She has been a lovely host.

In the evening we went to Leo and Laura’s for a meal. They offered for us to stay at their friends house with them for the night so we could go. The buses don’t run on Sunday so we put our rucksacks on and started walking the few miles with our thumbs out- but didn’t have to walk any time at all before we got picked up.

Hitchhiking lift 52: into town

Our lift was a French/Brazilian surf dude who was really friendly- shoved us and our bags into his little car which was greatly appreciated!!

Leo picked us up and took us to his friends house. They have a lovely airy apartment with a mezzanine where they had put out a bed for us. Leo and Laura then cooked a real feast- ratatouille, lovely salad, bread & tapanade, gorgeous pastry whirl things. Alongside BBQ with Toulouse sausages, caiman(!). It is legal here to hunt caiman for personal food- you just can’t sell it- so a friend had killed one. It tasted meaty- somewhere between chicken and swordfish- really nice. When we were on the boat I talked about wanting a bday camembert and they had bought me one! A really stinky gorgeous one- which was so thoughtful. We tried a ‘ti-punch’- a local rum, sugar, lime drink which is like rocket fuel. After dinner they got out some other rums which had all sorts of fruits in them to ferment. It was so lovely to be at a dinner party with friends- something we haven’t done in all the trip. Not all of them could speak fluent English but they tried really hard and made us feel very very welcome. Our French is definitely not as good as we thought it was!!

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