Friday, April 08, 2011

The rum coast

Rum conjures up images of sailors, pirates or smugglers on isolated beaches by the light of a silvery moon . . . It's also intrinsically connected with the islands of the Caribbean.

Saturday afternoon, and it's market day in the historic town of Saint-Pierre on the west coast of Martinique, that seductive slice of France in the Lesser Antilles chain of the Caribbean.

The sleeping volcano Mt Pelee looms over a scene where colorfully dressed women sell exotic fruits and vegetables from their stalls along the seafront. Down inside the Snack Caribe bar, a group of men wearing wide-brimmed straw hats are enjoying their weekly game of dominoes, the silence broken only by the swift clack-clack of the tiles and short bursts of laughter.

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