The joy of returning
A friend told me about a recent trip to Mexico. She’s been going to this spot forever but missed the last couple of years because covid. She became animated as she recalled the staff at their favorite restaurant being glad to see them, and wondering if they had been okay during the pandemic. It was clear that this connection meant a lot to her. She was glad to be back, and gratified that it was reciprocated. At La Becasse, it’s so fun when we start to see familiar names show up on the reservation list each spring. We anticipate when guests will be back in town for their regular stays. We may know very little about our guests in their real lives; but we know where they like to sit and what they like to drink. We get to know their families. It’s a genuinely fun part of our business, this making connections and making guests feel welcomed.
This spring break we returned to Guadeloupe. Guillaume spent a good chunk of his childhood/adolescence there. His father was born in Guadeloupe (but has lived in Paris for decades) and Guadeloupe is as much home for Guillaume as Paris. Guillaume speaks Creole as well as he speaks French, which is simply to say it is his other-mother tongue. This was my fourth trip to the island, and I was excited to return. I know that the world is large and there are so many places to see. But I am finding that I like–maybe even prefer?–getting to know a place well. And given that this is like going home for Guillaume, I liken it to the vacations I took as a kid, which were our annual trips to Indiana to visit my dad’s family, and to Northern Ontario to visit my mom’s.
The house we rented this year was in the same neighborhood as the last time we were there, five years ago. I recognized the rocky beach, which is less a beach for swimming and sunbathing, and better suited to contemplating the vastness of the ocean and looking for crabs in the crevices of the rocky shoreline. After a couple of “refresher” walks in the neighborhood, I knew my way around and would thus venture out daily for morning and evening walks. I was glad to go back to the Super U grocery store with the Roger Boulangerie & Patisserie just outside, where we’d buy baguettes for dinner, and sandwiches and pastries for lunch. I couldn’t wait to get back to the La Pointe des Chateaux with its beautiful rugged ocean views on one side and gorgeous sandy beach and lagoon on the other. At this is the beach there are vendors selling tee shirts and paréos in the parking lot–as well as my most favorite thing: coconut ice cream made right there and served in a paper cup with a little wooden spoon. There is nothing like it.
This visit only made me want to come back again–sooner than later. I want to stay in the same house, and go back to the little restaurant on the water where we went twice this trip, and where Guillaume discovered a connection with the owner, which led to comped drinks (ti’ punch) and a bottle of rum. I imagine that the next time we walk into the restaurant, it will be a bit of a reunion with genuine smiles and happy greetings, similar to what my friend described, and similar to what I experience on the other end each season at La Becasse.
Travel is good. There is such joy in finding a happy place, and still more in returning to it. See you soon!
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