After Marie Pierre and her son Louis picked me up at the airport last night, we drove to their new place in Sainte-Suzanne. Her husband Sébastien was already asleep on the couch, so I didn't get to meet him until today, but I met their dog, Icare. I was pretty tired from my long day of travel and so after getting my bed sorted out, crashed for the night. They recently moved to a different house as their previous house had so many issues. Things are still pretty hectic around the new house though as it's a lot smaller than their last place and not everything is ready, including the kitchen. The spare bedroom which I would have been able to stay in and sleep on the air mattress, is the temporary storage room while they slowly find a place for everything. I had a bed of my own but had to share the room with Louis. He didn't snore too much, but it was the neighbourhood animals that got me up early in the morning. Roosters, hens, geese, dogs, birds, insects; you name it, if it was outside, it was making a sound from about 2am onwards. That old story about the rooster that wakes the farmer up at the crack of dawn is just a myth. A rooster has no idea what the sun is, and doesn't care what time it starts making noise or whether you'd like to sleep or not.
When I got out of bed for the day I had eggs and smoked ham for breakfast, and Marie Pierre offered to make me sweet potatoes on the side that I ate together with some strawberries.
Later in the morning we drove through town and they took me to a place nearby the sea on the north coast where I could run on a trail and loosen up my legs. It was so nice to get the fresh ocean breeze and greenery on my run after so many months cooped up in the gym on the treadmill for my training runs! There were a few other runners out that morning, getting ready for the big day ahead.
In the afternoon we all drove to the west side of the island visit a beach and met Corinne & her family, a long-time friend of Marie Pierre's. We packed a picnic for lunch, consisting of potato & ham gratin (made by Marie Pierre's mother) and a lettuce salad. The drive was about 50 minutes to St. Gilles & Ermitages des Bains. It was nice just to relax at the beach and eat a simple lunch. I had felt so hungry and tired. It was good to have a nap afterwards too. The beach was a busy place but I didn't go swimming in the water. For the past several years Reunion Island has had a real problem with sharks. The authorities have had to build a special protection reef to keep the sharks out but the risk is relatively high. I don't feel like losing any limbs or other appendages. I've been training hard for this race, I can't have a curious shark nibble off one of my precious toes!
After the beach we drove to the marina at St. Gilles (or "St. Chill" as it's hillside graffiti refers to it) and looked into options of dolphin & whale-watching tours. The soonest we could book for was Saturday morning so we planned for that. With the aquarium just nearby we went in for a look around. It was fairly interesting with plenty of sea creatures to discover.
I rested on the drive back home then we all had dinner together (vegetable stew & fried beef patties). It was nice to sit and talk with the family and get to know them more. All the French was giving my brain a workout and I was feeling pretty tired so slept fast when my head hit the pillow!