I feel lucky ! 2


Since last night, Reunion Island has been subject to a curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. The news fell in the middle of the week to try to stop the spread of the virus and especially of the South African variant which represents more than 50% of new contaminations. It was almost inevitable and we expected this decision to fall sooner or later. I just don’t understand this decision to impose the curfew from 6:00 p.m. … 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. would make more sense. With people almost all leaving work at 5:00 p.m. or even 5:30 p.m., big cities found themselves crippled by massive traffic jams with everyone rushing home to be there before 6:00 p.m. Anyway, here we are in the same boat as France mainland, except that we are not (yet) confined on weekends. We can still go to the gym, to the cinema, to bars or restaurants. Which is not nothing !

 

 

Seems normal to us from here and we don’t realize how lucky we are to be able to have so many freedoms. In Mainland France, they have been deprived of everything for many months ! They go to work, stay there all day, get home at 6:00 p.m., have dinner and go to bed before doing it again for the next few days. Those who live outside the cities with a piece of garden do better than those who live between 4 walls in a building. All this to tell you that I feel like I am very lucky in this troubled period that we are going through. We live 20 mins from Saint-Denis on a mountain. Besides, the area is called La Montagne (the mountain). We have a reasonable sized garden with the forest in front of us. It is very calm and the chirping of birds punctuates our days. Beyond that, we continue to live normally apart from this new curfew which forces us to return home before 6:00 p.m. Anyway, we never go out at night. Our life is punctuated by school and children and therefore no outings during the week. Weekends are different but we always favor daytime outings. So this curfew won’t change much for us …

 

 

I also feel very lucky because unlike many photographer friends, I can still walk the streets of Saint-Denis to take pictures. I already have the possibility to do it, but the streets are not deserted as in a lot of places. There are still so many people and I even suspect that there are more because a number of oversized shopping malls have had to close. It is also in the streets of Saint-Denis that I spent this Friday, March 5th. I had already told you about a certain weariness of always going through the same places in the city. This day will have shown me that everything happens in the head. When the mindset is not right, the grass will always appear greener elsewhere. I refer you to the Blog that I published recently where Olivier DUONG explains all this very well.

 

 

This Friday I had finished working at the end of the morning and I had decided to stay and take pictures until I pick up the children from school. Basically I had almost 4 hours to kill in the streets of Saint-Denis. I have never spoken to you about the climate in Reunion before. Through the photos, you must suspect that it is hot there. It is a tropical island. Nothing abnormal. In fact in summer, that is to say since last November (until April / May), it is very (very) hot ! You have to be pretty motivated to walk under a blazing sun. It is often said that the street photographer should wear dark clothes to go unnoticed in a crowd and wear good shoes for walking. Well first of all, there are no crowds here in Saint-Denis and then, most of the time I’m in Bermuda shorts, t-shirts and flip flop. Note I am doing local and in the end it is the most important to blend in with the crowd.

 

 

Yesterday I nevertheless put on my shoes because I was at work in the morning and it’s smarter (…) . Bermuda, t-shirt and shoes … I did well because my pedometer showed 9.66 kms at the end of the day !!! Yes, yes, I walked it all in the sun ! I had to drink more than two liters of water in the afternoon to rehydrate myself ! We forget it a bit, but doing Street Photography is sport ! I had decided to go for a walk to the fairground market. Be careful, it is called a fairground market, but it is the vegetable market. No attractions or rides here. I know this place well because my parents go there every Friday morning and I accompanied them when I was a kid. It is a colorful place. Good thing, I had to buy onions (local ones). In front of the stalls, the fruits made me want to buy them, but I could not because I did not go straight home. It will be for next time … I then went to roam in the Vauban district next door. Again, this place is very familiar to me because I went to the local elementary school for 5 years. I really like this neighborhood which is very popular. It has changed a lot since the 80s. New ethnic groups have settled down, giving it a more African color.

 

 

I do not linger and I go downtown because I also take the opportunity to go to lunch with Gwen who works a stone’s throw from the rue Maréchal Leclerc, THE frequented street of Saint-Denis. It is a pedestrian street not very well developed, but which nevertheless drains a lot of people. I prefer the lower part of the street which brings me to the small covered market. This corner is more colorful and offers great photo opportunities. But you still have to be discreet because it is a more popular area and people are quick to misinterpret your intentions. Taking pictures is suspicious and as there are also petty trafficking and street vendors, we quickly assimilate you to the police who would come stealthily to spy on what is being done here. In short, I take a thousand precautions to remain discreet.

 

 

3:30 p.m. sounds the death knell. It’s time to go back upstairs to pick up the children from school. My pedometer displays the figure of 9.66 kms ! It’s been a lot and I’m washed out. I just want to go home and cool off. It was a good Friday. When the mindset is right, all is well. I took lots of different photos, I saw some interesting scenes. These moments are rare. Most of the time, frustration takes over. Every day will not be like that, you have to know how to take advantage of these moments. I put in a slideshow the photos made this Friday March 5th , 2021.

 

 

All the photographs were made with the Ricoh GRD4.

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2 thoughts on “I feel lucky !

  • John Harper

    You’re living the dream…even through a pandemic! I really enjoy hearing about your life on Reunion and of course coupled with the photography we can get a real feel for the island. When you think about it Street Photography is a really healthy occupation. Often when I go out to shoot some street I’ve walked the dogs a couple of miles across the fields beforehand. Then there’s four or so miles in the city and all that concentration, mindfulness …I’m exhausted when I get home, but I guess much fitter both physically and mentally. You don’t see very many overweight street photographers that’s for sure. Anyway, all that sweat is to the benefit of me and your readers, we get to enjoy the results from our armchairs!

    • Jeff Chane-Mouye Post author

      Today after my work shift, I drove nearby downtown, just to see if there were people. Like every Saturday, the streets were crowded with people. I wanted to park and go melt myself too make some photos, but I prefered going back home to be with my kids. Definitely Saturday is the day for street. But I can’t go every Saturday. I will try to go once a month.
      Despites the covid thing, life still goes on here. I hope that things will stay like this until we all get vaccined.
      Saint-Denis is very different from Aix-en-Provence. Not speaking of the architecture but how the city is built. Almost no squares in Saint-Denis and the streets are wider.