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On the West Coast, where numerous tribes are still settled, history has left more traces of the descendants of the courageous convicts or pioneers who established cattle stations and agricultural farms. They are what are often called Broussards or bushmen, the term applying more generally to inhabitants of the Brousse or bush, namely the rural regions of the Grande Terre, the main island.
Men whose ancestors survived their sentence as convicts and bought themselves a ticket of leave. And others, descendants of the free settlers to whom Eldorado had been promised in exchange for free concessions, and who killed themselves trying to grow coffee, cotton and even sugar cane. These bushmen, called stockmen in French as in Australia, handle their colourful language and style with pride. Their means of locomotion: the big four-wheel-drive pick-up with a solid bullbar; their working tool: the horse on which they spend their best times; their treasured companion: the blue heeler, the tough and very hardworking Australian cattle dog. On their land, you will enjoy discovering the simple, tough and picturesque world of these cowboys from an exotic Far West.
If you stay a few days in some of the gîtes in the region, you will certainly soon find yourself in a western, lodged on a farm: mustering the herd, bringing it back to the stockyard, taking the cattle swimming, going hunting for deer or wild pig right out in the bush.
After the hard work, there is the comfort of tasting succulent home-made charcuterie, such as sausages and deer terrine. Not to mention dinner at the family table, with a sumptuous deer carpaccio, delicious beef with onion and chilli, all spiced with relish made by Madame, and accompanied with the inevitable soy sauce and omnipresent steamed rice. For dessert, a banana or mango tart, fresh lychees in season, a nice strong coffee and a liqueur which hits the right place so you finish with a light heart and a smile on your lips. All this along with a thousand stories told throughout the country about So-and-so or Such-and-such who had adventures that were inevitably incredible. Uncontrollable giggles guaranteed and ties created for life… And in the morning, home-made jam that is so good you will bring back cases of it. You will feel if only you could do the same with the kindness of these generous men and women!