Grenada, West Indies Position 11:59.934N 61:45.594W
Bill and Judy Stellin
Sat 26 Jan 2008 00:59
Prickly Bay, Grenada at anchor.
Nice bay but roily, just like most we've been in. Our last anchorage was in the lagoon which is part of the town of St. Georges, Grenada.
Our present location is only about 5 miles away but it seems like almost another world. In the town bay, the homes are tiny, ramshackle and piled on top of each other. In this bay, it is like Naples Florida. Big mansions on lots of land all fronting on the bay. Not likely owned by the locals.
Our (new) Swedish friends Juha and Taija were in the lagoon with us and so we socialized quite often.
We first met in the Canaries along with other Swedish friends. Seems like we have more Swedish friends and any other nationality. Two days ago we rented a jeep type wagon and toured the island. Driving is on the left like all of England and it took some getting used to. What made it doubly difficult was the atrocious condition of all the roads here plus crazy maniac mini bus drivers. The roads are less than two cars wide everywhere and these bus drivers go at least 60 miles an hour and force anyone in their way off the road. They pass going up hills, around curves, even when the road is to narrow for two cars to be side by side. Juha didn't want to drive so I was the one. We drove almost the entire day over country that is mostly mountains and rain forests but probably only covered 120 miles. Near the end of the day, my turn came up to get forced off the road, sideswiping a fence that was exactly on the edge of the road and scratched up the entire left side of the car. Luckily the rental company only charged us about $100 USD for the repair. In the US it would have been $1,000 for sure. You can bet I will never drive a car on these islands ever again. The drivers are animals, the roads are only fit for goats and frankly there is very little to see that is even worthwhile. We could have taken a tour which sounded pretty good from the ad's, but I am glad we didn't despite the accident. It would have been much worse sitting on a hot mini bus for hours to see a waterfall about 20 feet tall.
Pretty, but no big deal. Getting here through the rain forest was much better.
We did see a moonshine operation making rum. Here of course it is legal but the technique is no different than back woods hooch. Aging.... never give it a thought. Out of the still and into bottles which have been used and probably from the dump. Seventy two percent alcohol which is 144 proof. One swig and you can light newspaper with your breath.
Crushing sugar cane to make rum. (Wonder how many toes get into the mash as well)
This stuff, ( the juice from the sugar cane) gets boiled down in the still and the vapor is pure alcohol. Just one of the many careful steps in the making of fine backyard rum.
After another hour of pure torture driving these miserable excuses for roads and getting lost several times because they have not quite mastered the science of accurate map making or signs, we happened (literally) upon an estate that grows and processes cocoa beans for export.
For once, we had a really good guy giving us the tour and explaining local fruits. Not much of a connection, but worthwhile. All fruits here are green. It doesn't make any difference what the variety is. It is green. So, having someone tell you the difference between an orange, lemon, grapefruit, papaya, mango, breadfruit, lime (two different kinds, both green), avocado, soursop, passion fruit, guava and tomato is really important. They are all sort of round and have skin, but only limes taste good in rum punch.
This is the ripe cocoa pod (it was green for a long time first) with slimy white seeds which after drying are processed into chocolate.
In order to save money on the entrance fee, (so I could pay for my share of the car damage) I agreed to work mixing the drying cocoa beans.
Someone has to do this every twenty minutes during sunlight hours. You literally walk shuffling your feet which turns the beans. You must shuffle your feet cause if you step on these beans it hurts like............ It is kind of like feet plowing. Notice the concentration. After about twenty minutes I finally mastered the job. Since it rains here about every 5 hours, you might wonder how these beans ever get dry. These are big trays which slide under the roof of the shed and then are pulled out when the sun returns. It must be backbreaking work because they are very heavy and on old small rusty iron casters. I was promised that job after 6 months doing this.
Finally on the lighter side, a bit of road side humor. I sorely needed a laugh after almost eight hours of driving.
Don't ask me what it's all about. Probably some voodoo ting mon.