Grenada lovely Grenada - Part 1 12:00.60N 61:40.70W
Mon 31 May 2010 23:25
Grenada - Part1
We left Carriacou earlier than we had planned, concerned we wouldn't get everything done in time before departing to the western Caribean, and had little expectation of the place except a place that the insurance companies feel it's far enough south to spend the hurricane season, which is a bit strange given Hurricane Ivan crashed through the Island in 2004 leaving the island in tatters and a meer 10% of roofs on houses. But it's also the best equipped Island since St Martin to provision both boat and people.
First impressions were good, we had a great time during our haul-out and found the local residents really welcoming. But I think we then got into a mind set of preparing to go. And we still had another 2 weeks plus no water maker. So for about 10 days we fafed about filling the bilges and making lists, collecting packages and basically having nothing to write home about.
Grenada seems to have it's own unique little community of live aboads. There credetials are Male, single, 60+ Likes a bevy and living on a state pension not the most interesting group we've met on our trip and whilst this is definelty not the only community of boats it is the largest most evident one i've seen to date.
We then returned to Grenada Marine to have our membrane for our water maker fitted and found yet more issues with the boat. This was breaking point for me and the day was spent in a dark place ending with a hissy fit with a big round fender. And Colin thinking I was actually pointing my frustrations at him. But bless Laura at Grenada Marine having had a few beers with her and Jason she had our kids over that night for a sleep over which was appreciated by all members of the Price Family. It was decided over dinner that night that we had 'boat fatigue' and it was time to spend a day investigating the land.
11am kids are returned happy but exhausted but we are determined that the day will be spent on a bus going up the windward side of the island to see if there's anything worth seeing, and boy oh boy we had the antidote to our sickness.
Grenada is the lushes Island I have ever seen. Every tree seems to bare some delious edible fruit, nut, vegetable. It's lush and in a strange way one of the most tidy countries in the Caribean. We headed to Grenvile a functioning town busiling on Saturday Morning Market day. The Kids by this time where about to pop with exhaustion. The amazing thing about this little town was that we couldn't find a cafe. so had to trudge around for about 40mins before we found the Cafe, Up some stairs on the sea front we peered up where a man told us 'yes yes you must come here' Colin enquired from the bottom of the Stairs what kind of food to they do? to which the reply was 'all'. and by god he was right.
The building was rather rundown but of a 1950-60 era; on the Ground floor was the supermarket and above a kind of Littlewoods affair. Ladies all in hair nets and uniforms serving everything from Pizza, macarroni Cheese to Calaloo, breadfruit and Currry. Thus meaning an entire family's culinary joys were housed in one place. The moment we arrived the place seemed to explode from no-one at the counter to bursting, very Carribean in the service but we all finally sat down to a luke warm plate of food in a decaying 50s formica dream cafe with not a westerner in sight, with a view over the harbour.
Based on our success so far at navigating the bus system and in no hurry to return to the boat, we started a circum-navigation of the island using public transport. The buses are, as with most small islands or eastern countries, Minibuses, all privately run and fantastically frequent, oh and did I mention camacarsily fast, Japanesse minibuses. They allways seem to be full to bursting and play very loud dance hall or rasta music and will go off piste for a few EC$ more. I love the fact they stop at any moment with a sharp tap on the roof from any passenger and will also reverse 1/2 mile in order to get a new fare.
Machettes are an every day male accessory in Grenada, and hailing a bus with a 3/4 meter long knife in your hand doesn't seem much of a problem you simply hand it to the 'conductor'. This 'boy' who takes your money and has his head hanging out the window most of the day in search of the next customer before the next bus spys them first, no evidence of Castro here anymore.
In the back of a bus and heading north, the bus is much quieter then usual so the kids are able to conk out and we have a long bus ride through beautiful forna and flora in peace. It's truely topical and incredibly verdant, we drive through a whole islands cramed with wild banana bushes, enormous bread fruit trees, mango trees gallore (there are over 200 different varieties on the island we are told, and there was us thinking a mango was a mango was a mango). It's an exotic fruit catalogue enciclopeedia. Whilst driving we notice what we think is a fruit we do not notice and it only occures to us what it is when we pass the Grenadan Chocolate Factory. I know it's sold in the UK but I had never really paid much attention to it before, and it's well worth paying attention, it's delicious, I would say better than Green and Black or Lindt and given the island used to supply G&B with it's organic beans previously it certainly has a reputation.
Along with the vegetation the island seems to have an impressive amount of hair dresser/beauty parlours, barbers, bakeries and most men's dream business a car-body-shop and bar. Once you start noticing hairdressing shops you then start to notice the Grenadianes pashion for eleborate hair. It has become Zinnia and my favorite eye to eye acknowledgement when a good hairstyle be it men or ladies gets on a bus. Wigs/hair pieces are also good buisness here.
Retrospectively Saturday was a great day to travel the Island as you really do see it kicking back, when you drive along the roads so many folk are sitting peacfully on there balconies watching the world go by, I love the fact that so many houses have incredible views but most verandas are built facing the road. Saturday night is also the night that all the local bars seem to organise a Cook up of some description where it be the national dish, 'Oil Down', or BBQ chicken, so by the mid afternoon lots of menfolk seemed to be sparking there fantastic BBQ's in to action, None of that John Lewis BBQ selection here just some wonderfully welded Oil Drums hinged lided on legs, I just wish we could have stopped at them all, but alas the walk home from the bus once we had got to the other side of the island was dark and long.
Colin and I came back from our day's adventures buzzing with what we'd seen and a little frustrated that we hadn't made the most of the island sooner, for me a little love affair has begun I think.
Sunday was D-day and the return of Bonaire, Tim Steph and most importantly for Cosmo and Zinnia THE BOYS. Once we had heard they were on there way down there was no point resisting the childrens request for joining them down island in another bay. So we say our farewell to Grenada Marine, I think this is our 2 or 3 time, and leave our little Yardie community. Whilst headingn round to Prickly Bay we, catching yet another fish, a Yellow Tail. This now takes our total of fish between a group of rocks called the Porpoises and St Davids Point up to 6. But sadly for this reason we will not be returning up this stretch of water, or so we think.