Grenada, June 2007
View of the 'Carenage', St. George harbor
Beautiful three-hour flight at 7,000 feet to Point Salines airport from Curaçao. Coming into Grenada the controller ordered a full approach, and we broke out at about 800 feet to land. The rain stopped and we were met by smiling faces. Immigration and customs were some very happy people. The whole island seemed to have smiling faces.
We donned our walking hats and while walking to town, were given a ride to the bus stop where, once again, lots of smiling faces in the minibus. Getting out at our stop we met the Soup Master. In Grenada they have a green called callaloo, something like spinach but a hearty tasting veg that made a very interesting soup with dumplings. A short walk up the hill to the hotel where we waited for the staff to arrive. This took about an hour and soon the double bed had our heads.
Fisherman's Birthday celebration in Gouyave
We had arrived on a Friday night, just in time for the Fisherman's Birthday celebration in Gouyave ("gwav"). Fish Friday, as the celebration is also called, is a Friday night cookout and party at this particular town, every friday night in the month of June, to celebrate the patron saint of fishing (St. Pete I guess).
Top speed ride in a local bus (minibus jammed with people), and the curves and steep grades didn't slow down our driver at all, who was being baited by his friends who were squealing their car around corners ahead of the bus. Georgetown to Gouyave in about 20 minutes, and then all the fresh fish we could want. I think we dropped some money at every tent, and the favorites were fish patty with "bake" (local biscuit-like bread), and dolphin-veggie kabob. Also tried some really interesting drinks made from different tree bark - sorrel and mouby, with mouby the current favorite.
View of St. George harbor
The hearty brown bread seems to keep you content for a walk up to the fort. There are twenty or so cannons and two mortars from the 1700's so we feel protected. A day at the plane to wash and wax followed by an early morning swim at the beach. Chatting with a local woman who was proud of her mangos and gave us one of the sweetest tasting; with nicest texture. A few runners and walkers along with the swimmers all getting their early morning exercise made that mango taste all the better.
They sell great rum punch made with nutmeg syrup, bitters, lime, sugar and cinnamon. Many little shops with people playing Checkers, Chinese Checkers, Dominos or just watching TV. A few with barbeque and all with a cold beverage.
The yacht club and marinas were full of fine yachts and hundreds on dry land waiting for their owners to return. Randy was on the committee boat during the races but an a few occasions brought fresh goat milk to Nana's, which we boiled with bay and cinnamon. It is difficult to tell which is the better beverage; chocolate tea or fresh goat milk regarding the hot drinks. For the cold I like mouby but just finished a glass of damsel and then there are the passion fruit and in fact many fruit drinks.
Some pictures in the photo gallery of Nana's doves. Just outside her front door on the veranda, a pair of doves decided to make their nest in one of her potted plants. We were lucky enough to be there when the eggs hatched, and to watch the new doves grow for about a week before flying off.
Thanks to a chance meeting with Patsy while walking through town, we are lucky to be staying at Nana's house. Teacher Nana, as she is known locally, has had students on the island for the last twenty-five or so years. Everywhere we go Teacher Nana is calling out to someone or someone is calling out to her. She has made some amazing meals to share with us, and we have tried to do the same for her.
Dee, Gregg, Nana, Patsy
Nana's nephew Randy packed us all in his car and we went with him and his friends to see the loggerhead turtles come into the beach and lay their eggs. This is about a two-hour ordeal for the turtles. We pat the 600 or so pound animals to give encouragement. I'm sorry we didn't take the camera for that one.
One day we went up to Belmont Estate to see how the cocoa is processed. Grenada Chocolate Company makes the best dark chocolate I have ever tasted, and they get their cocoa from Belmont. Our guide was very enthusiastic and informative. He said there are three types of cocoa beans, with one being the best for making high quality chocolate, and that Grenada has an abundance of this type of cocoa tree. Fermenting cocoa beans, in case you were wondering, smell like a very sweet wood. After the farmers bring the beans in to Belmont, the beans are fermented for something like 8 days, and then dried in the sun as you see below. The huge trays are all on rollers so that at night, and when the rain is coming, the staff can push the trays under a roof. We left with several bars of chocolate and some cocoa balls to make hot cocoa.
Cocoa beans drying in the sun
The hike to the Concord waterfall is about two miles up and although it made us all huff and puff the vista was beautiful. Mango, papaya and star fruit are just some of the trees along side the road. Angel's Trumpet was the largest of the flowers. Plenty of purple and pink flowers in fact flowers of all colors.
The main thing is you just can't get over all the smiling faces. Everyone has a greeting and wishes you a good morning, good afternoon, good walk, good times. We have eaten the local cuisine, which includes Oil Down - this is a pot of breadfruit and callaloo with salt meat and chicken backs, squash and type of banana plus homemade whole wheat dumplings. Mangos and papaya for breakfast with bread and cheese.
A church service was in order and the singing and clapping went along the girls dressed in white. Each girl had a ten-foot colored ribbon she would incorporate into the well-choreographed dance. The whole experience went on for about four hours with much to-do made of the pastor and his wife having given twenty-five years to both their marriage and service to the church.
Weirdest sound heard in Grenada: pigs being fed in the morning across the valley. Sound like many power saws running at once.
Gregg and Neujensen, neighbor kid