A month in Grenada: a month with no deadlines, a month with no where in particular that we had to be, a month when it didn’t matter how much we accomplished on any given day, and a month where heat and humidity slowed us down and made us feel justified to spend our time relaxing, swimming, and meeting new friends. After a very busy life that started a year ago last March, when we sold our home and moved onto AfterMath, this was the first extended time when our lives were completely stress free. No weather to watch, no waves to conquer, no waiting for maintenance to be done; just an easy life in Grenada.
Transportation on buses in Grenada is easy and always available. Here, buses are nothing like those in the United States. First of all, they do not have a schedule; they just run all the time. Waiting for a ride more than a minute or two is very unlikely. Buses are really vans, that were probably designed to fit about 10 people, but they have been modified and it is not uncommon to find ourselves smashed in with 20 others. When a bus conductor sees a prospective customer nearing the route, which, for us, is just off the driveway of the marina, the driver honks and the conductor yells to see if a ride is needed. Buses stop almost anywhere and there always seems to be room for one more. Every bus has an assigned route, and Route One passes Port Louis Marina. These buses take us to St. Georges and to grocery stores, to beaches, and almost any other place we need to be nearby, all for $2.50 EC, which is equivalent to about $1 US. If we need to go somewhere not on the route but within a couple of miles of it, we just ask and the bus will alter its route for us, and charge just a little more. Music generally blares, paying for a ride can happen anytime the passenger likes from the time the bus is entered until the time it is exited, and to get the driver to stop, the passenger just knocks on the side or the roof. It all seems so crazy at first, but before long it is natural and easy and very convenient.
The beautiful Carenage in St. Georges, GrenadaChrist of the Deep. This statue was given to the people of Grenada by Italy for saving the passengers of a burning Italian cruise ship.Randy is personable, pleasant, and knowledgeable. He is a great guide!The lovely library.An old mailbox, still in use.The Sendall Tunnel connects the Carenage to the city part of St. Georges. It was built in 1894 so that horses and donkeys would not have to climb the steep mountain that separates the parts of the city. These days, traffic goes only one way in the tunnel, but pedestrians walk through it while cars go travel through. It is a scary experience!This lovely lady sells spices in the Spice Market. Randy calls her his second mother. Our first bus trip was to St. Georges. We got off in the Carenage so we could walk around the shops and view the scenery. Before long a very nice man named Randy approached us and asked us if we were American. When we replied affirmatively he told us how much he appreciated Americans and all they did for the island in 1984 when, in his opinion, our country rescued Grenada from Communism. Soon Randy was walking us all over the city, and, of course, it turned out that he was a tour guide. We were very happy we met him, though, and happily paid him for his services after our tour of a few hours was over. Without the help of Randy, we never would have discovered much of St. Georges and we certainly would have known far less of the history of the city.
Allendale waterfallScenery at the waterfall.
Deciding to venture a little farther, we took a bus to St. Georges one day and then changed buses and went to Allendale waterfall. We are amazed at the windy, hilly roads in Grenada and I think we both were happy when we arrived at our destination safely and even happier when we were returned safely.
The Junior Comancharos, a steel drum band.The children were charming.Getting ready for Carnival is a huge task.
The month of July and the first week of August are busy in Grenada while everyone prepares for Carnival. One night Shade Man, also known as Patrick, arranged a tour for cruisers to attend a practice of a children’s steel drum band that was to perform in competition. Again filling a loaded bus, we headed for the hills, and, once there, were entertained by a large group of kids who we would guess ranged in age from six to sixteen. They were a happy bunch and they were just amazing. It was a fundraiser for the group so they had dinner and drinks available for purchase. It was there that I tried my first “oildown”, Grenada’s national dish made of meat, callaloo, breadfruit, dumplings and any other variety of vegetables and seasonings. Afterwards, we were able to walk through the trailers where women were hand-sewing costumes for Carnival. The process is daunting! Finally an adult group of drummers took over and we were, once again, amazed at the music made by steel drums in the islands.
Everywhere you go in Grenada there are fresh fruits and vegetables.
So many kinds of mangos.
Pumpkins grow in Grenada, but they do not look like our Halloween pumpkins!
Grenada seems to always be celebrating something and one day it was a mango festival. There are many kinds of mangos, but it seems that everyone’s favorite is the Julie. They are large and meaty and are absolutely delicious. At the mango festival, though, mangos showed up in every form imaginable: mango bread, mango ice cream, mango jelly, and on and on. It was a fun way to spend some time experiencing more of Grenada’s culture.
Cooking class at True Blue Bay
Another activity nearby is the weekly cooking class that takes place at True Blue Bay Resort. I have been taking a bus over with some fellow cruisers on Thursday afternoons for a fun hour or so of learning to cook some of the dishes native to this friendly island. The classes take place outdoors on a patio overlooking a lovely anchorage. There we have learned to make such dishes as callaloo stuffed chicken, fried breadfruit, pan seared mahi mahi with a passion fruit sauce, and callaloo soup. My new friends and I have been really enjoying our classes that take place every week. We watch the demonstration and then get to sample the fare for under $5 US.
My cucumber lady at the market place.In the spice market.Getting some delicious tuna.
Of course, there is the market place in St. Georges, and no time in Grenada could be complete without getting there on a Friday or Saturday when it is in full swing. I now have a friendly older lady from whom I buy the most delicious cucumbers ever. I know where to go to get onions, fresh ginger, tomatoes, breadfruit, bananas, plantains, mangos, spices, and any other produce you can imagine. After I finish at the market place, I make my way to the fish market where fresh tuna is available for the equivalent of $3.50 a pound. Other fish is also available and besides tuna we have had some great red snapper fresh out of the sea.
During this month we have spent a lot of time in the pool at the marina, and we have attended a wedding celebration and a potluck dinner. The excitement really will start with our next post, though, when we will have Chris and Sam with us for Carnival and for exploring more of Grenada. We can’t wait to tell you about our time with them aboard AfterMath!