It’s hot!

Not much to add except it’s hot here.  I talked to my Dad yesterday and he asked me if I had gotten used to the heat and I told him absolutely not.  We just sweat, ALL THE TIME!!!  At night it cools down, but the days can be bad.  Right now we are on the dock at Clarke Courts Bay Marina.  We’ve been here since we came back from the hotel as we had some boat projects to work on.  Dan hooked up the airconditioner we bought in St Thomas and it works pretty well!  It really takes the heat and humidity out of the salon.

 

Today I went on a tour with several of the cruising women.  We went to a place called Laura’s Herb Garden, a beautiful botanical like setting, showcasing medicinal plants and herbs grown on the island.  It is amazing how many traditional island cures there are.  When I was growing up, my Mom used some natural medicines and I have always been fascinated with it.  In Saba, I bought a great book on Bush Medicine but haven’t seen one for Grenada yet.  During our tour she must have showed us at least 30 plants ranging from bay leaves to lemon grass, and a few I can’t pronounce.  I need  to go back again with a video camera and a notebook and write them all down. 

      Next time you have cinnamon think of this woman scraping it by hand from a tree bark.

  street in St George  opening a coconut in the market

   After that, we went for lunch at Aquarium beautiful beachside restaurant.  The food was great and the beach, where we had time to snorkel, was fantastic.  I have so missed clear white sand and clear water!  It has been several weeks since I have snorkelled, and a few weeks since I swam in the ocean, so it was a treat.  The water felt so good.  Grenada is a wonderful island, but it really needs more beaches! 

 After that I came back to find that Dan and the kids had a successful homeschooling day.  Tristan and Dan finally repaced the cleat that we broke last year in Punt Cana Dominican Republic.  I am not sure if we could have done it without Tristan as it’s a tight squeeze.

 

Grenada Grand Beach Resort (Oh yes we did!)

   Yes, that was us showing up at the Grenada Grand Beach resort, with about 8 backpacks for luggage.  NOTE:  Resort has the following dress code….. after 6:30 pm men wear slacks or tailored Bermuda -length shorts and collared shirts with short or long sleeves (no t shirts or tank tops).  Women wear dresses, skirts, slacks, culottes, or Bermuda shorts (no short shorts).

Needless to say, we took ourselves off the grounds when the sun went down.  I am sure they appreciated it!!

We hadn’t been to a hotel since Dominican Republic, about a year ago.  The heat was really getting to us.  I am amazed at how this heat/humidity can really suck the life out of you.   We bought a window unit air conditioner, but haven’t used it yet, so we only have fans on the boat.  The water here is another issue, as there are not that many places to swim.  So with the heat rising, moral lowering, a hotel was the answer.  The internet site sky auction had a great rate on the hotel and it was very nice!  Tristan and Tessa enjoyed the two pools one 300 foot fantasy pool, complete with waterfalls, and a  60 foot sunset pool.  Dan and I enjoyed the airconditioning, and we all enjoyed the TV.  In the evening we walked around Grand Anse, enjoying the local restaurants and Friday night bar-b-que.  The “Vacation” was well worth it.   Our 3 nights went too quick, but we came back much more energized!  Life is good again.

       

Island tour

  Roxanne (Dawn Dancer) organized a great day long tour for us, Fine Line, and Roxanne’s visiting brother.  We left Clarke Court’s Bay early Monday, Kennedy was our tour guide.  Kennedy is a 3rd generation Grenadian, with his family originally coming over from India. 

There are really two ways to explore an island, by yourself or with a tour guide.  We have done both.  In Dominican Republic and Guadeloupe we rented a car and drove by ourselves.  In Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat we used tour guides.  We like both ways.  It’s fun to go off by yourself and explore, and I strongly suggest doing that, but if you  only go alone, and not with a guide, you miss knowing personal things about the island that only a native can give you.  Plus, we are really into the flora and fauna and having a guide really helps us know the plants and animals of the area.

As we left Clarke Courts Bay, Kennedy pointed to a levelled ridge, not far from where we we anchored.

“You see where that mountain is flattened, and no trees are there?  That is where the US did most of the bombing during the Invasion of Grenada.”

That’s a little unsettling to be anchored next to a former war zone!!  The US Invasion of Grenada is an interesting topic, and the great thing is you can hear all about it from people who actually went through it.  Everyone we have talked to about it was very happy for the US support.  In fact, Grenadians and other Caribbean islands were begging us to come in and help them after Maurice Bishop was killed.  Around town you will still see signs saying “Thank you Americans.”  Although I am not one of those people who think the world hates us personally, (maybe only our government) it’s nice to be wanted!!

Our tour was mainly a “spice tour.”  We visited an old plantation to learn how chocolate is made.  Seriously, if you ever saw a cacao tree you would never figure out.   First, it is a pod about 10 inches or less, orangish, resembling a gourd but not as hard.  It grows directly from the trunk of the tree, not on a branch.  You open the pod and pull out a long white string of beans, surrounded by slimy white pulp.  It looks nothing like a bean really, but if you pop one in your mouth and suck on it, delicious!!!  You still wouldn’t think it’s chocolate though.  The beans are cleaned and dried in the sun.  From there you have your  cocoa bean to make chocolate.  The process is extremely labor intensive.  Here is a great website that tells more about it www.grenadachocolate.com.  Grenada chocolate is a dark chocolate that comes in two types, 60% and 70% chocolate.  I didn’t use to be a dark chocolate fan but I really like the 60% bar.  They don’t use dairy in their bars so they don’t melt in the heat.  Great for days of 90 plus digress and 80% humidity!!!

   The next stop was the nutmeg processing plant.   Again, very labor intensive.  The sorting, the drying, the packaging to ship overseas, all done by women. 

  Nutmeg being dried.    Sorting    bags of nutmeg ready to ship out 

    more sorting      I know this picture is blurry but I love the sign.  I am thinking of making one for our boat!

 

 OK.  Let me just stop here and make an OBSERVATION.  Island women work VERY HARD.  On any island.  They own the shops, they run the businesses, they take care of the children, they make the meals and keep the household.  Some men do work, fishing, taxi drivers and I am sure they work hard, but the vast majority of workers that we SEE are female.  In every island of course, we see lots of men watching the women working.   It’s a tough life for an island woman.  But I digress.  Back to the nutmeg factory.

The farmer brings in the nutmeg.  The nutmeg is sorted keeping only the visual best, then dried, then put into water to judge the oil content, dried again, then sorted by size and shipped out.  Grenada has aobut 10% of the world’s nutmeg market.  The islands’s nutmeg trees were wiped out by Hurricane Ivan (September 2004) and since it takes about 12 years for a nutmeg tree to mature, they are well below their normal crop. 

Our last stop was the Rum Factory.  Really, if you want to drink local rum, DO NOT VISIT the local rum factory.  The vats are open. their are bugs everywhere, it’s dirty.  The final process cleans all that up I am sure but you don’t need to watch it made.  This factory made 70% rum.  That’s 150 proof!   Jim, Roxanne and Dan sampled it and it nearly killed them.  It burned their mouth.  In case you were foolish enough to buy some, our tour guide pointed out that the airlines won’t allow you to bring 70% rum on the plane.  That says it all!!!

!   

   Grenada’s goodness 

 

  it was all too exciting for Roxanne!

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