23 October 2008

Grenada: the Spice Island

Thursday, October 23, 2008

We've been exploring the beautiful island of Grenada over the past few days. There is a fantastic, albeit scary at times, public bus system which gets you around the island from $1 to about $3. The drivers like to play their music loud and test their acceleration and brakes, so without seat belts it can get pretty hair raising.

Kit Kat is due for surgery tomorrow morning at 8am. She'll be at the animal hospital over the weekend to recover but the vets are hopeful that she'll have a speedy recovery and will be healthy for several years. So keep you fingers crossed!

Today we're extracting the final pennies (or so it seems) from our bank account and are buying a 85 watt solar panel from Island Water World. Our wind generator and 36 watt panel are not keeping up with the fridge and we're running our engine to charge the batteries far more than we want. There's nothing like disrupting a peaceful tropical anchorage with running your diesel engine to keep the batteries full! No thanks!

The other day we went on an in-island tour with Jim, Wendy and Mike. Stop 1 was the Mt. Carmel Waterfalls, the tallest in Grenada, 75 feet.

Mike paying his bus fare in St. George's, Grenada.

After the waterfall, we took the bus to Grenville, a town on the east coast, and had one of the best island meals I've had: jerk chicken, breadfruit, plantains, rice, stewed calallo, a green salad and fresh golden apple juice. With full stomaches, we walked a couple blocks to the nutmeg factory for a tour. Before Hurricane Ivan, Grenada was the 2nd largest nutmeg producer in the world (Indonesia is #1), but now they are only at 10% of their pre-Ivan levels. The factory was a flashback to the early 1900s: everything was made of wood, the nutmeg was left to dry on wooden frames, the woman who sorted the nutmeg sat on wooden stools and they had wooden chutes and block and tackle wooden "elevators" to move the nutmeg around the factory. All around Grenada there is evidence of USAID donations, most obviously on signs, but in the nutmeg factory I saw some USAID tarps. I didn't know USAID made tarps!

shopping for groceries can be done at the 1-stop modern IGA, but it's a lot of fun to spend a couple more hours and go to the fish market...

the produce market, and stop at the IGA for things like pasta and cereal.

It's been raining a lot...yet another downpour approaches Whisper across Prickly Bay.