June in Grenada

Port Louis MarinaIt’s coming to the end of our first month in Grenada and we’ve managed to do some sight seeing to get our bearings and also catch a few buses to see what they’re like.  All in all, it’s a nice friendly place and the locals are very hospitable. We got the bikes out and have cycled into town a few times, that takes nerves of steel as the roads are quite busy and the lorries here don’t take any prisoners. There was a bit too much interest in our bikes in St.George so we did a u-turn and headed back to the marina rather than trust leaving them in sight even though they’re alarmed.

We have some nice neighbours on our pontoon, fellow Oyster owners, so bound to be nice!

We’ve discovered some nice places to eat other than the marina restaurant, which is pretty good. There’s a great Sushi bar that does home deliveries (dangerous) and there’s a good food mall at an out of town shopping centre. True to form, we like to eat where the locals eat and have sampled some recommended local haunts. There’s a restaurant opposite the entrance to the marina and it’s like going to someone’s house. There’s no menu to choose from and they just bring dish after dish after dish after dish until you’re fit to explode. Then they bring pudding! 

We did a taxi tour covering the south of the island and first stop was a rum factory, home territory for me. We had our own guide who took us around the old part of the factory where they’d kept the original machinery that had been used to break down sugar cane in the days before they imported the molasses. It was really interesting to see the old machinery and learn about the process used to create the rum. We had the obligatory rum tasting at the end of the tour and as usual I ended up on the other side of the bar for a photo. We bought 5 bottles of various strengths to add to my expanding, almost impressive collection. Rum tasting Grenada  Next stop was a herb and spice garden where we were invited to smell a large selection of leaves and twigs that were snapped off and handed to us. My nose was on overtime. The guide was extremely knowledgeable about all the plants but I was a bit dubious as she rattled off all the ailments that some of them ‘allegedly’ cured. It’s a wonder that anyone gets ill over here!   We were shown the humble cashew nut which is a rather odd looking thing. The nut, which is the seed, grows on the outside of the fruit and it seems a lot of effort for one little nut.  When I think of the handfuls that I devour in one sitting I think I’ll treat a packet of cashews with more respect in future.

There’s a lovely beach just around the corner from the marina that’s a short dinghy ride away and we’ve been there a few times, stopping at the Coconut bar for a drink.  The dinghy dock provides the perfect place for local kids to run along before jumping into the water and also a good place to be forcibly launched from.  A few of the lads asked us for a lift out to one of the navigation buoys as we were leaving and they clambered aboard, giggling away to each other and then as we approached the buoy they all dived in and raced back to the dock. It’s no wonder they’re as thin as rakes.

I bought a paddle board thinking that any exercise has to be good for me.  I go running at 6am in the morning but any later and it’s just too hot, so the paddle board is good fun and quite a challenge to stay upright.

Yesterday we went on another taxi tour with our neighbours and went up the north east of the island.  We went around a cocoa plantation and learnt all about cocoa pods and beans. We wandered with our guide in search of a suitable pod that he cracked open to let us taste the beans inside. The flesh around the bean tasted of citrus, very nice in fact. We were shown where they were fermented and then dried before being shipped off to make chocolate.  We drove up the road to the Grenadian Chocolate Factory. (Someone else’s front room!) This was more like it!  Beans to chocolate after passing through several different rooms and machines.  The highlight of the tour was a back room where they hand wrapped each bar of chocolate. Grenada Chocolate FactoryOne guy pouring chocolate into moulds, two girls patiently folding foil over each bar, another girl hand writing something on each paper wrapper (the date maybe) and then a final girl putting the wrapper on. Unbelievable! Loved it!   We were treated to a tasting. 60% cocoa (nice) up to 100% (vile). 71% being my favourite.

We then went to another rum distillery but it left a lot to be desired. The guide obviously didn't want to be there and the buildings were a bit stinky. To be fair to them, they were still using exactly the same processes and equipment that they’d been using for the last few hundred years but it didn’t entice the taste buds. They actually made their own molasses and there was a mountain of left over sugar cane pulp and a working water wheel.  Vaguely interesting!

We didn’t buy any rum!

There’s plenty to see and do on this island so I don’t think we’re going to be bored between now and November.  We have weekly conference calls via Skype with Carina and Steph to catch up on all the news. Carina is moving house next month and Steph is busy with her wedding plans so there’s plenty to catch up on!

The cats are fine and have their own routine.  They never cease to amaze me, they’re so adaptable and so goddam cute!