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Mrleft8
02-04-2008, 09:10 AM
It was an unusually warm January 17 here in southern Connecticut. I had just been picked up by Carter at the South Norwalk train station, enroute to the airport Ramada Inn at JFK international airport in New York. We had a 7AM flight to Grenada to catch the next day, and it makes more sense to pay for a room with the "park for free" option than to get up at 1AM drive down and park in long term parking. (It's actually cheaper to stay and park than to use long term parking)
We had tripple checked our bags the night before and were fully confident that we had forgotten something important, but wouldn't figure out what it was until we needed it.
A nice light dinner and a few cocktails at an undisclosed location within the JFK terminal, and back to the Ramada for a good night's sleep, and what would probably be our last hot shower for at least a week.
Friday morning at 3:30 Carter is up and just getting into the shower. I'm nodding off for another 35-40 minutes of deliscious slumber.
RING RING! RING RING! I'm jolted out of bed. I pick up the phone thinking it must be the automatic wake up call from the front desk. RING RING! RING RING! Wtf!? RING RING! It's Carter's cell phone. This can't be good..... "He-hello?" I say (sounding in my own head, a lot like Bob Newhart). "Douglas! Where are you guys!?" comes the hearty voice of Carter's boss, Jim.
"Jim..... What are you..... I'm in bed and Carter's in the shower...Why are you calling at 3:30 in the morning?"
"IN BED!? You guys gotta get moving! You ARE leaving for vacation today aren't you?"
"Yes Jim....We're already at JFK..."
"OH.... Sorry....Thought you were driving down this morning.... So, while I have you on the phone, do you know if Carter got the <blah blah blah> file..."
"Goodnight Jim. I'll have Carter call you when she gets out of the shower." CLICK.
So much for that last bit of pillow hugging soft as a cloud crisp motel sheets snuggly drowsy sleep.....
3 hours later we're in the jet way boarding the Air Jamaica flight to Point Salinas Grenada.

Vince Brennan
02-04-2008, 09:23 AM
Oh, TELL me there's more coming! I'm SO jealous of you in the Caribbean at this time o' year.

Russ Manheimer
02-04-2008, 09:34 AM
Been waiting for this. Next installment please.

S/V Laura Ellen
02-04-2008, 09:59 AM
Okay, were watching for the next instalment.

htom
02-04-2008, 10:29 AM
I'm hooked. She does have the file?

S.V. Airlie
02-04-2008, 10:30 AM
I don't remember a day in January that was 80 degrees in CT. Doug...Certainly not the 17th if I recall. I mean 80 is just barely warm for you...

John of Phoenix
02-04-2008, 10:56 AM
A nice light dinner and a few cocktails at an undisclosed location within the JFK terminal, Undisclosed location. ;)

It's amazing, I always gain weight on your trips?

Mrleft8
02-04-2008, 11:13 AM
Undisclosed location. ;)

It's amazing, I always gain weight on your trips?
I've been warned not to mention the name of the place, due to internal implications...;)

Michael s/v Sannyasin
02-04-2008, 11:18 AM
"undisclosed location" has got to be Virgin's premiere club, whatever it may be called. We all know how (cheap) err thrifty Lefty can be on vacation. :-D

Be careful with that free to park thing. My sister did that once at an airport hotel that was next to a golf-course. She came back from her trip to a busted windshield, and the hotel informed her that they were not responsible for any damage to her car... I think you might have more coverage in long term parking.

S.V. Airlie
02-04-2008, 01:55 PM
Well, no continuation.. I wonder if that is all he remembers...:rolleyes:

Ross M
02-04-2008, 08:07 PM
Its going to be fine week on the forum :D

Ross

Mrleft8
02-05-2008, 09:28 AM
Has it been so long that you've all forgotten? This story unfolds in small chapters to start, builds to a climax, then slowly deflates....Patience my friends.....Patience.....;)

Hwyl
02-05-2008, 09:34 AM
I miss Patience and her owner.

http://www.woodenboatvb.com/vbulletin/upload/showthread.php?t=42677

Mrleft8
02-05-2008, 09:55 AM
Point Salinas airport is small. Not Crown point airport small, but still really small. One runway small. Plywood box customs counter small.
Nice.
Wan, over dressed, bleary eyed travelers are pretty much waved through, and on out the double glass doors into the blissfully warm, moist, diesel scented air.
Step one: Peel off one or more layers of clothing, and try to jam them into already over stuffed luggage.
Carter and I tend to travel very light compared with most other people we see struggling with mountains of suitcases, boxes wrapped with rope or duct tape, plastic garbage bags.... Carter had her "Rolly bag" which would fit in any airline's overhead compartment except United, and a small day pack (which we also use for hauling groceries and supplies to and from "town"). I had a small duffle. Normally I'd have a small rolly bag too, but the amount of toys and books we brought this year caused the switch to the slightly larger duffle. Carter likes to bring piles of little toys for local kids.... Superballs, jacks, balloons, puzzles, coloring books and crayons....
Step two: Grab an ice cold beer and deflate for a few minutes.
By now the pores in our faces, arms, and legs are opening up, sucking in all that tropical warmth and moisture (and diesel soot). It feels like a cat nap version of a sauna.
We have about 2 hours to kill before our hop flight on an ancient twin Otter 6 seater to the island of Carriacou. This time killing is best done, we have determined, by sitting outside the airport terminal under an Acacia tree that happens to be about 12 feet away from the outside bar/food stand.
After about an hour we drag ourselves and our bags to the SVG airlines counter to check our bags for the flight. "Come back in half an hour, we're not ready yet..."
Oh damn! I guess we'll have to have another beer....
A little while later, bags checked, and in the waiting area, I see a pilot dressed kinda guy head into the duty free shop, buy 2 bottles of Johnny Walker red, and head straight out the door to the runway. That's when Carter grabs me and yanks me out the door, following the pilot guy. He's OUR pilot, and the rest of the passengers are already onboard. Neither of us heard any announcement, and a quick survey of other passengers confirmed that when the SVG plane came in, they all saw it, got up, walked out to the runway and waited, so the announcer woman figured there was no need to announce the flight.
WHEW!
As usual it was a delightful bouncy low flying ridge scraping flight. We landed at the tiny Carriacou international airport, which makes Point Salinas look like Dulles, and hailed a cab. OK so "hailed a cab" is a bit of a stretch... A guy in a van with a giant sunscreen decal on his window declaring that "GOD IS GREAT" asked us if we needed a ride, and where were we going...
"Hope's Inn. L'Esterre Bay" I said.

Virgin Gal
02-05-2008, 10:28 AM
The SVG Airplane

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9859dc7c100000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-05-2008, 10:30 AM
The Carriacou Airport

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f98591c7cd00000046109AcM27Vw0bW

Hughman
02-05-2008, 10:36 AM
<encouragement> ;)

Mrleft8
02-05-2008, 10:50 AM
The SVG Airplane

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9859dc7c100000036109AcM27Vw0bW What you don't see here is the red and blue striped bungee cord holding the starboard engine inspection hatch shut, or the threadbare (literally) tires...

Michael s/v Sannyasin
02-05-2008, 10:52 AM
maybe the Johnny Walker was meant to boost the octane for the Otter....

StevenBauer
02-05-2008, 11:58 AM
Hey! You guys are posting your own pics this time. :) How about that?
Looking forward to tomorrow's installment. :D

Steven

Mrleft8
02-06-2008, 08:56 AM
It used to be an easy walk from the airport to L'Esterre Bay. What you did was wait for the airplane to leave, and the automatic gate that blocked the road that went across the airfield and runway to open. Then you simply walked across the airfield, through another automatic gate, up a small hill, and around a corner... Voila! L'Esterre Bay! But the gate would occasionally "malfunction", and wandering goats would invade the airfield to take advantage of the luxurious grazing.... So, when the SVG flights would approach (Or Liat), they would first have to do a fly-over to be sure the runway was clear. Well........ Reportedly on more than one occasion the runway wasn't as clear as it could have been... Resulting in roti meat that wasn't quite ready to be roti.... Now the trip to L'Esterre takes about 15 minutes by van. It's a little vexing to spend 15 minutes holding on for dear life as your kamikaze driver takes hairpin gravel covered curves at break neck speeds, narrowly avoiding a head on collision with one of his counterparts heading the opposite direction, only to see the airport from the other side....
Emanuel (our driver) pulls up outside of a tall iron gate, set into a tall iron fence with little pointy spear tip things along the top, and toots his horn. Nothing. TOOT TOOT! Finally a chubby little kid saunters around the corner of a house behind the fence. "Ya"? says the boy.
"Open de gate, you expecting some guest today?" calls Emanuel.
"I dunno."
"Where your fadder at?"
"I dunno."
"You mamma home?"
"No."
Just then a giant silverback gorrila shuffles out of the next door way, backhands the boy across the top of his head and says something that sends the kid scampering to open the gate.
Emanuel drives slowly through the gate and around the house to a large stucco building in the back lot. There's another tall iron gate, but on the other side of this one is white flour sand, and wonderful caribbean blue water. A large motor yacht is anchored a half mile or so off in the distance, along with a few medium sized sailboats.
The silverback shuffles up put's his hand out and says "You must be the Americans, good to see you. Come and Ill show you the place. I'm Samuel."
The chubby little kid has been joined by another chubby little kid about a year or so older than him.
We pay Emanuel, and follow Samuel into our apartment.
Kitchen with refridgerator, tiny 2 burner stove, table, chairs, nice big counter with a sink.
Bedroom with 2 double beds, a wall mounted fan, a ceiling fan (more on that later), a dresser, a wardrobe, and a sink. A seperate room with a shower (COLD!) and another with a toilet. Who could ask for anything more? The sound of the waves on the beach 8 steps away.
"I don't think I told you I just open a little store up by the road, and we now have a restaurant for lunch and dinner right next door..."
That settles the question of what I'm making for dinner! RESERVATIONS!!!!!:D

Virgin Gal
02-06-2008, 09:05 AM
Our Apt. at Hopes..

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9b99c46ee00000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-06-2008, 09:06 AM
our beach...

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9a23a87ed00000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-06-2008, 09:07 AM
the view..

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f99c2206da00000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Bruce Taylor
02-06-2008, 09:09 AM
your kamikaze driver takes hairpin gravel covered curves at break neck speeds, narrowly avoiding a head on collision with one of his counterparts heading the opposite direction,

All too familiar. :D I have one of Fidel's "Carriacou busride" T-shirts to remember it by.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
02-06-2008, 09:49 AM
I miss Patience and her owner.

http://www.woodenboatvb.com/vbulletin/upload/showthread.php?t=42677

So do I.

No more Patience, no more "Hon. Uncle" Ian for Alex.

John of Phoenix
02-06-2008, 11:20 AM
Kitchen with refridgerator, tiny 2 burner stove, table, chairs, nice big counter with a sink.

Oh yummy, FOOD.

J. Dillon
02-06-2008, 05:03 PM
You went down there to hade COLD showers ?:eek: Ya coulda stayed home for that .;) Some guys have it too easy.:cool:

JD

Memphis Mike
02-06-2008, 05:22 PM
Beautiful beach but the thought of Lefty layin out on it with his man boobs kinda sullys up the picture.:D

Virgin Gal
02-06-2008, 07:07 PM
Beautiful beach but the thought of Lefty layin out on it with his man boobs kinda sullys up the picture.:D


Well put....:):):):)

Memphis Mike
02-06-2008, 07:13 PM
Glad you're back VG. I was gettin lonely.;):D

Mrleft8
02-06-2008, 07:14 PM
Just a little snack sized installation to keep you going. I won't be posting tomorrow...
Carter walked up to the store with Samuel while I changed into shorts and dozed off on the bed.
When I awoke, it was to the charming sounds of icy cold beers being installed into our fridge.We each had one before wandering next door to check out the restaurant.
The room was typically high ceilinged with slow moving fans, and local artwork decorated the walls. There was a bar with a half dozen stools, and a TV on a shelf up in the corner.... WHEEL OF FORTUNE had the attention of the two boys, a plush older woman, and a girl who looked to be about 15 or so, with deep chocolate skin and pure white, even teeth. Movie star teeth. "Good evening." She said glancing at us, flashing the smile and quickly turning back to the TV as some over coiffed JEOPARDY reject squealed when her pointer ended up on "VACATION".....

Virgin Gal
02-06-2008, 07:25 PM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9ff0cc76d00000026109AcM27Vw0bW

Hwyl
02-06-2008, 08:00 PM
Great photography Carter.

StevenBauer
02-06-2008, 08:17 PM
Love the tag team action. :D

Steven

S/V Laura Ellen
02-06-2008, 10:55 PM
Love the tag team action. :D

Steven

That's because Lefty (Grumpy) doesn't know how to post images. Seems that Carter is the brains of the team.:D

Spin_Drift
02-07-2008, 03:29 AM
Lefty, Carter, wonderful trip and I love to see the photos. :D

Can hardly wait for the next installment. :)

Keep 'em coming...:D:D

Concordia...41
02-07-2008, 05:51 AM
Yes - the pictures are a nice new addition to the story telling.

First Lefty paints a picture with his words and then Carter posts the real thing. :)

S.V. Airlie
02-07-2008, 07:42 AM
That's because Lefty (Grumpy) doesn't know how to post images. Seems that Carter is the brains of the team.:D

And this is something we didn't already know....?:rolleyes::D;)

Russ Manheimer
02-07-2008, 08:13 AM
How about another snack Doug?

Virgin Gal
02-07-2008, 04:51 PM
Hi Russ, Lefty is still out of it so here are some pic's of the restaurant

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9c293064400000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-07-2008, 04:54 PM
and Elizabeth...."mom"...


http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9ff20c74100000025109AcM27Vw0bW

Russ Manheimer
02-07-2008, 05:18 PM
Thanks, Have a Caribe on me.

Russ

Rum_Pirate
02-07-2008, 07:05 PM
You went down there to hade COLD showers ?:eek: Ya coulda stayed home for that .;) Some guys have it too easy.:cool:

JD
COLD showers ? The 'cold' water themperature is in the high seventies. :cool:

rufustr
02-08-2008, 01:54 AM
The photos from your management are a boost to your thread lefty, looking forward to a good story.

Mrleft8
02-08-2008, 10:07 AM
During a comercial break for some wonder drug that will stop your legs from twitching, as long as you don't mind migranes, internal bleeding, sore throat, terminal flatulence, and rarely, seizures. (You should avoid driving until you know how you'll react...) Our hostess introduced herself as "Samora" and asked us if we'd like a drink. I kept my sarcastic self neatly stowed for the time being....She was too cute to confuse so early in our stay. The older woman sprang to her feet the way that some...er....hefty people can. Like a cat. "Good evening! Good evening! I'm so sorry to be rude! This show juss suck me in sometimes though! I am Elizabeth. This my daughter Samora, These my boys Denzel and Michael. There another one but he not here as yet. He be Taug, but we call he 'Fatboy'. You want some dinner tonight?" We do, but first we want to sit and relax a few minutes, if that's ok. "Of course! Of course! Just sit and enjoy! Where you coming from, England?" We explain Connecticut and she nods and nods. "So it part of America but in England?" So we start again. Meanwhile Samora has delivered two large vodka & tonics with one icecube in each glass. A throwback to the days of inadequate freezer capacity, drinks are regularly served barely chilled, and always under iced. Beer, on the other hand is most often served below freezing, with a half inch of slush on top. Both Carter and I drain off the top inch of our drinks and ask for more ice.
Samora has an odd accent. Obviously West Indian, but there's a crispness to her diction that is unusual., and she doesn't use as many "local" words or phrases as most. Turns out she spent a year in London with relatives after she finished school. She couldn't stand the weather, or most of the people she met, but she loved the way they talked...... Wait a minute....."Finished school"? "Yes, 'finished school'. I know everyone thinks that I'm only 17, but I am 21." WOW! OK, then you're old enough for me to unpack my sarcasm :D .
After Carter and I order drink #2 (with extra ice please) we ask Elizabeth what's on the dinner menu.
Ginger chicken.
Grilled Baracuda.
Stewed pork.
Lambie stew. (Good thing I asked what that was because Carter was about to order what she thought was lamb stew....It's Conch)
Curried shrimp.
All served with red beans and rice, vegetables, provision, and a small salad. Provision is cooked plantain, taro root, casava root, and occasionally potato.
It's quite good if you're in the mood, otherwise it's just starch.
We both ordered the ginger chicken.
About 9PM Carter wandered off to bed. I decided that I'd have one more to make absolutely sure that I slept straight on through the night. Even though it was a very quiet area with only an occasional car to be heard passing on th road in front, and the gentle hissing of waves on the beach behind, you never can tell on your first night in a new place how you'll sleep.
"I'll have Samora dat" I say to Samora, and she laughs and both boys (now hunched over their school work books frantically trying to finish their homework while sitting on a chest freezer behind the bar) flash smiles, and tease their sister. Samora pumps me for information about New York, and Washington, and Philidelphia. I don't know too much about Philly, or DC,and I tone down my oppinion of NYC. I don't want to discourage her completely afterall.....
I trundel off to bed at about 9:30, and am asleep the second my head hits the downy soft pillows... And the matress is extra firm, and the sheets crisp and cool, with the sea breeze blowing the curtains, and....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! RATTTA-TAT-TAT! THUD! THUD! Bee- Bee- WHAH!
WTF! Both Carter and I are bounced out of bed. The windows are rattling, the room is pulsating. It almost feels like the beds want to walk across the floor!
I look at the clock. 10:30. Where the hell is this"music" coming from? Certainly if Elizabeth were hosting a dance party next door she would have informed us.... I throw some clothes on and head out to investigate. The restaurant is dark and locked up tight. As is the house (Seems they don't live there), as is the front gate. I can just see off down the street, a long low green building, which had been shuttered up tight when we'd gone by earlier. Now ot was wide open with light spilling out onto the road, two half oil barrel grills are fired up and sizzling with chicken and pork. There are at least 2 dozen revellers on the front steps, and in the street, and judging from the noise, and the way the building was shaking, at least as many inside dancing. The music was so loud that I couldn'tmake out any words.... It was just a wall of sound and rythm. I mean you could actually feel the beat. Like when you were a kid at a fourth of July parade, and the bass drums marched by....
Well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em right? Wrong. The gate was locked up tight, and 7 feet tall, and had little pointy spear thingies on top. I checked the gate over by the store. Same thing. I checked the gate to the beach, figuring that I could get around by walking down the beach, then up the street. Locked tight.
Oh well..... I get back into bed, pull out the little foam ear plugs that I sometimes wear on the plane, piled a pillow on my head and tried to sleep. The music finally stopped, or at least toned down enough so that I faded out around 3:30......

Ross M
02-09-2008, 09:42 AM
ok, ok, its only 9:45... still might be another installment today...

ooops - thinking out loud. Sorry

Ross

Mrleft8
02-09-2008, 11:11 AM
I woke up again at about 7:30 or so. Carter's already outside on our little front porch with a cuppa coffee, and a paperback. I pull on my shorts, and a T-shirt and shuffle outside with a frosty Coke in my paw.
"Shhhh!" says Carter, pointing to a small gray wad of fuzz hanging from the eaves above the doorway. "Hummingbird nest." She grins. "It's sooooo cute!". And it is. It's a tiny little Ruby throated hummer and it's clearly miffed that we've intruded on it's territory.
I ease myself down into the other chair on the porch and take in the scene. We have a Coconut palm directly in front of us, between us and the concrete wall which supports the fence separating the beach from the Inn. To the right is a jumble of small bushes, and beyond that a tangle of small trees, vines, creepy trailing things with spikes and feeler grabby tendrils.
To the left is a little stone (concrete) foot bath, and beyond that the high wrought iron gate to the beach. Around the corner to the right is a clothes line and an outdoor shower. Around the corner to the left is the parking area, the restaurant, and really, the whole rest of the "compound" which consists of the store, a large house, which I had assumed Elizabeth, Samuel, et al lived in, but apparently is rented out to someone else.....Still not exactly sure how that all works.... And the long fruit tree lined driveway out to the road, and the tall wrought iron fence out there. In my exploritory wanderings around the yard this morning, I determined that Carter and I were the only humans in the compound. Plenty of goats. Plenty of chickens (And one rooster whom we named "Stew" as a verbal warning to him). and some very cool lizards, and birds. I also determined that both gates were still locked up tight. I examined them again to make sure that there wasn't something simple that I missed in the dark last night. Nope. Locked up tight. For all intents and purposes, Carter and I were prisoners for the time being. The beach is right there..... Water 50 feet away, cool Caribbean water, with gentle lapping waves. Tiny purple fishes nibbling your toes. Warm soft sand massaging your travel weary feet...... All just out of reach.
Around 10:30 we hear voices. A large shirtless guy with a wide smile and an orangish afro is on his cell phone out in the parking area. After he puts his phone away I ask him if he has keys for the gate locks. He shrugs, and asks if I've seen the boys or Samuel. He lives in the big house, but has no keys. Basically he's trapped too. But he has nowhere he wants to go, so it doesn't bother him. It's Saturday. Saturday after a big celebration Friday night. I ask him about the music, and he assures me that it's a Friday night thing.....Then.... "But it might happen tonight too, because it almost Carnival...."
So Carter and I sit back down and resume reading. Around 11:30 Samuel shuffles around the corner and asks us how our first night was. We tell him. Then ask about keys to the gates. Samuel looks surprised. "They not suppose to be lock when we have guests....The boys must have forgot and lock them up. It won't happen again, sorry" We assure him that it's no big deal, and he asks us what we have planned for the day.
Our plans included going to town to stock up on basic supplies. Considering that the "Stove/oven" in the apt. isn't really big enough to cook anything major, my job is much easier.....On some levels. No pizza for instance.
There is spaghetti of course, and omelettes, and redbeans and rice, and...... But I can get all these things right nextdoor, and not have to deal with the dirty dishes....
We do need to hit the ATM. Having arrived too late on Friday to hit the bank, and cash in T-checks.
Out on the road, we start walking towards town waiting for a van to head down the road in our direction. A lot of people will walk out to the road, and wait. I've always been of the oppinion that if I'm moving I'll get a ride sooner. Counterintuitive I know, but it's just one of those things... We get a good half mile, just past the back side of the airport in fact, before a van toots it's horn and pulls over for us. We clamber in and wedge ourselves in with the 9 others in the Toyota mini-van.
As is almost always the case, 50 feet farther down the road there's a tap tap tap sound on the vans interior panel, and the driver pulls over to let somebody off. As is almost always the case, this person is all the way in the back, carrying several bags of groceries, and about 105 years old. So we all clamber out of the van, help the sweet little old lady out, someone runs up to her house with the groceries, and she has to thank everyone in person for being such good people. They really are good people. From what I've seen, people on Carriacou really do help eachother out, and not just the young helping out the elderly, people are just helpful. The driver makes up for lost time by bolting his foot to the floorboards.
By the time we get to the taxi stand by the port, Carter is looking whiter than usual, and I have a knot in my calf muscle from trying to hit a brake pedal that wasn't there. First things first. ATM. Carter has success thefirst try. Good sign! Grocery store. Coffee, milk.... I still can't get used to boxes of milk on unrefridgerated shelves... Peanuts, Cokes, cheese, etc. and tonic. "No tonic as yet. Suppose to be on da boat today, an it juss come in. Maybe in a hour...".
Up the street to the market for vegetables. Cucumbers, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, onions.....
Pass by another store that has a pile of fresh cases of sodas and beers. Maybe the delivery from the boat's been to this store already...."Tonic water?" No.
So we stop in at a little waterfront bar that we'd frequented 4 years ago. Thankfully they had tonic water....2 bottles..... Carter and I refresh our parched gullets, and as usual Carter makes 5 new best friends within 5 minutes. Carter has a knack for making friends. I do not. People's first reaction to me tends to be dismissal, or disregard. Which is fine with me. Carter hears that a little store up the street, the side street, not the main street, has recieved their ration of tonic water already, so I'm sent up the street to fetch the ellusive quinine elixir.
"Tonic rationing?" I ask the store owner. "Yes. It happens when the yachts races come by. All the English want their gin and tonic, and to find tonic becomes a real challenge...." Oh great! I'd forgotten about the regatta.....

Rum_Pirate
02-09-2008, 01:27 PM
I don't remember a day in January that was 80 degrees in CT. Doug...Certainly not the 17th if I recall. I mean 80 is just barely warm for you... The response was to 'cold' water in the Caribbean and not any where else . . I agree that I certainly do not hnow of a day in January that was 80 degrees in CT. ;)

Virgin Gal
02-10-2008, 07:51 AM
very cool hummer and nest...

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f99c2606de00000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-10-2008, 07:53 AM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9a25906be00000035109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-10-2008, 07:55 AM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9b5e7c7a300000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Mrleft8
02-10-2008, 11:06 AM
I walked back in to Joseph's "No name" bar sounding like a tinker's wagon. Clink clink clink. Ten 10 oz. bottles of precious cargo safely ensconced in the day pack, surrounded by other comesibles. And surprises may never cease! "fresh" bread! OK so it looks like a loaf of French bread.....But it's texture would indicate that it's really the same old doughy, bland white bread available anywhere in the Caribbean on any given day..... But it called out to Carter from a store shelf, and she took pity on it....
Tonic all gone from behind the bar, Carter and I mosey on to the next stop.
BEACH.
A quick cheese sandwich and change into beach togs (for me that's switching from the cargo shorts with the secure pockets to the fast drying cargo shorts.), find the reading glasses and towel, and through the gate to....... Paradise! No half naked Germans! No babbling Brits! No space invading cackle voiced Americans! It's just us, and a friendly little dog who thinks that Carter's beach cloth is THE place to be. Carter's such a push over that it's not long before the little dog is sprawled out spread eagle on it's back in the middle of the wrap, while she's balanced on the fringe edge, on her side trying to read her book.
Every time I get really into the book I'm reading ("The Old Wine Shades" by Martha Grimes) something catches my attention out on the water. Usually it's nothing more interesting than a bulbous gleaming white running shoe with a toothpick sticking out of it. But then there was this beautiful green work boat looking thing. It brought to mind Airlie, although the look was quite different. But she clearly had workboat roots...
After a while I slipped beneath the turquois surface and cooled off at about 7 feet. Pure clean water with very little flotsam. No plastic bottles, no styrofoam burger packing, no dead pelicans.... This is a very nice beach! And indeed tiny little fishes nibbling on my toes!
When I get back to the beach, the little dog has decided that the best place in the world to be in UNDERNEATH Carter's beach cloth, and she's sitting there watching a he excavates a mini-grand canyon for his sleeping pleasure...... Blasting sand all over everything and back. Nice doggie.....
Smart we are.... We decide not to become 7 shades of red on the very first afternoon, and I retire back to theroom for a short nap. Carter heads up the beach to see what she can find.

Virgin Gal
02-10-2008, 12:12 PM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc31b3127cceb4b2d980cdf700000026109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-10-2008, 12:14 PM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f99c1206ea00000036109AcM27Vw0bW

elf
02-10-2008, 12:31 PM
You think "running shoe" is as accurate as "clorox bottle"?

Mrleft8
02-11-2008, 11:03 AM
There's "clorox bottles" and there's "running shoes".....These were "running shoes".
There's a better picture of that green boat...
Anyway....
The sun has gone down by the time I wake up from my short nap, and I start clattering around in the kitchen, finding the things I need to make a quick dinner. Salad, with fresh lettuce, carrots, cukes, tomatoes, green onions,and herbs of curious and murky lineage, but we've been assured that they are "salad herbs". Unfortunately we couldn't find any vinegar except distilled white vinegar, so the salad is served..... dry. Second course is macaroni and cheese. It came out pretty good all things considered. Carter wobbles through the doorway as I'm taking the pasta off the stove top.
"There's a fun little place up the beach for dinner...."
The chances that Carter's going back out tonight are getting slimmer and slimmer as the seconds tick by. We settle down at the table with our bare bones meal, and scarf it all down in minutes. I had no idea that I was so hungry. I didn't FEEL hungry until I started eating.... Carter's in bed and asleep by 8PM.
I double check the gates. Both un-locked, but the padlocks are positioned in such a manner that the casual passer by would think the gates secured. I stop in at the restaurant and The boys and Samora are watching CNN. Elizabeth is in the kitchen doing something with more Conch. I'm guessing this is conch eating season. Probably some special meal for carnival or something. I have heard a lot of guys in town talking about "lambie soup, with bois bande" and rubbing their bellies and hooting.
I order a drink and Samora sits next to me at the bar and quizzes me about American politics.
The boys are splayed out on top of the chest coolers behind the bar, doing their homework.
The phone rings and Samora answers in her clipped hybrid accent. " ....Yes we are open for dinner from noon until 10:30 at night except Sunday....Yes we... Yes, just a momen..... Yes, Please hold on one min... OK then, We'll see you in... <click> Well! SOMEBODY sure is in a hurry!" she laughs and skips to the kitchen door. "Mother, We will be serving some people for dinner in a....Oh here they are!" as headlights sweep across the parking area and into the open double doors of the restaurant. The boys scamper off the coolers and disappear into another room.
Two heavilly tanned crew cutted men, wearing polo shirts and tastefully faded red cotton "yacht shorts" with Nantucket whale scene cloth belts, and topsiders stalk into the room, hands on hips and scan the ceiling (What are you looking up there for? looking for cameras?). In a loud voice one of them, the one with his Tommy Bahama sunglasses dangling from a rope around his neck, says "Do you think this is the restaurant?" The other one jams his hands into his pockets and does a 360, as if by spinning around, another room might suddenly appear. The women follow in, tripping over their espadrilles. Both in their early fifties at least, and dressed like Paris Hilton.
Samora turns on her considerable charm and greets the group and shows them to their table. Thankfully as far away from the bar as possible. Samora takes drink orders, and offers to recite the choices for tonights dinner. One of the women snaps out "Just bring us the drinks and leave the menus...."
Samora brings the drinks and explains that there ARE no menus, as the menu changes every night depending on what is fresh and available that day.
They were a completely self contained cell, entertaining themselves with tales of their own stunning abilities and amazing feats of sailorly daring-do. They didn't complain about anything except the slowness of the drink refills, and thankfully they paid in cash. As they were leaving, one of the by now completely blotto wives leaned into Samora and shouted "Thank you SOOOOO much for telling us the food instead of just throwing a menu on the table! It was SOOOO nice!...." I resist the impulse to tell the guy with the Tommy Bahamas, that he has a big gob of stewed callaloo nesting in the center of his glasses...
I listened until I could no longer hear their car as it headed back towards Tyrell bay. On the plus side, they probably weren't having any trouble driving on the wrong side of the road tonight...
The frogs sang me a sweet lullabye, accompanied only by the brush on cybal rythm of the sea.........

Bruce Taylor
02-11-2008, 11:38 AM
Skillful nesters, those hummers. We saw one in Roatan that had built her nest around the pull chain of a ceiling fan.

What a warm story. My daughter just trudged through the room wearing her parka, saying "You know, you should be able to live in a house without wearing a coat."

More, please.

Domesticated_Mr. Know It All
02-11-2008, 07:36 PM
A great story so far.
Especially good reading, while snowed in tonight.

Virgin Gal
02-11-2008, 07:37 PM
oops, posted the wrong pic....sorry:eek:

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc30b3127cceb4ac9a8ed56b00000006109AcM27Vw0bW

Mrleft8
02-12-2008, 10:44 AM
Sunday morning, and again Carter is already outside, taking pictures of a very pissed off hummingbird. This is clearly the advantage of going to bed at 8PM. The sun is up, the breeze is strong and coming straight from Africa. I deposit myself in the chair next to the door, cold Coke in hand, and pick up my book. "OooooooH! Look!" I look at Carter. "No....Not here, there!" She says pointing at the hummingbird nest. So the bird's in it's nest again, chattering up a storm...... "It's saying 'Good morning!'" No...It's saying "GET THE HELL AWAY FROM MY NEST".
There is a down side to the constant, cooling breeze. Every morning you need to go on scavenger hunts to locate any clothes that you left on the line to dry overnight. I found my T-shirt in mortal combat with a Bougainvilla bush. My towel was tied in some sembelance of a clove hitch around the line, and my quick dry cargo shorts were perched precariously on the very edge of what appeared.....Smelled like a septic lagoon..... A blessedly down wind septic lagoon.....
Carter, being the smarter of the two of us, has figured out that looping bits of her clothes around the business parts of the barbedwire fence top keeps her clothes where she left them. I'm a quick learner....
I'm such a quick learner, that I remember one of the things I learned the last time we were here. DO NOT TAKE A SHOWER BEFORE NOON.
The water that comes out of the tap in the sink is tepid at best. The water that comes out of the shower is ICE COLD! I know some of the houses have a big black tank on the roof, which acts as a sort of solar water heater, but I can't see one on our roof..... None the less, the water is decidedly warmer in the afternoon.
We grab our books, towels and water bottle and begin the long walk to the beach. Ok we're there! :D There REALLY is something SO nice about living 8 steps from the beach!
There's not another soul stirring on the entire beach, as far as we can see. There are a couple of locals out in their boats zipping around the sand bars and reef. I guess they're probably checking traps, but they're too far out to tell really. Carter tells me that there's a little beach bar a quarter mile or less to our right, where they have a nice lunch/dinner menu. (hint hint) We loll on the beach soaking up the sun, slipping into the cool refreshing silky smooth water to cool off, resting in the shade of a Sea Grape tree, getting up to inspect a curious bean pod, or sea shell, or ghost crab. "The Old Wineshade" is dragging a bit, but I'm almost done with it, and there's a James Patterson next on my list...
Carter gets up to replace our empty water bottles with full vodka & tonics a little past noon. She returns just as a bright pink familly of Euro-cools with a passel of screaming, whinning bra......er. cute little darlings plops their gear down RIGHT NEXT TO US!. There's 2 miles of un-inhabited, silent, pristine beach, and these dweebs have to settle in with their bag after bag of plastic toys, diaper bag, and non-stop asking each other if such and such is right, and where is so and so's floaty bubble, and who packed the.... The little darlings imediately start throwing sand at eachother which the mommy thinks is adorable, until one gets sand in his eye and then she starts howling at the father to control the other little darling and father takes the little darling into the water who instantly starts screaming that the water's too cold and.....
Time to investigate that little lunch spot.....

Michael s/v Sannyasin
02-12-2008, 11:12 AM
Yea, it is like if you're the only car in the parking lot, the next guy in will park right next to you. I think some people need a frame of reference in a wide open space, and you provided it.

Keep it coming, this is great!

Hwyl
02-12-2008, 01:09 PM
Brit's and Europeans are taking a bit of a trashing in this thread. Since I'm both, I am duly insulted.

elf
02-12-2008, 01:17 PM
Most people just can't stand to be alone.

John B
02-12-2008, 01:44 PM
Happens all the time anchoring too. A whole bay , empty but for us, and they have to come in and anchor 30ft away.

[waits];)

Virgin Gal
02-12-2008, 06:10 PM
like there is NOT enough beach to share......


http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc33b3127cceb55536a54dae00000026109AcM27Vw0bW

Bruce Taylor
02-12-2008, 06:37 PM
the constant, cooling breeze

They don't call them the Windward Islands for nothing. ;) The Christmas Winds make for lively sailing, I'm told (the only thing I sailed in Carriacou was a hammock).

J. Dillon
02-12-2008, 06:42 PM
Well Doug, Did you sail .... or boat at all ?:confused:

JD

Mrleft8
02-12-2008, 10:17 PM
Well Doug, Did you sail .... or boat at all ?:confused:

JD I guess, my impatient friend, that you will just have to read along with the rest of the crew, and find out as the story unfolds..... ;)

Mrleft8
02-13-2008, 11:05 AM
The "Hardwood Bar and Snacket" is a lively little patchwork assemblage of plywood, two by fours, tree trunks, corrugated roofing (AKA "Galvanize"), and paint. LOTS of paint. It's situated off the side of a largish parking area where taxi drivers strand tourists who have been led to believe that "Paradise Beach" (The actual name of the beach which is outside of our apartment) has sights to see, and luxurious dinning facilities. There are a few leaky pangas tied to the Sea Almond trees on the beach, and there are always a handful of enterprising young men willing to take you on a tour out to Sandy Island, or over to Union, or just exploring the coast line. The price for these trips varies greatly depending on A: what you're wearing. B: what time of day it is. C: What day it is. and D: which option you ask for. The prices drop dramatically every time you say "No thanks". A trip out to Sandy Island for us started out at $150 USD. By the time we'd actually walked up the 3 steps to the deck of the Hardwood, it was down to $75 USD......"Because the day half over"....
The Hardwood is owned, and largely operated by "Mamma Joy", a sweet woman in her early 40's, and her husband, Bo. They have a couple of girls working in the kitchen, and one helping out at the bar when Bo has a customer who wants a boat tour, or water taxi ride to town. The Hardwood boat, appropriately named "Hardwood", is the nicest looking boat in the crowd, and it doesn't seem to leak as badly as some of the others. A water taxi ride to town is $50 EC, and may be something fun to do....But not today. We're almost completely tapped out of cash. One of the down sides to arriving on Friday evening....
Carter has instantly attracted a horde of small children, who are all clambering for the toys she's doling out...Bouncy balls, super elastic bubble plastic baloon stuff, a jump rope... And ofcourse this attracts the attention of Mamma Joy who is curious why all these children are "bothering the white lady". Carter assures Mamma Joy that they aren't bothering her at all, and before too long Carter and Mamma Joy are best friends talking and laughing, and sharing cigarettes, andexchanging e-mail addresses.....
There's a cook up going on off to the side, between the Hardwood,and a crumbling concrete wall which is trying to support a dubious looking house next door. A large black pot is bubbling and steaming on the fire. It smells wonderful! I wander over, cup in hand, and peer in. "Cook up" says a broad shouldered man with a plaid button down shirt with the sleeves cut off at the shoulder, and a "Mr. T mohawk. I know it's a cook up... What's IN the cook up? He smiles at me. "AH! You know cook up eh? You been here before then?" Yes, but am I so white that you know I just got here? "You not white, you red mon! You need some aloes. Also I never saw you before, so you must be new here....I know everyone. My name is Stephen." Good to meet you stephen! And we shake hands. His hand easilly wraps around mine and thank god he's not one of these guys who feel the need to crush another guys hand while shaking... So what's in the cook up? "Fish, and other tings..." Other tings huh....? "Yeah, cassava, taro, plantain, aloo, meat, chip chip..." What kind of fish? Stephen takes a sharpened stick and pokes around the bottom of the pot and comes up with a whole little fish about the size of a pool ball, but flat. "Deez kinda fish..." Ah...Ok... You don't clean the guts out before cooking? "Why do dat? dats where most of the meat is..." ICK! OK I think I'll hold off on the cook up...
I buy Stephen a beer and we sit and talk for a bit, occasionally fielding an errant bouncy ball for one of the kids. When one of the bouncy balls ended up in the cookup pot (The prestone anti-freeze green one) Stephen fished it out and threw it waaaaaaaay out into the parking area, sending 6 or 7 screaming kids running into a line of lurching taxi vans with grumpy swearing (but smiling all the same) drivers. The parking area is criss crossed with ropey exposed roots of Sea Almond and Cedar trees. These roots are deadly to the unsuspecting bare toes of tourists, but are merely part of the play ground for the kids. The ball takes a wild hop off of one of the roots and ends up in the beach.
I notice that Stephen, and some of the other guys that have gathered at the fire (Fire attract guys like lightbulbs attract moths.) are drinking Listerine out of little 6 oz. bottles. Not swishing and spitting....DRINKING. Like I said before, I'm a quick learner. The Hardwood has Jack Iron rum! Jack Iron is available in it's true form in only one place on earth. Carriacou. It's something like 190 proof, and some who've imbibed will tell you that there's something else in it. Something slightly hallucinogenic. People who drink it regularly can speak a special language called "Jack Iron speak" that only other people who are drinking Jack Iron can understand. Two people drunk on Jack Iron can carry on a perfectly rational conversation together. No one else can understand a word they're saying, it just sounds like "Blah bluh blak bbbbbblugger, blah blah!". The other thing is that apparently you don't get a hangover from it. I've never tried it, but I do enjoy watching people drink it. :D
Carter and Mamma Joy are still chattering away like a couple of parakeets in a cage. I walk down the beach a bit to look at some beat up old boats lying under the trees. There's one that looks a lot like a larger version of my Cat's paw. It's probably about 20' long by 6' beam. stove in just below the waterline on the port side, it is almost assuredly an ex-boat. VERY stoutly built with hefty sawn frames, and planking a full inch thick, this boat must have taken a hell of a pounding to have been damaged this badly....Just a guess, but I wouldn't doubt that Ivan had something to do with this...
I signal to Carter that I'm headed back, and she indicates that she'll be along in a little while.
The Euro-cools have gone with their little darlings, so I drop to the sand and pick up "The Old Wineshade" where I left off... I have no idea how long I'd been dozing when the tickle of surfon my toes woke me up. I had sand in my ears, sand in my mouth, sand in my nose, sand in my hair, sand in places I didn't know could get sand... And my glasses are...... AH! on the book! Phew! I stretch, and walk into the cool clear water. At chest deep I dive under and try to scrub most of the sand out of my orifices. A losing battle, but a worthy effort none the less... A fresh water shower will get the rest in a few minutes.
COLD! Cold cold cold! Shampoo quick! Soap up quick! Rinse once, rinse twice! Quick get towel! Quick run out into the dying sun quick!

Virgin Gal
02-13-2008, 11:47 AM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9b504467000000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-13-2008, 11:49 AM
Stephen using his muscle to blow up a punch ball for the kids

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9a25306b400000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-13-2008, 11:51 AM
momma joy


http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9ff2ac74b00000026109AcM27Vw0bW

Hughman
02-13-2008, 12:15 PM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9b504467000000036109AcM27Vw0bW

What, exactly, is meant by the illustration on the right side of the sign? Something out of the cook-up? :eek:

Mrleft8
02-13-2008, 02:05 PM
What, exactly, is meant by the illustration on the right side of the sign? Something out of the cook-up? :eek:
I sure hope not!!! I believe that that is a mythical beast, only known to certain island cultures in the extreme southern Caribbean...It's called a "Snacket"....;)

John B
02-13-2008, 02:14 PM
The mind boggles.

J. Dillon
02-13-2008, 03:18 PM
Doug, I bet you wish you were back there now;)

Writing is a lonely job.

BTW that sign you posted with the questionable image on the right is remarkable like several carved in stone on the streets of Pompeii Italy. They indicated to the casual visitor where the local brothel was. ;)

Were you missing something ? :eek:

JD

Hwyl
02-13-2008, 03:25 PM
It's not questionable, hard wood in Caribbean, means --- well "Hard wood".

Mrleft8
02-13-2008, 03:29 PM
Can't slip anything by you two super slueths can I?.....;)

Hwyl
02-13-2008, 03:36 PM
Me no know you know.

MiddleAgesMan
02-13-2008, 05:34 PM
I think it's a crude representation of a pissle from a miniature deer, widely used as seasoning in the cook ups. ;)

Spin_Drift
02-13-2008, 06:22 PM
What, exactly, is meant by the illustration on the right side of the sign? Something out of the cook-up? :eek:

Rather suggestive. Looks like a "shoot out"...:eek:

More, more. It's like almost being there with you. You tell the story well and I love the pictures too...

Mrleft8
02-14-2008, 11:39 AM
Carter had snuck in while I was inhaling the beach apparently. She's sprawled out on her bed, glasses on, snoring to beat the band. I pull a pillow over my head and pick up where I left off on the beach.
I wake in the half dark of twilight in the Caribbean. The sun sets , and the stars come out faster in the Caribbean than anywhere else I've ever been. Carter is up, and I hear her talking to someone outside. She's talking to a baby goat. Trying to convince it that she won't eat it, she just wants to pet it. The goat's mother is contentedly munching on the flowers outside the closed restaurant.
We'd decided that the little beach bar/restaurant that Carter found yesterday would be the perfect place for dinner tonight. Mostly because Carter had seen the "VISA and AMERICAN EXPRESS WELCOMED HERE!" sign. We're out of cash except for just enough to get us to town in a bus tomorrow, where we'll do the bank thing.
The "Paradise Bar and Grille" is very much like the Hardwood, except that all the patrons are pink, and wearing flowered sun dresses, or Hawaiian shirts, knee length white shorts, and open toed sandals with black sox. Don't these people know enough not to wear white shorts on vacation?
The menues are printed on heavy card stock, laminated in plastic. Lots of cartoon fish adorn the borders, and the drink names are typically cute. There's also a chalkboard with the daily specials. Carter orders a curried chicken dinner and a Glass of chilled white wine. I ask what kind of fish the fried fish dinner is. "What kind of fish you tink it gonna be?" Barracuda? I say with a hopefull lift to my eyebrows. "Of COURSE it barracuda !" says the young woman taking our order. And a Vodka and tonic please while we wait. "No tonic as yet, maybe tomorrow. We have soda water...." Nevermind, I'll have a Guinness.... Carter thinks to confirm the sign on the wall.... You DO take credit cards right? "....Welllllll. Not just now, You see, the credit card machine is broken, and....." CANCEL THOSE ORDERS! Sorry, but we have no cash. As we get up and start leaving we hear the murmering circulating the floor..... Clearly we weren't the only people planning on paying by credit card....
So, our options are cheese sandwiches and a salad at home, or back up to the Hardwood, to see if they take plastic. The joint is busy, but subdued as we arrive. Stephen is out by his fire with a dozen or so other guys. He's playing dominoes against a younger fellow, and beating the pants off him. This is NOT the dominoes game that my grandfather taught me. This is like full contact last man standing wins dominoes. The tiles are slammed down so hard that the other tiles all jump, and need to be straightened out beforeplay can resume. It's an intimidation tactic, and it works to intimidate me from even considering playing a game. That plus the fact that it looks like Stephen is getting rich off these games...
Carter's talking to Mamma Joy, who's shaking her head. Carter's shoulders slump, and she turns to me and shakes her head... Then Mamma Joy puts her hand on Carter's shoulder and leans in close and says something that makes Carter's face light up. I walk up the steps to the bouncy deck and Mamma Joy says "No problem, We know where you staying, you can pay us tomorrow....Where you gonna run off to? It an ISLAND!"
So Carter gets her chicken (fried instead of curried) and I get my fried fish (No idea, but it wasn't barracuda shaped.) There's a big pile of rice and lentils, a fairly large salad, a mound of coleslaw, cooked carrots and plantain, and potatoes, and macaroni and cheese, and stewed taro root..... Enough starch to stiffen the limpest....er.....Shirt.
I ask Bo about buying some Jack Iron and putting it in a large plastic bottle the next time one goes empty. Plastic because I'm bringing it home with us and I don't need the extra weight, or breakability of glass.... "You need to drink more vodka den. I juss trew out a plastic bottle today, now we have a almoss full bottle needs to go empty..." I'll find a water bottle if I need to...
We left there at 9:30 or so full of good food, and plenty of drink. I did my level best to put a dent in that vodka bottle, but it still looked awful unempty.... But the best thing was.... Having nice people do nice things for people that they really didn't know at all. The food could have been horrible, but it still would have been a spectacular meal.

Rum_Pirate
02-14-2008, 03:18 PM
But the best thing was.... Having nice people do nice things for people that they really didn't know at all. The food could have been horrible, but it still would have been a spectacular meal. Yes it is nice.

Unfortunately there are some (more and more) tourists that come to the Caribbean islands and cheat the people that put their trust in them.

This makes the (us) people here less and less trusting of visitors.

This results in the visitors complaining that (obviously the ones that are cheated) have an attitude problem. :mad:

Who is spoiling applecart . . not us!!!

I can still pay my bar bill with a cheque (without any cheque guarantee card etc) at all the bars here.



PS Passing a dud cheque, here, is severely dealt [if an oversight no problem BUT if fraudulent oh oh] with and the prisons are not like the 1st world resort hotel style jails.

Mrleft8
02-15-2008, 11:43 AM
As usual, Carter is already up, and having her coffee out on the little covered porch, watching the hummingbird. I have two little piles of coin stacked up on the kitchen table....Our bus fare to town.
Sitting outside watching a lizard scampering around the coconut tree a sudden chilling thought crosses my mind.... Is this Martin Luther King Jr. day? I think it is..... Banks will be closed..... But do they celebrate MLKJr. day in Grenada? Certainly a lot of black American figures have reached nearly mythical status down here.
There's a crashing of underbrush, the clanging and bonging of a pile of metal pots being knocked asunder, and a thudding staccato beat. Sounds almost like galloping horses.....
No, galloping goat. A nanny goat comes skidding around the corner, nearly rolls ass over teakettle, but gets her footing at the last minute, and rockets on past us. Samorra blasts around the corner, skids on the loose sand, nearly looses her footing, sees us, flashes that movie star smile, drops a quick curtsy, and continues in hot pursuit of the goat.
I look at Carter, who's giving me that "Did I just dream that, or did you see it too?" look. We both look out over the wall at the SVG plane coming in on it's approach to the runway, and Carter says, in a lazy monotone; "I don't suppose goat'll be on the menu tonight."
As we're walking up the driveway towards the road there's a loud THUD right behind us. My first thought was "We're about to get butted by a goat".....But no, we just were nearly killed by a falling coconut. It's a beautiful deep brown one, about the size of a rugby ball, and heavy with water. I bring it back to our apt, and head back out to the road, where Carter is waiting. We walk on down the road waiting for a van to come by. Toot toot! A bright red Toyota minivan rolls up and the door slides open. At first I think it's Emanuel, but this van's sun shade is "BLESSINGS!" There're only 3 others on board, so the ride is a little easier in one respect. On the other hand, the nice thing about being packed in like sardines is that when you take hairpin turns at warp speed, you are kept more or less in place by the other bodies (And I figure that in a catastophic collision there'll be a lot more padding). When the van is mostly empty, you slide all over the place. We take a different route this trip, going up towards the center of the island to drop 2 school girls off at Six Roads. I try to figure the village name out, as there only seems to be three roads in the village, but maybe because each road is a two way street......
Carter is talking to the driver, with her eyes clenched tightly shut, knuckles white, holding the back of the front seat in a death grip.
The bank is cool. Airconditioning. And miracles of miracles! the line is only 2 people long! I cash in several Amex T-checks, and the teller asks me where I'm staying. I tell her Hope's Inn, and she asks for the phone number.....Uh...... No idea. She calls her supervisor, who makes a great show of heaving herself out of her chair, and waddling up to the counter. She examines the checks, looks over the top of her cats eye glasses at me and says "We must have a telephone number to contact you should there be a problem with the checks." I ask her if she knows of Hope's Inn. She does. I ask her if she knows Samuel and Elizabeth, She does, Elizabeth is her second cousin. I ask her if there's another Hope's inn on Carriacou. Not that she knows of. Then she gives me a big toothy grin and says "I see! Because we know where you are, and there is only one place called that, then there can only be one place where you are!" This is a little to cerebral for me, but I just smile back at her and nod. She istructs the teller to give me the EC and tells me to tell Elizabeth that Hester says hi....
The security guard opens the door for me, shaking his head, smiling and chuckling quietly to himself.
Carter's waiting outside near the port, dodging entreaties from taxi drivers trying to talk her into a tour of the island. Choices choices choices..... We decide to slip into another of the portside establishments that we'd been to before for a quick refreshing sip.
This place holds an interesting place in our history. This is the place where, 4 years ago, we got the recomendation to go to Anse LaRoche beach. A good 35 minute hike up a steep hill, through a tiny bit of rain forest, then down a veritable cliff to a beautiful, remote beach, with good surf. Part of the Grenada national parks dept. at the time, it was a wildlife sanctuary, and sea turtle egg laying location. It was also a drug smuggling beach, which no one bothered to tell us about until after we'd been robbed, in apparent retribution for disrupting a drop. Thankfully it was not a violent encounter, merely expensive. Since then the Grenadan Government, in it's infinate wisdom, has sold the property to a Trinidadian, who has posted it with no tresspassing signs, and booby traps. Gee.....I wonder what he's using it for.....
There are 4 loud, thick waisted Brits, with Australian style bush hats, khaki hiking shorts, and pleat pocketed safari shirts. Long sharp pointy ended hiking staffs leaned against the table between each of them. They're engaged in a conversation with a bleary eyed, thick waisted, heavily sunburned Brit ex-pat, who is trying to impress this group with large scientific sounding words. They're talking, by and large, about joint replacement surgery. The ex-pat keeps telling them that all you really need after joint replacement surgery is Thorazine.....Lots and lots of Thorazine....
No tonic. We decide on beers, Carib for Carter, Guinness for me, and take some pictures of work boats. There's an interesting freighter, gaff rigged and just setting sail....
The group of Brits are getting up and preparing to beat a hasty retreat from their new found best buddy. It seems that the ex-pat must have some issues..... He's messed his shorts, and is oblivious to the fact. Bad news wearing white shorts on vacation.....
Carter and I are sucking down our beers double time before he decides to lasso us..... He spies us just as we slurp down the last of the fridgid foamy goodness. "What is today anyway....?" He slurs... Monday the 21st I say, hoisting the empty day pack over my shoulder and heading for the door. "Ah! GOOD! My check arrives tomorrow....."

Hwyl
02-15-2008, 11:51 AM
Brit's and Europeans are taking a bit of a trashing in this thread. Since I'm both, I am duly insulted.

Bears repeating

Mrleft8
02-15-2008, 07:37 PM
Bears repeating Repeating bears are often ignored....;)

StevenBauer
02-16-2008, 02:04 PM
Sleeping in today Lefty? Or do we have to wait 'til Monday?


Steven

Hwyl
02-16-2008, 02:49 PM
He's been descended upon by the in laws.

StevenBauer
02-16-2008, 04:16 PM
He's been descended upon by the in laws.

Possibly necessitating it's own serialized thread. :D



Steven

Mrleft8
02-17-2008, 10:39 AM
We catch a ride back to L'Esttere in "BLESSINGS". The driver/owner says his name is "Puti" or "Pootie" or "Pootee".... Not sure how that's spelled, but I'm assuming "Puti", like a little angel... He and Carter are engaged in a spirited conversation about something, and it's doing nothing for his driving. Sliding around one blind corner on a bed of loose gravel, we are bumper to bumper with a giant Mack dump truck filled with sand. Puti swerves one way and the dump truck driver swerves the other, tearing up the underbrush growing along the side of the road, and sending up a plume of dust. The "door keeper" mutters something under his breath, and settles a little further down in his seat.
Most of the bus/taxi drivers have a "door keeper". A person who sits just inside the sliding side door. He opens and closes the door, rearranges where people are sitting occasionally, and collects the fare. It's in their interest to make everything happen as quickly, and smoothly as possible, and to cram as many people as possible into the van on every trip. They get a cut of the take for the day. If they survive.
Puti drops us off at the Hardwood, and we hop up onto the deck. Mamma Joy sees us and comes over to greet us. See? says Carter, I told you we'd be back! "And like I said, I know you be back! It's an island! No place a colored person can hide for long here!" She laughs.
I ask what we owe her for last night as Carter orders us a couple of refreshing drinks from Bo. It wasn't as painful a tab as I was expecting. 2 dinners, and god knows how many drinks all for under $100EC. And that includes the 2 that Carter just ordered. Bo asks me if I found a plastic bottle yet. I tell him I have a nice 2 liter water bottle that'll do just fine in a pinch. He looks skeptical, but shrugs and disappears into the kitchen. Speakingof kitchen, something smells heavenly! I look on the chalk board and see, by and large, what I'd expect. Stewed goat, chicken diner, stewed fish... Then there's "Fried oysters". Oysters.... I live in what used to be one of the world's oyster capitols, but I never thought of the Caribbean as having oysters.... A plate of oysters comes out of the kitchen as I'm cogitating on this. AH! These are what a Tobagonian would call "Chip chip". Those little volcano shaped shells that can be found on most beaches in varying shades of pink and gray. So these fried oysters are each about the size of a small fingernail. I definately do not want a whole mountain sized plate of them, but I do want to see what they taste like, and Bo brings me a little paper cup with a half dozen of the little things. Sweet, salty, chewy like overcooked calamari, but all in all pretty good. I can see them being addictive like a bowl of popcorn. You start out with just a small handful, promising yourself that this is it, no more, you don't want to spoil your appetite. Next thing you know you're ordering another beer, and the bowl is empty.
The Weather Channel is on the TV over the bar. The sound is turned off so that Issac Hayes can convince the ladies how smooth he is, but the big blots of white surrounded by pink covering most of North America, tell me all I need to know. The next frame is showing the temperature extremes from the last 48 hours. The Northeast has dropped something like 60 degrees in 48 hours. The current tep. in NYC is 12f with a windchill of -60. It doesn't suck being right here right now.
We head back along the beach to our apt. and some quality time with our friends the sun, sand, and sea. The friendly little dog trips out of the seagrapes growing on the edge of the beach, and asks us if he can join us on what MUST be a terrifically exciting trip to someplace where there are endless bowls of food, and little children to play with. We don't have the heart to tell him that we're just boring middleaged visitors, and the most exciting thing on our agenda for the day is deciding whether to turn a page, go for a dip, or turn over.
The SVG plane drones along the coast and dips below the tree tops on it's approach to Carriacou international airport. A squadron of Pelicans play "Fly high then die"as they go crashing into the clear blue water, sending up great cascades of silver spray. Occasionally one even comes up with a fish in it's pouch.

Virgin Gal
02-17-2008, 10:53 AM
sorry a little behind in the pics...

the goats
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9b5e7c7a300000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Bruce Taylor
02-17-2008, 10:58 AM
a little behind in the pics...

Not so little, for a goat.

I could go for a roti, about now.

Virgin Gal
02-17-2008, 10:59 AM
pelican's at play

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9c2a5067200000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Mrleft8
02-17-2008, 10:59 AM
Not so little, for a goat.The photo may be deceptive....The little one is about the size of a cat.

Virgin Gal
02-17-2008, 11:09 AM
freighter setting sail

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc36b3127cceb573b9feb6ef00000026109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-17-2008, 11:11 AM
pelican's splashing

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9c2a1067600000026109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-17-2008, 11:13 AM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9a26e87b900000036109AcM27Vw0bW

StevenBauer
02-17-2008, 11:35 PM
Is this the area?

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc36b3127cceb6555bbb471000000026100AbNnLhizaOW KA


From Google Earth. Looks like a cool island.

Mrleft8
02-18-2008, 10:30 AM
If you look on the extreme left hand side of that picture, right where the road takes a sharp left hand turn, there's a light colored swath of land right next to the beach... That's the parking area by the Hardwood bar and snacket. There's two buildings you can easily see on the other side of the road. The longer one, further from the Hardwood, is the rum shop that kept us awake the first night. Across the street, and one building further down, set off the road, is Hope's Inn...

Mrleft8
02-18-2008, 10:57 AM
The sun has set. It's a really breezy night, and a brief "passing shower" cooled everything off just before sundown, so it's actually kinda chilly. I know.....It's all relative, but I put on my long sleeved t-shirt. I don't really NEED it, but I feel all snuggly warm wearing it, and being comfortable is a large part of enjoying a vacation.
I can hear Carter talking to Elizabeth and Samorra in the restaurant, so I walk around the corner and join them.
Elizabeth has something going on in the kitchen that makes my mouth water the second I walk in the door. "Curried goat" she says answering my question. Carter and I look at eachother and start laughing. Carter asks Samorra if it's the goat she was chasing this morning. "Noooooo!" She laughs "That goat way too old, and it a nanny.....Has a baby" Carter asks her why she was chasing it. "She eating everyting!" yells Elizabeth from the kitchen doorway. "Damn goat eat all my flower gardens, eat the hedges, eat , eat, eat! You tink it'll eat the weeds? NOoooooo! Only eat my garden! Damn goat! If it don't have a baby I sell it to fat man to kill for roti. Damn goat!" Fat man is one of the island's few butchers. Every friday and saturday morning he sets up a stall on the back street in Hillsborough where he hangs whatever he's selling that day. We missed him last week because of the locked gate issue, and our itinerary has us on a boat this coming friday. 4 years ago though, we visited Fat Man's stall, and bought a huge rack of pork ribs. I didn't actually WANT a huge rack, but that's what Fat man decided I should buy. At about $4 USD it really didn't hurt, and I had enough smoked ribs for all the friends that we had made over on the other side of the island. We knew that our friends Alden, and Kofi had been killed in Hurricane Ivan, but we wanted to go visit with Evelyn, the owner of "the blue store" in Dover village, who had befriended us, and helped us with kitchen supplies when the owners of the guest house we were staying at fell short. And her husband "W", boat builder, and more likely than not smuggler, and Cosmo Chrissmas.(Pronounced "Crussmuss")
We've decided that tomorrow is a good day to go visiting. Samuel has come in, and has been standing nearby. He asks Elizabeth something in the local patois, that I still hadn't gotten used to yet. Then he turns to us. "You talking about "W" Stuart?" Yes we are. We ask Samuel if he knows him (Stupid question, I know....). "He dead"

StevenBauer
02-18-2008, 11:03 AM
A little closer:

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc39b3127cceb6505b4d683600000026100AbNnLhizaOW KA

Mrleft8
02-19-2008, 10:08 AM
Gray, blustery, damp. Down pours so heavy that you can't see the tree in the yard. The kind of rain that blows through window openings, and leaves a slick film of wet on everything, and no amount of breeze is gonna help this situation. This is a "whole day to dry out" kind of day. We're really not the least bit interested in standing out on the road trying to catch a ride to town, to transfer to a van going to the other side of the island in this. We briefly consider calling Puti and hiring him as a taxi to take us over to Dover village, but what if Evelyn isn't there?..... No. Today's a good day to lie in bed and read. There's gotta be one every so often to keep everything green and pretty. There is one little, nagging issue though.... We're almost out of tonic water, and I finished off the last coke at breakfast... Carter had found another little store up the road in the opposite direction from town, and when she was there before, they had tonic... Durring a break in the weather I head on up the road. By the time I got to the front gate my feet were already slipping and squishing in my sandals. The sun broke free about 100 yards up the road, and it was an instant sauna. The steam billowing up off the pavement, a million rubies, emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds lined the leaves of every living plant, before dropping off to join their friends in becoming part of the next down pour.
I pass an old man sitting on his front step across from an elementary school. He greets me with a traditional island phrase. "Right...." Right I say back to him "Juss cool..." He responds. I ask him how far the store is. Carter had indicated that it was just around the corner, but I feel like I've walked 3 times as far as she'd implied. "Juss ahead, on de odder side.... You'll see it juss so..." Indeed it is just ahead, on the other side, around the corner. And I reach the door as another monsoon crashes down around our ears... "Our ears" includes a group of school girls squealing and hunching and crowding into the doorway, effectively blocking my entrance until the woman at the check out counter yells at them to "Let de whiteman pass!". I take my time perusing the shelves. I'm in no hurry to go back out into that cascade. I pile a dozen tonic bottles (These are little tiny bottles....Maybe 8-9 oz.) a few 20 oz cokes, a jar of peanuts, a loaf of bread, a block of cheddar, and a box of milk into the basket, and stand by the cash register. The woman looks at the basket, looks outside at the rain, looks at me and says "You want that for here or to go?" She flashes a big grin and slaps her knee laughing at her own joke, shoulders jiggling, fanning her face, Her friend is likewise laughing, doubled over with mirth. I'll take that to go thanks, I say. I'm waterproof. I wait for a few minutes after paying, talking with the women, waiting for the rain to let up a bit. The school girls all put newspapers over their heads and dash off down the street. I step out onto the concrete front steps and the sun comes out. See? I say to the women. I'm magic!

Mrleft8
02-20-2008, 08:38 AM
The morning is bright and HOT! There's that aroma of rotting vegetation that you get in the tropics after a day of rain (actually, you get it after an hour of rain, but it doesn't last as long). Carter's out on the porch looking up at the hummingbird nest. It's empty. I remember a nature show I saw on TV once that dealt with hummers.... And one bit stuck in my mind this morning. Sometimes Hummingbirds just don't wake up. They fall asleep perched on a twig in some tree, and their little hearts slow down to a fraction of their awake heart rate to conserve energy. Sometimes they run out of gas before the alarm goes off. I'm hoping that Carter's little friend is just tired of yelling at us, and off somewhere getting a nice nectar breakfast.
I take the coconut out of the fridge and crack it on the front stoop. Wonderful, sweet, cold coconut water filling my mouth and running down my chin and chest. I offer some to Carter, but she declines. I finish cracking the nut in half, and pull off a big chink of crisp sweet nut meat. THIS Carter accepts with gusto.I pull another piece off for me. Full of protein, and sugar, coconut is like a power bar for breakfast. Yeah, sure, it's also full of fat, but I tend to think it must be "good" fat.
We catch a ride to town, make the transfer to the vans serving the other side of the island, and head up the snake back road to Windward. Old scenes for us. We've gotten lucky, and wedged in to Emanuel's "GOD IS GOOD" van. While still completely insane behind the wheel, he at least drives at a relatively safe speed. A lot of the road is unfamilliar to us. It's completely washed out and rutted in places. There seem to be entire little communities on hairpin curves that have disappeared. The bus stop bar/store where we discovered that we'd been robbed, and where the owner was nice enough to extend us credit, and arrange for a van ride for us is gone. No sign that it was ever there. The "night club" in Bogles is still roofless 4 years after the hurricane.
Evelyn's blue store is still there, at the crossroads to Windward, or farther along to Bayaleau. The store looks much the same, perched precariously on what must be massive concrete blocks, but look very.......Iffy. A new roof gleams in the late morning sun, and the open doorway is still a black gap in a bright blue wall. No light ever enters Evelyn's blue store. It's one of the darkest places I've ever been. There IS something new on the property though.... Right nextdoor is a large, brand spanking new concrete block structure, with sweeping wide curved steps, and large plate glass windows. An enormous airconditioning unit is parked in the weeds between the two buildings.

Mrleft8
02-20-2008, 01:37 PM
There's a post directly in front of you as you step up from the concrete block front step and through the doorway. In the past this post had small bags of curry powder, and other spices thumbtacked to it. Now there's a glossy color photograph of "W" Stewart in his healthy days before cancer attacked his stomach and left him a withered husk. In block letters printed on the bottom margine of the photograph is: WINSTON "W" STEWART 1940-2006. Carter makes a bee-line to the cooler and pulls out a Carib and a Guinness, as a disembodied voice from behind the counter asks "May I help you?" Carter brings the bottles of beer to the counter and I step next to her. "Oh My God..... It's you! You come back?!" Evelyn gets up from her stool in the even deeper shadows behind the register, leans over the counter and gives Carter a hug. She looks at me and shakes her head "How long it been?" Four years we tell her. "W dead" We tell her that we'd heard and condolences and all those awkward things that one says at times like this. We sit and drink our beers (Evelyn has a shandy) and refill them, I switched to a Heineken. We talk about things and she tells us that Alden and Kofi died, but she just saw Cosmo, and Popo, and she tries calling their phones, but only gets voice mail. How times have changed indeed......Popo and Cosmo have cell phones now....
A quiet, slightly built man slips in through the back door, and glides up to the front step where we're sitting. "This John. These old friends from the USA John, They come back before Ivan and all that...."
John is clearly Evelyns new beau. A very nice older gent, who has a distinct Brooklyn accent woven into his West Indian voice. "Just came back last summer, after 40 years away... Working in the city doing diff'rent things. Started out in a restaurant, moved to a gypsy cab, worked construction, city bus driver, now retired and glad to be home again..."
Time will do that funny little thing, and we realise that if we're going to get out before the vans all turn into school busses for the next hour and a half, we need to do it now. Hugs and assurances that we'll keep in touch and try to comeback again before we leave.
A red van picks us up and heads down the road to Windward. Windward took the full force of Ivan. The sea wall is still a pile of rubble, and parts of the road are still washed out almost up to where a yellow line would be if there were one. There had been two large rusted out hulks in the bay, a 1/4 mile offshore or so. One appears to have completely disintegrated, and the other is only 100 yards or so from the back wall of the credit union building. The boat building industry was back in business along the shore, boats pulled up into little drainage run off inlets, and mangrove. They're all doing repair work on small fishing boats except one. I ask the "door man" about it. "Yeah. That a new one.....For some rich fella up in da states..... Been workin' on he for a long time now. Started before the storm...." The skeleton is all weathered a beautiful silver gray, which would certainly match the time frame stated..... I'm a little dubious about how true the lines could be after all this time. especially considering the unstable waterfront property that it's being built on. About a quarter mile further up the street the driver slaps himself on the head and says "Did you want to take a picture of dat boat? I could go back...." I tell him not to worry about it, and he pounds the gas pedal to the floor. Around the next corner he mashes the brake pedal down and the door flies open admitting a chubby giggling woman with what looks like a wedding dress in her arms. Up a steep winding side street that would be suicidal in ice or snow, and turn around in an intersection large enough for a little more than half the van, and back on down the hill to stop infront of a tiny Baptist church with brilliantly illuminated wndows. The giggling woman hops out and rushes into the church, returning 30 seconds later. Someone forget their wedding dress? Carter asks "No, no, no (giggle) Dat's de priest vestments....I jus need to make some repair and 'justments <Hand aside mouth stage wisper> He gain some SERIOUS weight!(giggle)"
As it turns out we didn't miss the shool bus thing. We stop outside an elementary school, and about 500 hundred little kids clamber aboard. (OK, 15 kids....) Up the back side of the central ridge, a washed out dirt track, with a gully down the center deep enough to lose a Honda in. At the very top of the highest point on the ridge is the Carriacou hospital. Almost inaccesible since Ivan, clinics have opened up down nearer to town. But this is where people still go when they have broken bones, serious fevers, and other major ailments......If the ambulance can get through. It's a stunning view of the island, and the other nearby islands, and the cool, fresh breeze is a testament to the idea behind locating the hospital up here.....In the old days the only way to keep malaria or dengue fever patients comfortable was a decent, constant cool breeze.

Ross M
02-20-2008, 07:42 PM
Double Feature!!!

:cool::cool:

Ross

Mrleft8
02-20-2008, 09:04 PM
Double Feature!!!

:cool::cool:

Ross I was interupted by actual work, and had to cut the initial posting short.... So Yes.....I made an effort to accomodate my addict friends....:D

S/V Laura Ellen
02-20-2008, 09:11 PM
I made an effort to accomodate my addict friends....:D

My name is Allan, and I'm an addict (and enjoying it!).

Mrleft8
02-21-2008, 08:57 AM
Back in town, we stop by the ticket office to purchase 2 tickets for the 3 O'clock sailing of the "Osprey" on Friday. The Osprey is the ferry that goes back and forth from/to Grenada two or three times a day. It's a fairly small catamaran type of boat, and it moves along fairly quickly. About halfway between the two islands, the Osprey goes over an active underwater volcano named "Kickin' Jenny". Rumor has it that this can make the trip....."interesting".
We restock the larder at the main store, but still "No tonic as yet, maybe on the boat today..." We stop in at Joe's no name bar for a fortifier before heading back. The girl behind the bar, cell phone glued to her ear, is talking to a friend, taking our drink order, talking to a young suitor through the window screen (Telling him to get lost, but telling her friend on the phone that he's cute), and describing to Carter how to get to a different store that had tonic this morning... Talk about multi-tasking! Her hair is teased down straight in a helmet kinda looking cut, varnished stiff, and with a bright blue streak sort of flopped over from one side to the other. It's an interesting look.....
I head off in search of the ellusive tonic water.
SCORE! I buy a full case of the little bottles, and hoof it back to the taxi stand outside of Joe's. Carter's talking to Puti, who's pretty much filled up, but waiting for me before leaving. Nice to have people do simple things for you sometimes.... First stop was.... The store I'd just bought the tonic at. A guy gets out, unloads 8 cases of sodas that had been underfoot, and brings them into the store. And older lady is next. Her stop is literally 2 doors further up the road, and around a corner. We stop, turn around pick the soda store guy back up, snake our way through the back streets to the main street, back down past the taxi stand, pick up another young child, and head out toward L'Esterre.
Back on the beach soaking up the sea air, and hot dry sun.....The sand is the perfect temperature. Hot, but not so hot that it burns. Just hot enough to make you get up every 15 or 20 minutes to jump into the cool water. A couple walk up the beach and stop to talk to Carter. A few more dives down to try to catch that little blue and yellow striped fish that keeps bumping into my leg.
The couple turn out to be Puti's girl friend, who looks to be about 10 months pregnant, and her cousin, David. David works at the funeral home, and can get us charcoal for a cookout... I DON'T want to know....

Mrleft8
02-22-2008, 10:29 AM
Turns out that David's son loves anything airplane related, and wants to go to London more than anywhere in the world. Probably because that's the place he sees most tourists from... It just so happens that one of the "toys" that Carter brought with us is a book on making paper airplanes out of dollar bills. There's about 100 different planes in the book, some of which require 2 or 3 dollars to build, like the Boeing 747, or the AWAC. It gets donated to the cause, along with a cardboard dinosaur puzzle and a couple of bouncy balls for the younger brother.
I made omelettes, with minced onion, and sweet red peppers, and a bundle of "salad herbs" and a shake of Barons West Indian hot sauce, my new favoite hot sauce. And a big salad, with fresh lettuce, carrots, cucumber, super thin sliced onion, and juicy red tomatoes. I gotta say, the omelettes were a disappointment. I could tell as soon as I cracked the eggs that they weren't going to have as much flavor as some......But these were down right bland. Ah well.... The salad was very good.
Thursday morning and the hummingbird is still among the missing...
Carter has to go to town to hit the ATM up for cash to pay Samuel, and I tag along just because. Sitting at a dockside restaurant sipping a late morning bracer, listening to a familliar looking couple bragging about how they'd "scored big time" by basically screwing an old couple out of their property for a quarter of it's value, and watching the guys they were talking to go green with envy was making me slightly nauseous. Carter leaned over and whispered "Do you recognise them?" I nodded silently. "Dave and Ula's friends from New York" Carter hisses. I nod again. Now I remember exactly who they are and why they looked familliar. They'd arrived a few days before we left 4 years ago, and the whole time that we saw them he was nearly vibrating, licking his lips alot, and seemed to have a bad case of post nasal drip. He was still the same way now, but seemed even more frenetic, jumping out of his chair to pacearound the tiny wooden table, sitting back down, crossing and uncrossing his legs. I divert my attention to a cargo ship unloading boxes down the pier. The boxes come flying straight up into the air from the hold. They get caught by a guy on deck, and thrown up to a guy on the dock, who catches them, and tosses them up to a guy on the back of a truck. A perfect endless rythm. I try to take a picture, and capture a box in mid air, but it always seems to have been caught by the time the shutter clicks. In the background I hear the woman from 4 years ago ask Carter if they have met before....Looks familliar. Carter says "I don't think so..."
We beat a hasty retreat to Joseph's and I slip down the street to a little roti shop next to the police station to grab a couple of chicken rotis for lunch. This place serves the best roti in town according to several people asked, and it smells like a little piece of curried heaven in there. The woman behind the counter doesn't have any change in her till, so I tell her not to worry, I'll come back tomorrow for the 12EC she owes me.
It's really good! The only thing I can say against this roti is that it's a "Bone in" roti. which is what it sounds like. The chicken bones are in there too.....I prefer a boneless one that I don't have to disect by hand. But it's deliscious!
As we're stepping out into the bright sunlight, the New York couple are right there. The woman buttonholes us and says "I know where we saw you! At Dave and Ula's!" I say Yup, and Carter and I dodge between a couple of vans and squeeze into another one just as the door is sliding shut. CLOSE CALL!
Back on the beach by 1:00 and all afternoon to lie on the sand, read a book (Tony Hillerman's "Hunting Badger" now.), paddle about in the cool flat water. Elizabeth, Samorra, and the boys have just finished grooming the beach, which included hacking down a bunch of the Sea Grapes, and pulling up the roots, and raking the sand smooth. They've done a great job, and Elizabeth runs the show like a field marshal overseeing his troops. A well oiled machine with everyone doing their job in sync.
Elizabeth stands, hands on hips looking out towards Sandy Island. "Water too rough today. I was goin' to take a salt bath....But too rough." I look out at what appears to be a placid mill pond to me.

Virgin Gal
02-22-2008, 01:30 PM
the unloading of the boat

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9b98246f000000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-22-2008, 01:33 PM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9b981c7c300000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-22-2008, 01:35 PM
not sure there is enough beer....


http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4f9b54e463a00000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Mrleft8
02-23-2008, 10:53 AM
David brings his sons by to say "Thankyou" to Carter for the little gifts. They look very uncomfortable dressed in slacks and button down shirts with neckties, and dress shoes and socks. I ask the older one if he isn't roasting to death all dressed up like that. He steals a quick glance at his father who's looking the other way, and nods vigorously, hanging his tongue out like a tired dog. Obviously David is trying to impress Carter with how neat and polite his kids are. Fishing for those discount tickets to London that she had mentioned are sometimes available. The kids ARE very polite, but they're about to get heat stroke. I invite them to come into the cool of the apartment for a cold coke.
Evening is fast approaching, and we want to stop in at the Hardwood for a goodbye drink, and to pick up the Jack Iron rum. I bring the empty plastic water bottle, just in case.
Bo takes the bottle from me and looks dubious. "This break in you bag. I have someting better." And he pulls out a big plastic Smirnoff vodka bottle. It's not a 1.75l, but it's big. He motions for me to follow him around the building to the storage room around back. This is where he keeps the 50 gallon cask of rum. Jack Iron is not only only available on Carriacou, it is only legally sold in 50 gallon wooden casks to rum shops. Bo decants the rum into an old Carlo Rossi wine bottle by siphon hose, grinning as helicks his lips "Occupational hazzard" he laughs. He stands the cask back up, stows the siphon hose, plugs the bung and locks the store room door with 3 padlocks before heading back in to the bar. There he takes a small funnel, and pours the lethal liquid into the plastic vodkabottle. I half expect the plastic to wrinkle and dissolve, but it seems to hold up OK.
Mama Joy and Carter are exchanging information, and chatting, so I tell them I'm heading back after I finish my drink to pack, and get ready for dinner. Bo tops off my drink with a smile and says "You not getting out so easy as dat mon..."
Back at Hope's Inn, I have pretty much everything packed, even though we aren't leaving until mid afternoon. I do a quick scan around the bedroom and under the beds. All looks OK from my side of things.
The refrigerator is making a funny grumbling sort of noise, and I noticed that the icecube tray that Carter had filled up when David and his kids were here was just barely skimmed over.....Hmmmmm.
Over in the restaurant there's a table of 6 "Yachties", not as obnoxious as the first ones we saw there, but still worthy of my distain. I sit at the bar with my back to them, and join Denzel and Samorra in watching "JEOPARDY!" Elizabeth is in the kitchen making the world smell wonderful. I mention the ice issue to Samorra who tells me that she'll send me home with a "can of ice". At "Final jeopardy" Carter joins me and asks me what's wrong with the fridge.....It sounds like a freight train. I go and check on it. It sounds like a freight train. So I unplug it, and head back next door. The yachties are asking Carter (Who's WAY to nice to people, I would have pretended that I was deaf, or only spoke Tagalog or something) about Grenada and Trinidad, and Tobago. Not that Carter knows anything about Grenada, except what she's read, or been told by other people. They've decided that they want to go to Grenada, then spend a week on Tobago, and then a week on Trinidad. Carter advises them that Trinidad is not a very safe place for people who are not very good at disguising their wealth....And the fancy watches, and gold and pearl jewelry is kind of like dangling a steak in front of a tiger. The yachties listen to her intently for about 30 seconds, then laugh and claim that they aren't concerned. Sure sign of impending trouble, but that'll be their problem.
Elizabeth serves us sumptuous curried shrimp, and chicken, with all the side dishes. Half an hour later we're both stuffed to the gills, and still trying to nibble up the last grains of saffron rice.
Carter waddles back to the apartment, while I reposition myself at the bar and watch the rerun of a Democratic primary debate. It's down to Clinton, Obama, and Edwards...
I ask Samorra about the gray avocado shaped pods that I saw on a tree in the wild junglish area off to the right of the Apt. She thinks hard, scrinching up her face trying to envision my description. "AH! Mahogany!" She says pointing her finger in the air. Mahogany seeds? That would be very cool to see up close! I've never seen a Mahogany seed before.
The moon is about full, and reflects off the surface of the water in a million miniatures of itself. The breeze has picked up, and the surf hisses like a freshly opened bottle of tonic as it kisses the beach.

Virgin Gal
02-23-2008, 12:11 PM
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Virgin Gal
02-23-2008, 12:13 PM
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Virgin Gal
02-23-2008, 12:15 PM
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Russ Manheimer
02-23-2008, 02:59 PM
Doug and Carter,

Thanks for sharing the trip. Good clean fun.

Enough 'Jack Iron' for a taste at the WBS?

Russ and Julia

Mrleft8
02-24-2008, 11:07 AM
As usual, Carter's up way before me. I plugged the fridge back in last night before going to bed, and it didn't make anymore death rattle sounds. It also didn't make any ice, but the coca~cola was passable cool. I put on the clothes I intend to travel in, and final pack the duffle bag. Somehow, even with leaving three books behind, and a pile of toys, the bag feels considerably heavier, and fuller...
The hummingbird is still missing, and I fear that my initial thought is being confirmed, but I don't mention it to Carter.
Samorra trots around the corner smiling and hiding something behind her back. Standing in front of me she whips her arms out front and presents me with a beautiful silver/gray Mahogany seed pod. It's the size and shape of a very large pear, with four subtle lobes. It's very heavy and dense too. It could easily kill you if it were to fall out of the sky and bean you. I thank Samorra and try to figure out where I can fit this in the overstuffed bag... Back in the room Carter has most of my gear out of the duffle, and is rearranging all the stuff that I had already packed. I toss the seed pod into the bag and cover it with a T-shirt.
It's nearly noon, and it looks like I had better be scarce, or risk losing a limb while Carter re-packs, so I walk up the beach to the Hardwood. There's some very cool starfish in the water's edge, and the little dog is barking at them like they're invading his territory.
Stephen has the cook up fire going, with something that looks like a rugby ball wrapped in bannana leaves roasting directly on top of the firewood. I climb the steps and ask Bo what kind of fruit it is that's on the fire "Goat fruit" he says pouring me a icy cold drink. Goat fruit....Hmmmmm. Never heard of that one I think to myself.
I sit and watch the cook up. Stephen is "helped" by a small group of guys drinking rum from little listerine bottles. One of these helpers takes off his shirt, goes down to the edge of the water and dunks his shirt in, and comes back up giving his dripping shirt to Stephen. Stephen pokes at the goat fruit with a stick, rolls it over to inspect the other side and declares it "Done!" The youngest of the helpers walks over to a stump, and pulls a cutlass from the top, places it on the ground and waits. Stephen wraps his hands with the wet shirt and grabs the goat fruit at both ends and laterals it to the young guy by the stump who catches it against his belly, and quickly sets it on the stump, brushing burning embers and banana leaf bits from his skin and pants. He picks up the cutlas and begins to peel off the remaining leaf, then he takes a mighty swing, and cleaves the fruit perfectly in half lengthwise. The truth dawns on me as flecks of brain and gobs of fat fly through the air. "Goat fruit" is goat's head. Only slightly revulsed, I watch as the young guy chops the head up into 2-3" chunks and dumps them into the cook up pot which is already full of broth and vegetables and according to Mama Joy, pieces of goat meat. Do I want to try some?......Uh......No thanks, gotta go anyway!
We'd called Puti the day before to arrange for a ride to the pier at a little before 3:00 figuring that the boat would be on Island time. So there we are, killing time with Samorra and Elisabeth. We've brought our leftover tonics, a bottle of white rum that Carter bought the first night, and several half warm beers from the room to donate to the bar. I've told Samuel that the fridge is not just wounded, but more likely than not....Dead..... This starts a short rant by Elisabeth telling him that he's being stupid trying to repair "that old piece of junk" Seems that in the last year Samuel has paid a repairman more money to try to fix the unit than a whole new one would cost. Samuel ignores her with a practised yawn and change of subject.
Puti and his door man arrive early. We all make jokes about this. NO ONE arrives early in the Caribbean....EVER! So we have time to buy them a drink. Puti has a rum tonic, a home made sort of spritzer, fairly light in alcohol content, and very heavy on the lime juice.Very refreshing. The door man has a Carib. "No charge" calls out Elisabeth. Samorra looks shocked, and gives her mother a questioning look. "Dey juss gave you a bottle of rum, tonics, and beers, now you gonna charge dey too?" Samorra conks herself on the head and says "Of course not!"
A few minutes later we're all hugging goodbye, and Carter is assuring Elisabeth that she'll send the items from the States that have been requested.
A very benign ride to the port. We did, with our permision, pick up an extremely old woman who was standing in the road flapping her arms.
Puti is an exellent help at the port. As assumed, the boat is expected at 3:30 "or so" and we have this pile of luggage. Hillsborough, Carriacou is about the safest place you can imagine travelling in, but a pile of luggage is likely to attract the attention of some creepy crawler no matter where you are. Puti walks past the guard shack smiling and saying something to the port authority guard, who laughs, and waves us on through too. We follow Puti into a building with more armed guards and big signs saying "ABSOLUTELY NO ADMITTANCE!" He talks briefly to a guy who looks very unhappy to be being put in this position, but reluctantly nods towards a far wall. We can leave our stuff here so as not to have to lug it around town, and risk at the least hassle.
We thank him profusely, pay and tip him, and promise to stay in touch.
We stop in at Joseph's for one last refreshing cold beer. While we're waiting for that to appear, I jump off my stool, and run up the street to the roti shop. The woman sees me come in the door and asks me if I want another 2 chicken roti. No I say, not today, about to get on the Osprey. She laughs and says "Good. You smart den! Dat Kickin' Jenny eat a lot of people's roti lunches!" and hands me my change from two days ago. The boat comes in as we're just finishing our beers and we hustle off down the pier to the customs house, pick up our bags while armed guards very obviously ignore or look the other way.
The Osprey looks like an old oil can.... You know how if you squeeze an oil can, then squeeze it another way the initial dent pops out, but leaves a little crinkle?.....The Osprey has lots of little crinkles. "Hurrican damage" I tell myself. not wanting to think of the alternatives, like really hard dockings....
The boat leaves port only a few minutes past it's departure time stated on the ticket.
Hillsboro from the water is even smaller than it is from inside.
Get ready for the Dichotomy.....

Virgin Gal
02-24-2008, 11:53 AM
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Virgin Gal
02-24-2008, 11:59 AM
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Virgin Gal
02-24-2008, 12:12 PM
good bye Carriacou..till next time:(:)


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Virgin Gal
02-24-2008, 12:20 PM
it's out of order, but downtown Carriacou
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Mrleft8
02-25-2008, 09:06 AM
We clamber up to the upper deck as the boat pulls away from the pier, and take seats looking aft. A young guy glued to a cell phone, and speaking Itallian plops down across from us.
The sun is warm, the gentle rolling motion of the boat, and the steady drone of the engine conspire to entice me to nap. The Itallian guy talks louder, as if talking louder is going to help his cell phone find service in the middle of the Atlantic ocean.... He finally gives up and starts talking to Carter. I finally give up and open my eyes.
He's here for the regatta. He's left his boat in Tyrell bay, and going to Grenada to watch from a friend's boat. I ask what kind of boat he has. Some unfamilliar plastic job 34' long. He's never heard of Sparkman & Stevens. He's never heard of Alden, or Fife, Crowninshield.... He's never heard of Herreshoff. I ask him how long it took him to cross from Italy. "Oh! No, I just buy it here in Caribbean. I'll keep it here. I work as a landscaper in summer, and come to sail in winter!" He's 28 years old. I feel old and poor. His phone rings and he walks forward to talk.
I close my eyes and doze.
I'm awakened by the engines reducing RPMs as the water gets a little frisky. "Kickin' Jenny"? I think. I look around, no major surface disturbances. There's a very cool looking rock formation sticking up out of the water in the middle of nowhere, but that's it. The engines rev up again and we continue on our way. Seems "Kickin' Jenny" was just playing footsy today.
As Grenada slips into view it also seems to fade. The Spice Island is covered in cloud. As we round the point by Guyave (The village that never sleeps), the rain starts. It comes down in a gentle wafting mist at first, then quickly transitions to a full scale driving downpour. Carter and I get under the roof just in time. Even so the lashing rain has us, and everyone else, soaked in minutes. Carter pulls out my windbreaker and puts it on. I give her a look, and she says "What? You weren't wearing it..."
As we pull into the port of St. George we pass several large cargo ships. Not the cute little ones like we saw on Carriacou, BIG ones like you see in New York, or L.A. or Hong Kong.... And an ENORMOUS white cruise ship....
The rain stops and the sun peeks through the clouds as the boat pulls up to it's docking space, and ties up smooth as silk, not a bump or crump, or jolt even. We clamber down the steep, rain slick steps to the lower deck, and balance/wait for wave surge, hop to the gangplank which is alternately 4 feet away, or right up against the rubrail. Thankfully a deck hand reaches out and gives me a little tug as I land a split second earlier than I had intended.
It's loud. After Carriacou the rush and bustle of St. George is overwhelming, and slightly confusing. We sit on a wet bit of seawall and are instantly set upon by hucksters trying to sell us everything from black coral necklaces, to taxi rides to see the sights, or "Special prices on spices" just for us. We tell them repeatedly "no thanks, we're waiting for friends to pick us up" But these guys don't take "no" for an answer as nicely as Carriacouans. I'm just about to become an ugly American when a little red car pulls up, and a teeny woman of apparently Indian descent leans out the window and says "Carter?"

Virgin Gal
02-25-2008, 09:38 AM
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Virgin Gal
02-25-2008, 09:38 AM
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Mrleft8
02-26-2008, 10:42 AM
Neville and Sita are charming retirees with an odd mix of accents. A strong British element wrapped around a distinct Indian component....Imagine that Apoo, from "The Simpsons" had gone to Oxford University... They were both born in Guyana and moved to London in their late teens or early twenties. Sita worked as a nurses aid, and then a nurse, and still does part time work at the hospital in Grenada. Neville got into the electrical supply business. Several years ago in the mid nineties they visited Grenada, and loved the climate, and the friends that they were visiting impressed upon them how inexpensive it was to buy property, and live there. (Pay attention to this, it is very telling later on...) They instructed their friend, a retired London Lawyer to keep an eye out for a property that they could buy to retire to. A few months later the lawyer called them back in London, and they bought a property sight un-seen. They continued to work until both of their children were out of school and married and starting families of their own. Then they moved to Grenada, renting out their flat in London.
Neville and Sita are also tiny. They make Carter look tall. Their place is very nice. Situated right smack in the middle of the island, in a bit of a valley, it gets little breeze, and must be stiffling in summer, but at least this evening it's quite comfortable. We'd stopped at a store and picked up a few items including, joy upon joys, 12 oz. cans of Canada dry tonic water! Our hosts have invited us to join them for dinner that evening, negating the need for us to do any serious shopping until tomorrow. Curried pork, with all the trimmings, potatoes, saffron rice, stewed plum and some sort of greenish veggie. It was very tastey, and quite nice, once again, not to have to figure out a new kitchen on the fly.
Neville is a lecturer. One of these people who like to expound adinfinitum about any subject that he locks onto. Do not try to get a word in edgewise. Tonight's subject is, predictably, George W. Bush, and his international forays... Oh joy....

Virgin Gal
02-26-2008, 06:42 PM
Neville, Sita and VG

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Mrleft8
02-27-2008, 10:22 AM
No soothing sounds of the sea here. All night long trucks and cars zooming past on the main road a hundred yards away. Dogs barking, people walking by talking, and it appears that this little street is somewhat of a "lover's lane"... Or perhaps "prostitute's convenience station"... I'm up before Carter for a change, probably because I never really got to sleep.
We've been informed that we are going to the beach with Neville and Sita. They go to the beach at precisely 1 PM every day, and return at precisely 6PM. Except today. Today they will go at 11AM in order to secure "Our spot. We sit in the same place every day, with a group of friends that are always there. But because of the regatta we must go early." Carter and I have usually been on the beach for 3 hours by 11AM, so it doesn't seem terribly early to us, but if they're nice enough to give us a ride, we'll take it. We DO want to go to town to look around, and buy some supplies, and I have been instructed by my sister not to bother coming home if I don't bring her fresh nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Because we don't know where town is really, or how to get there and back, and how long all of this is likely to take, we decide to go to the beach first, then hit town, then head home at the end of the day... Complex, I know...
The parking lot at "The Beach", which is called "Grande Anse Beach" in all the tourist pamphlets is jammed. Neville is getting flustered because his usual parking space under an Acacia tree is taken, as are all the other "good" spots. He finally settles on a semi legal spot all the way back near the gate. We walk along as Neville and Sita complain about the thoughtless manner in which "these people" park. I'm about to comment that these are probably all British tourists here for the regatta, but keep my mouth shut.
The beach itself is crowded with food and drink stalls, and millions of flowery bathing-suited pink people. Neville and Sita insist that we follow them to their spot, which is under an Almond tree on the beach, right outside of the beach gate to a large resort hotel. We are introduced to their friends. All ex-pat British retirees....
My head is already beginning to expand.
The interesting thing, if you can see past the sea of polyester, zinc oxide, and cellulite, is that a group of small, brightly painted work type boats are racing around a short course just off the beach. These are not the magnificent yachts that the crowd has come to see, and they pay no attention to "The local boys playing"... Carter and I excuse ourselves and walk towards the small section of beach that is not slithering with SPF 60, to examine a few of the boats that are still on the beach. No centerboards. It's all rail meat and sand bags. Unfortunately, the interior pictures did not come out... The racing is fierce, and physical, and I'm itching to get out there, but I'm guessing that I'd be way more trouble than anyone, even if they weren't racing at that time would want to take on. Maybe tomorrow when it's quieter I can find a smaller beach where one of these boats actually works out of...
There are the typical hucksters that you're likely to find on a tourist resort beach. Trying to sell black coral necklaces made in Taiwan ("No Mon! I make dis meseff! I an artiss Irie!") Shark tooth pendants from India("I fine dis on de beach jus here one day lass week!") and batik wraps from Mexico ("My wife make deez back at our little hose in de foress...") They all are nearly identical, one after another with nearly identical spiels, and yet, amazingly, I see dumb ass morons examining these trinkets carefully, and asking questions and getting preposterous answers, and then shelling out absurd sums of money for junk. Must be nice to have too much money, and not enough common sense... Another thing I notice is that a lot of these hucksters are Trinis. Trinidadians will travel all over the islands to pull off a scam if there's something going on that's going to attract a large group of unsuspecting victims. One of these guys in particular will not let us alone. He keeps coming back with new and different stuff. Green oranges, aloe, coral necklaces, bags of spices.... Each time we tell him no, he keeps trying to talk us into something. Finally I say, in my most menacing quiet guy voice... "Look Trini, get lost before I call the cops on you." he disappears into the crowd.
I can't take this crowd any more, so we head back to where Neville and Sita are, and tell them that we're going to explore town, and not to wait for us, we'll find our way home.
It's just past 1PM, and we stop at a little bodega/restaurant for a quick bite and a refreshing cold drink. There are Carib birds everywhere. A Grackel or Cowbird of some sort, they're kind of interesting. Pitch black with bright yellow eyes . They make an odd "Chiiiiiirrrrring" kind of noise.
We ask a couple of local guys how to catch a bus to town, and what to watch out for landmark wise. They give us all sorts of conflicting advise, and offer to give us a ride for $40USD. We say no thanks, but buy them a drink for their information.
Because of the regatta, most of the vans are sporting a sign in their front window saying "TAXI", which means that if you flag one of these down, they'll take you where you want to go, at whatever price the driver thinks he can get. We need to find a van with a number (1) in it's winshield. One finally comes along and we zip off down the road. From a particularly high ridge right above a small bay I see several large sailboats with full sails beating to windward on what is probably a practice run to the starting line.

Virgin Gal
02-27-2008, 10:33 AM
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Virgin Gal
02-27-2008, 10:34 AM
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Virgin Gal
02-27-2008, 10:35 AM
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Virgin Gal
02-27-2008, 10:45 AM
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rufustr
02-27-2008, 10:36 PM
Just bumping back to the top.:D

Mrleft8
02-28-2008, 11:13 AM
We asked the door man where the meat market was when we got to the bus stand down by the port. The OTHER port, not the one where the ferry comes in, but the one where the 2 HUGE cruise ships were docked, which explained in part the wall to wall sunburn and black knee socks. The door man looked at us like we were nuts "Dey gwine cook some fresh foods for you on dee boat?" On the boat?.... OH! no! we're not on one of THOSE things!! He still looked confused. We're staying here on Grenada...Over by Woodlands.... He shook his head to clear the cobwebs out and pointed up the street "Juss pass dee KFC.."
There were little box stalls set up all up and down the street, blocking the sidewalks, forcing the crowds to walk in the gutter and street, which caused the vehicle traffic to weave in and out of line, pass eachother on wrong sides, and occasionally bump a pedestrian, which in turn caused loud verbal assaults and much beeping of horns and flashing of lights. These stalls had all manner of things for sale. Strange and marvelous root vegetables, and leafy greens in various shades of green, from dark purple green, to neon toxic no place on earth is this color green. Interestingly shaped citrus looking fruits, and other giant berry looking things. I finally let my curiosity get the better of me, and asked what a large hairy globulous fruit was. "Dis be hairy jiggy fruit" What does it taste like....Do you eat it raw or cook it? "You take it and juss cook it up in a pot wit some fish, or pig, an some provision...It don has too much tase on it self..." Then why cook it? Laughs elbows in ribs and smiles "It for you lady... Put some lead in you pencil!" more laughter. Seems that almost half the strange foods and roots and herbs sold or harvested in the Caribbean are for enhancing a man's...... Er...... natural attributes....
The meat market is winding down by the time we get there. As we knew, if you want fresh meat you need to get there Friday morning, or Saturday morning, the earlier the better. At the first stall a one eyed man was lovingly washing a severed pig's head, fluffing it's little pig ears to keep them from stiffening up. He offered it to us for 20EC...."Good for soup" Uh....No thanks. At another stall there were some questionable looking pork chops covered with flies and starting to congeal. Another stall had the remains of a goat leg. There were some "bush meat" vendors who had "tattoo" (Armadillo) and "Manicou" (Opposum). As we exited empty handed, the first vendor was shaving the pig head's eyebrows.
We decided to get the hell off of this portside street, and headed directly up a steep side street, figuring that there would be more to see at the top of the hill where there would be a breeze and fresh air. Wrong. There was a breeze and fresh air, but nothing to see. This was a street of professional offices. Lawyers and engineers mostly as well as a store front office with a big red white and blue sign announcing the "AMERI-CORPS GRENADA RELIEF EFFORT". We went back downhill one block and continued along in the same direction. This street seemed almost deserted, and was apparently a residential street. Finally I asked an old lady where the main market was. "It juss up dere, two block....See where dat boy be on dee corner? turn dere an go down one block....You see it... You from England? My cousin lives in London..."
The market was predictably a zoo. At one point it had been the center of commerce on Grenada, and people from all across the island would congregate here on the weekend to do the weeks shopping. Now that "supermarkets" have popped up all over the place, the market has morphed into a tourist trap. Stall after stall of prepackaged cutsie little bundles of carefully cleaned and sanitized spices in tinylittle baskets with cute little cloth liners, and dried flower arrangments with miniature grenadian flags and miniature steel drums with GRENADA, THE SPICE ISLAND stenciled around the rim... Once again all nearly identical, and once again the crowds of zombies wading through with that glazed eye look. We didn't last long in there. Lucky for us the area outside the market was still local farm market stalls, and we were able to buy some very nice looking vegetables, and herbs and in a large coleman cooler with several large bags of ice on top fresh "local chickens". I was slightly suspiscious that "Local chickens" might be code for some other type of bird, but upon inspection they certainly looked like chickens..... So I bought one, and asked the vendor to pack some ice into a plastic bag for me so it wouldn't go bad before we got home. The back pack was getting full, so that meant it was time for a quick refreshment, then head on home to unload before deciding what to do for the remainder of the afternoon.....If anything.
We found a little place on the second floor of a tall narrow building, and ordered a couple of vodka and tonics. "No tonic".... OK vodka and ting? "No ting, how bout sorel....It good!" OK....We'll give it a try... Once. SWEEEET! I guess I got my monthly dose of sugar in that one small drink, and ended up thirstier than I'd been walking up the stairs.
Back down on the portside road Carter eyeballed what appeared to be a real workingman's bar and we walked in the black hole of a doorway into a cool dark concrete and plywood place, with a glass container of chicken wings and feet on the bar, and a TV in the corner on the wall blaring out "LETHAL WEAPON 2". We shouted our order and the bartender shook her head "No tonic". We were just about to leave when another woman tugged at the bartenders sleeve and said something to her. "Wait!" she called out to us "She say she tink we have one bottle still..." and indeed, not only was thee a bottle, but it was a 16oz bottle of FANTA tonic water. I never knew that FANTA made tonic.... Oh how horrible it was to HAVE to have a large cold drink! And we nursed those drinks until the ice was all gone and there wasn't a drop left clinging to the side of the glass...
Before hopping a van back to Woodlands, we decided to stop at the supermarket to top off our shopping list. We pretty much ended up filling up an entire hand basket with stuff. It's amazing the things that you end up buying when you have an empty kitchen. A box of salt, even a tiny one will last a long time, but if you have none you need to buy what's available... At the register, all items rung through, with the VISA card placed strategically on the counter from the get go... "Cash only today. Card machine broken." Luckilly we had just enough to pay for our purchases, and bus fare.

Michael s/v Sannyasin
02-28-2008, 11:22 AM
Is Grenada the dichotomy, or was it the Italian guy?

Mrleft8
02-28-2008, 09:17 PM
Is Grenada the dichotomy, or was it the Italian guy?
Is this a serious question, or just trying to keep this thread off of page 2?
Patience little one.....Patience! ;)

Hwyl
02-28-2008, 09:26 PM
Or what the --dyke caught off me?

paladin
02-28-2008, 09:58 PM
Ain't nuthin' changed in 40 years........except more toooorists.....but back then they would line up against the boat hull, banging the paint, trying to sell the same stuff......but......back then you could swap a bottle of orange Fanta for a couple of really nice fish fresh caught from the enterprising kids...strawberry Nehi was good trading material.....or Salem cigarettes (I think, they were menthol anyway)....

Mrleft8
02-29-2008, 08:22 AM
There's a little place about a half a mile up the hill from the house, and we agree that we should stop in there to check it out after we get everything put away.
There's a trick to getting the van to stop somewhat near where you want to get off... You can tell the driver, or door man that you want to get off at "Martin street" all day long, and they'll cruise right on by it unless you rap on the side of the van, or the roof. So we walked around the hairpin curve on the edge of the road, fingers crossed that oncoming traffic wouldn't cut the corner too tight...
Up the front steps, unlock the front gate. Turn around and lock the front gate, around the corner unlock the iron security gate, unlock the door, turn around and latch the security gate, put groceries away, unlatch the security gate sit on the patio. All these gates and locks exhaust me, but Neville and Sita are very emphatic that these must be kept locked at all times because if you leave them unlocked for even a second, theives will slip in and steal everything that's not bolted down. I haven't really see anyone who looked like they were scoping anything out, but I guess that's why they're theives....
"The Small Axe Bar and Pool Hall" is a tiny little hole in the wall place up a set of steep concrete stairs. It's actually an ex-front room of a house, and the kitchen is right through a beaded doorway off the bar. The pool table has seen better days, but it's functional. Kind of like playing two games at once. Golf and pool. You need to "play the lie" when you pick a pocket. There's a large stack of "Galvanize" leaning against one wall, and a picture of the movers and shakers of the revolution of 1982, including Manuel Noriega, taken just days before his "capture" by US Marines. The owner is a polite older gentleman who tells us that his name is "Small Axe". His grand daughter is behind the bar with him doing her school work, filling in blanks in a fourth grade geography primer...
(Abreviated edition today, perhaps more later on)

Mrleft8
02-29-2008, 10:44 AM
We ask for a couple of vodka and tonics. Small Axe makes a great show of searching through the chest cooler, and finally pulls out a bottle of "Ting" and arches his eyebrows at us.Sure, why not? "Ting" is the Caribbean's answer to "Fresca". It's not bad.....Certainly not as bad as that horrid sorel syrup!
Small Axe is happy to tell us stories of the revolution, and he was clearly a supporter. His oppinion of the US government's intervention is less than glowing. His take on it is that the only reason the US stepped in was to catch Noriega. The stated goal of keeping communism from spreading in the region, or protecting American students at the medical school is pure hog wash according to him. "You ever see dem student? Dey so bad dey canna get in any odder school, so dey parents buy dem a diploma from dee college here! I wouldna let one of dey touch my dog! All dey interest in is lying on dee beach and getting wid a black man or woman. But see, Noriega, he know too much. He work wid Bush senior, and Oliver North, and all dat drugs smuggling bunch and guns for Saddam an all dat. You see what happen when dey go to set he free in Florida when he time up? Arrest he again on some odder charge just to keep he under control. Ever see anyting on dat charge? Dey have a trial as yet?"
A couple of young guys drift through the doorway and Small Axe wipes the bar and sets out 2 beers for them. He turns to the back bar and adjusts the tuner knob on the radio, and an oldies station comes on, then he flicks a switch, and Dusty Springfield is crooning at a deafening volume from a pair of giant speakers on the front wall. As Carter and I head out to save our eardrums, the guys are racking up the pool balls.
Neville and Sita ask us to join them for dinner again that evening, and they are having another guest as well....A friend of theirs named Ahmad, who is the chief "chemist" at the Clarke's Court rum distillery. He's the guy who decides how much of what goes into what style of rum. He's a very nice fellow, obviously very intelligent, and totally focused on his work. And he has very little.... Humor. He doesn't laugh, at anything. I did see the corners of his mouth twitch a little at something that Sita said, and I'll take that as a smile. He invites us to tour the distillery as his guest before we leave.

Virgin Gal
02-29-2008, 03:28 PM
sorry little behind in the pic department...ver cool bat fish

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4e48dd366f000000046109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-29-2008, 03:33 PM
Sign painted on the wall at the bar that actually had the 16oz tonic:)



http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4fb3bc4875f00000026109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-29-2008, 03:44 PM
street in GND

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4e4ca04269c00000045139AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
02-29-2008, 03:48 PM
Small Axe and his grandaughter

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4e48da0e7b300000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Hwyl
02-29-2008, 05:12 PM
This shirt from my souvenirs would have pleased Small Axe.

It's shrunk so much, it doesn't even fit me anymore.

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee119/foreguy/Grenada.jpg

Virgin Gal
02-29-2008, 06:16 PM
This shirt from my souvenirs would have pleased Small Axe.

It's shrunk so much, it doesn't even fit me anymore.

http://i229.photobucket.com/albums/ee119/foreguy/Grenada.jpg


You have no idea how much fun that woould have been...but if it is too small for you it definately would not fit lefty....but...would probablly fit me...:D:D

Hwyl
02-29-2008, 06:19 PM
It's yours if you want it.

Mrleft8
03-01-2008, 10:58 AM
We spent a small part of the morning debating the pros and cons of finding another beach. A "REAL" beach is what I call it. Carter, as usual, wins by telling me that the regatta is over and the beach won't be crowded today, and we can ask people on the bus or in a store which other beaches are good....
Well, the beach was not as crowded, but still too crowded for me, and the beach scam artists didn't get the memo that the regatta was over. They were all up and down the beach trying to unload their junk, The same Trini guy plopped himself down in front of us and started in on his pitch. No thanks. "C'mon! You want to buy a nice shark tooth for you lady here. It look beautiful on she!" No thanks. "I find this toof just down der on dee beach, dat why I no go in dee water...Too many shark here!" No thanks. "How 'bout some cool orange?" He says pulling 3 hard green fruits out of a black plastic bag. I'm sure those babies are cool.... Get lost Trini, or I'll call the cops. He looks at me and recognition spreads across his face. "I see you yesterday! You staying at dee Coyoba?" No. "Where you staying at? I could show you round dee island if you rent a car." What part of no don't you understand? Get lost. He turns his head and spits, then slowly gets to his feet and saunters away, acting bored.
A couple of young guys with bright orange "Regatta 2008" T-shirts on walk over, sipping frosty cold beers. "Dat boy be bad news" Says one of them "He here all week harrassing you people, making trouble, and trying to pick up anyting you leave on dee beach. You still got you wallet?" I can feel it still in my pocket, and nod yes. They introduce themselves and we shake hands. No doubt that they're angling for something too, but at least they have a more palatable approach. We ask about other beaches. They look at each other and start debating the choices. There's the beach down by Clarke's Court, but it's a long walk through a residential area, and the busses don't run down there very often. WaaaaaaY up on the end of the island there are some very nice beaches, but it's a long way away, and 3 bus changes. There's a nice beach right next to the airport, but it's not very clean. There's one on the other side of town, but it's kind of rocky in the water. "Dis the bess beach on dee island. Lots of pretty girls, an you got a food stand on most days (but not today), an it close to town...." The beach by Clarke's Court is the one that Small Axe had mentioned yesterday, and he too had said it was a long walk....But it might be worth investigating.
All the boats are gone. All except the big dive boat that's tied up to the beach outside of the resort gate. Every so often a line of doughy past middleaged penguins in floppy hats and zinc oxide waddle down to the water and get hoisted aboard the boat, it's diesel engine roars to life, and it chugs off in a cloud of blue smoke.
I carefully secret my valuables in the cooly bag, ask Carter to keep an eye on it, and wander off into the sea. The water is fine. The bottom drops off very gradually, so you're a good 30 feet out before you're neck deep. A quick dive under and a couple of somersaults to fully refresh the pores. Back float paddle flip over blow saltwater snots dive down again and more back floating. Trying to do what I was always impressed by my grandfather doing. Floating on his back with just his toes, belly, and head out of the water.... It's not as easy as it sounds.
Carter has moved to the dappled semi-shade of a Sea grape bush, and I join her there, draining the water out of my ears and letting the sun dry my body. I sit down and pull out my book. Carl Hiaasen's "Nature Girl". I used to love Hiaasen, but lately I'm thinking that he's gotten stuck in a rut.....A formula is fine, but it s gotten so his books are all the same, with different names. It's too bad, but I'm sure his bank account is happy. Absently scratching at an itch on my thigh, then an itch on my calf, then one under my thigh...... I put down the book and take a look. little teeny ants. I'm surrounded! There must be a thousand of the biting little bastards! Now I know why the beach is called "Grand Anse" It's really "Grand Ants"! I jump up and brush off the damned things and move into the sun. Carter seems to be immune.
Carter also seems to be immune to the toxicity of hordes of American Medical students, and elderly British tourists that are drifting aimlessly about the fenced in grounds of the Coyoba resort hotel. She walks past the security officer with a wave, as if she's been coming and going 5 times a day for the last 2 weeks... She's gone for an inordinately long time, and I really need to test the plumbing facillities in the public pay restrooms, but can't leave all of our gear, and knowing what public restrooms are often like, I don't really want to bring it all along with me... She finally comes back holding two sweating plastic cups filled with ice and that sweet nectar.....vodka and tonic! She's shadowed by a George Hamilton wannabe. An elderly British gentleman with a deep, deep tan, and unfortunate neon blue Speedos. Carter's made the mistake of mentioning that she works for Virgin when she noticed the man's wife had a Virgin T-shirt on....Now he's telling her his horror story about lost luggage, or something like that. He's actually very nice, and not aggresive or anything, and Carter promises that she'll see what can be done for him when she gets back to the office...
The restrooms were just as I had suspected.

Mrleft8
03-02-2008, 10:38 AM
I'd been keeping an eye open for Neville and Sita under the Almond tree, figuring that would be a fairly good indication of the hour. It was obvious from the angle of the sun that it was well past 1pm but they were no where to be seen. I finally looked at my watch and it was just after 3. We decided that it would be a smart idea to head back and call it a day.
Sundays on Grenada do have one similarity to Sundays on Carriacou, Nothing is open except the stands selling tourist trinkets, and the occasional rum shop. Their was also a noticable lack of van traffic. We needed to catch a #1 bus up to the SHELL station, where we would then catch a #2 bus up to Woodlands. Each bus would normally cost each of us $2.50 EC for a grand total of $10 EC, but on Sundays the rates jump up to $3.50 EC. A #1 van finally huffs to a stop at the bus stop and the door slides open. No one inside but the driver and his door man. They're friendly and curious. Most of the Americans they see are the med students, or their parents. Grenada is mostly a British tourist destination it seems. When I tell them that we need to get off at the filling station to catch a #2 bus, the driver offers to take us all the way home for $20 EC. I say no thanks, we'll catch a #2....$15...... No thanks, we'll wait if we have to. We're in no rush.....$10.... DEAL! I'd just saved us $4 EC! Man! What a negotiator I am! :D We ask them about other beaches, and they direct us to a beach just this side of Grand Anse beach.... "Just go to the Coco grove resort and walk pass de main building, an you be on a very nice beach... Lots of people like you dere...." Uh... No that's what we're trying to avoid. We don't come to the Caribbean to see people like us, we come to meet people like you. The door man looks at us like we're completely nuts. "Why?"
After the kitchen facilities at Hope's, it sure is nice to have a real working full size range, and a full size fridge that actually works (they're both many steps above the ones we have at home). I have the chicken out and chop a bundle of herbs and salt and pepper the cavity, slice up an orange and rub some cane sugar into the skin. Place a clove of garlick inthe crotches of both legs and both wings just under the surface of the skin, and cover the whole bird with the thin slices of orange. The orange keeps the breast from drying out while the denser thigh meat cooks through.A couple of drops of Grace brand Caribbean style hot sauce right on the breast bone will add just a teensy bit of zing throughout the entire breast by the time it's done. A small pot of brown rice and a salad with reall olive oil and vinegar dressing. Just as the bird is going into the pre-heated oven Neville knocks on our gate to invite us up for cocktails and dinner. Carter explains that I've just started cooking our dinner, but that we'd love to join them for a drink. From my hiding place behind the fridge I look at her crosseyed, but it's too late.
They really are charming folks, and obviously lonely for conversation, but I had hoped for a quiet evening with the new book and a steaming hot chicken dinner, then an early to bed.....I didn't sleep well again last night.
Neville wants to show me his shop, which is up the hill in their extensive back yard, but Sita convinces him that it would be much better to do that tomorrow in the light of day. The reason that they weren't at the beach was that they had a new gardener in to do some replanting, and moving of stuff, and "You can't just go and leave these people you know. The second you turn your back, they are sitting down, or dozing off, and they steal everything that they can get their hands on..."
The chicken is perfect. A slightly sweet cast to the breast meat, and the dark meat is slightly strong flavored with a definate garlic "bite" to it. As we're finishing up Sita comes by with a large hunk of frozen meat in a bowl. "Carter told me that you were the barbeque king, so I thought I'd bring this to you to do your magic, and you can cook for us on the charcoal cooker tomorrow for dinner." Oh....Uh.....Ok. I put the frozen chunk in the fridge to defrost slowly.

Mrleft8
03-04-2008, 09:39 AM
I finally slept through the night....Kind of. 5:30 AM Ssshhhhick, shhhhoooosh! Ssshhhhiiick, ssshooosh! Tok, tok, tok, sshhiiiiiick, sssshhhhoooosh! The gardener is right outside the window shoveling gravel into a ditch. Can't say I blame him for wanting to do this before the day heats up, but..... 5:30? I finally give up around 6:30 when the traffic starts picking up anyway.
Sitting out on the little covered porch area with a cold coke and my current book (James Patterson "4th of July") I feel like I'm being followed by the demon gardener. Shhhhhiiiick, Shiiick. I look over the little concrete wall, and there's a 3" diameter land crab dragging it's shell across the concrete floor by the washing machine. That's one BIG freakin' land crab!
The gob of meat has thawed and I set about making a marinade. Brown sugar, onion, garlic, black pepper, a little hot pepper, some oregano, some ginger, some more ginger.....No catsup. I ask Sita, who's hanging some clothes on the line if she has any catsup. She thinks for a second then says "Yes, I will get that for you just now." She scurries up the stairs and returns a few moments later with 3 little foil packets like you get at a fast food restaurant. "We don't use catsup very often, will this be enough?" I tell her, thanks, but I'm going to need a considerable bit more than that, so I'll just run to the store. I had noticed a tiny little store just around the corner on the main road. There are millions of these little places all over the islands. A wall of mostly empty shelves with dusty cans of questionable lineage, and a rusty chest freezer with frozen bundles wrapped in plastic wrap, with absolutely no indication of what's inside. A "harvest gold" refrigerator with a hasp and padlock contains cold sodas and beer. I spy a half gallon jug of DelMonte catsup on a sagging plywood shelf and ask the old lady sitting behind the counter how much it is. She gets up, peers at the bottle a moment, then takes it off the shelf and brings it over to me grinning. How much? I ask again. She just nods and smiles. A younger woman walks in through a back door carrying a bundle of greens of some sort (Not the dreaded callaloo!). She tells the old lady to wash the greens and wipes her muddy hands on the front of her shirt. "You want dat whole bottle?" She asks looking slightly alarmed. Not really, but if that's all you have....I only need a cup or two. She digs through a cardboard box on the floor next to the freezer and pulls out two 12 oz. jars. That's better! Just one will do! She smiles and puts one on the counter, and the other on the sagging plywood shelf. $3EC.
The gob of meat turns out to be 4 or 5 pork chops about 1/2" thick, and 2 large chicken breast halves. Interesting combo.... I put them in the bowl of marinade and swish everything around to make sure it all gets a good coating of goop, then put the whole thing back in the fridge to soak for the day.
We find ourselves back at Grand Ants beach, and it's crowded again. Curiously there seem to be an inordinate number of pasty white younger types, you know the ones who's skin is so pale it almost looks bluish? And they're mostly all dressed in black, head to toe. Long sleeve shirts. Long pants. Doc Martins boots. The women all sport floppy black fabric wide brimmed hats. One guy, with a particularly dour expression on his pock marked face has a large suitcase sized briefcase. I imagine it contains his laptop computer which he goes NOWHERE without.....Never know when you're going to need to play a game of "Grand Theft Auto".... Off in the distance we can see the reason for the crowds.....4 cruise ships. We had considered going back into town to poke around some more, but that'll have to wait.
Then it starts to rain. We're relatively dry under the lifeguard tower, but soon we're crowded and dripped on by sodden, black draped creatures of the night. During a lull in the weather we scoot out and catch a number 1 bus to the gas station, and just in the nick of time, a number 2.
An afternoon spent reading on the couch... Every so often the sun would break through enough to make the world a steam bath, then it would pour again. Finally just before sunset the clouds dissapated for good.
The chops were tough as shoe leather. The chicken was pretty good though. Neville and Sita thought the chops were fabulous. "You know...." Neville expounded "You can't get good meat here. They don't know how to cut it. Every time we go to London, we have to smuggle meat back with us... We tell all of our friends to bring frozen meat when they come from London too." Carter asks how the new gardener is working out. "Well....... He's better than the last man we had. At least this one will complete a job without me having to show him everything. But you know they aren't really reliable! He was supposed to be here early to do some work down by the road, then come up by the shop to move some small trees I need to relocate. Well, he did come early, but then he left by noon!" I asked what a gardener got paid for a day's work... $50EC IF they work a full day...

Virgin Gal
03-04-2008, 12:09 PM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4e4bc0326a000000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Hwyl
03-05-2008, 01:19 PM
So where is today's episode (or two)

Mrleft8
03-05-2008, 05:30 PM
So where is today's episode (or two)
Between the forum switch, taking my father to the doctors, the bank, the accountants office, the other bank, food center for sandwiches for lunch, then back to his house to eat and find missing banking stuff, then back to the bank..... I'll try to fit in a long episode tomorrow....Sorry....

elf
03-05-2008, 06:29 PM
Ah, the joys of helping an elder. We can certainly wait, Doug.

Mrleft8
03-06-2008, 09:24 AM
Sita has been dropping little hints about Paying for the apartment, and utilities. Normally I like to pay a bit up front, and the remainder at the end, just incase any "adjustments" need to be made. But Sita would like it all "in advance" as well as a $200EC deposit for electricity and gas. Seems ridiculously expensive for utilities to me, but the rent is also very reasonable. ($180 USD for the week)
This morning as she's poking around in the asparagus bed near our patio, she mentions that she has some banking to do, if we'd like a ride to the bank...

Mrleft8
03-06-2008, 10:48 AM
At the bank I stay outside by the car, Carter goes to the ATM booth, and Sita makes a show of going into the bank's main entrance. I can see here standing just behind a large potted palm in the entryway looking out... Odd.... A few seconds after Carter comes out of the ATM booth, Sita breezes out the bank's main doors with a shake of her head "Line's too long I'll come back another day..." We stop at the supermarket for some supplies on the way back. Lots of strange and mysterious items. A whole cooler section of animal heads, goats, pigs, cows... Another section of other parts, tails, bags of beaks, feet, hooves, organs...
I see a rack of spices and am examining a small bag of nutmeg. Sita sees me and says "If you want those tell me, and I can get you a whole bag for the same price as that" A whole bag? What's this then, a half a bag? Carter's found some local chocolate and picked up a few bars for a gift for my chocoholic sister. Since we have a ride, we stock up on some bulkier, heavier items....Like tonic water.
On the way back we drive past the Clarke's Court Rum distillery. Sita tells us that we have an appointment to tour the facilities tomorrow if we are interested.
As we're getting ready to head off to the beach (it's still fairly early) Sita comes down to say that a woman just called for me, and would call back in 5 minutes..... Oh hell..... Only 2 people have the phone number here that I know of.... My sister, and the house sitter. A phone call from either one can't be good news. I pick up a pad of paper, and a pen and follow Sita back upstairs to their place. A few minutes later the phone rings, and Sita answers it. "Yes? Just a moment please." She hands the receiver to me and I say hello? "Hello? Douglas? How are you my dear? It's Elizabeth from Carriacou. Just calling to see if you are allright, and everything OK?...." ELIZABETH! AH! Thank you! Yes everything is just fine! How's everything on Carriacou? Everyone OK? "Dee people you staying at OK? dey not cheating you or anyting? She sound foreign..." Yes, yes, they're nice people, the house is fine...
We chat for a few more minutes, and Samorra gets on the line to say hi, and then we sign off.... It was so nice to hear those voices. It's amazing how even between two little islands accents and speech patterns can differ. Even the locals here on Grenada have less "sing song" to their speech. It's a slightly harder edged voice.
Back at Grand Ants again... We walk far down the beach attempting to get away from the crowds outside the Coyoba resort, only to find other smaller, but just as garrish hotels at every bend. We finally settle into the sand by the ruins of some government building that's collapsing into the sea one chunk at a time. This hulk blocks us from the resorts farther down the beach, and a heavy surf deadens the sounds from back up the beach. It'll have to do. Carter settles onto her beach cloth and mutters wistfully... It's not like our beach on Carriacou, but it's warm...
The wind is really blowing like crazy, and the surf is good. Too close to the beach for any real body surfing, but fine for back cracking, and muscle massage. After a few hours of this we're getting dehydrated and itchy from salt, sand, and ants. We catch a number 1 bus to town, and walk along the port. There are several half sunk boats in a marina, and a few more that look like only divine intervention keeps them afloat...
It has a European look to it, to my mind. The water comes right up to the top of the wall which is also a sidewalk. In a storm I could easilly see the harbor taking over whole streets and shop fronts. We see a sign for a likely looking spot for a quick bite, and a cold libation. The arrow points up a short steep hill. Looking at the corner of the building I see unrepaired hurricane damage. Carter sees something else. Is there ANYWHERE that Gareth hasn't left his mark?! She laughs. We start up the hill in search of sustainence. Halfway up we walk past a bombed out wreck of a building with a rusted tin "CARIB" sign nailed to a twisted door lying in the rubble. Another victim of IVAN... We continue on up the hill, dodging a constant flow of vans, heavy trucks, rental cars, and street hucksters. How we made it to the top without getting out feet crushed under truck tires, or our faces mashed in by carelessly flung open doors is amazing. Up here the air is cleaner. It's suddenly quiet, and nearly devoid of traffic and people. Carter asks an old woman if there's a place to get a bite to eat and a cold drink. "Not up here, you need to go down by the port for that."It's just now that we realise that we're right outside the supreme court building, which is next to the president's office, and just down the street from the prison. The prison made the news all over the world when Hurricane Ivan came through because someone just unlocked all the cells, and left the front door open. "Yer on yer own folks! We'll round you up after the storm's over.....If you survive!"
The Anglican church used to be up here too. But now it's just another roofless structure slowly returning to nature....Dust to dust, and ashes to ashes...
We stop at several little hole in the wall rum shops, but no one has tonic water. In a little shop that advertises Cuban cigars I spy a six pack of Canada Dry tonic... The English haven't completely drunk the town dry yet! Carter asks the man behind the counter where would HE go if he had a powerful thirst, and an appetite for something simple and light. He points diagonally across the intersection to a posh looking joint, with fancy wicker furniture on the outside dinning porch. Not exactly what we would have expected, but if that's where a local eats....
The bar area is in the back, and dark, empty, and cooled by two massive ceiling fans. We sit on narrow wooden bar stools and wait while the bar tender fusses with a stainless steel blender. He finally gives up, and turns to us with a raised eyebrow. Vodka and tonic please, and a menu? "No tonic today..." AH! But I know where there is some! If I bring you some tonics, what'll you give me? "WHERE!?" I tell him right across the stret there's at least six....He raises a finger and says "Right back! Don't go anywhere!"

Virgin Gal
03-06-2008, 11:03 AM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dd27b3127cceb588fac70b4800000026109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
03-06-2008, 11:04 AM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dd27b3127cceb588face8a7100000026109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
03-06-2008, 11:07 AM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dd27b3127cceb588fadb0b5400000026109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
03-06-2008, 11:12 AM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4e49087263200000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Hwyl
03-06-2008, 11:12 AM
Is there ANYWHERE that Gareth hasn't left his mark?

What was it? Graffiti

Probably one of my ex lovers still carrying a torch.

Virgin Gal
03-06-2008, 11:29 AM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4e4ca59a7f100000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
03-06-2008, 11:32 AM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4e4ca4e26d600000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
03-06-2008, 11:38 AM
What was it? Graffiti

Probably one of my ex lovers still carrying a torch.



http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4e4ca4226da00000046109AcM27Vw0bW

It's hard to see, but the street name is Hughes St.:):)

Canoez
03-06-2008, 11:45 AM
http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4e4ca4e26d600000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Somehow this shot makes me think of Coventry Cathedral.

Virgin Gal
03-06-2008, 06:56 PM
Bacon Boy's next boat???;);)

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4e4909d262800000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
03-06-2008, 06:59 PM
water taxi.....

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4e4ca51a7f900000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Hwyl
03-06-2008, 08:24 PM
There's a village with my name in Antigua (Welsh people don't generally use their first names, mine is John)

http://www.antiguarainforest.com/images/ARC_map_1.jpg

Mrleft8
03-06-2008, 09:19 PM
Some days I just can't figure..... Never mind.....SOMEWHERE there's a closer picture of that sign Gareth..... We'll find it I'm certain...

S/V Laura Ellen
03-06-2008, 10:12 PM
Bacon Boy's next boat???;);)

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4e4909d262800000036109AcM27Vw0bW



Wrong colour Carter, it isn't flag waving red, white and blue.:D

J. Dillon
03-06-2008, 10:30 PM
Looks like a good fixer upper for a welder.:eek:

JD

Mrleft8
03-07-2008, 09:16 AM
We get off the bus at the top of the hill and walk a few hundred yards down to "The Small Axe". The door is shut and bolted and there's a big sheaf of official looking papers thumbtacked to the door. Careful perusal of the top sheet indicates that "The Small Axe" has been granted official polling place status. Cast your vote at the bar.... Sure why not?
Just then Small Axe himself pulls up out front and pries himself out of the car. "Just a moment. I have a tank in back." He pops the trunk and struggles to pull out a 20 gallon propane tank. He heaves it up one step, and is bracing himself to hump it up the rest of the steps one by one. I sidestep down and grab one of the rusted steel handles that have been welded to the neck of the bottle. One on each side we manage to bring it up the steps in a timely, if not graceful manner.
We bring it into the residential side of the building, which is outfitted in a typical Caribbean manner. Lots of overstuffed velour upholstered brightly colored furniture, plush shag carpeting that you could lose a small child in, and "velvet Elvis" type wall art. Nothing like a velvet black panther in a velvet brilliant green jungle, ready to pounce from a velvet branch to let you know that you're really home.
The bar side is delightfully silent. Axe is very proud as he hoists two bottles of tonic water out of the cooler and pours us drinks without even asking. An older gentleman hobbles in and settles in on the wire legged bar stool next to Carter, who's busy making faces at the grand daughter who's spying on us from the kitchen door. The older guy looks like Santa Claus. Big bushy white beard, a halo of curly white hair, a BIG belly, and a pipe clenched in his teeth. I think he's the only Caribbean man I've ever seen with a pipe in his mouth that wasn't for smoking illegal substances.
Honore is his name, and according to Small Axe, he's the best mechanic that ever lived. "Can fix any car or truck you can find." I suggest that I should bring my chronically troublesome Ford Tractor down to him to fix. "Dem old Fords not so bad, but dey burn lots of oil, and lose compression easy... Dey also got bad electrics...develop shorts you can't find for nothing...." Pretty much exactly the problems I'm always encountering...
We get up to continue our half mile walk back to the apartment. "Gone rain jus now... Wait a spell." says Honore. Sure enough it starts to pour rain. A couple of laughing teens come skidding through the door with newspapers over their heads, shirts and pants already plastered to their bodies. We waited another drink, and when the rain took a break, decided to make a run for it. We were completely saturated by the time we got home.
Sita had invited us to join them for dinner again tonight, and we had graciously accepted. The not cooking was kind of nice, even if it meant that I was surrendering control of the menu, but the NOT HAVING TO CLEAN UP, was spectacular!
A hot shower and change into dry clothes, and the bed is calling me. Awee nap before dinner was looking like a very good idea. Carter pulled out some fresh clothes from the rolly bag, and unearthed the Mahogany pod that Samorra had given me. It was changing. Five deep fissures had developed along it's sides, running from stem to blossom end. I put it on the little concrete wall out on the patio to get some fresh air. Maybe being in the hot closed bag had caused this cracking...
Dinner was once again, very good. A simple dish of rice with spiced ground pork, and crispy vegetables. Neville held forth on the evils of the local population and the merits of living in London. I was instructed to meet him at his shop the next morning before we were to go to the rum distillery. There was something he wanted to show me, and something he wanted help with.
The evening continued on into the big numbers. Carter finally called it quits, and Sita disappeared into the house to do dishes. Neville and I got slightly loopy, drinking vodka and tonics ("You know, don't you Douglas, that there is simply NOTHING more refreshing than a cold vodka and tonic on a hot evening like this.... I don't drink much anymore, but when I was a young man...."), and talking about grand social, and philisophical ideas... I finally had to go to bed, and said my good nights around 11:00 PM or so.....It may have been 12:00......

Mrleft8
03-08-2008, 11:55 AM
I'm up fairly early, considering the hour at which I finally crawled into bed. After a leisurely breakfast of buttered toast and bacon with a frosty cold coke, I head up through the back yard, which is a steep hillside, to Neville's shop. The gardener is up there with a large butcher knife cutting the sidewalls off of old tires. Neville looks like he got run over by a train. He's moving slowly, and is talking softly. There's a radio nailed to the wall of the shop, and old show tunes are coming from it's tinny speakers. I'll have to say.....Neville must be a trustworthy guy. I haven't seen a shop in such a state of utter chaos since my grandfather died 20 years ago. Haphazard piles of what look to me like scrap wood, are all over the place. Rusty half taken apart machinery here and there. I count 7 cordless drills, only one of which has a battery. Picking through the dross, Neville is muttering something about "The board". He finally gives a stack of 1/2" firring strips that were leaning in a sag against an interior wall a great heave, that sends them clattering to the floor, and drags out a great 3" thick 20" wide 5' long hunk of Mahogany. "This I would like to make into a table top. That is the only thing I really care about before I give all of this stuff away. I have a friend whose son is interested in my machinery. My son doesn't want any of it. You see, I did something wrong in bringing up the children. Neither of them has any interest in any sort of activity that requires both action, and thought. All they care about is making money, or being entertained." I'm not sure what prompted this sudden confession, but Isuggest that perhaps in a few years his son might develop an interest in tinkering with wood. "Oh, no..... He has no co-ordination with his hands anyway. And it wouldn't pay to snd all this stuff back to London anyway..." I ask if he didn't think that his son would like to move here for long vacations or after retiring. "Oh, heavens no! Neither child will do that. They do not, you see, enjoy the weather here. It's too warm for both of them. They prefer the weather back home." I suggest that they might have some brain damage. Neville laughs and says that is a distinct possibility. I ask about this son of a friend. "He lives in Guyana, and thinks that he would like to become a joiner." Guyana? Isn't there someone on the island who could benefit from these tools? "You see, no one here would appreciate them. They would take them, and leave them out in the rain, and if they stop working, they would just sit there untill the weeds took them over. You see, Douglas, these people have no ambition, no concept of work." I ask where the big chunk of Mahogany came from. "Oh I had to ship that from London. I ordered it over the phone." With all the beautiful Mahogany that grows right here,you had lumber shipped from London? "Yes. Well, you see, they don't have any lumber here. They don'tknow how to cut it." I ask about the local carpenter's shops and joiner's shops that I'd seen in just the small bit of Grenada that we'd seen. "These people make doors, and such, but they aren't of very high quality, you see. We have the doors in the house made here, but we had to specify how we wanted them built. You see, I had all this high quality pine lumber that you see here shipped from London too. The lumber that they have here is called 'Cyp', I've never HEARD of 'Cyp' before." I hadn't seen any "high quality pine" I see a lot of stuff that I'd consider one step above kindling, but then again who am I to judge?
Finally we get around to the "little bit of help" part of this visit. He has a jointer, but it's broken. Needs a bolt, but the place in London that he ordered a replacement from sent one that was too long, so he sent it back, and the new one hasn't yet arrived. (Why he didn't just cut it to fit I don't know) So there's these four 3' long pieces of old, half painted knotty pine that need to be joined to make a table top. And there's 2 jack planes sitting on their sides on a rickety makeshift bench. I sight down the sole of one plane, then the other, and ask if Neville has a sharpening stone. An old, dished out carborundum stone is retrieved from inside, caked with oil and sawdust. It's perfectly good for putting an edge on a scythe, or cutlass. I clean it off with a splash of kerosene and try to get it somewhat flat by scrubbing it on the concrete floor. After a half an hour I figure that it's as good as it's going to get. I'm soaked in sweat and my knees hurt. I grind the worst of the edge off of the plane irons and reset them. It's not pretty. It's not perfect. It's not what I would like to do, but it's the best I can do with the tools and materials at hand. The pieces fit tightly and stay flat under pressure. There's going to be a lot of belt sander work to even out the joints once they're all glued together, but that will happen another day. I spread some glue on the joints and clamp them up.
Sita drives us to the huge steel front gates of Clarke's Court Rum Distillery, where we're expected to meet Ahmad for a guided tour.
A menacing looking security guard steps out of his station and stands in the gate opening blocking our way. Sita, all 4 feet 7 inches of her steps right up to the guard's toes and barks at him "We're expected by Mr. Ahmad. Get out of our way!" (Note to self: This is how to make friends and influence people.) The guard looks a little surprised, but isn't going to go anywhere until he gets the word from higher authorities. Luckilly for everyone involved, Ahmad comes out of a door just then, talking earnestly into a cell phone. He sees us and cups his hand over the phone. "I't's OK, I invite them" and bekons for us to folow him. The guard steps back, and we half trot across the dusty lot to the door.
Inside it's dark and cool. Ahmad explains that something has come up, and he will not be able to give us a full tour of the facility, but we should come with him to the tasting room at least. It's almost 9:30, early for rum even for us. A youndsmiling woman behind a tall bamboo bar greets us and Ahmad explains a bit about the process of producing rum from cane. First we try the Navy Grog. A paper shot glass for eachof us. It about knocks me over. It clears out the sinuses no doubt about it. Ahmad explains why it's called "Grog". "Only rum made in Grenada is true grog. It comes from the old days when King George of England commissioned rum factories in Grenada to produce a specific type of rum for the royal navy. Grog stands for "Georges Regis Originatum Grenada" (Or something like that, I was still trying to determine if my tongue would ever return to normal).
Next was the"Special White" I'm not a fan of white rum so I passed. Carter and Sita both looked fairly unimpressed. Next was the "Special Dark" Not bad, but kind of....Run of the mill. I asked the bartender to start giving me less than half shots as I looked at the wall of bottles behind her. There were 6 different flavores of rum punch, some of which were quite good, if a bit sweet, and a few of which I had to struggle to swallow so as not to offend our host. Finally we came to Ahmad's pride and joy. The rum which he had formulated two years ago which had one numerous awards around the world. "White Ball" Talk about clearing your sinuses! It also warmed my entire face. It was only produced in a single batch, and Ahmad says that he won't do it again. there are a very few cases left in the world and once it's gone, it's gone. The aging room is an imense cavernous warehouse floor to ceiling with giant wooden barrels which are kept at between 55 to 65 degrees for up to two years depending on the style. Unfortunately, Carter's camera batteries picked this morning to die...

Mrleft8
03-10-2008, 09:19 AM
How odd.... An entire posting is missing... Unfortunately I'm running late, but I'll try to get back online a little latter on today and see if I can get us all caught up... Damn....And that was a really good one too..... :(

Mrleft8
03-11-2008, 08:43 AM
OK Take 2.... If it disappears again, I'm giving up...
We catch a ride to the beach with Neville and Sita. Along the way Neville points out a large estate atop a perfectly groomed hill. High wrought iron fencing surrounds the entire property, and there's a massive hinged gate with a guard house at the foot of the sweeping driveway. "One of our friends lives here, unfortunately, they are back home in London at the moment..." A few moments later we pass another estate, not so lavish, but just as well protected. "This one belongs to our friends from Toronto. Well, they live in Toronto now, but originally they're from home..." A little farther along and it's the same thing again. "There is our friend's house. They're back in London for the month..." I ask if they have any Grenadian friends. "OH! NO! You see, Douglas, you can not befriend these people. The moment you do, they will take advantage of you. They do not think the way that civilised people think. They don't have the social skills that we have, and they still have a tribal mentality..." This coming from a Guyanese man, who spent his entire adult life in London, and has retired to Grenada... I'm getting very irritated at their bigotry, but I'm keeping my temper and mouth in check to avoid unpleasentness....
We spend a couple of hours on the beach, and then catch a bus to town to do the obligatory gifts for family and friends thing. Neville has told us (Quietly because Sita doesn't approve of him going to "clubs") about a spot that he enjoys going to for lunch with his friends. We should have known better, but we end up on the second floor of a building overlooking the port. It's cool, dark, and hushed. The hostess greets us at the door, and glides silently over plush wall to wall carpet to seat us at a little rattan table. We ask if it would be OK if we sat at the bar instead. She hesitates a moment before nodding her head once, and escorting us to the polished Mahogany bar. There's only two other people in the place at this hour. A pink faced young man with plaid Bermuda shorts, and an lime green Izod LaCoste shirt with the collar turned up, and a dark skinned guy with curly reddish brown hair and a tank top, with his back to us. They're just getting started on their luncheon. Steaks with asparagus and boiled potatoes, and a bowl of salad with a thick creamy dressing. I've never seen food like this in the Caribbean before. We order drinks and peruse the menu. The first thing that caught my attention was the prices. Quoted in 3 different currencies (EC, USD, and BP), they were out of our budget no matter how you split it. An example is the steak lunches being consumed behind us, if they were indeed the ones on the menu, and not a daily special, $45.00 USD. An appetizer of 4 shrimp with cocktail sauce $16.00 USD.
Evesdropping on the conversation going on at the table we hear the dark skinned guy giving his sales pitch to Mr. Pink. He's going to take his new friend all over the island to see the best places, the places that no one else knows about, and for a very reasonable rate. Mr. Pink inquires in a hushed voice, about aquiring some "companionship". After a brief pause the salesman nods his head enthusiastically, and says that he has a "cousin" who would be happy to join them, but for this they must rent a car.....A four wheel drive car... Because his cousin has a friend who will want to come along too... The rate for the island tour keeps escalating, but Mr. Pink seems eager to get started. They finish their lunches at the same time that Carter orders us a seond round of over priced drinks. Mr. Pink pays the bill, and excuses himself to the men's room while the salesman mops the last crumbs from his plate. He gets up, spies us and heads towards us, his huckster instinct in overdrive. We recognise each other at the same time. The Trini hustler from the beach! He spins on his heel and heads to the door just as Mr. Pink emerges from the men's room. I debate warning Mr. Pink, but decide that he's a big boy... Plus I don't want to think what the hustler might have planned for us if we ruined his big score...
The bar bill was painful.
We look high and low for the spices my sister has asked me to get for her, but end up back at the spice market. I had figured that the supermarkets would have local spices, but nope....Just the same jars of McCormick's that we can get here.... We wedge our way through the crowded mall to a relatively quiet corner stall, and buy a bag of Cinnamon, a plastic coke bottle of Vanilla extract, and for another friend, a small bundle of Bois Bande.
On the way home we stop at The Small Axe. It's empty except for Axe himself, and his grand daughter. He pours us drinks and asks us about our day. "Yeah, dem Trini all over the place just now. Dey come to prey on you people when the holidays come." Holidays? "Well, dee regatta, but more Carnivale is on Tuesday, but we don't celebrate dat here until August, but on Carriacou carnivale, an den independence day is dee bi celebration on next Friday....You see..." We tell him that, no, we'll be gone by then unfortunately. He looks surprised but lets it go. He offers us some Rum punch. I have images of the super sweet syrupy stuff we'd had that morning, and start to decline, but he's already pouring. It's home made stuff....Rum, lime juice, angostura bitters, cane sugar syrup. and fresh ground nutmeg. Mix with soda water, or drink it straight. It's really good! I ask him if I can buy a small bottle and if it's OK, could I have the recipe? He tells us to come by tomorrow, and he'll have a small bottle waiting for us, and he'll write down the recipe....
Dinner is simple. Cold chicken leftovers, rice, and a big salad.

Bruce Taylor
03-11-2008, 08:51 AM
This gets better and better.

Mrleft8
03-13-2008, 09:40 AM
Our last full day on Grenada starts out bright and beautiful... Sort of....
The first thing that we notice upon opening the door to our little porch area is that the Mahogany pod has exploded, and spread little winged seeds all over the place. Actually, the seds aren't all that little. They look very much like slightly larger Maple seeds. At least this solves the problem of trying to explain this odd gray gourd to the customs officials... We had considered getting ablack magic marker and writing "GREETINGS FROM GRENADA" on it. Carter gets the broom and sweeps up the seeds. I pick out several of the fatter, fuller looking ones and put them in a ziplock baggie and into a pocket of a pair of shorts in the bag.I'm gonna have the only Mahogany tree in Connecticut!
Sita comes down to invite us to dinner that night, Chow Mein. She also hands me $100 EC "A refund on your utillity deposit. Because you never used the air conditioning, we don't think the bill will be that high." Neville would like me to come up to his shop at some point, so I head right up there....No time like the present...
The gardener is cutting the sidewalls off of more tires. I ask Neville why. "You see, Douglas, if one plants a bush, or flower plant in the ground, and the grass grows right up to the stem, these people will just cut it down while they are cutting the grass. So, you must create a barrier to show them that this is not to be cut..." I look around, and sure enough, there are the edges of tires sticking up out of the ground all over the place. Not terribly attractive, but no doubt effective.
Neville wants my opinion on the hunk of Mahogany. He's thinking of cutting it in half and book matching the top. This would be the most ellegant solution, but the idea of attempting this with the tools at hand is daunting. We go over the options. Dishing it out with routers and carving tools and making a "pie crust" top. Cutting it into a lot of 3" wide boards and slip matching them (or book matching). Taking it to a shop that has a large bandsaw... "You see, Douglas, there ARE no such shops here..." I can't believe that. There may not be any shops that Neville knows about that have a large bandsaw, but I'm willing to bet that if I asked around I could find one. Neville is called down to the house by Sita, and I continue on past to our apt.
I've given up hope of finding a nice beach, and have resigned myself to one last day on Grand Ants beach...
The wind is howling out of the north east, straight off the water. The surf is high but once again breaking right on the beach, so no good for surfing. The wind is whipping up sand every time some black clad salamander slinks by with greased hair and lemon cheeks. At least the wind and waves are keeping the crowds to a minimum.
The water is quite nice today. Full of effervescence and warm. The wind and sun dry your skin even before you can get up to your towel, leaving a white crust of salt. The large dive boat is trying to pull out of the surf to bring it's customers to a lee shore for an hour or so of diving, but the wind and waves have it broadside to the beach and grounded. A dozen or so guys are trying to push it off, but every time it looks like they have it free, a large wave knocks it back on to the beach. Finally a large speed boat with twin 250 horse Honda outboards pulls up, and tosses a line. It takes a while, but they finally pull the dive boat free.
We spend several hours on the beach, having brought supplies with us. Finally, sand stung and itchy from salt, we bid a final adieu (not neccesarily fondly) to Grand Ants beach. We catch a bus to The Small Axe.
There's a 500ml bottle of rum punch waiting for us and a neatly written recipe. We stay for a couple of short drinks and tell Mr. Axe that if he ever finds himself up in the New York area to give us a call and we'll have him up for dinner or lunch or something.
Dinner is splendid. Beef Chow Mein. I've never had Beef Chow Mein before, and it's quite good. Filling with out making you feel bloated or sluggish, and a large salad with crisp cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, and juicy sweet tomatoes. The kind of tomatoes you can only dream about in January back home. We don't stay too late tonight. We have a plane to catch tomorrow...

Mrleft8
03-14-2008, 07:03 AM
It feels odd not having to get up at 0 dark thirty to catch a flight. I can't remember ever having an afternoon departure either to or from the Caribbean before, but our flight is at 3:00 PM. One thing about this is that there's not really enough time to DO anything, but too much time to do nothing. Ahmad had brought us a bottle of rum, which was stowed into the duffle bag with the Jack Iron and the bottle of rum punch. Despite the fact that we're going home 8 books lighter, the bags are fuller. Both bags are packed and repacked at least twice, but they're still threatening to burst at the seams. Some how we're going to have to purge something or other... It's finally determined that two large ziplok bags containing various sunscreen tubes and other creams and lotions, mostly half empty, can stay behind... It's just enough of a difference that we feel fairly confident that the bags will come down the baggage claim chute intact.
Sita comes down with a laundry basket full of frozen meat packages. She's decided that now is the perfect time to defrost her freezer upstairs, and is going to pack everything into ours seeing as it's aready cold. So..... I sit down outside, out of the way, with my book and a cold coke, the green dufflebag at my feet. It's another beautiful day. Lizards playing tag on the concrete block wall between this house and the next. A Red tailed hawk cruising the thermals across the valley. The thunderous roar of a dump truck down shifting and engaging it's "Jake brake" as it careens around the corner on the main road.
Then it's time to go. Neville has the car out, trunk open, and anxiously looking at his watch and pacing. "Sita, enough of that now. We must get going!" and so it is. We take a last few photos, and then we're in the car and heading to the airport. We pass the driveway to Grand Ants beach, and the little restaurant.
As usual, the airport looks deserted. Neville is nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rockers. He insists on escorting us to the ticket counter "Just in case there is a problem, I can take care of things." I feel like I'm 10 and my father is coming along to make sure I get on the right flight. Of course every thing is fine. Everything always goes smoothly on your way HOME.... Hand shakes and hugs and they're off to see their friends at the beach.
After we unburden ourselves of excess baggage, we head up to the second floor restaurant and "Waving porch". The waving porch is closed, but the restaurant is doing a fine business. Carter orders a cheeseburger and fries. I look at her crosseyed. What? she says. It's comfort food.... I just sigh. I'll wait until we're on the plane to eat bad food.

Michael s/v Sannyasin
03-14-2008, 10:31 AM
I'm going to miss this thread when it's done!

Mrleft8
03-14-2008, 12:44 PM
Recipe for "The Small Axe rum punch":
375 ml white rum.
1 cup fresh lime juice.
2 pounds cane sugar disolved in 1 liter of boiling water, reduced to a thick syrup about 1 1/2 cups.
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg.
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters.
Mix all the ingredients together.
Use seltzer water to make up any difference in a 1 liter bottle.
According to Small Axe, you don't need to refridgerate this punch, but if you refridgerate it once, it needs to be kept refridgerated.

Mrleft8
03-15-2008, 09:19 AM
EPILOGUE:
We boarded the completely full Air Jamaica flight to Montego Bay on time, stowed our carry on bags and strapped ourselves in. Of course there are always the few mental midgets on every flight who think that they can fit an oversized piece of luggage into an undersized overhead compartment. The ensuing struggle usually ends up with mashed toes, things dropped on heads, and extremely irritated flight attendants. Finally the brain dead are situated with their foot space, limited as it was to start out, severly reduced. The cabin door is still open though, and a strong female voice comes over the intercom "Will passenger Carter Noyes please identify herself to a flight attendant? Passenger Carter Noyes...." Oh crap! Thinks Carter....They've found the Jack Iron! She hits the "call" button and a little light goes on over her seat. The head flight attendant, and a gate agent stalk towards us down the aisle. "May we please see your boarding pass?" I'm trying to look very small and incospicuous. If Carter's getting dragged off the plane and thrown in jail for trying to smuggle 190 proof rum, then she's on her own! ;) The gate agent looks at the boarding pass, and rips the main body of the card stock off, hands Carter the stub back, smiles and says "Sorry, we forgot to take your ticket at the gate".
WHEW!!!
We have an hour and a half lay over in Montego bay. So we do what every self respecting couple does. We hit Jimmy Buffet's "Margaritaville" Bar and restaurant. It's jammed with all things Buffet. Constant Jimmy Buffet on the sound system, and super sized meals with stupid names, and super sized prices are hawked by Hawaiian shirted male model wannabees. We sit at the bar and try to order a couple of drinks. It's fairly empty, just a half dozen or so sunburned patrons. The bartender, who has a pronounced lisp and a funny little wiggle to his walk, ignores us. We try unsuccessfully to order 3 or 4 more times before I start to lose my patience, and say in a fairly loud voice: Gee, this would be a GREAT place for a bar, if you could get a DRINK! This gets the attention of a slightly mor senior staff member who suggests to the bartender that we might be waiting for service. The bartender minces over to us and says that he's sorry, but he's been swamped all day, and he'll be back in just a minute to take our order. He waltzes around to the other side of the circular bar and starts talking to another customer. Not taking an order, just gossip. He finally comes back and takes our order and disappears back around to the other side again to make our drinks near his buddy. He calls over the top of the bottles "Vodka and soda, right?". We correct him and he sashays back with two paper dixie cups filled with ice and about a shot of liquid. "16.80 please." You're kidding right? "No sir, $16.80." I hand him a $20. He puts the bill on the register and goes back to talk to his friend. Clearly we aren't going to order any food here, we'd probably be here until closing waiting for it... The bartender comes back and says "Would you like another, or do you just want to settle your tab?" I'm about ready to jump the bar and strangle the greasy little fairy, but instead I yell at him: I ALREADY GAVE YOU A 20, AND YOU HAVEN'T GIVEN ME ANY CHANGE YET! "I don't think so sir, but there's no need to get huffy...." Carter, the definition of nonconfrontation tells him to look on the register. "Oh MY! How did THAT get there?!" He gives us our change in Jamaican dollars, How thoughtful. I tip him 10 cents EC.
We re-board the plane and are pleasently surprised to find that it's not even half full. Plenty of room to spread out, no stinky people jamming you against the window, or tripping over you to get to the head...
The line at the US Customs hall in JFK airport is equally devoid of the teeming masses yerning to be free that we usually encounter, and we breeze up to the customs officers booth in under 15 minutes. He asks all the usual questions, looks at our paper work halfheartedly, and says "Vacation?" What else could it be? says Carter, and he waves us through "Welcome home" I say well.... There IS that medical college down there.... The customs officer looks at me and says "Would you let one of those people work on you?" Then he smirks and says "Have a good evening."

Russ Manheimer
03-15-2008, 05:54 PM
Doug and Carter,

Thanks so much. Julia and I have enjoyed your posts. At one point I expected to hear of your passage through the Grenadian penal system after having taken a swing at Sita!

Great stuff,

Russ and Julia

St.Kitts Doug
03-15-2008, 08:19 PM
Have you finished the Jack Iron yet?

Mrleft8
03-15-2008, 08:54 PM
Have you finished the Jack Iron yet?
Barely dented Lad.... Barely dented. That's for guests who not only are staying the night, but insist that they're "Trained experts"... ;)
And.... Actually Russ, Sita wasn't as much of a bigot as Neville, but both of them were fairly disgusting, if they hadn't had that dichotomy..... They were so sweet and kind to us that it was difficult to voice our discomfort at their obvious distain of the locals. I tried on a few occasions, but gave up when my observations met deaf ears.
Carter has a bunch more photos to post to keep you all entertained for another day or two..... :D

Bruce Taylor
03-15-2008, 11:22 PM
A well told story, Doug. Thanks so much for taking the time.

Stiletto
03-15-2008, 11:24 PM
So, did you get any wind of your donated tools etc.?

StevenBauer
03-15-2008, 11:32 PM
Thanks, Lefty. I'm hoping for a sip of that Jack Iron one of these days. :)


Steven

Russ Manheimer
03-16-2008, 07:27 AM
Doug,

Got my characters mixed up; I meant Neville.

Thanks again,

Russ

Mrleft8
03-16-2008, 08:56 AM
So, did you get any wind of your donated tools etc.? Wrong island, but..... One person tells me that everything is safe and sound, another tells me that everything has been stolen. Nobody in the office of Community Development wants to talk to me, but the people in the chief administrator's office tell me that they are looking forward to moving forward with the program. Typical political lying lazy cheats.
An interesting tidbit that got left out of the main line of the story...
Dave and Ula, the owners of the Bayaleau Point Cottages, where we had stayed 4 years ago, have split up. According to several sources Ula ran off with another woman, and left the kids with Dave.

Virgin Gal
03-16-2008, 08:59 AM
sorry all a little behind in the pic department...but here goes....cool lizards scampering at the apartment

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4e490b9260c00000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
03-16-2008, 09:01 AM
Neville, Sita and Guess Who?

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc24b3127cceb4ec29677ea000000025109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
03-16-2008, 09:04 AM
Margo's other business??:D:D

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc25b3127cceb4e4ca08269000000036109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
03-16-2008, 09:06 AM
and could this be where Slinsky has been hiding????

http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc24b3127cceb4ec2962ff9500000026109AcM27Vw0bW

Virgin Gal
03-16-2008, 09:09 AM
and should you feel the need for some body piercing.....:eek::eek::eek:


http://im1.shutterfly.com/procserv/47b8dc24b3127cceb4ec2960ff9700000026109AcM27Vw0bW