Sunday, June 19, 2011

Six Months in Grenada - Mid June 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

We’ve been so lazy over the past 9 days!  In hindsight, perhaps the long travel does take a bit of a toll.  For three days, I did basically nothing, barely rousing myself.  We’ve explored a tiny bit - dinking into town to clear Customs & Immigration & to see what we could see.  Ummm, Grenada has caught on and become the most expensive place to clear in.  I guess they have realized that many boaters must come here per their insurance requirements and the government has found a new way to ‘tax’.  One must pay $75 EC per month for a cruising permit (for 50') to be here.  One pays the first month (whether you stay one day or 30) and upon checkout, you are made to pay for the rest of the months you were here.  Asking around, I learned many boaters are not aware they will be ‘hit’ upon departure.  Given some of the sailor’s we met along the way, with extremely limited budgets -- translated to NO money, this will be a hardship and a bitter pill to swallow later on.  This is the only island we had to also check in with the Health Department and fill out a form swearing we were not sick. 
Government Building near Dingy Dock

We’re getting oriented & learning our way around.    Stepping off the dingy dock in Carenage Bay, we were ‘acousted’ by a young man, who welcomed us to the island and began walking with us, chatting like a magpie about the island, the people, places and customs.  Geeze, very friendly folks!  Umm, in a minute, I realized Gotcha.  We had a guide, like it or not.  He did take us to the local phone company in order for us to purchase a SIM card and minutes.  Learning our phone was dead and needed charging, we decided to wait the 30 - 45 minutes for the charge.  After all, it was air conditioned in this place and at least 100 degrees outside.  The guy would NOT leave.  We’d figured out we would be charged a bunch for his services and tried 4 times to nicely get rid of him.  We were not interested in a chaperone about the town and not in the mood due to the heat to sightsee.  FINALLY, on attempt #4, with $20 EC in hand, Andy shoved the money at him, getting him to depart, leaving us alone. 
Narrow busy streets & Andy waiting for me

Working phone in hand, we wandered about, finding the marketplace in the middle of town.  A very large marketplace, with at least a 100 vendors, all selling the same vegetables, hand made jewelry and t shirts is in the middle of town, UP the long tall hill. 

We wandered through it all, finally tiring of saying we were only looking as the vendors tried in vain to sell us something - ANYTHING.    Walking on and off the narrow sidewalks - IF any sidewalk exists, we dodged cars hurtling past, keeping me alert and scared most of the time.  Winding streets with old brick buildings, some concrete, lots of red ‘fish scale’ roofs, some run down buildings and some not, concealed for the most part, small local restaurants, small shops and I don’t know what else.  Giving up due to the heat, we made it back to the locked dingy,  grateful for the breeze as we zipped back to our boat in the Lagoon.

Fisherman cleaning his bait fish

Not much of a catch 

Little bitty restaurant

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