Saturday, October 22, 2011

More Summer Camp Activities for us AARP Types in Grenada

October, 2011

Ah, the fun never stops...tooooo many activities to choose from.  The boater group must be more than 80% Type A and never miss a moment to experience something new and FUN.

                   ICE CREAM SOCIAL
Most recently, over the past couple of weeks, we've thrown an ice cream social on the dock - banana splits galore!  We ate FAST - we are in the tropics, remember!  Fresh bananas, chocolate sauce, other fruits, whole fresh whipped cream, sprinkles and too many other things to count!

We could figure out who had been in line too many times -- the ice cream or chocolate on their face gave it away every time!!
Bill scooping ice cream & JoAnne in white at the end of the table

Bill & JoAnne aboard Ultra are always the catalyst behind the cooking classes and the ice cream and other such activities.  God Bless Them - the rest of us have gotten lazy but they keep the spark going and we all pitch in!

Boaters had a ball at the ice cream social.  Ice cream for dinner was the menu for most!

 A sample of our life over the past couple of weeks: 
Andy grinning at the food table

The Canadian one!  We bused from Port Louis Marina to another marina, covered home made side dishes on our laps.  The marina cooked the turkeys and opened the bar with Happy Hour prices and provided a DJ!  So much fun that was over the top.  We learned that the Canadians celebrate much like we do in the USA for Thanksgiving - the same Indian assistance way back when and the same type of foods.  What a feast!!

Getting ready to sit down

Young Conner is a favorite cruiser friend of ours!

Soo much food to share!

It's all about friendship

The view is not bad either!!

The women line dancing after dinner!

Even the guys have no shame and make fun happen!
I even ran outside to purchase some fruits & vegs from the locals
 We ate and danced the day away at that marina.  Returning to Port Louis, we celebrated yet again on our dock!  A sailor with a 65’ sailboat and a REGULAR SIZED OVEN, baked a huge turkey (me, the breast might not fit in my small oven!) and we again brought a covered dish to share.  In spite of full tummies and saying we only wanted ‘a bite’ - we ate yet AGAIN, celebrating the Canadian Thanksgiving.  Phew.  What a day!  Such a sharing of friendship and customs!  We must have had 5 different nationalities at the events - the common denominator being fellowship, great food & a willingness to make new friends!

Note the moon at the top right as we watch a movie


In case we might get bored, once a week, JoAnne & Bill aboard Ultra, host a Move Night.  Hoisting a sail as a screen, utilizing their computer and a  projector, the fun begins at dark.

Boaters bring chairs or whatever to sit on; many pop popcorn to share; bring something to drink if you want and sit back and enjoy the movie under the stars and in the cool evening breeze on our dock.

The crowd has settled in.  The big brown chairs are us!!

Finally Fun has a LONG galley counter!!


Ahh - I’ve learned how to make sushi and sashimi!  We are able to get fabulous fresh fish from a local fisherman (tuna; mahi) so the wheels started turning.  Long story short, about 15 women were aboard Finally Fun for an afternoon of preparing sushi and sashimi for about 40!
This group could start a restaurant!!

We cleaned out the grocery stores in  St. George’s individually, purchasing all the seaweed paper & wasabi we could find.  A couple of the gals knew how to prepare the food and had the bamboo rollers (who knew it took these - not me).

Sooo many knives were flying, chop chop

Sharing wine, chopping a mountain of carrots, peeling avacodo, slicing tuna and all the other stuff that goes into sushi - we had a ball!
Layering it all on top of the sticky rice

Pounds of sticky rice were cooked on another boat so Finally Fun could stay 'cooler' with the crowd!

One for the tray, One for the mouth

Now, if I can just find some bamboo rollers, I’ll try it on my own.

Sharon watching.  I was the gofer - my boat

Look at all that food!!  Note the guys show up when it's ready.
So creative, so attractive & oh, so good to eat

We made all kinds of shushi foods

Let the meal begin!  Boaters beginning to crowd around the table.

Another Sunday afternoon this month, Martin, our local friend and his sister, taught us how to make sou chicken.  Ladies, no oil in the chicken - use brown sugar instead over a low heat.  That, plus the spicy marinade and slow cooking made for a fabulous dish.

Browning the chicken in brown sugar!

Marinade getting hot
Adding spices to the mix

The usual hungry crowd impatiently waiting for the food to be ready

Chicken, baked mac & cheese, black eyed peas with rice & potatoe salad with vegs in it
 We completed the meal with peas and rice, potatoe salad and the island’s famous Mac & Cheese -- baked and to die for.  Coconut milk goes into everything here and boy, does it make a difference.

As decadent as we boaters are, eating and drinking like there is no tomorrow - I saw these cigarettes for sale in the duty free store downtown.  I’ve never seen these warnings.  Veryyyy interesting!

This one should cure all

Monday, October 17, 2011

Idyllic Grenada & Routine Activities

 October 3, 2011

Andy cleaning the bilge in the VBerth

Life becomes a routine, even here in the Islands & in spite of the ‘summer camp’ activities.  We busy ourselves with boat chores nearly everyday, always trying to get ahead of the To Do list.   Guess what, we never win.....something always needs fixing, polishing or whatever. 

Andy manages to get himself into tight places!

Daily life for us as boaters takes TIME!  Accomplishing anything requires planning and effort.  A simple task such as going to the grocery store generally involves getting into a dingy, cruising to the local store or the closest access point to a store, hiking to the store or stores and then, weighted down with our goods, schlepping back with backpack full.  Repeat as needed as we are limited by what we can carry!
Half my hike to the gym is along the beach

I’ve joined the local gym, hiking two miles to get there in the early morning hours each day and working out for an hour once there on the machines.  Don’t know that this is helping the body, but it’s great for my soul.

Half the hike is on the sidewalk, giving me an opportunity to watch St. Georges waking up.   Once I get to the first opening off the road, I pop down to the beach, splashing along in the surf for the next mile.  Ah, I also love the solitude.  Remember, I share 50 feet of space.....

Love my peace & quiet while walking to the gym

Friendly Fishermen along my route

Grand Anse Beach is the prettiest one in Grenada

Fishermen in the early morning

Love the colorful fishing boats!

Local buses get us from Point A to Point B when our dingy is not an option.   Buses in the Caribbean are owner operated vans that hold about 15 people jammed together, brightly painted with their creative names (Hussler; Rocker; Big Bad,  Whiteout, etc.) emblazoned across the windshield.

There are ‘official’ bus stops, but these drivers are on a mission to get the bus as full as possible, as quickly as possible and then drive as fast as possible to get each OFF as quickly as possible so the process can be repeated.   As the non-air conditioned bus (remember we are in the TROPICS!) bus careens along, beeping its horn to let the world know it is there, a helper, riding sidekick by the van door, searches frantically for potential passengers walking along the road.

The Helper Hustler
Once spotted and acknowledged, the helper shouts to the driver and gestures frantically.  The driver slams on the brakes, backs up in the highway to get closer to the passenger & screeches HURRY HURRY.    Sometimes I’ll see two buses vie for the same potential rider, right on the street, shouting, ‘Here, THIS bus’.  Humm, here in Grenada there is the same one finger universal greeting that the bus driver and helpers like to use!   The helper takes care of the fare ($1US for local ride), rearranges people in their seats as necessary, adjusts the stereo system to MAX LOUD and bee bops to the music as the van moves along.  We never have to wait more than a minute for a bus to come along....they are like flies around honey on the streets. 
Central bus station in St. Georges

This system is so much more efficient than the US system and no subsidies nor taxpayer dollars needed!

In the town, there is a central bus station hub where one can pick up a specific bus instantly to transport you anywhere on the island and for very little money. 
Bus Station - find the bus to where you want to go anywhere in Grenada
Want to go a little off the local route?  ‘No problem, Mon’ ....just a few more EC$$.   If the bus is not very full, the driver often turns off the main authorized route, searching along the feeder roads for potential passengers.  Remember, we are in the schedule and best never be in a hurry. 
The little guy kept flirting with me!!

Sit back, enjoy the views and the passengers.   All are friendly to us ‘foreigners’ who are clearly the minority here.  Young children stare and I think it is because there are not many whites here, so we are ‘unusual’ to them.

I love riding the bus, even the blaring Caribbean and Bob Marley music.  I especially enjoy striking up a conversation with passengers, gleaning tourist suggestions and even history lessons.   “What’s in that bucket on your lap???”  works well for me.  I get the answer and I still don’t have a clue about the strange looking ‘stuff’ in that bucket.  Always ready to try something new,  I purchase it right off their lap & out of the bucket.  I’ve hit the jackpot a couple of times, buying unusual but tasty sweet homemade pickled mango slices and homemade pickled grapes.  I lost when I purchased some strange looking seafood - a wheal and a large land crab.  I followed the instructions I found on the internet for cooking the wheal,  but after cooking, decided to pass......I got confused as to what was what and which end was which and the creature didn’t look to appetizing...and I eat anything!  By then,  Andy had already disappeared.  The crab was definitely NOT like our blue crabs of the Chesapeake Bay.   I ate it, but won’t order any more as the land crab does not have the sweet flavor of our blue crabs.   

As I walk, I especially love watching the children waiting for the bus - all dressed up in their school uniforms, hair nicely combed and clothes nicely pressed -- all so adorable and ever so polite -- ‘good morning’  ‘good morning’  ‘hello’.  A bus driver told me that if an adult catches a child not being polite to a grown-up, a severe scolding will ensue.  Hmmm, reminds me of the USA about 40 years ago! 

These kids catch the first local bus that comes along while Mom gives strict instructions to the driver’s helper as to where to drop the young child off.  I’ve watched the driver’s helper get off the bus, hoisting the youngest child or children down off the van and holding the children by the hand, carefully get them across the street and into the school yard.  I’m told there is a law that if the bus picks up a child, the bus is required to drop the child at his door.  It is such a sweet scene reinacted over and over, especially after hearing the news from the USA on TV about a city bus driver that made a young mother get OFF the bus in the dark because her infant baby would not stop crying!!

A smaller than usual group early in the morning

If I don't go to the gym, I can hop into the pool for water aerobics - every day at 8:30 am.  So much fun and a great way to start the day.  Always led by a boater, we manage to workout at least an hour.

Amazing how much resistance one gets from a noodle!