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!


  1. Enjoying your description of life aboard in Grenada. Can't wait to see it ourselves. Hope to catch up with you soon! - Elaine & Bob, Mar Azul

  2. My Goodness. I have been really missing out on all the wonderful things you are doing on the boat and in your travels. I knew you were having "FINALLY FUN" but this is amazing. I love it! Talk to you soon!