St. George’s, Grenada
We picked Grenada because we wanted a beach vacation…time to lounge around, read books and enjoy fruity rum drinks. We also wanted somewhere “foreign and far” for a different experience. Grenada, West Indies…The Spice Island. They produce more spices per square mile than anywhere on earth…and it’s way down there…South of the Tropic of Cancer and really close to Trinidad and Venezuela.
On 5/24/02, we left Chicago on an American flight that we learned as we buckled up was being piloted by our good friend, Mark Bledsoe! Four and a half hours to San Juan, PR then on to another flight for two hour journey to Point Salines Airport.
We arrived after dark. Short and sweet drive to the hotel on twisty roads with people out walking on the edges, goats and cows grazing, and exotic smells. We arrived at the Coyaba Beach Resort on Grand Anse Beach around 8 p.m…a hotel with no door! Just a breezeway into the lobby-bar area. We’d walk through the garden to get to our room #226.
Things we enjoyed about Grenada:
- Rum Punches! They consisted of rum, a little syrup, dash of bitters, lime juice and a sprinkling of nutmeg.
- Mini-Buses! Just $1.50 got you a ride to town on a mini-bus. They operate with a driver and a conductor (who collects and ushers people in/out). You stand on the roadside and wait. A toot of the horn means the bus has room for you and will stop. Three knocks on the bus frame means you want out. Fast. Good breezes. Soundtrack of reggae. Ten minutes to town. Everyone rides–including kids going to school.
- The Nutmeg bar/grill. great views of St. George’s and Grand Anse Beach in the distance. Carib beer and grilled cheese sandwiches. We’d watch the water taxis load up and ferry people in / out of the harbor.
- Grand Anse Beach. A truly grand beach. Long vistas, soft white sand, shady trees and the front yard for Grenadians. In the mornings and evenings, you could find locals out on the beach. Scrubbing themselves with sand and then drifting in the shallows of the surf.
- Coyaba’s Pool bar. I didn’t have to swim to get out there! Stools in the water positioned your lower half below water, while your top half sat at the bar in the sun and shade enjoying rum punches. A great sensation.
- The morning walk to get cappuccinos at La Boulangerie. A French Bakery painted pink…not the best restaurant ever, but a great morning walk. Always breezy outside seating and a fine cappuccino and chocolate croissant.
- Beach people. There was Mango Man–who walked all day up and down the beach selling mangoes. He carried the crate on his head with one hand balancing it. One day he frowned at us and simply said “Go. Walk.” It was good advice–we were roasting. Alvin–sold “regular and custom designs at your request”–spice necklaces and small carved tikis for earrings or necklaces. And the lady selling bathing suit wraps and hair braiding.
- Coconut Beach French Creole restaurant up the beach! a pink and lavender beach place that served simply delicious shrimp and hearty potatoes, among old trees and delicate twinkle lights. A favorite place to walk at sunset. It made me feel at home to smell the good stuff cooking and hear the pots/pans in the kitchen, to hear the tv playing softly in the background and the waves rolling in and watch the candles flicker in the breeze. Delightful.
- Dolphin watching boat tour. A small boat with a few tour guides that watched intently for dolphin fins or a patch of bubbling, gurgling water that means the dolphins are feeding below…when seen, they’d sharply turn the boat to follow them. The ride up the coast as far as Gouyave let us see the pastel homes with wrap around verandas embedded in the hills. Rain forest mountains in the distance.
- Brown Sugar restaurant on the hill. Windows open and breezes on the hilltop. Grenadian foods named for local sayings/expressions… I had the “Sweet Man” (a pork dish with sweet tangy sauce).
- Art Fabrik, Tikal and other shops. Amazing little place to find arts from the island: scary West Indies voodoo dolls, batik cloth, wooden carved angels, paintings, calabash art and all kinds of spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, saffron, cocoa, mace, etc) and spice-scented lotions, soaps, perfumes.
- Grand old victorian homes. These old ladies were made with metal siding, metal roofs, and now sat rusting along the beach. There was one yellow and red one on the road between our hotel and the town. It looked deserted…and kind of reminded me of the ornate homes of metal that we’d seen in Iceland!
- Rain Forest hike. We went up into the Grand Etang Forest for a few hours to hike in the cool, misty rain forest. We saw a nutmeg tree. Did you know that nutmeg fruits are yellow and round…and when ripe they split open at the bottom to reveal the red mace-covered nutmeg inside. The red strands of mace are removed and laid on trays to dry in the sun. The nutmegs are also dried and sold as whole pits to be grated over foods/drinks. We also saw cinnammon trees…the cinnamon comes from the bark. Our guide peeled back some bark and crushed some leaves so we could smell “christmas” in the forest. We saw monkeys watching us from the trees. And a mama goat tied to a tree to graze while the baby goat ran loose around her. Exotic flowers grow like weeds up here! And bamboo–the guide said it grows 6 inches every day. (!!!) As we left the rain forest, we stopped at a small house/gift shop. A soccer game was on and we sat with the guard and our guide sipping beers and a…
- Ting…a Grenadian grapefruit soda that became my favorite drink!
- Surf-walking at sunrise and sundown. sharing leftovers with beach dogs. Wiping the sand from their eyes and scratching their backs.