Saturday, 7 March 2015

Blessed in Grenada

The  woman in the magenta turban and fringed white tee-shirt printed with Barack Obama’s face has tomatoes. We’re almost finished at the market, but we need tomatoes.  We always need tomatoes.

We get about by bus

The bus boy is the hustler of the Caribbean transport network

I’m not really focused on her, more on how ripe the tomatoes are, but out of habit I greet her: “Good morning. How are you?” In Grenada, this is what people say. Not hi, or even hello. Always good morning, or good afternoon. As a pleasantry it’s a little formal to our ears, but it’s interesting how, say, greeting other passengers as you clamber onto a crowded minivan-bus warms the space between people, softens their edges. Mostly people say good morning in reply and leave it at that.

Good morning on Young St - and other photo ops on St George's streets

But this market lady looks me straight in the eye, and answers my question. “I’m blessed.” She pauses. “How are you? Are you blessed?” I flinch. She’s found her target.  Am I blessed? I’m not feeling it. Actually, I’m quite distressed on this particular morning.  But yes, I tell her, I am blessed. I buy her tomatoes and some carrots as well, and as we walk away from the market, I can’t stop thinking about what she’s asked me.

Coming back to the Spice Island dinghy dock in Prickly Bay

The neighbourhood - Prickly Bay (and below)

It’s nearly three weeks since we arrived in Grenada, and in all this time we haven’t moved from Prickly Bay. The wind has been blowing hard most days from the north-east, which is unusual, but other boats have come and gone. We have stayed, trying to figure out what our next move should be.  It hasn’t been obvious. We’ve had to work harder at this problem than at almost anything else we’ve encountered in our life together.  We are on the point of making a decision.  Time is of the essence, but not just our time. There is no path forward for us without cost, or without risk, so whatever course we take needs to be one we are least likely to regret. If that makes sense. Again, I’m sorry if it doesn’t, but the problem is in the heart of the family, and the family is where our heart lies.
Cocoa as it grows on the tree

Cocoa beans spread out to dry at the Grenada Cocoa Cooperative

Bagged to go

The Grenada Chocolate Company - move over Lindt

Esmond is the guy who runs Grenada Chocolate Company now

In the mean time, my mother has turned 80, and the party in Auckland at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron on March 3 was, from all accounts, a wonderful one.  We wish we’d been there to fire off a 21-gun salute. 

The cannons at Fort George,  St George's

St George's waterfront - and the RC church

The St George's anchorage - with Grand Anse beach behind

St George's harbour, from Fort George
Maurice Bishop (see below) was executed in the Fort George courtyard in October 1983

Annandale waterfall - not so very high, but...
Every so often we’ve taken ourselves off the boat for the whole day and flushed our minds with the island’s colours and sights. Car hire on Grenada isn’t straightforward, nor is driving around the island. There are very few road signs. On the recommendation of our friends Charlotte and Serge on Kuaka, we did what we haven’t done before, and signed up for a day-long tour of the island with a man called Cutty.  No regrets. Cutty has our recommendation too.

The genial and well-informed Cutty

When in the Caribbean, tour a rum distillery...this one in the north of Grenada

Now here’s something to chuckle over. The first time we visited St George’s, we noticed a handmade-looking sign (normal in Grenada) for a restaurant called Schnitzel Haus on the Carenage, St George’s harbourfront. It’s hot in Grenada, and schnitzel is not the first thing you think of eating for lunch on a sticky 30 degrees C day. Alex was about to pull the plug, but I told him to “man up” and goaded him up the stairs to the first-floor Schnitzel Haus.

If we’re still here next week, I’ll take him back for a second helping of schnitzel followed by apple strudel. He was in seventh heaven. I would have thought this “restaurant-least-likely-to-last-the-distance” in the Caribbean where what goes down is crab meat and conch and pizzas and roti. But this is the sixth year of business for the Schnitzel Haus which is run by a German and his Austrian wife (who cooks), who ask nothing more of their adopted country than that they can work in 30 degrees on a winter’s day. If asked, they would probably say they are blessed. 

On the windward side of the island, the Atlantic is running a decent swell

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