Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Grenada Welcomes Us

On Sunday, the 15th at 7:00 am sharp, we weighed anchor at Carriacou for the last time this season, and started our passage to St David’s Bay from the windward side of Grenada. We motor sailed the whole way, since the wind was 5 knots at the most, but the current was in our favour, so we made good time and reached the bay ahead of schedule. There were a few mooring balls at the entrance to the marina, so we got one and jumped into the pristine water to swim. Then we celebrated our safe deliverance to our destination.

It is a very narrow bay facing south, having reefs at the western side, which opens up into another bay. So the entrance is a bit tricky, but well marked by faded red and green buoys at both sides. Water is quite deep and clean, and the shore is covered with lush green vegetation. The only signs of life are the marina, a few cottages of the small resort called Bel Air Plantation at the side, and the birds. My kind of place for a while.

Monday morning we met with Raquel, the office manager for Grenada Marine, who is very personable and efficient. We got our estimates for haul-out and summer storage, which were reasonable for the peace of mind they will afford. We also saw the yard where many tied-down boats were lined up. Some people are camping in their boats, which seems hard to us, but we might have to do the same for a couple of days, after Ruyam II is hauled out on the 27th. Al is not crazy about that idea, but we have five more days until our flight back to Canada.

In the afternoon we hopped into a collective (van instead of a bus - dolmus in Turkish) and traveled to the capital of Grenada, St George’s, which was twenty minutes away. It was bustling with cruise ship passengers, in other words abnormally crowded. In such places, when the street vendors try to sell to us, we say “look at our colour, we are not from the cruise”. They laugh with us and leave us alone. It is such a pity that the streets are full of the same kind of junk clothes made in India, at every harbour that the cruise ships go. No place have any character anymore, or display any local art or artisan work. It appears that the customers are interested in that kind of cheap, shapeless, one-size-fits-all dresses. The only thing that recommends them is the comfort they provide in hot weather. So I bought two in St Kitts, and have been wearing them when it is not too windy outside. Any whiff of a wind takes it around ones head in no time.

Anyway, we looked about a bit, but got tired easily and came back to the bus stop. It was around 3:30 pm, children and teenagers were in their uniforms (snow-white shirts; dark green or beige thinly pleated skirts, crisply ironed; same colour pants for boys, also ironed; neck-ties for both girls and boys). I am amazed by the cleanliness of the young people after a day at school. I remember my children coming home from school, covered in dust, knees grated and muddy, shoes untied. Most of the school children we saw here were kind of serious and polite, but so warm and cheerful in a tamed sort of way. Most of them have smiling and beautiful eyes, tall bodies. Al and I could not take our eyes off the young people. I like their confidence and spirit which tell something about the easy-going lifestyle of the island. But they must take education seriously, which is apparent in the number of schools and colleges around.

It was a very hot afternoon, and we got crammed into the van, waiting to be filled to the rim. There were all kinds of people going home after work; school children, young adult males and females, older ladies etc. After a few minutes I started to sweat in my frilly dress, as all the others I’m sure, most of whom were wearing tight jeans and suits. However, there was no bad odour in the van. My nose is very sensitive, and I know how confined spaces can smell in hot climates. When we were in Genoa, Italy we had taken the subway, at about the same time of the day. As I smelled the body odours, I remember thinking that if Italy is like that, of course Turkey has no chance. Grenadians must be doing something right. I also like the way they treat each other. We saw a truck driver coming down his seat to show the way to an elderly lady, who could not understand what was said. I was amazed by the patience and deference he showed to her.

We are spending time leisurely around here, and exploring the city slowly.

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