Saturday afternoon, at 3:30 pm, Patrick, our friendly driver, who also makes two shopping runs from the Clark’s Court Marina, also located in the bay, across from Whisper Cove. The marina is a small outfit, but has a work bench for small repairs and laundry facilities, but no drier. A huge back yard instead, to hang the clothes to dry. I lately started to do my own laundry, although it costs almost the same as the laundry service. I found the laundry service not up to par, and started wondering if they were not using any detergent. I even gave my own detergent, telling the ladies that I preferred the scent of my own, but no luck. I am sure the ladies marked me as a simpleton, and probably used my detergent for their own laundry.
Anyway, a group of people from the boats anchored at the bay filled Patrick’s mini bus and had a mini journey around the hills – don’t ask me where exactly. We climbed some mountains, came down some others, and reached a small building at the side overlooking a valley, and swarming with people. I had no idea about the size of the ex-pat population of Grenada, which appeared to have come down there in droves. The moment we stepped down the bus, I saw Ron, our oldest friend/advisor, who works at Island Water World Chandlery. He is single, living aboard his catamaran, so he is knowledgeable about all the activities around town.
We were urged to register, so we approached the make shift desk. A lady gave us the sheet for the novices (labelled virgins), where we wrote down our names. They instructed us to follow the scraps of papers dropped at the walking/running trails in the wilderness, mentioning that only two of them were false (oh joy), and set the hundreds of people loose. Ron told us that if we would not try to lead the way, or lag too behind, we would be fine. Oh well, we started to follow the people at the obvious start of the trail.
We went into it for about half an hour, then lost the ones at the front, when I slowed down a bit because of the slippery slope down. A group of people at our back congregated, one of them yelling to others where they were, and led us to a side which became obvious that was leading nowhere. Al used his previous experience from Indonesia, where he had joined a similar activity organized by the ex-pats there; himself being away from home with a lot of week-end time in his hands. He brought us back to the spot where we lost the trail, and picked it up with a little search. We went back at it, at every turn. Exclaiming “paper”, after seeing the confetti type paper piled at the corners or along the trails. We went through some rugged, slippery and at times quite narrow trails, at times with nothing to clutch on, other than each other’s hands. Our naked arms and legs got slashed by some innocent looking long grass, which we learned to be called “razor grass”. Our multiple cuts, even though not deep, did not heal for a week or so afterwards.
All in all, it was a rough hike of an hour and a half for us, including the de-tour; but a lot of fun. At the end, of course we went back to the bar, beer and food galore. We talked with Ron and a lady from Calgary, Canada, who was visiting her daughter, a med student at St George’s University. The daughter was studying, so sent her mother off her hair for the day. She mockingly complained about her ambitious daughter, who doggedly decided to become a medical doctor at the age of 38, against all odds and barriers in Canada, and came to Grenada! In order to pay for the expense, the mother had to go back to work after a short retirement. I hope her daughter would appreciate her selflessness. For me, it would be the ultimate sacrifice!
The evening closed with free beer and virgin certificates. They announced that the certificates would be handed down by two people standing at the half wall beside the road, yelling instructions to gather all the virgins at the spot. We had heard some rumors about what to expect, so hung back, but facing the activity. After making sure that everybody was gathered, a few hashers at the top started to douse the group with beer. Everybody got drenched with the cascade of beer coming down their heads and clothing. It was a good thing that people had a lot to drink before this episode, so took it by stride and laughed their heads off. We were lucky to be spared, since it got somewhat cool high up in the mountains at that hour.