Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Parental Unit Arrive In Paradise

My parents arrived a week last Wednesday to the Island of Spice. Grenada – The Spice Island as it is fondly referred to, is our home for the time being while we wait for hurricane season to pass us by. We couldn’t ask for a more beautiful or hospitable island to hang out in. As we are not in sailing mode Mum and Dad are staying in hotels rather than the hot and rather rolly joys of staying on board Alianna in Prickly Bay for 3 weeks. This gives them (and us) the opportunity to spend some time exploring parts of the island we otherwise would not get to see. Their first port of call is La Sargesse on the south east corner of the island. It calls itself a nature centre which is a bit of a misnomer as apart from the resident cat and dog, the only nature you are going to see is the odd hummingbird, a number of land and sea crabs in varying sizes scuttling about the place and a family of cows on the beach – all of which you would expect of your average hotel on the beach in the Caribbean – right? But this doesn’t detract from the simple beauty of the place. Everything is very low key and the restaurant and rooms blend in to the natural background of the dark sand beach and shady palm trees. The sound of the waves crashing on the beach is so noisy that you have to raise your voice a few decibels in order to be heard. The food there is wonderful. Although the menu is not very varied, it is superb. For the most part Mum and Dad didn’t venture far – instead enjoying the time to relax.

We did take a visit to a food fest at the north of the island in an area called Victoria. A bit like the Fish Fry Friday that is held in Gouyave, The Victoria Food Fest shuts down a street and local vendors and street sellers offer an array of local delicacies. From old favourites like baked or fried chicken with a side of provisions (starchy vegetables) like white sweet potato, bread fruit or Cou Cou which is made from cornmeal or polenta to the more obscure, like goat curry (ok even that’s not too bad) to Manitou (which they call wild animal and is like a giant rat like rabbit) and turtle. They serve Mannish Waters (ram goat soup) and Cock soup (work it out for yourself). I won’t mention what the others ate but I stuck with the safe baked chicken and later, salt fish fritters. It was a long drive from the north of the island back to La Sargesse to take Mum and Dad home and then back to Prickly Bay by around 11pm for us. We got the fright of our lives when we arrived back and found a group of people sitting in our cockpit. It turned out to be our friends from SV “Irie” and SV “Peter Pan” waiting with their own drinks for us to get back and join them!

The rest of the week at La Sargesse drifted by. We visited Laura’s Spice Garden nearby where they showed us the herbs and spices and their uses as we walked around. A few days later Geoffrey, the gardener at La Sargesse walked us to the end of the road to show us the Chinese nursery with all its wonderful fruit trees and plants.

On Wednesday Mum and Dad changed hotels and we had a day to ourselves. We took the kitty to the vets in the morning for her annual injections. In the afternoon we drove to the centre of the Island to Grand Etang and then on a little further. The air was cooler in the lush tropical forest. Lofty bamboo plants and palm trees rustled in the breeze. We found a walk down to a river and walked down through it until it was deep enough to bath in. It would have been a lovely walk had it not been for the entourage of mosquitoes that followed us everywhere! On the way home we stopped of at Morne Rouge bay where we can’t take Alianna into as it is too shallow. Our friends on Irie where there with their shallow draft catamaran, but when we arrived, there was no one at onboard. We took advantage of the car and filled it with grocery shopping for the next 3 months as it’s not always easy to get on a glorified chicken bus with your arms laden with shoppimg bags.

The following day we drove up to see Mum and Dad at Petite Anse; a gorgeous little hotel right on the northern tip of the island. It has amazing views out across the Caribbean Sea to the island of Carriacou. The hotel, dotted with palm trees has a Mediterranean feel to it and with only 11 rooms its pretty intermit. The only problem, is to decide if you should spend your time by the pool or the beach?

We left Mum and Dad to have a day by themselves before they arrive down in Lance Aux Pines in Prickly Bay where we are for the remainder of their holiday.

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