My Travels

July 24, 2012

Grenada Island Tour

We've been on the island for 2 weeks and on Saturday, we finally had our island tour. There are 7 parishes on the island. We visited the parishes of St. George (where we live), St. Andrew, St. John and St. Patrick. The island is like a giant terrarium, and humidity fills the air. This tropical environment is suitable for lush flora and insects, but it's not so much for me! Luckily, our trusty driver, Bassi A/C Taxi had air conditioning and we made sure we put that to good use.

All the roads that make up Grenada are windy and snake around the outer edge of the island's many hills, which could cause nausea for some, but as I was drugged up on Gravol, I was fine. There are no straight sections of roads, nor inland short-cut roads. The travel time from one parish to another takes much longer on the twisty roads. The public transportation system is privately owned by individuals, and it is basically mini vans that pick up passengers from city centres, transporting them to other parts of the island. I have a new found appreciation for my co-tutor and other teacher participants who have to travel long distances each morning to attend our classes.

Our first stop was Grenville in St. Andrew. We were met by a member of the teachers' union, who was gracious enough to take us on a tour of her home town. We visited the marina, fish market and walked through the main street. We talked to many fishermen who were eager to show off their catch of the day - conch (lambie), mahi mahi, and tuna. By the time we checked our watches, it was already 2:30PM, no wonder I was starving! We passed by a local KFC and I picked up popcorn chicken & Coke Zero on our way to a late lunch.

Lunch was at another union member's home. There were many tropical fruits growing in the yard - papaya, guava, cocoa pods, nutmeg, French cashews, sugar cane. He had cooked a large cast iron pot of the national dish - Oil Down. These are the ingredients in Oil Down: Breadfruit (potato/bread-like consistency, in the mulberry family), Salted Meat, Chicken, Corn, Okra, Coconut Milk, Hot Peppers, Turmeric. The sauce left a fluorescent yellow coloring on my fingers. I can't say it was my favourite, but I'll try most foods once! We were also served dumplings made of flour, and fresh passion fruit juice.

Next, we were taken to the bird sanctuary for a short hike. There was no way I was going in the rain forest. So I waited in the car. Our driver let me keep the engine running with the A/C! I entertained myself playing Triple Town on the iPad.

Near the end of our tour, around 7PM, we visited the Northern parish of St. Patrick, and Leaper's Hill. This was where indigenous Caribs chose to leap to their deaths when cornered by the French in the late 17th century.

Oil Down - Grenada's national dish
Nutmeg encased in mase
Guava, French Cashews, Papaya, Nutmeg,
Cocoa Pod, Sugar Cane, Skin-Ups

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