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Grenada May 30 - Jun 6, 2005   3 slideshows
Overview: Somewhat confusingly, the country Grenada actually is an island chain, of which the 3 main islands are Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, in descending order of size. However, Petit Martinique is very close to the southern end of SVG (Petit St Vincent, which is "close" to Union Island), making the international border somewhat arbitrary, geographically speaking.

Map is from Turquoise Net
Carriacou: We sailed from Union Island in SVG to Carriacou, pronounced Car-ee-a-coo (pop. 6000), landing at the main village of Hillsborough which has its customs house at the foot of the ferry dock. After David and I cleared customs, we walked a small block inland to the police station to clear immigration, where my printout of my onward plane ticket (which I had previously emailed to a hotel to print out for me :-) came in handy. There was more paperwork for David to handle, including two copies of the crew list (sans moi).
I stayed at the small Green Roof Inn, a 10-15 minute walk north of the ferry dock. A slow time of the year, I was the only guest the first three of five nights; and when I arrived nobody was there, but a key was in the door of one of the 5 rooms (it turns out the manager had stepped out for a bit, unsure of when exactly I was arriving).
After checking in, I walked back to the slightly rundown village (lots of homes and businesses along the beachfront0 to retrieve my watch by swimming out to the anchored Cheshire. Then I drank a Carib beer (made in Grenada, but I wasn't sure if it was related to the Trinidad & Tobago beer of the same name) in a little bar next to the pier, where I eavesdropped on two German sailing couples talk about hurricanes and complaining about sailboat safety (against local people) in another part of the world. I took a peek in Ade's Dream Guest House (US$32/night, shared kitchen) in the middle of town; I had wanted to spend a few nights there, but they were full with archeology students, whom I would run into at a few of my dinners in town. David and Susanne came ashore looking for dinner, and we settled on a side street's sidewalk stand BBQ chicken and beer (to avoid all the deep fried options).
The next 3 days were essentially the same routine: using the free wi-fi in the inn's lounge, followed by a nice continental breakfast with a hardboiled egg, toast & jam, fruit (papaya from the garden!), juice and coffee. Then some work (yes, work!) followed by a late lunch at the inn's resto: conch roti; pizza; mutton plate. Then more work before dinner, twice at the inn's resto: gravad dorado and salad; butter fried dorado. The meals at my inn were quite tasty, as is evident from the many meals I ate there!
One night I had reserved dinner at Callalou On The Beach, but the service was agonizingly slow despite not being too crowded, and my fish was only ok.
It also rained off and on, though that didn't keep me from going for an afternoon swim at the town's beach. I also bought some nice fruit from a little stand, but the pineapple, shipped from St Vincent, was too expensive at EC$8 per pound!
On my last full day on Carriacou, I wanted to tour the island but the rain was worse that day. It didn't rain non-stop, but when it rained, it came down in buckets. I got absolutely drenched going into town for lunch -- soaked to the bone! The local special plate was nice, with a bony fish, chicken, breadfruit and taro (the latter being just as pasty, chewy and inedible as in Hawaii :-).
I stopped by the Garden Restaurant to reserve, and pre-order, dinner. Just then the chef came out and said he was cooking lobster, inviting me into the kitchen to verify (I was questioning if lobster was in season). One guess as to what I ordered! Very tasty!
Petit Martinique: On Saturday morning I took a taxi (EC$15, less than 5 min) to the ferry dock to avoid getting rained on with my backpack. The Osprey power catamaran ferry unloaded lots of people and goods, before taking me on the 30 minute ride to Petit Martinique (pop. 900), just northeast of Carriacou. On the way, we passed one picturesque sandbar with a lone palapa on it.
I trundled southeast for 5 minutes down the beach to Melodies Guest House, where I had nice small room with a sea view balcony and a private bath. The weather had looked promising on the ferry ride, but it rained again. And the guest house had no water (temporary problem), no fish and no food, so I walked down the beach to have lunch at the Palm Beach Restaurant. I walked northwest to the road's end, passed numerous mudslides. And it started to rain again. I bought some juice, cheese and fruit at the "supermarket," which came in handy when I couldn't find an open resto for dinner (though it turns out I hadn't walked far enough to the east along the lone road).
Having gone to bed early (nothing to do!) I woke up very early and lo and behold, it was not raining! I walked southeast to the end of the road, past numerous small cemeteries, and enjoying a good view of Carriacou's north shore. On the way back I stopped for breakfast at a fly-ridden, loud gospel music-playing small store & bar: butter fried fish and buttered toast (no jam), plus instant coffee. Mmmm - breakfast of champions!
After a swim back at my hotel, I walked up the hill for a great panoramic view of neighbouring Petit St Vincent, SVG's Tobago Cays, Canouan, Mayreau and Union Island, as well as the little sandbar with a lone palapa on it.
Unrelated side rant: for countries with English as an official language, the locals are hard to understand!
I walked southwest along the road to look for lunch. Not much open on Sunday besides a few watering holes, including one in front of which a ganja-smoking rastafarian begged from a dog-like position (actually, he reminded me more of Gollum from Lord of the Rings). I asked him for permission to take his picture (see the slideshow; he complained that his shirt was dirty!) and gave him a few EC$, upon which one guy from the bar yelled out that he shouldn't be charging me for photo-taking!
A passerby told me that this other place I had seen, with loud music and lots of tough young beer drinkers on its shaded deck, would have chicken ready at noon, forty minutes later. I had seen it earlier in my search, but it looked like the kind of place that might not welcome a white guy (not sure why; irrational fear?). I had a Heineken (they also had Guinness, but not Carib beer!) while waiting for the food; one entertaining drunk guy stumbled in and rapped.
When the food came, the waitress was surprised that I wanted to eat there (some vindication of my previous feelings!) and was going to put out a nice tablecloth for me, which wasn't necessary (I politely told her so). The chicken and veggies were very tasty, washed down with a second beer. Oddly I was served food about 15 minutes before the local guys got their food, at which point they bought me a beer during their round (even though I still had a half-full, or was it half-empty, beer bottle in front of me). When I went to pay for my meal and drinks, the guys were in the midst of another round of beers and generously offered me yet another one, but I managed to decline just before the beer bottle was opened! Obviously, all my initial reservations about this establishment and their clientele were wildly unfounded, and I almost missed out on a genuine local experience!
After lunch I went for a swim and laid in the surf for a bit, which might be when I acquired my wonderful sunburn -- on the last full day of my trip after 5 weeks of already being in the Caribbean! Must have been all the rain and work the past 2 weeks that drained me of a protective tan ;-).
At 14:30 I "checked out" by leaving my key in the door (nobody was working) and returned to the Palm Beach resto for a coffee before boarding the 15:00 Osprey high-speed catamaran ferry to Grenada (2 hrs, with a stop in Carriacou again). I managed to forget my bathing suit on the shower rod, and somehow lost my battery charger on the ferry.
Grenada: The ferry arrived at the European-feel St George's in Grenada (the island; aka the Spice Island) around 17:00. I took a taxi to my hotel, the Gem Beach Resort, on a sandy cove south of town near a nice park peninsula. I wasn't on the island of Grenada very long, though I did see evidence of the previous fall's major hurricane strike.
Departure: Early the next morning I took a taxi to the airport.

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