Tuesday, Jan 2nd – Grenada


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Published: January 3rd 2018
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Cocoa TreeCocoa TreeCocoa Tree

with red pods in Herb Garden
We don’t know quite what is going on, but the BLOG still may not be working the way we expected. Now when I follow my own “subscribed link” to the new entry, it does not show me the photos. If any subscriber is having trouble seeing the pictures, when you get a blog notice, follow the manual link at www.mytb.org/Garvin2018, That method does show me the text and my own pictures in the posting. Sorry!

Today we invaded Grenada, but less dramatically than in 1983. We will leave it to the younger readers to research the part the USA played in the “War for Grenada”. However our driver did tell us his version reflecting the opinions of a resident who was here at that time.

We docked in St George’s about 7:00 this morning. This is the capital and largest city on the island with a total population of about 110,000. The island is located 12 degrees north of the equator, but fortunately it is not too much hotter than our last couple of ports (84 was the high today). We got up early to get ready for our excursion and then went to the Horizon Court buffet for
Guide sharing samplesGuide sharing samplesGuide sharing samples

of various herbs
breakfast. We happened to meet up with Joyce and Jerry and had breakfast together. They were taking the same excursion as us, so we all moseyed down to Deck-4 and left the ship together. Our meeting point was at the end of the pier and we were early and had time to rest before boarding the bus.

Our group was supposed to be only 15 people and it turned out that 3 of them never showed up. So we had ample room on a bus for 18. But as our driver was leaving the port, his supervisor pulled him over and forced everyone to get out and board a smaller bus. This was inconvenient for Janet in particular because of the high steps up into the bus and having to do an extra iteration seemed really unnecessary.

Once we were going again we drove a circuitous route out of town with most of the streets being too narrow for 2-way traffic. The whole island is very hilly and we had lots of switchbacks up and down hills. In addition they all drive on the left side of the road. At least their vehicles have right-hand drive, as opposed to St Thomas where they drive on the left but sit on the left too. Our driver explained that he was not officially a guide but that he had lived on the island his entire life and would tell us about the places as we drove past. He actually knew the island so well that he could stop along the road and tell us what was growing in various trees or bushes along the side. And his ability to thread the van between traffic was really impressive.

Our first stop was at a Spice Factory. The raw spices are harvested from around Grenada and brought here to be prepared for marketing. They make a wide variety of products and we were allowed to taste many of them. There were jams & jellies, salsas, syrups, rum punch, and a few concoctions which we supposed to have good medicinal value but didn’t necessarily taste real good. Of course they had a gift shop with many things for sale. It was actually pretty interesting and did not require a lot of walking around.

Then our bus took us back through the hills to Laura’s Spice Garden, where we were given a
Getting off the busGetting off the busGetting off the bus

(Janet, Joyce, Jerry) at distillery
walking tour of many different spice plants. The real production growing of the spices is done elsewhere and this was just the demonstration area with small sections growing each different kind of spice. This was a bit more uphill-downhill over a dirt path, so Janet stayed at the starting point. We were able to bring her some samples of a couple of different freshly picked thyme, lemon grass, all-spice, a couple of mints, part of an aloe leaf with flowing aloe juices, a cocoa bud to suck on, cinnamon, soursop, shadow beni, and more. They were really very fragrant and Janet ended up with a plastic bag with many different aromas.

Our driver then took us to the Westerhall Distillery. This is one of three rum distilleries on Grenada. We were given a walking tour through the “old grounds” where the original buildings and equipment had been erected. Janet opted to take the shortcut directly to the museum and on to the rum tasting pavilion. Everywhere we looked things were green and our driver said they could probably even grow rocks here because the climate is so good and there is ample rain. This was demonstrated even more at
Flowering bushes at distilleryFlowering bushes at distilleryFlowering bushes at distillery

things grow very well all over Grenada
the distillery as they showed us where a dam had been built hill on a hill as a watershed and then an aqueduct erected to provide a constant supply of clean fresh water for the distillery. The original buildings have gone, leaving only the foundations and some rock walls, along with some of the heavy metal equipment.

There were 7 different types of rum we could sample. Two were good for mixing with punch elements (one Janet really liked had a subtle cocoa flavor), two were good for mixing with soda or other drinks, and 3 were good for sipping over ice. We bought a couple of bottles and brought them back to the ship, to bring home with us. But this was the last event on our schedule and we still had extra time on the clock. Rather than continue to sip rum, our driver took us for a more scenic drive back to the ship, including going to Grande Anse Beach. This is a 2 mile long stretch of beautiful white sand beach, and only the southern portion is really developed with hotels. We had a few minutes to walk on the beach - that is one of the last things Janet likes to do (followed only by drowning). After the rum tasting, one lady even tried walking in the water and said it was nice and warm. Our original larger bus could not have gotten down the narrow road and back, so we would have missed the beach if we hadn’t changed buses.

Our driver took us back to the port and we walked through the gauntlet of duty free shops before we got back to the ship. Under other circumstances that might have been interesting to look for souvenirs, but we were tired form the early morning start and we were hungry for lunch. We went to the cabin and David brought down a couple of plates of pizza from the Lido deck pizza stand. He also got some iced tea, and lemonade, plus a little dessert for our cabin lunch. Then it was time for a nap until we sailed.

About 1:45 they played the Love Boat chords from the ship’s horn, and off we went. Actually the echo of the notes from the hillside came back perfectly timed after our original notes, so that was cute. Then we rested until the next one of our Platinum Perks occurred today.

We received complimentary invitations to the Grapevine Wine Tasting in the Symphony Dining Room. At 2:45 we presented our invitation to the Maitre d’ and were seated at a table with 6 empty wine glasses each. They filled one with water, but we got samples of 2 whites, 2 reds, and 1 rose. They gave some basic instructions on how to evaluate each wine and then an explanation of the differences between the wines. Since Janet doesn’t like reds, she only got to try 3, but David got 7. By the end they were all tasting pretty good. In any case we’ve attended these samplings on other cruises and had to pay for admission, but as our perk, today was free – made the wines taste even better.

The really BIG Platinum Perk actually occurred yesterday evening but we did not notice it until this morning. We had sent a few shirts and slacks to the laundry service. This has been a self-wash activity for us on all the previous cruises and has taken time and money multiple times during the cruises, but today it was FREE and done by someone else! We actually brought enough clean clothes for this whole short cruise, but we used the service as a test before we go on the next longer cruise. Anyway, the cleaned clothes were put back in our closet while we were at dinner or the shows last night, but we didn’t notice them until today. FYI, these 6 items would have cost $25 if we were paying for their service.

We stayed in the cabin until dinner time. Janet watched a cooking show and David went out on the balcony to read for a while. We had gotten enough alcohol today already so we did not need any cocktails before dinner. We met the Demings at 5:30 in the dining room and again had a very enjoyable dinner. Janet’s entrée was the Sea Scallops while David had the trio of lamb, veal, and chicken. Jerry and Joyce each had the fried chicken (not KFC). Janet had the American shrimp cocktail (with red sauce) and David have Caribbean shrimp cocktail (with Caribbean salsa). We all got an intermezzo again today – this time it was orange sorbet. For dessert we each had the sampler trio of apple crisp, chocolate mousse and raspberry mousse.

After dinner we went back to our cabin instead of going to the theater. We aren’t especially interested in the song & dance production show but instead we went back to the Wheelhouse Bar later with Joyce to hear a performer doing “steel pan melodies”. It was actually very interesting. Now we are back in our cabin and ready to declare the day to be over. However David is feeling pretty foolish for missing some obvious photo opportunities (1) Janet and the peddle-cart yesterday, (2) pictures during the rum tasting – too busy drinking, and (3) at the wine tasting – forgot camera. Maybe tomorrow he will take better advantage of the photogenic events.

Before we close we wanted to thank Valerie for sending a picture of her kids playing with the icicles at our house – we hope they had a good time but that the icicles aren’t still there when we finally return. Good night.

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