January 29, 2010
Caribbean misadventures #7 and #8: Barbados and Grenada
Well, folks, I am thinking my old 'get up and go' has 'got up and went'. I seem to be turning into a slothful, lazy, sun worshipping slug and trying to get over the guilt of not rushing about, planning to do this and that, going for long walks etc etc. I thoroughly enjoyed my five days in Barbados, and wish i had planned for longer. When I left the boat, and took a cab to this small sort of village called St. Laurence Gap. The road from the cruise port, through the city of Bridgetown, and towards the airport on the other side is totally lined on one side bybeaches and resorts and on the other side by shops and more resorts and rental apartments. The streets are mostly inhabitied by aging men and women in shorts and bright floral outfits, shopping or just walking somewhere. The place I was staying seemed to be inhabited by scandanavian kite surfers and McGill Univ. oceonographic students. It was called the Rio Guest House, and was clean, fresh, and only $40 a night.
I met the only other female there at the time, a yound Dominican woman, who was studying medicine in the US. We spent a very interesting afternoon together, going up to Oistin, a nearby fishing village for lunch and a beer. It was fascinating talking about her experiences as a black West Indian going to an all black university in Louisianna. The americans accused her of 'talking white' because she didn't sound like a 'southern black' and they couldnt understand why she didn't refer to herself as Afro American, but as West Indian . Since most West Indians also have Carib ancestors as well, they don't see themself as 'African' anything.
The Gap, as it's called, is a U shaped dip off the main hiway, about a mile or two long, also with lots of resorts beach side, but with little traffic, a lot of inexpensive restaurants, and not much else. My little guesthouse cum hostel was across the street from a posh resort, but all I had to do was to cross the street, walk through, past their restaurant and pool, and I was on this magnificent beach. At this end it wasn't crowded, so I had a few wonderfrul days of painting and beach browsing. I think there is a rule in Barbados that they don't let you off the plane unless you are over fifty, or accompanying your grandchildren! There were very few kids at all. You could rent an umbrella and chair. This was weird for me, because I have never been on a beach like this before. Each hotel had their own coloured towels, so if you claimed an empty chair, and didn't have the right coloured towel, a polite young man would come and see if you were either at the hotel, or wanted to rent the chair. I was so discovered, but the nice young man told me not to bother paying and let me have the lounger.
The water is fantastic, clear and warm, and its fun to 'jump' the breakers. I havent really done that before - that and 'body surfing'.' It was refreshing to see that I wasn't the fattest, oldest, out of shape body on the beach and that the plumper more filled in womens bodies definitely tan and age better than the skinny types, who end up looking like over tanned dried up leather!! Sun worshipping is the thing here, people roast all day, gently turning themselves over as if they were impaled on a rotisserie! I liked going down early in the morning, and watching the 'beach walkers'... people marching resolutely up and down the length of the beach for their morning exercise, before jumping in to cool off.
I did get off the beach for day or so, and went into Bridgegown by bus where i spent time in the old synagogue and museum. The downtown has two definite parts: the non busy shopping streets full of small shops and snackettes, and the Broad street is wall to wall 'duty free' shops selling outrageously expensive jewellery and luxury items... these streets are full of cruise people...ladies in shorts, well coiffed hair, dripping too much jewellery already, and their 'tagalong' hubbies, clutching their wallets.
One of the things I really liked about the beach there, and the place generally, was the constant, comfortable breeze, which made it very pleasant, even tho it was pretty hot. Five days was maybe two days short. I wish I had a few days more. But I had booked my flight to Grenada on a five oclock flight. The plane touched down in Tobago, and then I was at the final stop... Grenada
at last. I had been planning this trip for over thirty years, and I finally made it!
I had arranged for a cab to pick me up and take me to a place I found on line. It is self catering, so we stopped at a giant shopping centre so that i could pick up some food. It's sort of out of town, between the city of St. Georges, and the famous Grand Anse Beach. I booked a one bedroom, self catering small, cottage, but it wasn't vacant yet, so she put me into this HUGE three bedroom bungalow for one night. Free WiFi again. I am lost wandering around, and can never find the right light switches. Right now, i am on the balcony, looking over to the water, where a freighter is anchored, and a number of small sail boats.
The place is owned by a fortiesh Italian rasta lady and her partner and small son. There was a small dinner party going on on the porch with the other guests, and I was invited to join them. An american couple, two german medical students doing internships here, and an italian woamn, who is leaving today, and i will be getting her small cottage. I am always anxious and unsure if i have made the right moverevery time I move on, so i will see if this place works for me. There are lizard thinggies in the trees and skittering over the floor - pleasant little things. There's lots of greenery, but not as big gardens as i was expecting, but relaxing, for sure. Basically I need a quiet place for a few days to recover from this damn cold.
I was much happier when I moved to the smaller cottage, and the next day, I found a small market, picked up some instant chicken soup to feed my cold.