4th Rum and Beer Festival – Grenada

So it was an early start to get out to the Calabash Hotel to meet up with the Scuba Tech folk and get kitted out for snorkelling.  OK.  I hardly ever get to go swimming these days let alone go out swimming in the sea.  Motoring out from the Calabash Hotel we first manoeuver over to St George’s seafront to pick up other passengers.  Our three other passengers are scuba divers that have disembarked the Celebrity Eclipse to come and join our merry band.  We are soon passing some truly wild and beautiful coastline with jungle coming right down to the shores. It really is breath-taking.

Jungle down to the beach in Grenada

I wasn’t terribly successful with the snorkelling.  There was a swell from the storm the night before and the water is churned up and murky.  An inspired artist named Jason Taylor has created a unique underwater sculpture park to view but I don’t really spot it.  We do see the place where the new Sandals resort is being built…opening next month but doesn’t look anywhere near ready.

 

Bringing up a sea urchin for us to gawp at

One of our guides brings up an enormous sea urchin to see.  It is magnificent.  And I thoroughly enjoyed being out in the ocean and getting a different view of Grenada’s coast.

That evening is the 4th annual Rum and Beer Festival.  It turns out that Barbados is having a CARIBBEAN Food and Wine Festival at the same time.  Has the Barbados festival usurped this Grenada event?  Virtually none of the beer suppliers in the Caribbean have turned up which has several people quite disappointed.  But the rum exhibits are quite good and I particularly liked trying out the local chocolate.  I really wanted to go to the village of Guave for Fish Friday but was told that wasn’t an option by the tourist board due to it being one hour’s drive away.  As that would cut into my time at the Beer and Rum Festival, I accept that argument.  And there is a whole hog being roasted here in the venue parking lot, that might well compensate.

 

Hog Roast

Unfortunately, the tourist board thinks it is a better idea to take me away from the proceedings, drive me up to town for a take-away at the quite crowded Creole Shack (takes a considerable amount of time getting four of us served ) then bring food back to be eaten at the festival venue.  Baffled.

African drumming at the 4th annual Beer and Rum Festival

 

Georgious Rex Old Grenada. King George III made sure his favourite rum was shipped directly to him so crates were marked – G.R.O.G.

I was joined in all this by the winners of the Caribbean wide Radio competition prize, Charissa, and her mother, Patricia who are both from Trinidad and being sponsored for the weekend of festivities.  We get on very well.

Interestingly, my guide and driver, who seemed a bit dour at the beginning of the trip, now has turned on the charm?  Could it be because he has taken a fancy to the young, attractive competition winner?  Surely, not!  Actually, it might just be the rum and the carnival atmosphere.

 

 

First Day, First Lesson – Grenada

It’s my first day in Grenada. The day dawns hot and sticky, so I walk very slowly to breakfast. Luckily, there is a table free on the shaded terrace so I go about the business of having my eggs (staple I can’t live without) and decide on a Caribbean favourite to accompany it. Today it will be banana fritters. The fruit and fruit juice served with every breakfast at the Kalinago Resort are sweet and almost over ripe but refreshing. I eat three fritters and take three with me for my lunch.

A local variety of crow keeps hopping onto my table and underneath it, looking for something to eat. But what really surprises me, as soon as I move away, is that he has a packet of sugar in his beak. Sugar is what he was after!

Golden Sand Beach with Turquoise Water

A walk along the beach outside my hotel is just magical.
Morne Rouge Beach is quiet, the pure turquoise water, calm. Pale golden sand crunches under my feet and a cooling breeze has just started ruffling the water. I catch a glimpse here and there of skittering, scurrying sand coloured crabs.

 

 

Scurrying into his burrow

There is a perfect conch shell tumbling in the surf. In the old days, I would have picked it up and taken it home. But thought better of it today.

Being buffeted by the waves

As I walk onto the hotel grounds, a green coloured lizard with an iridescent belly crosses my path. The bartender and I admire him.

Harry the bartender, explains that the round, brown object I have picked up is not a spice at all but a rotten apple from the Manchineel Tree. He instructs me to be careful as a ripe piece of this fruit is somewhat poisonous and the juice will irritate my skin. We move on to the beautiful almonds that are lying about. I try the fruit of the nut and then he cracks one open with a rock, so I can try the almond as well. Both are delicious.

In the afternoon, it is over to True Blue Resort for a cooking lesson with duo Esther and Omega. It is actually more of a comic routine as the two of them are very funny indeed. Apparently, they appear on Grenadian television. Along with about 15 other people in the audience, we learn to prepare Callaloo Chicken and Plaintains cooked in Ginger Orange Sauce. Both are Grenadian specialties.
There are lots of jokes about ‘breasts’ when volunteers are brought up to stuff the chicken meat. All very funny. I particularly warm to Omega, a large and lovely lady, who has a very self-deprecating sense of humour, while Esther seems to be the one with the cooking know how.

I couldn’t have a better start to my seven night trip and am looking forward to sharing more about this wonderful island.