20 February 2015

Getting Used to Grenada

A Rough Start with Grenada

This fellow lives in the bathroom.

We arrived late at night.
No food. Trouble with immigration.
ATM not working. No money.
No rental car.

Dim roadside bars with shady characters. 
It took me back to days in Liberia
The dark greens of the jungle, the heavy sky. 

Rain gushing over the edges of the roof.
Wind howling thru the palm branches. 
The house was more worn and weather-beaten than I’d expected. 
Mosquitos. Bats, inside the house.

And then that mysterious knocking.

The rough Atlantic windward side.
No real beach, just kelp and tangled fishing baskets.

Stressful driving on the left side, through narrow, crowded towns.
Shops with meager fare promised limited meals. 

Above all, the comparison with lovely Guadeloupe.

The neighbors' house

But after a week, it’s won me over. 
We're on the far side of the island. 
Near Crochu, in St. Andrew.

Colorful houses and gardens, friendly people, curious goats.
The very old-fashioned feel of everything.

This is a place to fall in love with.
After all that initial uncertainty - it feels supremely comfortable.

The house is spacious, open, artistic. 
Wooden staircase to a sleeping loft with a view of the ocean.

Large outdoor shower with a jasmine tree growing in it. 
Two resident lizards in the shower.

Our lovely wooden rental house, deep in the jungle.
The breeze is exquisite. 
The wide balcony extends around the house. 
It’s completely private. 

The worn wooden floors, the mosquito nets. 
Even the bats zooming in and out the open doors are a treat. 

The house is well hidden, down a long path.
At the end of a jungle road. 

No cars, no traffic, no noise. 
Just the sounds of goats, chickens.

And the waves below the house. 

Clouds and sudden rainstorms.
Birds, plants, lizards.

 It’s a good place to just - enjoy. 
Nap. Read. Sort photos. Play guitar.

 Rewrite a book (which is what Stan is doing-).
And finally read everything that's been on my list forever.

St. George is a pocket-sized capital.
Picturesque harbor and lovely old buildings. 

There are marinas and markets, beaches and boats.
Yet, it’s still a “local” town, and the locals are delighted to share it with us. 

People have time to talk. 
No strangers here.

This - is the friendliest island so far.

14 February 2015

Guadeloupe - Île des Saintes - The French Episode.

The French know how to live.

I’m sitting on a balcony, overlooking a beautiful bay. 
Colorful little birds fly by.
Turtles crawl through a garden filled with fruits: 

bananas, papayas, breadfruit, coconuts, 
guavas, pomegranates, mangoes, limes, 
passion fruit, tomatoes and plantains. 

We had a number of these for breakfast. 
Everything looks tropical and very European at the same time.  
It’s ridiculously perfect.

Very French. -No one speaks English. 
We’re on Terre de Haut, on an island in the archipelago of Guadeloupe.
In the Caribbean.
The food is EXCELLENT. 
Good wines, fine cheeses, crusty baguettes, baked fresh every 4 hours.
Delicious yogurt, fresh fruits and tasty vegetables. 
Not expensive. Many grown here.

The restaurants, are ON the sand: 
Starter, main course, (usually fresh fish, and delicious).
And dessert, for a set price - just like in France
With a half bottle of good French wine.
Ah, how wonderful.

Everything closes down completely from 12:30-3 pm for lunch. 
It really is the main part of their day.

A long lunch, spent with friends and families.
Talking, lingering at the table, taking forever, in our minds -! 

No wonder they think we tend to eat and run. We do.

No crime - everyone knows each other. 
Doors are open and nothing is locked. 
It feels colorful and organized. 

The houses are freshly painted, gardens are tidy. 
Of course, the population on this island is only about 1400.  

The bays are glass-clear. 

Sailboats scattered tastefully about. 

Visitors can rent scooters, or golf carts.
Most people walk. 
It takes an hour or two to cross the island. 

It's another world - each island is SO different from the next! 

I guess that's the whole idea of "islands". 
If so - I like it!