Being In Grenada for a year and a half now, I felt it was time that I submerged myself into the wonders of the Spice Isle. What was it that influenced the tourist to pack up, spend their hard earned money and fly 4 to 6 hours to land on a rock and bask in the sunshine? It was time to find out. So I batted some eyelashes and convinced my dear boss, Mary and my favourite True Blue Front Desk Staff, Kaylee, (shh I tell them all that!) to trade in those high heels for some flip flops and sunglasses, and jump on a full day tour with Kennedy Tours along with two of our in house guests, Jason and Melissa.
Coffee-ed up and ready to go, I took my spot on the shaded back seat of the bus, windows open, Coke in hand to control the motion sickness, all ready for my hair-down-in-the-wind day. It was the picture perfect day; the kind you see on the Caribbean brochures and think that it’s edited by some fancy pants computer guy. But this was as real as the clear blue skies, the salty taste that lingered on my lips and the rhythms of the waters and wildlife as though practiced for weeks.
First stop, after the breath taking view of the Carenage, was the Nutmeg Processing Plant in Gouyave. For a little ball of a fruit, that nutmeg sure takes a lot of time and detail to be ready for use. Our guide was a friendly expert of the nutmeg process, although I’m fairly sure half of what he said was lost in translation with our foreigners; he was one quick talking guide! The process, however, was very intriguing and somewhat creepy; from the fruit splitting open on its own to the sorting of the good and bad seeds, the manufacture of the mace to the drying and packaging of the actual nutmeg, it all seemed like a little magic factory tucked away in this busy colourful town.
Holding my breath, and to be quite honest, clenching my butt half the time on those narrow twists and turns and up and downs that make up the roads in Grenada, we made our way on; it was time to pay attention to the little food monsters in our bellies. Heading up to the parish of St. Patrick’s we stopped for lunch at Helena’s Ocean View Restaurant. Well my lord your belly could get full from the view alone! It was absolutely stunning. The dodgy pier jutting out into the crisp blue waters, the break of the waves against the almost strategically placed rocks and the caressing green of the coconut trees swaying in the sea drenched winds. It was like paradise – forgive my cliché, but no other comparison can begin to capture it. And the food?! Well ok, if you know me at all, you know I love food like a fat kid loves cake, literally. This buffet was scrumptious; the rice and peas, macaroni pie, plantain and breadfruit with fish; it was like I died and went to food heaven. As Mary rightfully put it, “Country people could cook!”
Bellies full and with that glazed-over-ethnic-fatigue look in our eyes, we settled into the bus and pushed our way up to Leaper’s Hill; a beautiful cemetery towards the back of a grand gothic Catholic church that stirred up the right amount of delightful creepiness. The story behind Leaper’s hill was that of the last forty Caribs to jump over the cliff to escape the colonizing hands of the French in 1651; see? I paid attention! After posing for some super model shots, we climbed back in and headed to the rum distillery.
The strong smell of molasses engulfed us as we entered Rivers Rum Distillery; the oldest on the island. I feel that, at this point, it is wise to insert a disclaimer; if you, like every other true Caribbean person and pirate alike, enjoy the sweet sweetness that is rum, please never think it a good idea to feed that curiosity you have to see how it is made. While questionable and smelly, the most amazing part of the whole distillery, in my opinion, was the water wheel; this working piece of history was simply marvellous. The fermentation and distillation processes were also interesting but yet still something that you never thought off on those Friday nights with a rum and coke in your hands. Good thing too, oui papa; just drink it and don’t think it! Naturally at the end of the tour was the best part – time to sample! With my very own bottle of Rivers Passion Fruit rum punch in hand, we bid adieu to distillery and got on our merry way. Merry because of the rum, clearly!
So after a few tales about the oldest trees on the island and some more colonizing bastard stories and funny looks from the locals as to why three local ladies riding around like tourists, we made it to Belmont Estate. Like vintage glory, this place is home to a cocoa processing plant, a dairy farm, a gourmet restaurant and a lot of animals. The reddened seeds of the cocoa beans told their own story of how they were processed, picked from the trees, striped from their pods and fermented, then placed on the racks in the sweltering sunshine to dry. Each seed tossed and turned for six to eight days until they are perfect for use in Grenada’s very own dark chocolate.
Grand Etang Lake was next on the list – a large crater lake nearly two thousand feet above sea levels with chilly temperatures was an odd sight after enjoying the brilliant coast lines for most of the day. The lake did not quite perk my interest the way those pesky little monkeys did though. Greedy and agile, they took three and a half bananas, and sat around waiting for more. They were funny little crazy creatures who are smart enough to know the tourists and when to hang around for more food; kind of like some people I know actually. Just kidding! Final stop was the Annadale Waterfalls. Just a couple minutes walk from the entrance revealed a beautiful waterfall hidden away like a secret fairy tale, gushing nearly twenty feet down into lush tropical life.
Exhausted at this point, we piled back into the bus and let the sloth take over. It was a glorious day, full of history, culture and incredible sights that we can proudly call our own. Finally I can truly say I’ve learned just a bit about this Spice Isle; there is definitely a great deal more to soak up. But seriously, taking things for granted needs to stop; we live in a Caribbean paradise that thousands of people pay good money to come for just a week or two at a time. Living here is a blessing that I will definitely be taking advantage off from now. Great company on a great tour; not bad for a day’s work at True Blue Bay Resort!
Front Desk Supervisor