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Trip Report I've got Sweet Grenada in my Heart

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Since "Ahhh, Grenada" has been appropriated by Nevis fans around here, I'll switch to Sweet Grenada. ;)

This trip report will be brief relative to my previous trip reports simply because I will be writing up the full version over on www.GrenadaTravelForum.com to compete in their trip report contest. When I have that complete TR written up over there, I'll post here to let you know. Sadly, I will be unable to provide any photo links from this trip because in a moment of idiocy I left my camera and two memory cards behind with American Airlines, presumably never to be seen again.

My home in Grenada for the first week was the Cinnamon Suite of the SpiceTree Suites, a two bedroom apartment in the Lanse aux Epines region, which I got at the unbelievable introductory rate of US $65/night. It was fully furnished, with a/c in the bedrooms and a full kitchen, but it was the small decorative touches that made it so comfortable. It also had a tv, dvd player, and stereo, and within easy walking distance of four restaurants and the small beach at Prickly Bay.

The first week was my budget week, so other than my rental car my main expense was a trip to the grocery store where I stocked up on staples like tuna, fresh produce, breads, peanut butter, and of course rum!

My afternoons that first week were spent with a children's after school program, run by Miss Claudia and assisted by Miss Mandy, a Peace Corps volunteer. The "Evening School" as it is known, is used to help give kids some one on one attention with school work and social development. It was founded by the indefatigable Ann Hopkin, who returned to Grenada after retirement from work in the US and UK. She now enjoys a quiet retirement of doing volunteer work seven days a week!

Anyway, the first day the kids were a little shy around me, but the next day they got over that pretty quickly. We were reading stories, singing songs, and doing those little handclap games that girls the world over never seem to tire of--the claps were familiar from my own childhood but the chants were new to my ear. We worked on their school work first, if they had any, and then moved on to the fun worksheets that Miss Mandy had prepared for the kids according to their skill level, and then we ended the afternoon we games, reading, and a snack.

One day I joined Ann Hopkin and three of her friends to spend the day "in the country." We drove up the leeward coast all the way to Victoria so that Ann and her friends could help deliver food, clothing, and medical care to elderly patients in that parish. I wasn't especially helpful in any meaningful way, but I did a lot of toting and carrying. One of the government ministers (maybe Minister of Works?) joined us for the day, which impressed me more than I can say. A medical doctor in her former career, she joined us with the visits and deliveries, talking with each patient, saying prayers over them, touching them. I'm fairly certain that her equivalent in our government would never do such a thing unless it was a photo-op.

After my solo week in Grenada, my husband joined me for a few days before our friends came down so that we could have some couple time together. One day we drove up the Windward coast to Grenville and the old airport, which was fascinatingly eerie. We just tooled around, stopping here and there along the way at roadside stands for Ting, until we made it back down far enough to do a waterfall hike. A local guide named Boa led us to the falls, which was about a 7 minute hike over some pretty mild terrain--a few hills but nothing too strenuous.

Another day we spent out at La Sagesse, which is tied for our favorite beach in all of our Caribbean travels (the other is on Bequia). Another morning we went to market and then just tooled around until a sunset walk along Grand Anse. We spent those glorious few days mostly limin' and eatin', sometimes at the same time.

On Tuesday my husband and I moved from SpiceTree Suites to Tradewind Pavilion, a villa owned by the same folks, Anthon and Sharon Antoine. We had stayed at their smaller villa, Turtleback, last year and so when the time came to pick a vacation villa with our friends, this was a no-brainer. We spent that day accustoming ourselves to the villa life, enduring the rugged cycle of swimming in the pool, reading on the rooftop patio, playing with the dogs, mixing rum punch, back to swimming in the pool and so on.

Our friends are musicians and as such they are on the road at least 35 weeks out of the year, and most years more like 40 weeks. They had never taken a trip for vacation before, instead preferring to recharge their batteries at home. Well, they really took the Caribbean and villa life especially. We spent the first few days exploring the island and visiting different beaches, but by the end of our vacation, they were content to stay behind at the villa while my husband and I went out to play.

We visited, in order of our favorites, La Sagesse, Magazine Beach, Morne Rouge, Grand Anse, and Prickly Bay, some of them multiple times.

Our favorite meals were lunch at Spice Island, and dinner at Boots Cuisine and the Aquarium. Over the course of my 16 day trip, I also sampled the following:

Red Crab -- dinner here was pretty good, but not as good we remembered from last year.

Coconut Beach -- ditto the Red Crab comment.

Kudo's -- perfectly fine dinner if sticking to burgers, BBQ chicken, etc. Rum punch tasted like it was made with coconut rum, which I don't care for.

True Blue -- perfectly adequate. Slightly better than last year.

Boots -- outstanding both times we ate there for dinner.

Spice Island -- oustanding the three times we ate there for lunch

Aquarium -- oustanding for our special dinner out, slightly better than average for an afternoon outing for dessert.

We also went to Fish Friday this year, hiring a driver so that we could all enjoy ourselves. What a great time that was! We sampled so many different kinds of fish that we were all fit to burst by the end of the evening.

One morning we drove into St. George's for the market and we did a little shopping at Tikal, which we passed along the way. We bought a ton of spices and produce, as well as some james, soaps, syrups. Also some fresh eggs and fresh bread for fixing up some Mango & Banana French Toast the next day, with fresh cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla mixed in. The market experience was fantastic, as was the French toast the next morning!

We were very sad to leave Grenada, but we extended our vacation one night by spending our last night in Old San Juan. Last year we stayed at El Convento, but the price has gone up significantly since then, so we opted for the more moderate Sheraton Old San Juan. Great location and great price, somewhat ho-hum atmosphere. Our last meal on vacation was at Agua Viva, where we shared a smorgasborde of ceviches, oysters, and other seafood. We all had a grand time together and vowed that we must do it again.

I'm happy to answer any questions y'all might have about the trip, but in order for me to qualify for the trip report contest, I can't really post more here in a straightforward report. Just let me know, and thanks for reading!

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