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Each journey begins with a single step... Two kiwis escaping from the island to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where thousands have gone before... . .

St Georges, Grenada

GRENADA | Tuesday, 23 February 2010 | Views [1169]

NZ$1 = EC$1.8    US$1 = EC$2.67   EC-East Caribbean dollar.
Cost pp: LIAT flight from Tobago US$110 (for a half hour flight!), taxi from airport EC$50 total (there are buses but we arrived too late), room with shared bathroom at St Ann's Guesthouse EC$128 includes internet and breakfast, room with ensuite at Rocks Inn Guesthouse EC$100 this place is a little closer to town and has a nice view no internet or breakfast.

By the time we sorted ourselves in the airport it was 7.30pm, the problem was that the entry permit required we write the address where we are staying and we didn't know one, so if you are flying to Grenada find one out beforehand to write on it. So we had to go to the tourist office to get a proper address etc etc. Just a lot of crap really. There was a German couple also on the flight and we had talked to them, they were going to rent a car and offered us a ride into town. As it was there were no cars to rent at the airport so we shared a taxi into St Georges which is about 20 minutes away, the roads are windy and the driving slow. The tourist Office had told us that a guesthouse called St Ann's was the cheapest in town so we headed there and got a room, it is about US$50 so incredibly expensive for us, travelling through the Caribbean is going to be scary with these prices if we can't camp...

The German couple, Mathias and Simona, made a suggestion that we go halves with them in hiring a car for a couple of days and drive all over the island. There plan was to sleep wild which suited us and when we worked it out it was cheaper than the room cost and we get to do something different than our usual exploration by local bus so we agreed.

We explored St George for the first day, it is a very pretty small town and is the capital of Grenada. Devastated by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 90% of the housing was destroyed and most of the crops. At that time it had been one of the top Nutmeg producers of the world and agriculture was a top industry along with tourism. In these last 6 years all of the houses have been rebuilt, previously they were wooden but now they are all concrete. So the island looks all clean and wonderfully new, the houses are big and beautiful and colourful. There was a cruise ship in dock and we wandered near and found one side of the town set up especially just for them, you can get off the ship and wander only in the mall right there and not get to experience the real St Georges at all if you want. We headed to the markets and ate lunch there, a woman put a little of everything she was making into a container for us to try and for EC$10 we had enough food for both of us. The plugs here are english and we were not prepared for that so have bought an adapter which will see us right in England too.

In the evening we headed out in the car to Mount Qua Qua which we planned to climb in the morning. We found a quiet spot off the road and spread our sleeping mats on the ground and had a great sleep out in the night air with no mozzies, Mathias and Simona slept in the car. Luckily in the morning the sky was cloudy and we had a fairly easy climb up the mountain and looked out to both coasts of Grenada. In the afternoon we drove up to the other coast to take a tour of a rum factory where they make rum from sugar cane in the same way they have since the factory's inception in 1785. It's sugarcane crusher was powered by a huge water wheel and the juice was boiled in wood burning concrete bowls and ladeled by hand from bowl to bowl, then stored for fermenting and then distilled in a huge (wood fired) copper kettle. The result is a 75% proof Rivers Rum, tasted similar to the raw tequila we bought in Mexico. We found a quiet beach with clear blue water and white sand and swam and lazed there then headed to the next town which has a bit of history. In this town of   there is a cliff called Carib's Leap, here in the distant past the local indigenous tribe jumped into the sea rather than face the oncoming French. The information office was closed so we were unable to find out any more information about it than that.

We found another quiet spot along a dirt road by the sea and again slept out in the evening with no problems, this time M & S slept out on the ground too, much more comfortable than the car. Next day we headed down the other side of the island and had a very short tour of a nutmeg factory which is still in operation but not to the extent as in the past. Nutmeg is the seed of a fruit and you will see in the pics that the fruit is quite large, the fruit is ready when it splits open and falls from the tree then the outside flesh is used for jams etc and the inside nut has a red growth on it which is Mace. The farmers remove the Mace from the Nutmeg and dry that themselves and sell it, the best quality is used as a spice, the second as  , and the third quality is used in medications and cosmetics. The Nutmeg they take to the factory selling it by the pound, yes these islands are still using imperial measurements and have not changed to a fully metric system.

The afternoon was spent just driving across the island, stopping once at a local guys art gallery, then back down to a beach near to St Georges called True Blue. We had been emailling a guy who is there on a yacht and also another guy who is a Kiwi is there at the moment on his yacht but we were unable to locate them to say hi so just had a swim and returned the car to St Georges. There we looked at another guesthouse M&S had seen and they offered a room for EC$100 a night which is about US$10 cheaper than the other place which is a great saving for us. The negative was that there was music blaring from a tent accross the way, some sort of advertising thing for a Friday night, I went and talked to them and they were closing at 9pm so we went and explored the town until then and all was good. For a good feed go to the van on Gramby St, you can get a good chicken/fish burger for EC$6 or chicken/fish and chips for EC$7 or $10.


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