Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 2 (Sunday)

The family was exhausted from our day of travel, so our first day in Carriacou included a substantial amount of sleeping-in. Nobody seemed to complain about that at all. After a late morning dip in the pool, we all got cleaned-up for a trip to Hillsborough to pick up some provisions.

We were much more attentive on the drive to Hillsborough than we were during the trip to the villa the day before. Today we noticed several changes since our last visit that were worth noting. The new rum shop on the north end of Paradise Beach looks like a significant investment compared to some others we have seen in the past. We hope it will be there, in good repair, for years to come. There was also a substantial amount of progress on the stadium between L’Esterre and Hillsborough, although we were surprised to see what appeared to be several Asian men working on the construction.

The bulk of the work being done on this day was by the supporters of the competing political parties. With the Grenada elections just a little more than one week away (Tuesday, July 8), we seemed to have timed our visit to be in the heat of the campaign. Cars with loudspeakers mounted on their roofs, and pick-up trucks overflowing with supporters wearing matching t-shirts and shouting campaign slogans crowded the roads surrounding Hillsborough. The roadsides and utility poles were littered with signs and posters promising change for the people. In our discussions with some of the local residents, none seemed very confident than anyone of the candidates were capable of making any meaningful change. They all seemed to be prepared to vote against somebody as opposed to voting for somebody.

It was a Sunday, so our choice of stores that were open was limited. Henrietta’s, the bakery in L’Esterre was closed, as was the Rasta grocer (produce stand) on the north end of the main street in Hillsborough. The ATM was open, so we stopped to get some Eastern Caribbean cash. There were a couple of men sleeping-off their Saturday night binge on the sidewalks of downtown. Apparently the concrete is not that uncomfortable after all.

Our next stop was Kim’s Plaza, one of the local grocery stores. We stocked-up on ‘American’ essentials; breakfast cereals, cookies and snacks. Okay, we also got some real food like eggs, pasta, peanut butter and canned ham. All convenient things to have on-hand for our economical plan to eat most of our breakfast and lunch meals in the villa. Leaving Kim’s we stopped by the roadside produce stand just to the southeast to buy a few bananas, They looked great and were a bargain as we got a very large bunch for EC$2.50, with one to eat on the way home thrown in for free.

On the way back to L’Esterre, we stopped by the Hard Wood Bar and Snackette at Paradise Beach for a wonderful lunch. We each received a large dinner plate overflowing with fish or chicken, boiled potatoes, mashed pumpkin, rice, macaroni, cole slaw, lettuce, tomato, dasheen and more, plus a soft drink for about EC$25 each (or US$10). An incredible bargain compared to meals we are used to buying in the Washington, DC area.

While enjoying our delicious meal, we were entertained by the island’s ubiquitous dogs and cats, and more so by one of the wait staff’s infant daughter playing in a playpen set-up in the dining area. She was a beautiful baby! The Hard Wood was not very busy on this Sunday afternoon. Some of the local residents there on this day were enjoying the televised cricket match. The game featured the West Indies team versus Australia. Apparently it was quite an exciting contest (based on the local resident’s reaction). However, we know little about the game of cricket. We did our best to pay attention in hopes of learning something about it. We need to put that on the to-do list; learn more about the game of cricket.

After lunch we took a quick drive through the Tyrrel Bay area to discover what had changed there. The new marina area continues to progress and there is a lot of heavy equipment on-hand to do the work, but there is still much to do before they are prepared to service boats and provide land-side services. There is still no sign of hotel or condominium development as was described in the original plans. There were a few larger ‘work’ boats docked there on this day, so maybe there is some level of local shipping business already being transacted there. The harbor had its fair share of sailing vessels, and many of the yachties were socializing at the various establishments along the waterfront. We drove as far as the Tyrrel Bay Yacht Club before turning around and returning to the villa. It was a fun sight-seeing trip. One observation was some construction on the beach-side of the road between L’Esterre and Tyrrel Bay. There is on-going work that includes a rather tall concrete security wall; and I mean rather TALL. We wondered why the extra security was necessary.

Once back at the villa, we unpacked the provisions and then cooled-off with some time in the swimming pool. We all decided that the beach looked inviting, so we strolled along Paradise Beach, enjoying a romp in the surf and searching for magical sea shells. It was great fun.

The skies began to look a bit threatening, and we were all pretty wore out, so we headed back to the villa just in time for a brief afternoon rain shower. After some more fun in the pool, we all had a bite to eat (leftovers from the Hard Wood) and played some games in the villa while a small squall provided the landscape with some much needed moisture. A great way to start our holiday in the ‘real’ Caribbean.