“Oh the places you’ll go.”
Began the morning at 3.30 am to get the 4.30 bus for the start of carnival. Today is not the traditional costumed parade that comes tomorrow. Today is about Jab Jab, where people dress with devil horns, chains and cover themselves in used car engine oil or varying colours of paint. As they dance through the street, they hug onlookers or dab oil and paint on them. Max approached them and asked for it, it wasn’t long before everyone joined in, some of us more reluctantly than others. By dawn the party was in full swing, the kids and adults alike were painted and enjoying themselves.
From what I can find out J’ouvert it started in Grenada/Trinidad by locals, who were banned from participating in masquerade balls of the french settlers. So they started there own form of masquerade street party.
Us by the end of j’ouvert
Our bright and colourful kids by the end of the morning.
The cruising community enjoying j’ouvert
The locals enjoying J’ouvert, I love the little guy at the end with his bike chain and grease covered clothes.
Another great day at the Pretty mas and the costumes were beautiful. A very inclusive parade doesn’t matter whether your male or female, young or old, large or small, all participated with big smiles and having a ball. The kids thought the costumes were great, but the music very loud.
Don’t they look beautiful!
Even the boys go the whole hog and dress in costumes and dance in the parade
We had some time to kill so we decided to have a look at Fort George, built by the french in 1705. The fort itself is fairly unimpressive and there is no information about it at the site, however it does have a bloody history. In 1983, Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, his supporters and some of the general public were assassinated within the fort by the Marxist wing of their party the only remnants of this event is a plaque which you will need to look closely to find.
The fort does have a beautiful view of the water and the Carenage area of St George
On the walk up to the fort you pass a church missing walls and the ceiling, apparently severely damaged during Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
Venessa (Neptune 2) organised for us to do an island tour with Cutty, a local and all knowledgeable on both the history and fauna of Grenada.
One of our stops was to a warehouse which holds all of the cocoa beans. Bags from different areas of Grenada are labeled and kept together as buyers will often request beans from specific areas. We tried several beans from some of the areas and surprisingly they do all have their own unique taste. You can see the cocoa fruit in the first photo below.
We also learnt about the nutmeg industry when touring through a nutmeg factory. Local farmers bring their nutmeg in which is sorted so the light empty ones are thrown and the rest weighed, to which the farmers receive $3 EC or $1.50 AUD a pound. From there they soak them in water and if they sink they are better value nutmeg and are separated from the floaters which are still sold but are more likely to end up as ground nutmeg. The nutmeg are bagged and sold whole and sold to different countries who then process it. They sell nutmeg in the local markets here, you crack them like a nut and can then grate it and add it to your meals or desserts.
The red stuff is the first photo below is mace. The nutmeg is an orange fruit which looks a bit like an apricot, the fruit is removed and the mace then surrounds the nut. The farmers are paid according to the quality of the mace if its grade 1 like in the photo its $5 EC ($2.50 AUD), 2 was $4 ($2AUD) and grade 3 was about $3 EC or $1.50 a pound.
Hurricane Ivan in 2003 destroyed 90% of the nutmeg trees in Grenada their biggest export. Although the industry is improving it is still only about 15% of the original production. Grenada had been the second biggest nutmeg exporter after Indonesia.
Our next stop before lunch, I think was everyone’s favourite, the chocolate factories. We did a tour through a factory learning how the chocolate is taken from coca beans to chocolate. We continued on down the road to another factory where the kids (and adults) all indulged by spending some of their hard earned pocket money on the different varieties of dark chocolate made there, after tasting all of the samplers.
Marina, Ava, Siobhan and Maren waiting for our rum tour
I will attempt to explain the rum making process, possibly very badly. Photo 1 is of the 17th century water wheel, which when turned on, powers the machine in photo 2. The machine is then manually fed sugar cane and it crushes it to extract it’s juice which is fed into another shed and added to water. The liquid is left to ferment in large vats, as can be seen in photo 3 until the bubbles disappear (usually about 7 days). The final step is the distilling in photo 4. If the proof of the rum is not high enough then they distill it again. It is then bottled. Pretty simple, huh? I did not try the strongest but Andrew said it was strong.
Our final stop for the day was at the waterfall, the kids went swimming and enjoyed their refreshing swim.
After our Grenada tour we decided to do another waterfall while the kids were on school holidays. So we did the hour long bus trip to the entrance of the Seven Sisters. After paying our entrance, the local man insisted that we needed to take one of the sticks to help us with the hike. We must have looked unfit? Well I know I am, but I’m not so sure about everyone else. The hike down was easy it was the hike back up that I found tough.
The kids and most of the adults had a swim in the refreshing water, followed by a picnic, before the long hike back up to the top.
As the river rafting trip that was planned for today for our friend, Elliot’s 18th birthday was cancelled due to rain, we instead went bowling at Lavo Lanes Bowling. As there was 10 of us we divided into two groups, the kids/young adults in one lane and the older adults in another lane.
Everyone finally has their shoes on.
It was a lot of fun. In the adults game Gary won, followed by Andrew. In the kids game Tristan won, followed by Marina. We followed up the game of bowling with burgers, wraps and salads at a local restaurant.
Clockwise from top left: Elliot, Max, Ava, Siobhan and Marina
And the winner is …… Tristan, followed by Marina.
It was a bit of a squash to get everyone into Gary’s car.
Cost: $20 for 12 and under, adults are $30, lane for 1 hour for up to 8 people $180
Opening Hours: Mon – Thurs – 4 pm – 12 midnight, Friday – 4 pm to 2 am, Sat – 1 pm to 2 am, Sun – 1 pm to 12 midnight
Contact: Phone – 473 439, web:http://lavolanes.com/
After two failed attempts to go rafting for our friend, Elliot’s 18th birthday, the rain finally let up and the river went down enough that we could go. Venessa organised a bus to take us up to the Balthazar estate where we went rafting with the Adventure River Tubing company.
Our group of river tubers: Elliot, Gary, Marina, Venessa, Dad, Tristan, Mum, Ava and Cindy
Buddies: Ava and Marina, Tristan and Elliot
We were geared up with all the safety equipment, helmets and life jackets before being taken down to the river where we were given a quick run down on the rules before we were individually launched into the river. Because there had been a lot of rain, the river was high and the trip was actually quite fast, probably only 20 minutes.
Photos in a clockwise direction: Cindy, Ava, Elliot and Venessa
Photos in a clockwise direction: Photo 1: Andrew, photo 2: Venessa, Photo 3: Venessa, Gary and Cindy, Photo 4: Max and Photo 5: Gary
The Deeley Boys
It was a lot of fun, but over very quickly. The staff were polite but I wouldn’t say exuberantly friendly, however they were very watchful of all of us in the water and quick to act if someone was stuck on a rock or tipped out of the tube (that only happened to one person). Our friends Venessa and Marina had done this trip before and had taken cconsiderably longer, partly due to a slower running river and because they stopped part way to swim and the guides jumped off the rocks and did somersaults etc. I’m unsure whether that didn’t occur on our trip because of the high level of the river. Would I do it again? I’m not sure it was value for money by the time you pay for a bus up there and then a 25 minute tube ride I would do it again elsewhere if at a cheaper cost or a longer trip.
Adventure River Tubing
Cost – $45 US a person
The river trip runs at 9, 11.30 and 2 pm