…reggae bus to the rescue! The reggae buses are not buses. I just want to make that perfectly clear. They are vans with three rows of seats. They flood the capillary roads like so much synonymous blood. There is never a concern of being at the bus stop in time. If we need to travel anywhere, we begin by walking down the road and turn and wave when we hear a horn honking. Then we travel in the bouncy, blaring luxury of Bob Marley’s mass transit system. Yeah, mon!
We made it to the market in St. George’s today. Unfortunately the fish market was essentially cleaned out. Our first stop was a coconut vendor where we bought a coconut as a refreshing drink. The top was hacked off with a machete; then we were given a straw to sip out the coconut water. After the coconut water was finished, the coconut was chopped in half and we scraped out the flesh for a little treat. I have decided coconuts are not only awesome, but versatile as well.
On our way to the market stalls (our primary item of interest being fresh produce), we were intercepted by a friendly man who offered to show us to the market. We hesitantly followed him, but as he promised, he delivered. We got to the market and our guide, Randi the Man, took us to a spice shop. There we stocked up on more spices (Mom picked out some to take home with her). Then a girl squeezed into our group, focusing on Mom, pushing a “spice necklace” (a necklace of spices with a strong and pleasant aroma meant to be hung inside for a long-lasting scent). Mom had already bought one days earlier, but reluctantly agreed to buy three more, after deciding that it was her duty to bring home enough souvenirs for everyone she knows. Shortly after leaving the stall, another vendor accosted us, selling the same necklaces for less than half the price. It was our unfortunate realization, then, that Mr. “Randi the Man” was not taking us to all of the best-priced stalls as he promised. With this in mind, we kept our money pouches drawn tight, and only loosened them for some amazing local wine bottled in even more amazing bottles. (Clearly my pirate fascination is not limited to me.)
When our tour ended, we found we had explored the area and learned much of its culture and the layout of the roads, but our bags were filled with wine and spices instead of the produce we were so keen to find. And we still had to pay “Randi the Man” for his services. Generosity aside, we paid an outrageous sum out of a misguided sense of obligation. “Randi the Man,” pshh! More like “Scheister the Ripoff!” But there is no one to blame for that mistake but ourselves. We should have realized sooner that he was not just a helpful citizen, but a tour guide who anticipated monetary compensation. Our immediate reaction should have been to dismiss his services or ask how much he expected to begin with. Lesson learned.
A few days ago we noticed a small produce stand near our apartment. After the fiasco at the market, we decided to check it out. Good thing, too. We bought tomatoes, cucumbers, mini-bananas, and, best of all, a soursop. A soursop is a big shapeless fruit that kind of looks like Bowser on the outside (Bowser being a Mario Bros. reference for any non-savvy folk out there). On the inside, the flesh is white and soft, like an overripe cantaloupe, and there are large black seeds within the flesh. And it tastes like yum! I can’t really describe the flavor since it’s so unique. It’s sweet and very soft. It doesn’t look very appetizing and the texture is squishy and stringy. It’s also known as custard apple, due to the appearance and texture. If you’re really interested, you can buy a fruit called cherimoya at Wegman’s. It is in the same family as the soursop and is almost as good. But, back to the story. We bought a 3.5-lb soursop and ate the whole thing in one evening. We probably won’t be getting another any time soon, but, still enjoyable.
Grenada on the senses: It sounds like, barking dogs, crowing roosters, reggae music, an orchestra of insects and amphibians and reptiles, the constant singing and chirping of birds, wind rustling palm fronds, rain falling on thick leaves; it feels like, perfect fine sand between your toes, hot sun pouring over your head, cooling trade winds at your back, speckled shade relieving the sun, glittering mist from a heavy rain; it tastes like, spices and sweetness, salt water, clean air, wet fog; it smells like, grasses and trees, salty wind, smoky foods and spicy foods; it looks like, a rain forest, a perfect beach, a neighborhood with red tile roofs, a dirt road, a rock road, a paved road, a blue sky, a cleansing rain.