Sunday, 15 November 2009
Saturday 14th November
There was quite a considerable amount of rain last night - it's fairly obvious why they need three-foot deep storm drains at either side of the road! After our morning swim we set about breakfast and decided that we would go and see a few of the local sights.
We drove up to the North of the Island, only about 30 miles but averaging 10 mph. Road winds up and down the steep volcanic hills. Moving North the candy-coloured villas and hotels give way to one room wooden shacks roofed in rusting corrugated iron. Chickens and occassionally a goat scratch in the dirt. Each village has its store/rum shop where the local unemployed hang out, foot tappin' samba blaring. Chromed minibuses zip around; each with a slogan plastered across the back windscreen: "Girlz and Bling", "Only God Delivers", "Life, Love & Rum". Not sure whether this represents the driver's philosophy or is more of a statement of intent?!
On the way north we managed to find a wildlife park, based at a very pretty white sand beach. It's always nice when yours are the only footprints!
We stopped off at Hellvellyn House, old (relatively speaking for an island with frequent hurricanes) plantation family dwelling, and were shown round the garden by the owner. Amazing view both out to sea to the Grenadines and back to the rain forest which covers the centre of the island, still wreathed in cloud even at noon.
Next stop the old Antoine River Rum distillery, which still produces rum using an old waterwheel to crush the sugar-cane and copper stills heated by wood burning furnaces. The place is pretty decrepit, like most non-hotel complex buildings in Grenada. The muddy coloured sap is heated in vats and then fermented for 2 weeks before being heated to drive off the alcohol which is boiled & condensed. The end result at 70+% proof (and I can testify to this) nearly blows your head off....refined it is not! Strictly for local consumption I am guessing. On the return jouney now that we know what to look for we spot 3 more ruined rum distilleries, distinctive large open windowed fermentation sheds and furnace foundations.
In the evening, a BBQ on the beach and a short swim in the sea. Never promised not to rub it in did I....?