Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Grenadian SCUBA Diving

The road was so winding and the cars drove so fast that we eventually figured out that it was quicker to just walk the beach to a lot of the locations we wanted to get to. Today was the big day: SCUBA!

One of the things that made walking alongside the road so hectic is there was a fleet of vans zooming around that act as buses, making regularish stops at bus stops. I think that they are privately run though because they were constantly honking at pedestrians trying to get them onboard. They were really hustling.

The lady at Eco Dive was a bit curt when we told her how inexperienced we were. She suggested that we take a quick refresher course in the their pool which was fine with me. Lydia hasn't touched an air tank since we were certified in Arkansas. Sad! She kept asking me to remind her how I dived really cool WWII shipwrecks in the South Pacific without her. Strange request but I obliged.

A British guy training to be a divemaster helped us do our little refresher.

The most unpleasant part of the refresher for me is purposefully letting water into your mask then forcing it back out by blowing in air from your nose. I must say I'm getting better at it though.

I saw a cool eel thing but by the time I got Lydia to come check it out a couple of the other jokers in my group were crowding me. Communicating underwater is unsurprisingly difficult. There's a bunch of hand signals that you are supposed to remember but I really only have a firm grasp of "ok", "let's go to the surface", and "I'm out of air". The important stuff.

Lydia's hairdo got way better once she was under the ocean.

We saw a couple of spiny lionfish. I guess they are such an invasive species that people are encouraged to eat them just to get rid of them. This one swam away before I could take a bite.

I was a little freaked out by the fact that there was only one strap holding the air tank to the suit. Despite this there were no fatalities! Hurray.

The Grand Anse Craft & Spice Market was situated right off the beach between diving and our hotel so we stopped in for a look.

Lydia and Ian the handicraft man. Lydia picked up a pair of earrings made out of turtle shell that she liked. I remembered reading something about not buying turtle shell products because the turtle populations are threatened. After the dive I didn't have the energy to yell "murderers!" at both of them so I just let it go. They go well with Lydia's pair of dolphin teeth earrings. Lydia's pretty much the Cruella de Vil of the ocean.

That night we wanted to go to dinner about 1.5 miles from the hotel but I was sick of dealing with taxies. So we did the half hour trek in the dark along the side of the road. What could go wrong?

Patrick's Local Homestyle Restaurant was kind of fun because the building legitimately seemed to be someone's house and we were seated on the porch.

The menu at Patrick's was like a dream for a tourist like myself who wants to taste all the tastes but doesn't have many meals to do it in. We went for "Tapas: Fifteen to twenty local sample dishes plus dessert and a shot of our local schnapps." Sold! We started off with this nice and creamy callaloo soup.

Plates were flying in 5 at a time. There was ginger pork, stewed rabbit, curried chicken, curried chickpeas, rice and lentils, stewed pumpkin, okra medley, and a ton of other things. Manicou(opossum) and iguana were some of the possibilities mentioned but when they didn't come out Lydia was real sad about it. She's always eating weird stuff.

I think that people that order shandies are assumed to be so weak that they cannot lift the bottle.

The cocktail of the day was "Ting with a Sting" which I found it impossible to say without a Caribbean accent.

I had a pretty good accent coach growing up so I assume I pretty much pass for a local.

The national dish is "oil down", which consists of "callaloo, ground provisions, salted meat and dumplings, cooked in coconut milk." I've been looking around for this everywhere but it sounds like a key ingredient, breadfruit, is out of season. I've always hated the seasons.

There was a big group of what we surmised were St. George's University students. I think that this is one of those countries that American students come to to work on cheap medical degrees. I don't really know how that works. At one point they all toasted to "making a difference".

The "local schnapps" ended up being some Caribbean engine de-greaser that someone steeped some herbs in. Our waitress called it "under the table rum". I'm going to say it's called that because that's where you end up after you drink it.

One of Grenada's chief exports is anthropomorphic nutmeg.

Our waitress thought we were the coolest. She was right.

Lydia really took a liking to Esther's. We pretty much came here every night.

We got to see where the cocktail ground nutmeg magic was happening by hand.

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