Grenada, Another Little Caribbean Gem

posted Apr 9, 2011, 2:33 PM by Darren Cannell   [ updated Apr 9, 2011, 5:07 PM ]
The thing with being in an inside cabin is that you can’t hear anything or see any daylight so you don’t even know when you have docked.  You certainly can’t feel that you have docked because it is so smooth.  I have a bit of a routine that I wake up and get changed and sneak out of the room and go and work out.  When I get back to the cabin usually Dax and Darren are still asleep and I bring my first coffee back with me to drink and then eventually the beauties wake and we all go for breakfast to the decadent buffet where I can eat as much bacon as I want.  We booked another afternoon shore excursion called ‘Spice and Waterfall’.  We drop Dax off at the kid’s club and leave the boat to check out the island.  From the boat this may be the prettiest island so far. 
This island appears to be much wealthier than St. Croix, not as green as Dominica but has it together, tourism wise like St. Kitt’s.  The terminal had many stores and the signage outside of the terminal was great.  We walked over a couple of blocks to a different more scenic harbour to take pictures and we also walked up to Fort George to catch the views.  Fort George was the site that the Grenadian Prime Minister and 8 other bigwigs were shot and killed by the Russians and the Cubans who invaded the island in the 80's.  American Marines were sent in and they saved the day.  This would be the only country so far that I have witnessed that warm up to the Americans.  I find that Americans are not appreciated in most countries around the world but which country is always expected to come and save them from some sort of opression, you got it, the Americans.
We stopped at a grocery store to buy some spices because the island is well known as being the ‘Spice Island’.  When I checked at the market, the spices looked like they were not pure, maybe with some other things mixed into it, this is why I chose to buy at the grocery store with at least some measure of quality put into their product.  I wanted to buy about 20 more packets of spices for secretaries back at Holy Cross but the weight was too much so I had to change my mind.  We made our way back to the boat for a drink and we needed to pick up the tickets for the shore excursion.  Darren also wanted to check in with Cyber School and he was able to do this with free Wi Fi at the terminal. 
We caught our bus that was to take us to the first of 3 stops the spice station.  Here an ancient black woman taught us about spices, what they look like on the tree and how they get what they need and ends up in a spice bottle in our grocery stores. 
We learned about the cinnamon tree, allspice tree, bay leaf tree, nutmeg tree, clove tree, cacao tree (chocolate),
 and the loufa sponge vine (that is right the loufa comes from a pod from a vine that climbs up trees). 
We then went to our second stop the processing plant for Nutmeg.  Before Hurricane Ivan wiped out Grenada in 2004 it had full production of Nutmeg and thousands of people employed.  The hurricane took out 90% of the Nutmeg trees and the industry collapsed.  A Nutmeg tree takes 20 years to bare edible nutmeg.  The nutmeg grows in a pod the size of a small orange.  When it cracks open the seed drops to the ground.  This seed pod is then collected and dried for 6 to 9 weeks. 
Then it is put into a cracking machine to crack the hard shell.  The shells and the nutmeg are separated by hand by an all-woman team. 
The shells are used for mulch and driveways etc.  The nutmeg shell has a red lacy meat called mace on it and this is also separated and put into the making of preservatives like nail polish etc. 
The nutmeg is then bagged and shipped by the 100 pound sack around the world to be processed.  I purchased a bag of nutmeg with the shell on.  If I keep the shell on the nutmeg it will last for up to 10 years.  I figure every Christmas when I have a hankering for eggnog and rum then I can get my hammer out and crack the shell and have fresh nutmeg for the garnish.  It does smell wonderful and has such a strong pungent sweet odour to it. 
The ancient black lady and the tour guide also inspired me to use nutmeg in my cooking of meats and marinades, so I will give that a go when I get home.  This whole processing plant was very interesting and I would highly recommend a tour for anyone.  I wanted to buy everyone back home a bag of nutmeg in the shell but that would have added another 10 pounds to my luggage and I am always floating around 50 pounds as it is.
We were off to our second stop – Concorde Falls.  It was nice and quiet and peaceful and serene and picture perfect but not really highly recommended unless you have never seen a waterfall before. 
They did hand out very good spicy rum punch though.  We drove back with 45 minutes to spare before the Celebrity Summit left the port of Grenada. 
We went for supper and I ordered the last of my 3 wines from my package.  I tried a white Pinot Grigio - Kim Crawford from New Zealand; it was a bit too sweet for my liking but OK.  We then went to some more entertainment in the theatre which was a couple of Brits that sang and had a comedy routine with it.  Darren thought they were great and I thought they were good.  We went to go and pick up Daxtin and he begged to stay for the slumber party and pillow fight.  We let him stay one extra hour and then Darren went and picked him up; I was already in the land of Nod by this time.

Southern Caribbean - Celebrity Summit Cruise