5-21 Hotel: Airport View, Trinidad & Tobago, $35 Flight: Grenada to Trinidad, LIAT
Woke up early (Caribbean gets light 5-6 AM but dark around 6 PM) to go into town. The reception wasn't open yet, so walked down to Grand Anse beach. Very pretty in the morning light. There were a few runners along the beach. All the hotels along the beach had new roofs, having lost them in the hurricane. I then caught a minibus (2EC) into town, and walked up to Fort St. George. The capital surrounds a lovely harbor full of old warehouses. Many buildings here were still damaged, including two huge churches which were still roofless.
I saw the ferry arriving below and ran down to it, only to find it wasn't leaving for another hour! Quite warm already even though it was only 8AM. Sat around for awhile before boarding the Osprey ferry (140EC). The ferry took about 1:45 to Carriacou
island, but the sea was quite rough and many people were sick, my head was spinning! The harbor at Hillsborough was a gorgeous blue color! Hired a taxi driver to give me a few hr tour of the north part of the island (90EC), we went up to the hospital which had an awesome view out over the islands and fringing reef. The water was an amazing blue color.
The viewpoint was at the main island hospital. The hospital was originally built at the top of the hill as mosquitoes usually stayed near the coast.
However Hurricane Ivan had damaged the roof (twisted pieces of metal were scattered about) and the hospital was still closed.
Carriacou doesn't have any freshwater sources; all houses have huge catchement tanks for rainwater. However Carriacou was quite dry at the moment, the usual rains for this time of year haven't arrived. We continued over to Windward on the eastern side of the island; this town was originally settled by the Scottish, and you can still see McLeod, Stewart, etc names in the cemeteries. The Scottish were boat builders, and this tradition continues today, there were several wooden boats under construction. We continued to the far north point of the island which had a good view out over to Union Island (part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines) just a short distance away.
Policeman, Carriacou, Grenada
We had to head back down the same road as the western road was too rough. On our way back into town, I asked my driver if he could drop me at Paradise Beach, one of the best beaches close to town. He agreed for the same price, good deal as the beach actually was some distance past the small airstrip.
We arrived at Paradise beach, a strip of white sand and palm trees fronted by gorgeous blue waters. There was a small restaurant/beach bar there where I planned to have lunch. As I was sitting down, a woman at the next table said hello and started chatting. She was from South Africa originally but had been sailing since 1976. She was sitting with an old man from California, I joined them for lunch. Had a good fish plate and coke for 28EC. Sally had good stories about sailing near Madagascar and Kenya, she had arrived in Carriacou four years ago and liked it so much she got rid of her boat and had been there ever since! I can see why, it is a gorgeous place! We got on the subject of diving when the man started talking about his wife diving.
Apparently he was quite drunk as he managed to spill his beer (and my coke) all over the table not once but twice.. after the second time they moved tables and I took the chance to say goodbye and head down to the beach for a swim. Spent about 40 minutes bobbing in the water before drying off and sitting down to wait for a minibus back to town. Not quite as quiet as St. Vincent, but it was still nearly a half hour wait. I still had over an hour to wait before the ferry arrived, so walked around Hillsborough for a bit. End to end took maybe 5-10 minutes, so after awhile I sat down in the shade of the tourist office to wait.
The ferry ride back into town was pretty uneventful; much smoother than on the way out. Arrived back into St. Georges about 5:15pm, and I walked up to the fort again to look around.
The fort itself wasn't very big, but there was a courtyard where Maurice Bishop and several others were executed in 1983, this prompted the US invasion. He was a commie, but a good commie that the US liked well enough. Grenada had support from Cuba in building the airport (and still does today; the Cubans repaired most of the electrical systems after the hurricane). There was a plaque on the inner wall of the fort where Bishop and several others were executed by firing squad.. and a group of guys and girls were there playing soccer, the girls were winning. There is an awesome view out over St. Georges harbor from the fort, that morning the sun had been in the wrong direction. I walked back down into town, then caught a cab to the airport. I still had several hours to wait, and the airport was completely dead.
I had dinner at the airport restaurant and paid the 50EC departure tax. Finally the flight arrived, actually a half hour early. All our LIAT flights had been on time, or early departure. Seating was first come first served, even if they had a seat assignment on the boarding pass. The boarding pass was more like a credit card receipt than anything else! I was flying to Trinidad and Tobago, where I would meet Scott and Dean again. The flight was short, all at night, and arrived at the T&T airport around 9 PM. I had been to T&T before, just an overnight stay, back in 2004 so I remembered the airport. At immigration, I said I would only be staying one night, but they wanted to see my ticket (it is electronic!). I had quite a bit of EC left, which I changed into 100TT dollars for the departure tax, then called the Airport View hotel ($35 a night), they also provided transportation to/from the airport. The airport van soon arrived, and took about 10 minutes to drive to the hotel. Trinidad & Tobago is very different from the other Caribbean islands; not much tourism (they have oil) and there is a large population of Indians who were brought here as indentured servants after slavery was abolished. It adds a different feel, the music is a cool mix of Bollywood and reggae. The hotel itself was quite basic, but clean and had hot water and A/C. Talked with D&S a bit, then went to bed as we had a very early wakeup for our flight to Guyana