Photo Credit: http://khario.com/carnival/
I can't leave Grenada without mentioning Carnival.
It was, again, an experience that never disappoints.The colors, the fun, the food, the people, the music. An amazing spectacle for all the senses. This year, though, as we were calling it quits to get some rest on J'ouvert morning after rising at 3:00 in the morning to join the festivities, we were enticed by the smells of street food vendors were cooking to feed the masqueraders. We opted for oil down. It was THE BEST oil down EVER.
Oil Down is Grenada's national dish. It's basically a stew of fish, pork, chicken that is simmered in coconut milk with carrots, breadfruit and taro. The name, "Oil Down" comes from the way it's cooked. It's done when all the coconut milk is absorbed.
Pictures/recipe can be found here. https://www.196flavors.com/grenada-oil-down/
Trust me! It's Delicious!
Is love a feeling or a choice?
Thanks Facebook friends for getting all pensive and existential on social media. While perusing my various apps, websites and friend accounts for book recommendations to read on our next passage I ran across this gem of a question. Then there was the ad for a cat dental care. It scared the hell out of me with some awful statistic of cat deaths due to poor feline dental hygiene. My apologies to Mia, Buddy and Annabelle for immediately prying open their mouths and playing kitty dental hygienist. Cats aren’t much into playing that game and now I fear what they may have in store in retaliation. Like there isn’t enough to fear already? Has the orange mole rat been impeached yet? It’s the first thing I look for trending on Twitter every damn morning only to be disappointed every damn morning-and a bit fearful, honestly.
Seems many of my social media friends are in dark, dreary places these days. The state of the union doesn’t seem to be helping the moroseness of the people I follow, some of whom I know very well, some of them being internet acquaintances. A few are authors. I look to them for reliable and excellent book recommendations. Oh man, some of them are not cheery at all. Not that I expect rainbows and kittens everyday, that’s not realistic, but I’m looking for a few good books to escape because recently life on social media and in reality has been terribly sad. I haven’t fallen in love with a book in a long time. That’s really sad, too. When it comes to books, love is not a choice, it’s a feeling.
I turned to my friend Allison who recommended Bored and Brilliant(Manoush Zomorodi): a book that is supposed to inspire us to abandon our phones and devote more time to creativity. Self help? Oh shit, is my Candy Crush addiction that apparent? Really, I can stop at any time-especially when I run out of lollipop hammers. I’ll give it a go. We’ll be offshore for a couple of days getting to our next destination. I won’t have connectivity anyway. It’s good place to start when forced to deal with life without internet even if it’s only a couple of days or so. Okay, so that’s one book on the Amazon Wish List.
I hate reading sailing books whilst sailing. Something always goes terribly wrong at sea in these mostly true accounts. I run enough of these scenarios through my head without having to read about it too while we’re offshore. No, nope, nah….don’t recommend tales of the brutal sea to me. I’ll read those on the beach, on terra firma. This goes for dystopian, sci-fi, hellscape novels too. Right now, that’s not a good choice since drawing comparisons to the orange warthog hell bent on destroying everything good in the world isn’t something I want to read at this moment in time.
I’m just finishing up The Fall of Wisconsin(Dan Kaufman). It’s good. I do like a well researched, political analysis with a grasp of historical relevance, but I need a break from the politics on this voyage. It’s going to make me insanely crazy not being able to check to see what’s trending on Twitter or keep up with my Pod Save Americafellas. But after I finish Allison’s recommendation, I should have a better grasp on that affliction/addiction. So, no political, historical, autobiographical, biographies on this trip either.
So, back to that original question- Is love a feeling or a choice? Well, when it comes to books, I think it depends upon the situation, personal needs, and desires. There are sci-fi, dystopian, biographies etc that I love. I just don’t think I can fall in love with a book right now that doesn’t provide an escape. I want recommendations for books that I can fall deeply, madly in love with-something that I don’t have to force myself to read. Give me some recommendations for something I can fall in love with on the first page, that will make me smile and might even make me laugh out loud. I don’t mind shedding a tear or two, and I’m not asking for pure Carl Hiaasen, just something that will inspire and make me feel good. I think we all could use a good escape, feel good, belly laugh right now. Oh, and nothing scary either. I’m already freaked out about cat deaths due to dental disease.
Leave your suggestions in the comments to your left or if you're on your phone, above!
We're back in Grenada. This is where we have s/v Somewhere's yearly maintenance completed. This year, she received a new generator which is a big deal. Jim had started the process when the generator started spitting oil several months ago. The generator is a big deal. It keeps our systems running: water maker, AC, batteries charged etc. Making a huge purchase in a foreign country is also a big deal. We arranged a broker, wire transfer, proof we weren't laundering money, and made sure we were in Grenada to receive shipment on time. It actually all went well, but Jim was on top of the paperwork, emails, phone calls and details. Being in St. Croix (when we started the process) where our US phones work without dependency upon internet was extremely advantageous.
The installation went swimmingly despite my apprehensions. Spice Island Marine was extremely knowledgeable and helpful in the entire process.
Of course, bottom paint and all the other odds and ends like a cutlass bearing, waxing, change of thru hulls, repair of canvas, rigging inspection, and all that went well. We were back in the water after 10 days.
It's never, "All Work and No Play" in Grenada. We have friends here and people dropping by. Despite a mosquito spread illness and a cold-YES a COLD (You'd think that after a zillion years as a teacher I'd be immune , but I've been knocked off my butt by a tropical cold), we've been enjoying Sunday Fundays on the beach with our friends, Brad and Karen. Grand Anse Beach in Grenada is a place that every beach lover should have on their bucket list. It's absolutely stunning. We took an island tour with our Grenadian pals, Laurel, Matthew, and Laurel's daughter, and a lion fish hunt/dive with Evelyn's crew at Scuba Tech.
Karen, Brad, and Jim made my birthday extra special with a trip to the spa and a wonderful day at The Aquarium-a not to miss restaurant/beach spot on this beautiful island.
We were treated with surprise visits from our friend Lisa and our buddy Mike. Both were on deliveries of separate boats moving south for hurricane season. Chocolate, visits to the market in St. George's, watching the incredible sunsets from the beautiful University Club all make our stay in Grenada so wonderful. Feeding mangoes to the wild monkeys in the rainforest was the icing on the cake. We're enjoying our time here and probably will stay through Carnival/Spice Mas.
Yeah, we know. We told family and friends that we'd be gone two years when we set out in June of 2013. We didn't know how much we'd need to see, do, experience in the Caribbean. We're sorry, not sorry. We've seen best of friends go through the Panama Canal and venture further, or return to their homes for their children to finish school or to make some cash to get their asses back on the water. It's hard to explain why this life, which isn't always easy and is so dependent upon the weather, is so addictive. It just is. Honestly, I couldn't do it without frequent trips back to the States. But this is our life and it's where we're at. Embracing everyday, grateful for internet and airplanes that connect me with "home", and living life.
As for the Cat Crew, they are all doing great! Still feisty and happy being adventure kitties. Annabelle continues to rule the boat from her watch area at the nav station. Buddy and Mia are getting along better, but it all depends upon the mood of Annabelle. She calls the shots.