August 23  I’m sitting here in front of a fan, trying to stay cool in this 104 heat index day, and perusing around the internet.  I found the call out on The Monkey’s Fist for blog posts about beauty,hygiene and body care routines while cruising around on a boat. I got this. I may not be able to give expert advice on diesel engines, but I can certainly add comment to beauty, hygiene and body care. My expertise comes from being a girly girl on land to a full fledged cruising woman who has left all those trappings of perceived beauty back with the dirt dwellers. There have been plenty of changes in the past year, but we still brush and floss our pearly whites, wash with soap and water, comb our hair, and wear deodorant. We're not barbarians. It’s the product lines that no longer have me running to the store and the application of make up just seems silly now.

 

Indeed, routines have changed since being on the water. Some routines, like shelling out a lot of money for haircuts and pedicures, I do miss. Not so much the shelling out the money part, but I do miss the pampering involved in those visits to the salon to have a scalp massage while my hair is being washed and walking out of the establishment looking so well put together. These days, the wind does the styling after I slop whatever conditioner or a bit of coconut oil into my wet, fresh from a swim and fresh water rinse down, hair.  I’ve also foregone hair dye. The sun has a way of coloring hair that looks natural and I’ll take it.

Magical Coconut Oil
Magical Coconut Oil

We’re in the tropical heat of the summer months in Grenada. It’s hot. Sure, I’ll admit to being a bit girly and wanting to apply a bit of make up, but this heat and humidity will melt it off minutes after application. I’ll still use a bit of eyeliner and mascara if we are going out for the evening, but mostly, it’s sunscreen that I’m applying to my face rather than anything with color or tint. I use Mary Kay since it’s effective, light and doesn’t sting my eyes when the sweat starts rolling off my forehead and inevitably into my eyes.It also works as a moisturizer. I haven’t touched the stash of lotions and other potions I brought along except for lip protection with sunscreen. The sunscreen does the job and what little ultra violet rays that do get through have given me a bit of a bronzing touch. That could be heat rash, though, who knows?

If there is one thing that I would have researched and looked into further before leaving the States, it would have been some form of permanent hair removal. We shower daily since we have ample supply of water thanks to the Cruise RO water maker and soap can be purchased most anywhere, but blades for that blasted Venus Razor are like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. And when there is a store that carries them, look out for sticker shock. Think they’re expensive in the States?  Hold on to your hat and look forward to forking over twice the amount paid in the States. Laser Hair Removal or whatever they got going out there now (remember, I didn’t research it) is most likely affordable when considering the cost of blades and razors. Please, please, please do not suggest the au naturel look in the comments.  That may be for some, but I can’t, won’t, will not let the hair on my legs grow to the point that I could braid it. Nope. I’ve given up salon visits, make-up, perfume (it just attracts bees and mixes poorly with sunscreen), and left all those lotions and potions behind without a fuss. I draw a line in the sand though with hairy armpits and gorilla fur legs.  

Gorillas are adorable, but the fur wouldn't look good on me
Gorillas are adorable, but the fur wouldn't look good on me

Yes, for sure, I no longer have access to those wonderful bubble baths with the foamy, moisture infused beads. I don’t apply a layer of toner, make-up and pretty colors to my eyelids. I am not tempted by the drug store make up wall or television commercials telling me that I too can be a beautiful, breezy cover girl and I’m worth it if I buy a particular brand, because I don’t have access to either Walgreens or Television. Better yet, there are no expensive department store kiosks tempting me with their free makeovers and pricey emollients, creams and gels. And it’s all very good, because in reality, I don’t miss the make up routine. Although, you can take the girl off of land but you can’t take the colorful nail polish off her toes. And that’s my guilty, girly pleasure: Painted Toe Nails. I can always look down at my toes and remember that even though I’ve said goodbye to a lot of the routines from home due to their impracticality on a boat, that I can still have my crazy toe colors. Plus my brightly painted toenails interest the fish when I swim. Gives them something pretty to look at while I’m looking at them.

No Make up, Few Frills, Life Afloat
No Make up, Few Frills, Life Afloat

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August 14      Carnival!  Spice Mas

 

I had always thought Carnival was restricted to that time before Lent and it was meant to get out all your exhibitions and excesses prior to the period of abstinence leading up to Easter Sunday.  That’s partly right.  Understanding the history and collision of cultures in the Eastern Caribbean helps understand why Carnival festivities take place in August in Grenada.

 

There is so much meaning, history, tradition and culture expressed through all the elements of Carnival, that I could write a book and still not cover all the nuances.  A very interesting article can be found here.  It refers to Carnival in Trinidad specifically, but applies equally to Grenada,

J’Ouvert was our firstevent, although not the first for the season. Soca, Calypso and Pan contests had already been taking place and neighborhood parties had been planned in the different parishes.

 

We tried to sleep Sunday night, but since we’re in Port Louis Marina and in the center of all the hoopla, resting was about all we could accomplish due to the sounds of heavy base resonating through the hull. We got up around 3:00 am and downed a couple cups of coffee, met up with our friends and made our way through the dark to the streets of people. Mas is short for Masquerade and J’Ouvert is the Jab Jab or Devil’s Mas.I took some video at 3:30 am and really didn’t capture the bodies painted in oil, but what I did get in digital footage is the atmosphere of the street party.

 (Around 1:10 in the video shows the extent of the crowd.  Turn up your volume with heavy bass to get the FULL effect)

We returned to the marina to give the cat crew their breakfast after dawn and took a nap.We signed up with Carib, the local brewry, to be part of their jump up for the Monday Night Mas which is the festival of lights.This was a lot of fun, a lot of people, a lot of dancing through the streets, and really loud music as we followed the Carib truck.  Lime and Digicel also had groups.We performed in front of the judges, but we’re not sure if our Carib group won.Competition or no, it was a blast to be part of the party.

The final event of Spice Mas is the formal parade. It was a gorgeous explosion of color.Grenada knows how to put on a party

 

August 2, 2014 Music accentuated by steel drums and pan has always captured my heart.Grover Washington’s version of “Just the Two of Us” is a song that I include in any romantic playlist I create. The steel drums accentuate the passion in the song and compliment the sultry saxophone. I’m sappy. Jim hired a steel drum band for my 40th birthday party.The instruments always put us in a happy, go lucky, let’s go on vacation mood. The history of steel drum and pan reveals much more of a story of struggle than that of vacations and romance.

 

Practice and warm up for Carnival
Practice and warm up for Carnival

The steel drum is an invention of the nearby island of Trinidad.  It, of course, has come to define most of the Caribbean.  Drums were used as a form of communication.  The Central and West Africans brought to the islands by French and English as slaves for their plantations brought with them their musical traditions of drumming and singing.  The Europeans took measures to ban the drums and drumming for fear that codes were being passed through the rhythms.

 

The drums that were banned were replaced with bamboo sticks and they called their bands tamboo bamboo. During Carnival, the groups would compete to see who could play the loudest as they pounded on glass bottles and the ground.  These contests could become violent, though, and the tamboo bamboo was outlawed in 1934.

 

Ever resourceful, new rhythm groups that used pie tins and paint cans were formed.  By pounding tins in certain ways, they discovered that various pitches could be created. Players also found that 55-gallon oil drums abandoned by U.S. forces stationed on the island during the World War II provided an ideal metal for their instruments.

 

This is just a brief overview.  This article by Gerry Kangalee goes in much further depth and history.

We were given the opportunity to watch a band practicing for the upcoming Carnival on Grenada.  They have their pans tuned by the best tuners in Tinidad and the Pan Master was very proud to give us an introductory lesson on pan and the different drums.  We were impressed by the talent and enthusiasm of the children and watching them practice was inspiring.