08/15/2009, St. Georges, Miles around the Lagoon!
Here we are...at last. We've been geared up for weeks now! This is all everybody has talking about, living for, breathing and embracing! SPICEMAS, Grenada STYLE.
There was no grass growing under Altair. OK, I take that back, we are in a closed lagoon after all, but we can always take a break for something as momentus.. The SpiceMas Queen was not available for the reschedule, she's an ER nurse and couldn't reschedule...so the King carried the weight! As you can see, thousands of people joined us for a spectacular day steeped in history and traditon.
We had a blast! Check out the pics marked "Carnival at Last"!
Dudley and Bec
08/10/2009, St. George's and the Wharf...
The Africans creolized the French word for the evil Satan, diable, and created a devil masquerade that is now popularly known as the "Jab Jab". While other carnivals such as in Trinidad and a Labor Day in Brooklyn, have their Jab Jabs, nothing compares to the jovial, villainous Jab Jab masqueraders who playfully haunt the streets of Grenada at J'Ouvert.
Traditinally, Jab Jabs would use any available sustance, including stale molasses, tar, grease or mud to darken their skins to an extreme blackness. Sparsely dressed and accessoriesed with items such as broken pots and pans, cattle horns and cow chains, the intent to the Jab Jab was and still is to horrify and gross out the onlookers. Jab Jabs now appear in various colours, including yellow, red and blue.
Jab Jab has also spawned its own calypso spin-off, Jab Jab Music", which is the most glaring indigenous, locally made artefact of Grenada's carnival. Jab Jab music is characterised by a deep rhythmic bass accompanying conch or flute blowing and a repeated chant as part of the chorus. For example, Grenadian Tallpress scored a mega reginal hit with his "Ole Woman" calypso. Audiences everywhere were singing the refrain:
Ole woman we taking home ole woman alone Ole woman alone we taking home Ole woman alone
This all starts in the dark, 3:30am and there was a huge turnout of locals and tourists both.
Enjoy "J'Ouvert Madness" photo album!
Dudley and Bec,
08/10/2009, Dancing/Parading around the Lagoon Preview!
Tomorrow is the big parade of bands and costumes that we've been syked about, hearing about and the excitement has been steadily rising!
Tonight is the Monday Night Mas and we are taking cameras with no idea what this evening would bring! We all headed out the marina driveway, a road really, when we found to our delight a truck with "Merlin" costumes for sale! They were pretty darned reasonable, so Lucy, Richard and Moi donned our pointy jewel studded blinking merlin hat, our battery operated wands that we would be instructed to wave all thru the evening, and our t-shirts were cleverly designed with a magical, spellbinding spash to complement our flashing wrist bands and ankle bands.
It's only a recent phenomenon but Monday Nite Mas is a highly anticipated event. A T-shirt party and theatrical show, it is set against the backdrop of the cooling evening temperature with steady winds blowing across the picturesque Carenage harbour and waterfront. It's the Carenage - or "The Wharf'' as many Grenadians are wont to call the place - that's the main thoroughfare for Monday Nite Mas.
This is getting to be a pattern that we are liking...alot! We danced all night right along with locals that loved sharing the traditions and energy!
Thank you Grenada!
Dudley and Bec
08/08/2009, Grenada's National Stadium
PANORAMA...Second Day of a 5 day Event called "SpiceMas"! Panarama, a spectacular display of talent and contest by the Steel Pan Bands of Grenada. A whole new meaning for us! If you've ever seen steel bands playing during Saturday markets, lawn concerts or the like, you haven't seen anything! There were 13 bands mind blowingly huge! There were as many as 80 musicians and twice or thrice that in pieces of magical instruments for each contestant. We were flown away to another time and place by these orchestras of such magnitude our jaws were hung to the max all night long. It was really hard to pick a winner...glad we were not the judges.
A wee intermission so to speak was needed to remove each bands artists and equipment in an actual caravan on and off stage. There were solo sax players, dancers, singers and poets to delight us 'til the next band wheeled their way onto the stage.. What a beautifully choreographed extravaganza! Band after band brought us this annual Carnival's test of the best called PANARAMA! All of us who attended agreed that band three was the best. Hard to call that really with the talent oozing from that stadium that night.
There's three more days of "SpiceMas" before the actual parade on Tuesday the 11th. Everybody in our group bought costumes for the BIG parade on the last day, except us! I wanted to dash to the start of the parade and capture the entire spectacle for posterity. If I was in the parade I could only document what was in front or behind us! Then Olga and Don's camera died! It was old too, but NOOOOOO, not now!
Lucy said that I can borrow her beautiful Nikon SLR and shoot the costume parade on that day!
You know I'll keep you posted, hehe.
Dudley and Bec
08/04/2009, Dragon Bay, West Coast Grenada, North of PLM!
Nellie and Phil Kellet surprised us by inviting us for an overnighter on their big, really big to us, 56' Tiana. They are newbies at this Cruising lifestyle, but not to being great hosts. They both worked really hard to give us our own cabin and 'onsuite' (head or lew), set up all the dive gear for three of us which is huge and then cooked and entertained us for two days.
Thanks again Nellie and Phil. We love you two! Moondancer is a blast to sail too...I got to take the helm all day and she is an awesome boat. Lots of partying, eating, relaxing and exploring a new Bay with our Miami buddies...we deserve it.
A lot more fun than grinding or rebuilding a boat right?
Dudley and Bec
08/03/2009, Windward Coast, Grenville
The island is gearing up for "CARNIVAL" and we found out from our favorite island guide, Raymond Pilgrim, that towns all around the island have their own celebrations showing off Grenadian traditions. Dudley and I were counted in and ready to see more of the island so Raymond came by and scooped a bunch of us up for a peek at the windward shore. Grenville is our destination today and we should get there in time for the last day of their festivities.
Raymond, a Grenadian, kept driving around, looking around and asking these locals about the wild party we'd been hearing about and when it will start. Turns out the music, dancing, parades, food and drink won't be starting until 8 or 9p tonight. Bummer. We sure do know how to switch gears, so we strolled around the seaside fishing village, met some fishermen, shop owners and had fun shooting the architecture, the natives and the Emancipation signs everywhere. This was their day to celebrate freedom from slavery, not freedom, they were celebrating today too. We unanimously decided to take off and check out the center of the island for some mountains, lakes, and monkeys. Grenville was just too far way to come back later that night because these island people like to start late and finish when the sun comes up! 9pm is cruiser's midnight, so we ducked out. Chuckle chuckle. The biggest Carnival celebration is right here in St. George's so we are going to save ourselves for that big, five day bash beginning at the end of the week.
We headed west, back across the island to the Big Lake, Grand Etang in the Big Grand Etang Forest Preserve. He's a good guide and tapped right into our desires. This lake is in the caldera of an extinct volcano and boasts five distinct sub-climatic communities. Stunning! As we drove thru the forest we were amazed that it was just a forest and not a rain forest for all the verdant wildlife and flora surrounding us. We girls, attitude, not age, Marilyn, Lucy and I checked out the hiking trails, of which there are many, for an energetic, athletic adventure in the future . Today it was simply enough to enjoy the serenity and beauty of this huge lake and surrounding mountains. At it's crest can be seen the Elfin Woodland, stunted by persistent strong winds that form minature forests. The scale is enormous when you are standing at the base of what was a volcano and imagine that anything is miniature.
We were surprised, but not prepared with fruit or banana, to see the Mona Monkey, who are plentiful and very cute. These little guys have been here for so long that they are considered indigenous, yet they arrived from Northern Africa during the early slave trade. Wish we had some nuts or bananas because those cute little monkeys were giving great poses to the people who arrived with goodies.
Raymond took us home after only a half day tour, but don't think it was sad. We traveled thru some of the most beautiful countryside observed so far. He showed us where he grew up, spectacular really...got some great shots of the lee coast where we are staying...and we're still drooling.
Thank you Raymond. We love serendipitous excursions! Better than the work we were planning to do on Altair today.
Dudley and Bec