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The Adventures of David & Alexandra
Djembe On
Alex, hot with a chance of Djembe's
July 9, 2014 , Mt Hartman Bay, Grenada

This goblet shaped thing is a Djembe, (said "jem-beh"). Originally from West Africa, this is a (goat?)/skin covered drum played with bare hands. Don't you just want to sit down and try??


We walked into Secret Harbour Marina and were greeted by a few Djembe's placed in a circle. This was one of them...

"the word comes from two words in the ancient Malinke language. 'Djem' was the tree originally used to make the drum shell (a very dense wood found in Mali) and 'be' (pronounced 'beh') was a goat, used for skinning the drum"

"According to the Bambara people in Mali, the name of the djembe comes from the saying "Anke djé, anke bé" which translates to "everyone gather together in peace" and defines the drum's purpose"

This was another one,

Aren't they beautiful ?

Monty told us that a skilled drummer "can make the djembe talk" and the people will come dance. Max, Secret Harbour's bartender, was walking by, and we asked him if, in hearing our drumming, he felt instantly compelled to dance?

His response, a totally incredulous look, said it all.
As if : "You have a long ways to go before I come dance!".

The jembe master (a "jembefola") leads the pace of the dance, increasing the tempo when good dancers enter the circle. A single song can be played for hours at a time.

My biceps and palms were sore after 30 minutes.

Monty taught us a few basic sounds: bass, tone, and slap.

As you can see from the photos below,

it took a few tries,

thank goodness Monty was a patient man, although at one point he had us stop... as he quietly exclaimed "OH MY".

I'm thinking that was NOT a positive OH MY but rather a surprised OH MY, a cringe of his ears OH MY. And I'm thinking that with his being an experienced teacher, and international player, he has heard it all, and I'm thinking that ours somehow takes the Oh My prize !!

When we all were somewhat co-ordinated into some semblance of decent soundings slaps and sounds, he had us keep going as he began to sing,

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin' for to carry me home;
Swing low, sweet chariot,
Comin' for to carry me home

We drummed along, sometimes coordinated, sometimes not. Sometimes out of sync, sometimes not. Sometimes loud, sometimes not so much.

He then tried to coordinate us into drumming to:

By the rivers of Babylon
Where he sat down
And there he wept ... when he remembered Zion.

I closed my eyes and allowed myself to feel the sound, the reverberation hitting me throughout my body and my hands just played, of their own accord. A whole body mesmerizing type of experience.

At the end, when I opened my eyes, the smiles on everyone's faces, including my own, sang of volumes ! THRILLED, enchanted, bewitched.

I think our clothes perfectly exemplify Monty's parting words: "It'll come... Don't Worry, Be Happy".

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Celebrations !!
Alex, hot and rainy with a chance of... CELEBRATIONS !!
July 6, 2014 , Mt Hartman Bay, Grenada

It's been a week of CELEBRATIONS !!

On July 1st, there was Canada Day to organize and celebrate.

We were thinking that part of the celebrations could include snowman building competitions, or perhaps a spontaneous road-hockey game, but facing reality, and due to lack of ice and snow and hockey sticks (and with hardly any fellow Canadians around), we opted for a low-key Volleyball Game instead.

A great time was had,

whether we played or not,

and all of it followed by some cold bruskies at the Secret Harbour Marina.

Then on July 2nd Dave and I celebrated our 3rd Wedding Anniversary !! Dave surprised me with...

a night away from home at Mt Hartman Bay Estate for an afternoon of luxurious surroundings, elegant feast of a dinner, a real bath, a real bed....

This event deserves its very own story-in-a-blog (coming soon!), just let us say how totally impressed we were with every second of every minute of our 24 hour stay... They were so thoughtful to have a bottle of champagne on ice and some Grenadian Chocolate for our arrival, need we say more?

On July 4th there were the Independence Day Celebrations, to which Max at Secret Harbour Marina

had created and prepared "The All American Slushie" that induced a pretty stupendous brain freeze!

With both SV Amoray and SV Notre Vie back in town, we had lots to celebrate !

On the first Friday of every month the Grenadian National Museum hosts its Jazz (& Poetry) night, which is always an evening of spontaneous festivity.

An impromptu evening of music and live poetry readings that will leave you...

...contemplatively speechless.

In between we've gone for walks and jogs, re-discovering and exploring our neighbourhood that is home, and have joined in Mother Nature's celebrations of fiesta of colours,

that with the rain has the lush greens emerging from their arid states,

and the beauteous colours unfolding and even the lizards were looking a tad more colourful,

We're also celebrating our very first attempt at the RUNNERS Trail with the Grenada Hash House Harriers.

Truth be told, we hadn't planned on it but the pre-hash description of the Walkers Trail was summarized in hushed whispers around us as NambyPamby !!

The ice was being unloaded, and Dalynn SomeOne had read our blog and was more than a little concerned about monstrous ankle biting ants and as such brought along some serious knee high, super white, socks.

So with the promise of ice cold beer at the end,

and with the recent months of "in training" mode, we figured we would and could and so we did! ON ON !!

We really didn't hear chose to ignore the announcement that there's no time to be wasted on the runner's trail... the lack of photos speak for themselves. The only 3 photos I managed to click were the ones at the beach, where a (quick) rest-stop allowed me to snap this

(notice the shredded paper? Clever!)

before we had to get moving again. This trail was long and hard.

Bush-whacking, running on the road dodging horn-honking traffic by the round-about, On-Back's, beach-running, dodging crab-holes in the impressive mangrove forests, hearing the gigantic bamboo stalks knocking about as we tried to find the mounds of shredded paper to point the way, refreshing as we got in the river and climbed across and then back across and then back across and then said, EFF IT, just continued knee deep in the water up the riverbed, and then the last hour was spent, as the last rays of sun fell behind the mountain and life got a wee bit darker, going straight uphill, hoisting ourselves up with hanging vines, until we reached the sounds of Soca music that was The End.

We figured that we trekked through about 4.5 miles in about 2.5 hours and what did we have to show for it? Ripped shirts, scraped arms and legs, dripping type of drenched with sweat,

and just a tad worried about being the last ones to arrive (which we weren't) and were feeling pretty damn proud of ourselves as we were greeted by friends high-fiving us. Nothing says great friendship like sweaty body hugs!

Lots to be grateful for. Lots to Celebrate.

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