After spending almost four months in Caracas, we were excited to head home for the holidays but also wanted to do squeeze in an uber-relaxing vacation. It took pretty much forever to plan, but we finally decided on four days in Los Angeles, four days in the East Bay, and five days in Grenada. The planning difficulty was because of the extreme difficulty finding international flights out of Venezuela, let alone during Chrismas time. The couple we did find cost $4,000-$5,000 each (no, that’s not exaggeration). In the end, we were able to hop on a charter plane run by my employer over to Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela, then to Trinidad, and from there we flew commercial to California. Long story short: 5 cities, 6 airports, and 28 hours later we made it to LA.
Side note, apparently SFO has a yoga room in the terminal? Are many people bringing their yoga mat traveling?
SFO Yoga Room
We spent Christmas with our families, saw some friend and before we knew it we were off to Grenada. We arranged to stay at a bed and breakfast (called Casa Bella) in the town of L’Anse Aux Epines that was way cheaper than anywhere else we looked ($97/night). Everyone talked like it was super far from the main city of St Georges and Grand Anse beach but in reality it was only a 5-10 minute drive. Apparently living on a 133 square mile island gives you a different sense of distance. It’s run by a very accommodating couple who bought a giant house so friends and family could visit, and offset the cost by running a B&B. It’s a somewhat informal setup, but they were still great hosts. They had a breakfast waiting for us each morning on the patio consisting of toast, cereal, fresh fruit (grown in the backyard!), coffee, and fresh juice made from passion fruit and some tropical fruit I hadn’t heard of.
View of Prickly Bay from the patio at our bed and breakfast, Casa Bella
Day 1. Our plans for day one were pretty simple: head to Grand Anse beach (supposedly one of the best in the Caribbean) and drink many beers in the sun. Our hosts at the B&B offer a “taxi” service for guests, and drove us over to Grand Anse beach a short 5 minute drive away. Almost immediately upon arriving, we were accosted by a constant stream of vendors. For the most part, once you say you aren’t interested they leave you alone. However, there was one crazy-eyed guy selling aloe leaves who was obviously on something and wouldn’t leave. He went so far as to just start rubbing aloe on Breck’s legs. She shot me a desperate “do somethiiiiiiiiiing” look so I gave the guy a few bucks for leaf. I asked if he had change, and he said he’d come back with it. I told him I trusted him (I didn’t), which apparently offended him so he shouted at me “Bro! I deal in thousands!” (insinuating he had no reason to take off with my money) and left… never to be seen again.
Grand Anse beach with rainbow in the background
Anyway, the beach was great and we made friends with some of the many beverage vendors. The setup of these beach vendors is pretty amusing. There is a little stretch of a dozen or so “storefronts”, each shop no more than 10-15 square feet and all selling exactly the same stuff as far as I can tell-we arbitrarily chose “Janice’s Shop.” Almost immediately after we finished our bucket of Carib beer, another beverage vendor swooped down on us and asked if we needed any more. I told him “Janice is taking care of us” to which he responded, “nah man, she talks to much! I’m the one out here hustling! Flash will take care of you.” His approach was a little abrasive, but he was certainly putting way more effort into soliciting customers running up and down the beach taking drinks and snacks to people. For the rest of our trip, Flash was our guy.
Carib – A great beach beer
Day 2. I got somewhat sunburned on my back the first day, so we took a break from the sun and went into St Georges (mostly just to say we did it). The owner of the B&B drove us “all the way into town” which really only took about 10 minutes. He dropped us off at the base of Fort George and we walked up a very long stairway up the hill, pausing for a few minutes under a tree to let a crazy downpour pass. The entrance fee was $2, however, it really should have been free since aside from the great views, the fort was almost laughable in how little it had to offer of any interest (including any kind of information about the fort whatsoever).
The fort was small and basic. I got a kick out of the fact that it’s apparently still a functioning police academy! There was a gym that looked as old as the fort itself, with no signs or anything telling visitors to stay out. I also couldn’t help but laugh at the poorly maintained grounds: an old house on the grounds had completely caved in and stashed in between some walls in the fort were some discarded lockers.
Courtyard of Fort George… the basketball hoop is behind me.
Small open courtyards make great storage areas
View of St Georges from Fort George (with falling down house)
Great view from the other side of the fort!
The experience was somewhat redeemed however by some old cannons that I got to play pirate with.
Arrrrrrrrr. I have ye in me sights.
After the forst, we walked around town a little and stumbled upon the famed “spice market” which is pretty much just a market square in town. Grenada is known for it’s spices, and I imagine I would have found the market more interesting if I actually had a need for spices. We headed back to Grand Anse beach, hung out for a few hours and caught a taxi back to the B&B to get ready for new year’s eve.
Day 2 (Night – New Year’s Eve) We spent the night at the bar/restaurant at Prickly Bay, a short 5 minute walk from where we stayed. We went there every night of the trip to hang out after our daytime activities. It certainly isn’t the most lively place I’ve ever been, but it’s what I would expect from a small Caribbean bar geared towards sailors. It was a fairly uneventful evening on the whole–mostly a middle aged crowd with some late 20s mixed in and a band that insisted on playing songs nobody wanted to listen to. What was funny is that every time the band took a break, they turned on Top 40 songs and the place came alive with singing and dancing. As soon as the band came back, the whole place would die down agai. They should have taken the hint and given it a rest for good.
New Year’s Eve at Prickly Bay
So, for whatever reason, the singer of the band was giving some boring speech about the upcoming new year, and somehow talked RIGHT THROUGH MIDNIGHT! How does that happen? No countdown?!?!! I don’t think anybody even noticed until at about 12:02 he abruptly stopped talking and said “and now… fireworks!”
Some fireworks went off across the small bay, but a minute later more started up–RIGHT OVER OUR HEADS. It probably wasn’t exactly safe but it was certainly cool.
Fireworks are best enjoyed exploding in your face
Day 3. Pretty uneventful day. We lounged around on the beach again and got served by our new drink friend Flash.
Day 4. I had never snorkeled before, so my only goal for our Grenada trip was to try it out. We signed up in the morning for an 11 am slot with Eco Dive which had a little shack set up on the beach. Once we were in the water, I was like a little kid pointing out all the cool fish to Breck and taking millions of pictures. Apparently, Grenada doesn’t have the best snorkeling because the water isn’t as clear as elsewhere in the Caribbean. I had nothing to compare it to, though, so it was awesome. There were so many bright fish and funny looking water plants!
A school of fish that I swam through
The two of us looking very cool with our masks and snorkels.
And that’s about it. Now we’re back to reality in Caracas with about two months left until we head back to the Bay Area for good.