Atlantis Alumni

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Industries Of Grenada

Photos: Welcome to Grenada; Westerhall Distellery; cruise ships and St. Georges, Grenada INDUSTRIES OF GRENADA Since Jim was underwater photographing the fishes, it was left to me to document the island of Grenada. My photos show the town of St. George, a garden at a nutmeg factory and the ancient stills at a rum distillery. Grenada is a small island, only 21 miles long, where 9,000 people live. Tourism is the main industry, but the island is also famed for its spices. The colonization of Grenada passed back in forth from the 17th to the 20th centuries between France to England, until independence. Though perhaps not as poor as some Caribbean islands, it’s easy to tell that life must be a struggle for most of its inhabitants. Like Montserrat and St. Barth’s, the terrain is mountainous, and there are also many beaches, the usual for most islands in this part of the world. On my jitney excursion our first stop out of the crowded harbor town was a factory that made products from nutmeg. “De la Grenade” also featured a colorful garden that showed living examples of all the types of spices and fruit trees that grow on the abundant island. There were close to sixty, and they included cinnamon, almond, mango, clove, nutmeg, different types of bananas, cocoa, guava, the peculiar noni, tumeric, rosemary, soursop, lemongrass, papaya and breadfruit, among many others. Our guide to the place handed scraps of bark and leaves to the tourists to sniff. After the garden tour, we trotted up to the factory where samples of nutmeg syrup and nutmeg liquors were offered. The locals were friendly but tried repeatedly to sell long strings of dried spices that one doubts would be allowed back into the States by customs officials. Our second stop, after another drive on the winding roads, was at the Westerhall Estates, a rum factory. It started out in the 17th century, when the most important industry on the island was sugar production. In the 19th century, when the price of sugar plummeted, the planters switched to making rum. The ruins of the Estates included gigantic stills, some dating back the 17th century. Though I didn’t sample any, my shipmates on the tour tasted various varieties of rums, a few of them in the 130 proof range. These local industries on the island showed how difficult it was and is, to wrest a living from the green islands of the Caribbean, despite their lush natural beauty I arrived back on the ship around noon and my waterlogged spouse came back a few hours later, famished (since there was no lunch on the dive boat), and with all his documents (such as his wallet) and other belongings soaking wet. But he was elated that he had spent so much time seeing all of the wonders of King Neptune’s underwater realm. Later Jim slurped down multiple rum punches at the Atlantis Alumni Party, near the pool, while I read a Peter Carey novel in the solarium and back in our cabin. We enjoyed dinner with new acquaintances before taking a long and restful sleep. Today, it’s on to Barbados. - Dan

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