of the Caribbean
Towards the Dash 8 Turboprop
afternoon and we are sitting in the departure lounge of
Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados. I feel
like a teenager who has skipped school, as I have left work
early in order to catch the flight to Grenada. The airport
is busy, with British and American tourists waiting for
flights home, and Bajans headed to neighbouring islands
for the weekend. This weekend, St Lucia is holding a jazz
festival, and when a flight to St Lucia is called, I recognise
a couple of people from my office - they have left work
early too! We all smile conspiratorially at each other.
flight 380 to Grenada, Tobago and Trinidad is called, and
we all make our way outside towards the Dash 8 turboprop.
Although it is 5pm, the afternoon is still hot and humid,
and I begin to question my decision to wear jeans. My friend,
who is a nervous flyer, has never been in a propeller-driven
aircraft before, and we try to distract her by speculating
where the other passengers are going. The tall Indian man
with the briefcase must be staying on to Trinidad (which
has a large Asian population and is a regional centre for
industry). The couple that look like newly-weds are probably
going to Tobago for some relaxation on the beach. A German
woman travelling alone has us confused - we do not often
see Europeans here, except for British and Irish people.
flight is smooth and on the way to Grenada we pass over
St Vincent and the Grenadines. Like Grenada, they are densely
forested islands, green and mountainous, which contrast
with the flat coral island covered in sugar plantations
that we have left behind.
have booked the cheapest accommodation available, and it
shows. The hotel room has dirty furnishings, although thankfully,
the bathroom is OK. One of my friends (who is used to more
luxurious surroundings) condemns it as the worst place she
has ever stayed in. I reserve that title for a particularly
interesting hostel in Hungary, but it's still not terribly
pleasant. Within minutes of arriving, I have three new mosquito
bites, and we decide to go out to eat. On the way out, we
go to look at the beach in front of our hotel. It is a pretty
bay, although the sea is not very clear. As the sun sets,
we see local teenagers kicking a football around, cows grazing
beneath the trees, and crabs scuttling across the sand.
eat dinner in a nearby restaurant. Grenada's tourism industry
lags behind that of Barbados, and we struggle to find a
bar to go to after dinner. Eventually we give up and retire
to the hotel.