Earlier in the Spring, we took a trip to Grenada to visit family. Grenada is among one of the 13 Caribbean islands, generally small in nature and as are all of the islands, is surround by water. The island prides itself on the beautiful year-round sunshine, lush vegetation and friendly people. Oh wow, I remembered that from learning about the meaning of the colours of the flag when I was growing up. Haha…. But it’s true though – it’s really the way of the island. The simplicity and friendliness of everyone is really great! Everybody is everybody, and community is big. I took some photos below to share a little bit about living on this island. Check them out and let us know what you think in the comments.
The Simple Life
Family, community, and the simple life are everything. Hang out at home, visit relatives, sit and chat, cook something, go the beach or just basically chill. As you can imagine, it’s a slow lifestyle compared to what’s here in the US.
Our kids had fun playing with their cousins outside. They played during the day and even until dust on some days. When I was growing up, playing outside was THE thing to do. And at night, when the moon was bright, our parents and neighbours would come to watch the stars and enjoy the bright night while telling stories as we listened. Those were the days.
A simple treat like ice-cream from a truck on a hot day is always welcome. I mean, it’s always hot there and the ice-cream truck is a frequent but kids (and adults) are always opened to ice-cream.
The girls washing little LOL dolls. I don’t know what is so special about those little dolls but it’s got to be their favorites. They took them on the trip to have something to play with during downtimes and times when everyone one was kinda doing their own thing.
Crab watching along the streets. This street is not that far from the ocean so there are lots of crab holes on this side. The street also leads to my sister’s house and every time the kids walked by they stopped and look. It’s the simplest things that bring the most entertainment.
The schools there are very much uniform oriented. The Primary Schools (Elementary Schools) use shirts or T-Shirts along with skirts for girls and pants for boys (lol, as if that was not obvious). I guess I’m trying to say that the Elementary girls use skirts only. The Secondary Schools (High Schools) use ties. Both boys and girls do and it’s what separates the uniforms from the lower grades (Photo: Nephews heading to school in their Elementary uniforms).
My niece and her friend in their High School uniforms. She goes to an all-girls school. While many of the high schools are mixed gender, there are a few that are one gender only (only girls or only boys).
They really do speak for themselves. Grenada is super mountainous so you can be one place and overlook another. Not to mention, the ocean view is always the background or somewhere in the near distance. These homes are sort of like Town Homes and my sister’s family lives in one of them.
Another thing to enjoy on the island is the very lush vegetation. So much so that the colour green on the national flag represents the vegetation. You just can’t miss it – it’s all around – it goes along with the views. And there are lots of vegetable and fruit that come out of such greenery. Growing up my diet composed of a pelotra of fruit and vegetables, organic, all-natural, and locally grown. My husband complimented how the one thing he appreciates is how the food is mainly cooked with natural and organic produce. But you know, it’s just the way of life of the people and it’s what they eat without having to think about it. The following few photos represent the vegetation all around the island, grown in gardens and also in backyards. I had some more on my phone but the photo quality may not be the best so I decided to skip them.
The famous mango – This is one type of mango tree (mangoes still green). There are various kinds of mangoes all throughout the island but not much were producing when we were there. Growing up, I ate so much mangoes it’s not even funny! When those things are in season, you can count on them for snacking all day long. The kids got to enjoy a few while we were there, though. They loved it! I’ve offered them store-bought mangoes here before but they didn’t like it. I can’t blame them because they tend to not be as sweet as the home-grown mangoes on the islands.
Cashew: Yes, that is the cashew nut that is so good for you yet so very expensive. They grow on a big tree like this and can be found on the island too. Not many people have them in their backyards but some do. See how the nut grow on the cashew fruit in the second photo.
Isn’t that amazing! Typically, when the fruit bears and ripens, then drops to the ground the nut is taken off and the fruit thrown away. (Sometimes as kids we’d pick the fruit from the tree, took the nut off and eat the fruit). So many times there are an overload of spoiled fruit on the ground but the nuts are the star of the fruit. They’d be taken off the fruit and put to dry in batches. Once they are dried, they’d be bread to roast. After roasting, the nut shells would be cracked opened to find the roasted nuts on the inside. My mom used to sell them a lot. They can be sold pre-roasted or after like we buy in the stores.
Green Peas: Have you ever seen green peas on a tree? It comes in a pod like this next photo shows. Also, it’s usually grown in gardens but my mom has some in the back of her yard. Green peas is delicious green but it can also be dried out to use for later (you’ll see a dish made with some dried ones later down this post). Another beautiful quality about these type of peas is that sometimes they can be colorful. Colors range from red, dark red and white with colorful spots.
This pineapple tree is also at mommy’s house. My dad used to grow and sell pineapples. They were sweet and delicious when ripped yellow!
Coconut: So much to say about coconuts! But let’s just keep it simple. These coconuts are green and means they are not fully matured yet. But it does not necessarily mean that they cannot be used. We call them jelly. They are usually picked from the tree and the water used for drinking and flesh used for eating. As you can imagine, the water is delicious and somewhat of a luxury to must. Growing up, it was just jelly water to us. After all, they was all around us. When these green delicias turn fully brown, they are then called coconuts. One can poke them down from the tree with a long stick (lol) or wait until they drop to the ground to find and use them.
As we all know, the infamous coconut is good for so many things. Think coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut flakes, coconut as a supplement, coconut in hair and skin products, …. COCONUT EVERYTHING!
Banana: These are a few types of bananas found at my mom’s backyard. Did you know there were many types of bananas or things that look like bananas? Yes, we have a few different types grown on the island. Look at these two banana trees – they’re different in type and shape.
I mean, I gotta talk about the food. All things spicy and full of seasonings and made from the natural vegetables on the island. Here are a few examples.
Peas soup….. from the type of peas shown on the trees above. I think these peas were fully matured and dried. My mom made something we call peas soup or dry peas soup! It’s packed with dried peas, vegetables, and meat. So tasty!
Oil Down: I mean, there’s really nothing like a good ole’ oil down! It’s an island favorite and made from a vegetable called breadfruit, green bananas or other vegetable of choice, coconut milk, calalloo (green leafy type trees), dumplings (not the soft kind – flour and water mainly), saffron (or you may know it as ), curry, green home-grown herbs and other seasonings. It’s a one pot meal and when it’s down, it really is something delicious!!
Fried Fish: This is my mom’s fried fish and while we didn’t fry All The Foods, we did enjoy this fish so much. I love this type of fish too – I think it is called Bonita.
I don’t know about you but I don’t think I’d ever knew about frozen fish in boxes when I was growing up. After all, the ocean is all around so fresh catch is really the kind of fish to eat. But I do remember getting into a store and discovering some fresh catch and was so excited to take one home. I thought it would be great to NOT cook fish from a box and cook something fresh. But the cleaning of that fish turned into something more of a disaster! The scales just didn’t want to come out properly leaving me with less fish than I bought! I have no idea what kind of fish that was but it didn’t work out too well. Since then, I never bought another fresh fish from a store for fear of a cleaning disaster and ruining the whole thing. But I don’t enjoy the ones from the box so really don’t buy them much. Hubby likes them and will buy them occasionally.
Although recently, I found out that one of the stores we visit frequently will clean fresh catch for you for an extra charge. I didn’t realize it’s written right there where they keep the fish until one woman who was buy fish brought it to my attention. I said something to the extent of “I always want to buy fresh fish but not sure I want to clean them”. And then she replied that there is the option to have them clean along with the purchase. The one I wanted to buy ended up being super expensive per pound but we did buy some “cheaper” ones that were already cleaned and ready to be sold. Silly me!
Roti: Let’s say it again – ROTI! The whole thing is tasty! I say that about every Caribbean meal but for real, eating a roti is the ultimate treat! It’s mad from a soft dough filled with curried potato and chicken or beef and sometimes goat meat. But the goat idea (hahaha) is more on the exotic side and is probably used during special occasions. It’s mainly served at restaurants and small shops and could be eaten as a dinner at home (although rarely). You can frequently find roti as part of the menu in weddings. My husband picked up this one on the ariport on our way back. They’d sold out and this was the last one they had. Boy were we happy for it since we didn’t have another one throughout our stay. It was big enough to share between both of us and it is very filling!
That’s all the food photos I captured but they are a sample of what’s served on the island. Once again, all things spicy, tasty, and made from the produce of the land.
Well that’s kind of self-explanatory since Grenada is an island. It’s surround by water. As mentioned previously, almost every where you go you will catch a view of the ocean in the near or far distance. We went ourselves since my sister was at work and her kids were at school.
Another beach day… this time with my sister and our cousins. My mom came later to join us. And then as we were leaving the ocean and walking back up to the street, we saw my brother and his kids coming in. He didn’t know we were heading to the ocean that day and neither did we know he was going to come too. We assumed he was busy with work and didn’t ask. But he stopped and we chatted a little while and then he took his kids to the ocean for a little bit while we went back home.
While out and about in the town area in the city, we visited this little cocoa shop. It’s all things natural cocoa and products made from it, ice-cream, chocolate, cocoa balls for making hot chocolate, etc. You can see photos of how cocoa was processed back earlier times and get some hands on experience of grinding cocoa. Also, there is a hang-out spot where visitors can sit and chat or enjoy a finished good from the store.
A cocoa – picked from the tree. The following photos show how the seeds are grinded in an old-fashioned way. BTW: That cocoa is resting on a bed of nutmeg shells.
The seeds dried – When a cocoa is cracked opened, the seeds are usually moist. They need to be dried out before grinding.
Once it’s finished grinding, the powder can be rolled into balls to make hot coca or made into whatever other goods such as chocolate.
Lots of cocoa and chocolate goods for sale in this shop. Keep in mind that they are not the cheapest since this is more of a souvenir shop.
Even the seats in the hang out area are made to look like chocolate goods. The stools look like chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles on top. The kids loved sitting on them.
Heading to the city to hang out with a friend and her kids … Her husband was at work.
In the City: Eating out at Pizza Hut with one of our friend and her kids (here hubby was at work). This is a very popular area in one of the more upscale parts of the island. It’s also closer to the airport, resorts and popular beaches and things of that nature.
My friend is the tall one in the back with her two boys. My sister is at the front with her boys also. Boy is it hard to get everyone to look.. We must have taken about 15 photos then eventually gave up.
The ocean is back there somewhere. This is first ocean we wanted to visit but the day we planned, the water was rough and it was unsafe to go in. On this other day here, we didn’t take our swim suits because we didn’t plan to go there. Our friend was planning to take us to a waterfall but since we met up later in the day, we ended up just going to eat pizza in the city. Then since the ocean was close by, we took the kids to play in the park area.
So hope you enjoyed the photos and learned something about the island along the way. Have you ever visited a Caribbean island? Besides the ocean what else did you enjoy?