January 7, 2008

The Island of Grenada


Grenada, the southernmost Windward Island, is best known for its spices (most notably, nutmeg). It is 21 miles long and 12 miles wide. This friendly and laid-back island was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1498. It has been Spanish, French, and British. It was languishing until the 1830s, when its chief crop, nutmeg, became a popular and coveted spice. St. George is a bustling town with lots of tourists and activity. We took a taxi from the airport where we "parked" the helicopter and visited the spice market and a local restaurant called the Nutmeg.

Spice Market in St. George:


We bought a lot of spices from Miss Gloria's:


Everyone is very friendly in the spice market:


Homemade hot sauces, condiments, flavorings, and seasonings are sold throughout the market:


Spice is also packaged in plastic bags...


...or in handmade baskets:


I really enjoy my coconut water!


Decor at the Nutmeg:


Sugar-coated tamarind balls were utterly delicious -- I bought a whole bagful!


Beautiful stone and brick architecture can be found in the towns and villages of Grenada:


Unique concrete grouting is a special feature of the brick building in St. George


Our pilot, Bill Lavallee, was a helicopter flight leader in the American invasion of Grenada. This year marks the 25th anniversary of that fateful day. Bill recounted the military maneuvers that liberated a group of medical students who were confined by military insurgents, who had rebelled against the repressive dictatorship of Maurice Bishop. The so-called friendly invasion ordered by President Reagan was not without American casualties, but it did result in an end to Cuban expansionism and a threat of Eastern Bloc power on an island with a 9,000-foot runway and close proximity to the United States

This is the memorial on Grenada commemorating the American invasion of the island in October 1983:



Bill Lavallee's friend, Captain Keith J. Lucas, died in the invasion. This monument to him overlooks the harbor: