Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ladies Day Out

June 14, 2006  Wednesday (I think)

It has rained for the past 3 days; yesterday the rain was quite hard with winds of 30 kts as a tropical wave moved through the area.  Today was back to beautiful skys.  Strangely enough, it is actually cooler here than it is back in Houston, even though we are much, much closer to the equator.   High temp here in Grenada was 87F and it was 97F in Houston, with the same 90% humidity in each location.  And we have a nice breeze almost all the time down here in the islands.

Today was the Ladies Day Outing that had been organized by Roberta on S/V Alleileujah.  She was an event planner back in the real world before she took early retirement and began cruising 4 years ago.  She thrives on organizing little outings everywhere they go.  They have spent the past 4 years just going back and forth between Trinidad and St. Martin, and they have no plans in going any farther.  The Windward Islands provide them with all they desire.

There were total of 9 of us in the group today.  I was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed it.  Wouldn’t call it a fun day, but it was nice to visit with these ladies.   Some of them have been cruising for 15 years.  Boats ranged from a Hunter (which was much talked about behind the owner’s back because it is normally considered an unsafe boat for cruising outside sight of land) to a 65-foot custom built steel ketch from South Africa.  The women came from Chile, New Zealand, England, and several US states.  Quite a diverse group.  A couple of them have sailed all over the world.  And a couple of them are also thinking of doing the South Pacific within the next couple of years, as are Bill and I.  Audrey from S/V Seafari had be laughing all afternoon at the restaurant and bar.  She has a great sense of humor.

The group consisted of:
Roberta, S/V Alleileujah, from Miami, Florida
Audrey, S/V Seafari, from San Diego, CA
Nell, S/V Storm Along, from Chile (sailing with her boyfriend for the past 8 years)
Marilyn, S/V Zippity Do, from Sacremento/San Francisco area
Sandy, S/V Caliente, from Florida
Judy, S/V Ciboney, from US somewhere
Fay, S/V Tremontana, from New Zealand
Lorraine, S/V Lorrigray, from England (although lived in South Africa for 27 years)
and me

Found out from one of them that the 73-ft ketch from Cowes, England, that we had met in Mayreau and visited aboard is named S/V Icka.  This is the boat owned by a man named Hamish.  That boat is somewhere here in Grenada now but I have not seen her yet.

Our day started with the tour driver picking me up first at 8:15 because I was located so far from everyone else.   By 8:45 we were all loaded into the tour van on our way to the tee-shirt/dress shop.  These women like to shop.  Not something that I really enjoy anymore.  They spent more than an hour buying tee-shirts and dresses.  I managed to find a dress and a shirt for our 4-yr-old granddaughter, Elizabeth, and a tee-shirt for our 5-yr-old grandson, Zachary.  Tried to find a tee-shirt for 15-yr-old Sebastian, but the only island design that I thought he might wear was a bright orange, which is a color that I did not think he would wear; so didn’t buy one for him.  At the last minute before we left the shop, I decided to buy myself 2 tee-shirts just because they were cheap.  Total spent for these 5 items = $77EC or $28.52US

We had a gorgeous, scenic drive over the mountains to the next stop.  Breathtaking views of the harbors.  Learned the difference between an island sheep and a goat.  They look the same to me, but there is a difference.  Their sheep look absolutely nothing like any sheep I have ever seen.  Looks just like a goat to me.  Difference is that a sheep’s tail hangs down and a goat’s tail goes up.  Other than that, they look identical.  I have no clue as to how this distinction came about.

Our next stop was the Art Fabrik workshop.  The owner, Lilo, gave us a tour and explained the process of making batik clothing.  When you see the steps involved, then you begin to understand why real batik is so expensive compared to simply printed fabric.  Lilo is a single Swedish woman who has lived in Grenada for many years.  She lives alone on her boat, which was severely damaged in Hurricane Ivan.  She put the boat up into the mangroves, which is what you are supposed to do.  But then other people anchored in front of the mangroves (WHICH YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO DO DURING A STORM).  The anchored boats broke loose during the hurricane and banged into the mangroves and did a great deal of damage to the boats there.  Lilo says if there is another hurricane, she is staying on her boat with 4 anchors put out and take her chances.  Let’s hope that there is not another hurricane, if only for her sake.

The 4 women who do the wax painting and stenciling at the batik shop are all deaf.  Lilo said that they get absolutely no work done on Monday mornings because each person has to talk about what they did over the weekend.  Since they talk by signing, neither the person “talking” nor the person “listening” can do any work.  The speaker needs their hands to talk, so they can’t work at the same time.  And the listener needs to watch the other person’s hands, so that can’t work either.  So Lilo just has come to terms with the fact that no work will be accomplished on Monday mornings.

After the batik lesson we all went down the street to Lilo’s retail store, where everyone bought something.  I bought a purple wrap skirt with a few large light blue and lavender and white flowers on it; could be worn with a white tank top or shirt or over a bathing suit like a pareo.  The deal with batik is that the more colors in the print, the more labor involved; therefore, the more expensive.  My skirt has 4 colors in it; it cost $213.50EC or $80US.  Shhhh; don’t tell Bill.

Then we had another scenic drive, through the airport, out to the Aquarium restaurant.  It is situated on the farthest SW point of Grenada.  It is beautiful; built right into the rocks of the hill and opening onto a fantastic beach..  Lunch was fun, with rum punches, wines, margaritas, and sea breezes by everyone else.  Being the teetotaler, I had a lime squash (limeade to us Texans).  And a Greek salad that should have Greeks spinning in their graves.  Weird, weird plate of food to be called a Greek salad; but, hey, it is the islands after all.  I won’t even try to explain the island version of a Greek salad, but let’s just say that there was no lettuce, no Greek olives, no Greek dressing, and it had large slices of raw onion covered in red spicy seafood seasoning all over the top of it.

Then we all sat out at the beach bar and watched a few of them swim while the others continued to drink.  These cruiser wives do seem to like their alcohol.  By this point I was ready to head back home to the boat, so it was a relief when Roberta finally said it was time to go.

Got back to the marina and found a new boat has arrived on our dock.  Occupied by 2 men.  Haven’t talked to them yet so don’t know how long they plan to be here.

Oh, the cashews.  I have uploaded 3 photos of a fresh cashew.  The trees grow wild here.   For those of you who don’t know, there is a reason that you have never seen cashews in the shell in a store. Think about it; you have seen walnuts in shells, pecans, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts or filberts, Brazil nuts—all in shells, but I know that you have never seen a cashew in a shell in a store.  How do I know this?  Because the shells are poisonous.  So are the leaves of the tree.   Both the shells and tree leaves contain an oil that is poisonous.  Even standing beneath a cashew tree in the rain will leave your skin blistered.  The people who pick cashews normally wear gloves to protect their hands.

As you can see from the photos, the cashew is strange.  The red/yellow large part is actually a fruit.  It is edible.  It is usually sweet but can also be somewhat bitter.  The dark brown smaller part contains the actual cashew nut.  They start out both being green.  As it ripens, the fruit turns red or red/yellow, and the nut part turns brown.  Once the brown part gets totally dried out (or is broken off and roasted), then you can eat the cashew nut inside.  If you have not roasted the cashew nut itself, then you must be very careful not to let your fingers touch your lips or you will get blisters all around your mouth.

Does that give you an idea of why cashews are so much more expensive than almost all other nuts?

And that ends our botanical lesson for tonight.


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