EASTER IN SVG

Easter is a magical time in the Caribbean, when you surround yourself with family, food, church, sun, regattas, swimsuits and good friends who may or may not have drinks with them. These same friends will go through the list just mentioned, but not necessarily in the same order.

Since St. Vincent and the Grenadines is an archipelago, we have a lot of islands to choose from when we have long breaks. We have already introduced them but here is a refresher on the bigger ones:

Bequia

-Mustique

-Union Island

-Canouan

-Mayreau

The largest of these is Bequia, and believe me they put on a really good shin-dig here! They host a regatta that yachts across the Caribbean participate in, they host Fishermans’ Day competitions for the most capable fisherman and crew, and subsequent to that they host parties where all and sundry are invited to listen to good music and eat fish and the  other bounties of the sea.

Let us not forget that Easter is a sad time that remembers the Crucifixion and thus the food prepared is designed to be redolent of the bitterness and sadness of the day. Most people eat only fish and bitter vegetables. Most Vincentians observe this tradition.

But after the period of mourning, let the good times roll, because Easter Sunday will change the mood. The Lord has defied death, and we must rejoice, and believe me, we do. After church is over, after having cried and cried previously on Good Friday, you cast off your black garments and replace them with robes of happiness. In some cases it is a swimsuit of happiness.

In SVG the Easter weekend is a delightful four days long, and while this is a nightmare for the Private Sector to lose two days of work, it is greatly appreciated none-the-less. The ferries to Bequia (this island is the choice of most Vincentians) operate practically non-stop to accommodate the exodus from the mainland. Actually, to be still on the mainland for Easter is considered a sacrilege. The in-crowd is cavorting in the Grenadines, and if you are not there, then sadly, you really are missing out.

I have gone to Easter in the Grenadines and it is a truly, lovely, lovely time. And not just on Bequia either; I have been to Easter on some of the other islands as well. There is elegant Mustique, with the annual picnic to Macaroni Beach, and they host the Easter Bonnet Parade where creativity is given free reign, after that for the kiddies there is the Easter Egg Hunt. The prize for the most eggs is a two foot tall solid chocolate rabbit. It may actually be smaller, but you know to children everything looks large! But it really was a BIG bunny.

The night life has something to say as well in Bequia at Easter. Well-known bands are brought in from the region and some home grown artistes make their appearances as well. And imagine the performances being done under a clear, star-filled, moonlit night with the sound of the Caribbean Sea in one ear and the excited laughter of those dear to you in the next.

Have a fabulous Easter All!

My Magnetic Addiction to Vincy Food

My life in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is one where I try very, very hard not to gain weight. Everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE I look, Vincentian food is tempting me. If it is not succulent fried chicken, or yummy brown stewed fish, it is one of my favourites, ‘tri-tri’. I went to my very good friend’s birthday celebration recently, and they served tritri cakes.  Remember tri-tri? I described it to you once.

Tri-tri is this amazing little fish that makes a trip on moonlit nights from the sea to the point where the fresh water meets the salt water. Then the little tri-tris swim up the river into man-made road-blocks designed to trap them. When they are caught and get to the local markets, thousands of Vincentian grandmothers make batters with flour, spices and tons of lovely West Indian flavour, then they spoon them into shallow oil or deep oil (it depends on  what shape they want) until they are all golden and quite honestly yummy.  They can come in little balls or wide fritters, and be served with or without a spicy or peppery dip.

 

Yes, tri-tri is one of my favourite things, and the actual catching of this little delicacy has become a popular tourist attraction at one of the resorts that has a river running through it. On moonlit nights people gather on the sides of the river and contentedly watch the catching of the tri-tri and then at some point in the future they get to sample them!

To dispel the effects of yummy Vincentian food, I do one of several things:

  1. I do Pilates and
  2. Cardio and
  3. Boxing and
  4. Yoga and then
  5. Last, but certainly no least, I play squash

I mention these things because I want you to know what St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a modern country and that while small, all the amenities are here. So, please don’t be concerned about eating too much tasty West Indian food. Come over and partake; we are a healthy society with lots of safe, smooth roads and hills to challenge you.

 

 

 

Rumbo, Rumbo……wherefore art thou, Rumbo?!

Rumbo, Rumbo……wherefore art thou, Rumbo[1]?

It is a little known fact that there are over 3000 rum-emporiums in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. On any given day should you desire the comforting embrace of an auburn to red rum you can do so, in any of these fine establishments, known locally as ‘rum shops’.  Should you crave the affections of an award winning, named after a fictional film pirate rum, it is easy to locate. And lastly, should you need a jet fuel injection from an over-proof, can’t take it on the plane with you, farmers suffering from withdrawal symptoms  on the off-chance it is absent from the shelves, white rum,  then come to my arms Brother, welcome home, for you have found kindred spirits.

The paradise I live in, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, SVG to those in the know, is a truly magical place with stunning views, an amazingly varied terrain and extremely friendly and trusting people. Remember ‘Star Trek’, when they used the term ‘the
undiscovered country’? Well, they were speaking about us. Kidding! But, honestly, the term really does apply. We are not a Barbados that has all the amenities of a tiny England or a small USA. No, we still retain the old world charm that is truly, intrinsically West Indian. Our main town Kingstown still has that slightly colonial feel. I am not saying that if Chris Columbus came back from the dead tomorrow he would know where everything is still! That is not what I am saying. What I am saying, is that he would recognize the energy and the vibe. We are a relaxed group, Vincentians. Not a whole lot bothers us. Some attribute this to our ability to weather exogenous shocks, I attribute it to our faith in rum. Rum can make all things seem bearable.

Okay! Now Brother, for that tour of all the major Rum Emporiums of note. We will start in jolly old Kingstown and head north to Georgetown. I must warn you that SVG is an
archipelago of 32 islands, 33 if you count the man made one in Union Island, where the single resident turned it into a bar to serve what? Yes, of course, what else – rum!

Kingstown has numerous restaurants etc. that can serve you any cocktail your little heart desires. But, it is also packed with small establishments where you can buy a ‘petit’ of rum that culture dictates you drink straight. No fluffy, frou-frou cocktail for you, Brother! Put some more hair on that chest! Never let it be said that they found any Brother of mine under the table! There is a fine emporium just to the right of the Royal SVG Police HQ, where I am sure we can make a friend. Come!

Our next town is Calliaqua.  Can you stand up, Brother? This is a fishing community that hosts many a rum emporium.  It also hosts its own Carnival. Everyone knows that rum must be present at Carnival! There is no other way to be awake for four days straight without rum to keep your company through the night. I think we should stay here in Calliaqua to sample the local delights of Fish Fry-Day, and chase that with some rum. Tell your friends not to worry. We will be with them again licketty-split, to regale
them with our adventures!


[1] Rumbo: An extreme connoisseur of rum and rum products. The origin is Creole and
is the West Indian version of ‘Wino’.