A Broken Heart

Here in SVG, I lead a fairly full life. Between my friends and my family, my work and my business. I am quite busy. So, when I lost someone I cared very deeply for, I did not fall into the depression that I thought I would.  I am in the process of bouncing back.  My family pays a very large role.

 

I have a heavily multiethnic background. I am a mutt. A really mixed individual.  Some of my cousins are of Arab heritage; I spend a lot of time with them. They smoke the water pipe with a lovely smelling tobacco (it smells like apples) sometimes, and they often patronize a ‘shisha’ bar where the environment is very Arab; large soft cushions on the floor, lots of carpets, good friends, and a delightful mix of music from not just the Caribbean, but pretty much all over the world. So, there are distractions that allow you to forget yourself for a short while so you can be the person you were previously.

 

On other occasions I can go and visit the relatives of East Indian heritage in the north of the island. Simply to catch up with them, to see how their children have grown, to hear what ridiculous thing someone did recently, and be able to poke fun at them right there, does lot to erase your own folly, or present situation from your heart. The fact that this side of the family is also the side that drinks copious amounts of rum is also quite a help, as you can imagine.

 

Then I can go and help to build costumes at the Mas tent, to contribute to the development of Vincentian culture. And the wonderful thing about it is that the mas men are so happy for the extra pair hands, and you meet such wonderful, and interesting characters in the tent. You actually get a second family if you allow it. This is how we are able to sustain the art, by allowing the youth to come into the tent so that the skills can be transferred to the next generation.

 

I suppose what I am trying to tell you, is that St. Vincent has quite a few distractions that will allow you to forget what ails you, regardless of what it is.  You don’t have to have friends or family here to enjoy yourself. Vincentians are a really friendly lot, and are quick to adopt you; to invite you out, ask you to come to diner – very hospitable. But if you want to be left alone, you will be also. If you need the noise to lose yourself in, we have that. If you need the quiet and solace of a beach with a good book, we have that. If you need to meet new and interesting people, we have that. And we have thirty-two islands for you to play in. Epic, right?

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!

A Glimpse at Good Ol’ Vincy

In a teeny tiny corner of the Caribbean Sea is a little island called St. Vincent and its little brother and sister islands collectively known as the Grenadines. Many people reading this may never even have heard of such a place, but for many that have, there is a magic about the islands that makes St. Vincent and the Grenadines hard to forget.

This post seeks to explore St. Vincent and the Grenadines from a view that is not that of the traditional travel blog, i.e. from a tourist’s point of view, but from the point of view of locals who even after living here for years can’t seem to help falling under the spell of the place again and again.

St. Vincent at a Glance

  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines  was colonized by both the British and the
    French and is as a result influenced somewhat by both cultures.
  • It gained political independence from Britain on October 27, 1979.
  • It has a population of over 120,000 people.
  • The nation is made up of the main island, St. Vincent and a chain of smaller islands and islets known as the Grenadines.
  • The Capital of St. Vincent is Kingstown or “the City of Arches” and is found on
    the southern coast of the main island.

The Capital

Kingstown resides on the sea like many Caribbean capitals, which were also founded around sea ports, and were the trade centres and main money-makers from days past.

Kingstown is different in that unlike many other Caribbean capitals which have developed into mini metropolises, it still maintains a hint of the Old World. The walkways are of the most charming cobblestone and here and there interlaced between the more modern buildings one can catch glimpses of gingerbread fretwork from the wooden houses that have been cleverly converted into business places.

You won’t find a Starbucks on every corner here (or any for that matter) or a Barnes and Noble down the block. Most of the businesses in Kingstown are unique to St. Vincent. The only familiar sign in Kingstown may be a KFC, which has become a staple of the Vincentian fast food industry.  So be prepared to say adios to McDonald’s and
hola to some proper Vincentian callaloo soup. Yum!

We’ll wrap it up here for now but, believe me, we haven’t even started on Kingstown yet…

‘Til next time!

~MD