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!

Rumscapade in SVG

Rum spends a lot of time following me around. There is this particular glass of white rum that was stalking me! I tried so hard to get away one particular weekend.
It started in Wallilabou, right above the site where ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ was filmed. I went with some cronies to the Wallilabou Falls. This is a small waterfall surrounded by heavy, dark coloured rocks, and set amongst lush gardens. If you are a lover of nature, this place will certainly soothe your soul. Anyway, I digress. I rolled in with some friends, and as soon as we arrived, there were some people we recognized instantly. They invited us to sit with them. There is a bar and a seating area at the falls, and there is seating strategically placed all over the falls/park area. We drank white rum and coke, and spent a pleasant time there discussing various things in this lush setting. It began to get dark and we needed to leave, and that is when I made my fatal mistake. I refused the glass of white rum. What an unforgivable faux pas! Thereafter, the rum stalked me.
I went to ‘The Grill’ in Villa the next night to eat the best jerk pork and festival in SVG, and to my horror, the glass of white rum and coke appeared! The waitress claimed that is was with the complements of the group at the bar, but I knew who it was! It was the drink I had refused the day before, half way across the island in Wallilabou!
All I was trying to do was make it back home sober, not staggering around. That’s all! I made my excuses to my party and took off! I was headed to Byera for some fried chicken up on the windward side of the island. Since I had been denied jerk, I would have fried! I got in my little gun-metal-grey car, and I drove and drove-as if the hounds of hell were chasing me. When I arrived in Byera, I threw my vehicle in park, yanked up the hand brake and shot into the little bar.

Now, this run-emporium, while it may not be the most elegant establishment in SVG, has its own charm and its own unique ambience. It is always welcoming, always comforting and the food is always fresh and tasty. I was welcomed as the regular I was. My back was clapped repeatedly, I was offered food immediately; I was home! I sat on a tall stool and sipped a ‘Hairoun Mauby’ soda, and relaxed. There was no way the rum would find me here! Finally, I had outrun it.
I began to get complacent when the young people came to dance. They danced to calypso and soca; it reminded me of Carnival. No sooner had I slipped into this fantastic fantasy induced by companionship and song, than the rum appeared. It was on the house! The owner had provided a round. My fried chicken had the audacity to arrive at the same time. My eyes shifted between them both.
I went outside. I needed to breathe. Why?!Why was this glass of white rum following me like this? It was unforgivable!
I had had enough! I ran back inside and promptly downed the glass. So be it! I embraced the warm wonderful sensation, burning down my throat. I watched the dancers and got back home feeling happy at 3am. But, I was content, for what is a moonlit night in the Caribbean without a glass of rum?