We arrived back in Grenada just in time for the big island party — Carnival! Our plane into the country was packed with a mixture of medical students arriving for their first year of medical school at St. George’s University and a few revelers and native Grenadians returning to the island to celebrate. Of course, Carnival has its roots in Christian culture. Historically, the days leading up to Lent were a time for partying and celebration, which ended on Fat Tuesday. In many Caribbean countries this link has long been demolished. For example, in Grenada, Carnival is nowhere to be found in the days leading up to Lent, but is now celebrated in August because another Summer holiday was needed. The Grenadian woman sitting next to Cindy on the plane strongly objected to the possibility that Carnival has anything to do with Christianity. It obviously has no connection for most modern Grenadians. Nevertheless, they party like Lent is coming!
On Sunday night, the partying began in the wee hours of the morning. J’ouvert began in the streets around 2 a.m., We began to hear the music on our boat around 3 a.m., and the noise peaked in intensity around 5 o’clock or so. J’ouvert is a rather raucous beginning to the end of Carnival. The revelers, called Jab Jabs, cover themselves in motor oil and paint as they parade toward town in one large street party. Other than hearing the loud music and partiers while we tried to sleep, we sat out this parade.
On Monday afternoon, most of the festivities took place at the National Cricket Stadium on the other side of town, but there was a small pre-parade near the marina that we attended. After dark, the “Midnight Mas” began. This is a celebration of lights as the revelers dancing in the streets are decked out in colorful lights. We caught about a half an hour of this evening parade before retiring to Beatitude around 10 p.m.
Tuesday was the day of the concluding parade in which group after group of scantily clad merrymakers dance to the music emanating from large trucks filled with huge speakers. All shapes, sizes and ages participated. Some were pre-school age and some had to be pushing eighty. No one seemed to care if they were thin and fit or significantly overweight: All danced with abandon.
Along with the revelry and fun, we enjoyed some down time recuperating from our recent trip to the states and the long flight back. We tried to do some last minute chores on board Beatitude in anticipation of our upcoming journey. There has been nothing open on the island since we arrived because of Carnival, which is a national holiday. So, this morning, bright and early, we’ll walk over to the grocery store to buy some provisions since our refrigerator and freezer were bare when we returned. We need to stock up for the next three weeks when we journey from Grenada to Bonaire, from Bonaire to Curacao, and from Curacao to Aruba. The first leg of our trip will cover around 400 miles and will likely take 3 1/2 to 4 days to complete. I’m really looking forward to several days of downwind sailing on the beautiful waters of the Caribbean Sea. Our passage just happens to coincide with the annual Perseid meteor shower, so we hope to see scores of shooting stars, given that we will be miles and miles from civilization out on the deep blue sea.