Saturday, September 29, 2012

The cultures we straddle - Cruising the Caribbean

I am in an overcrowded minibus, the windshield proudly displaying the glittered moniker ‘GOD GREAT’, sandwiched between a huge woman with tight round, putty like arms and a sea of children, like minnows, heading home from school. My sunglasses are swimming on my face, the perspiration escaping in fast running salty streams, slipping into my mouth, pooling in my cleavage, my elbows, my spine. I have no room to wipe or scratch and I am under extreme scrutiny besides.
My fellow passengers, most uniformed children, are wide eyed and twig limbed, clambering to get a view of the straw haired white lady, who is pink and sweating and disheveled, various shopping bags, piled on her lap.
They are on their regular route home, oblivious to the wild winding speed with which our driver cuts the corners of the hills and valleys. Wind, so welcome in the sweltering heat, whistles through the grimy windows (those that will open), while local reggae serenades us, the bass distorted and deafening.
I can see JW up in the front, squished between the driver and various passengers who climb on and off at impromptu stops along the road. His head bounces dangerously close to the roof as the bus flies over speed bumps and pot holes.
The ‘mate’ who takes our coins seems to know where each small child should get off, and he patiently opens the clunky sliding door for each one, as the rest reshuffle inside, he walks the tiny passengers across the road to their gates.
This is the unofficial public transport system of Grenada. Where children can take a bus across town, from what seems like 3 years old alone, and the community takes care. Ladies call out from the roadside to each other, discussing relatives, events, naughty children.
And random backpacked, flip-flopped, canvas hatted cruisers can get all the way across town to run errands and buy groceries, for the price of a Coke.
This is the cultural experience that comes before and after the cruiser get together at the South African run bakery, where burgers are cheap on Fridays and the liveaboards gather for a good deal and a good gab. 
10EC burger Fridays at The Merry Baker, St. Georges, Grenada
 This is the journey that takes us from the heart of the city back out to our various bays, where the floating neighborhood awaits.
Where yachtees organise cricket matches and dinghy concerts.
JW, injured at the Friday cricket match
 This is the life of a cruiser in the Caribbean; living on the outskirts, weaving an experience from the beauty of the islands, the comraderie of the like-minded wanderers, and the culture that makes these places tick.
Hangin' with some adorable school kids.

1 comment:

  1. I know it's not always a bed of roses but these pics are lovely.