Spice of India Restaurant, St Lucia

We stumbled upon Spice of India one lunchtime a couple of weekends ago, drawn inside by the notable TripAdvisor certificates displayed at the front of the restaurant. Spice of India is an authentic Indian restaurant situated in the heart of Rodney Bay. Yesterday we visited for the third time and met it’s owner, Adil Pervez Sherwani. Since opening it’s doors in 2010, Spice of India has become one of St Lucia’s most revered spots, winning TripAdvisor’s prestigious Travellers’ Choice Award in 2015 and rave reviews from visitors. “Never, ever let’s you down” praises one, “Wow wow wow” gushes another.

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Stepping inside this ethnic space, one is at once transported to the mystic paradise of Asia, all while relaxing in the modern comfort of a western-style eatery. The interior of the restaurant strikes an unusual contrast between contemporary warehouse chic and Indian boudoir glamour, without any air of gaudiness. Beautiful bangles in every colour adorn the bar area, rich fabrics in vivid pink and blue drape from the ceiling and the soft sound of Eastern meditation music helps diners to unwind.

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Shortly after sitting down, Mr Sherwani comes over to greet us, introducing himself and briefly explaining what there is to eat on the menu. As once stated by Maya Angelou, people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel. Mr Sherwani’s leads the restaurant with meticulous attention to detail and service. This has filtered down through his wonderful staff who go out of their way to help us feel comfortable and welcome. 

The restaurant’s most popular option is the Chef Tasting Menu. At just $53 East Caribbean Dollars the menu offers a set selection of dishes that include vegetarian, meat and fish options, Indian bread and dessert. As my husband had sampled the Chef Tasting Menu on his previous two visits, he decided to order Lamb Korma and Basmati rice from the A La Carte Menu. I ordered a simple starter of potato and vegetable samosas with poppadoms. Since becoming pregnant, food has lost much of it’s pizzazz. I generally eat through necessity rather than desire, and eating six to eight small meals (as opposed to three large ones) has helped to control my nausea and heartburn.

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Before the food arrived we were treated to five complimentary fresh juice shots; Mango, Tamarind, Guava, Passion Fruit and Orange, which were all delicious. My husband ordered a fresh mango lassi and I had fresh coconut water.

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The food arrived promptly and beautifully presented. My samosas were cooked to perfection; soft spicy potato and peas encased in a warm, sublime pastry that melted in the mouth, accompanied with stylish streaks of tangy chutney. The poppadoms were perfectly crisp and coated in the thinnest layer of oil that prevented them from being too dry. Sprinkled generously with seasoning, they were the perfect accompaniment to both our meals. I sampled my husband’s basmati rice, each grain supple, separate and fragrant. Another satisfying visit, the only minor complaint my husband had was that there wasn’t enough lamb in the korma!

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It is the combination of service, ambiance and culinary excellence that has established Spice of India as one of St Lucia’s most celebrated restaurants. Mr Sherwani has expanded on his success here to open a second restaurant, Masala Bay in Marigot Bay, about half an hour south of Castries City. His new venture has surpassed the success of Spice of India and is now rated the number one restaurant on the island. We’ll definitely be heading down to Marigot Bay to experience what all the fuss is about, we just need to drag ourselves away from the attachment we have to Spice of India first…

Information:

Location: Spice of India is situated at Baywalk Mall in Rodney Bay, Gros Islet, St Lucia.

Telephone:  1 (758) 458-4243

Opening times: Closed on Mondays. Open from 12pm-4pm for lunch and from 6pm onward for dinner from Tuesday to Sunday. Booking may be necessary during peak times. The restaurant is also available for private functions.

Food preferences/Allergies: The restaurant has a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian options. It also offers gluten-free dishes. The food is mild but can be made spicier upon request! Halal chicken and lamb are available subject to availability. Let your server know your food requests or any allergies before ordering.

Cost of Food: $53 East Caribbean Dollars per head ($19.57 US, £14.36) for the Chef Tasting Menu at lunch. About $114 East Caribbean Dollars per head for three courses ($42.09 US, £30.89).

Cost of Alcohol: Wine from $14 East Caribbean Dollars per glass ($5.17 US, £3.79), Champagne or sparkling wine from $99 East Caribbean Dollars per bottle ($36.55 US, £9.90).

Currency conversion can vary and reflects the rates at the time this article was published. 

 

 

 

 

 

Having a Baby in St Lucia

I’ve looked after children as part of my professional life for the past four years. Those four years brought about some of the biggest challenges I’d ever faced at work but I’m exceedingly grateful for that time. Armed with ideas for educational activities, the knowledge of developmental milestones and how to establish routines, I’ve a better grounding in early childhood development than most parents to be. However, I’ve no idea if this knowledge will translate to real life when I’m severely sleep deprived and suffering chapped nipples. What’s more, having a baby abroad is uncharted territory. Who will handle my antenatal care? How do I meet other mums in my community? How will I feel when my husband returns to work and I’m at home on my own with a screaming newborn? I’ve been told that parenting is one of life’s toughest gigs. I’d imagine that parenting in a foreign country doesn’t make things any easier.

I had my first antenatal appointment in St Lucia at approximately eleven weeks and two days into my pregnancy. We’d had a disappointing experience at SAMS hospital in Grenada and were desperately hoping that the medical care in St Lucia was on a different par. From what I understand, British women initially make an appointment with their GP who refers them to a midwife at a hospital or birthing centre and most give birth at the same establishment. In St Lucia, women tend to seek the services of a public health clinic which offers antenatal care led by midwives, or the services of a private obstetrician. Some opt for a combination of both, then refer themselves to the public health hospital once in labour. Others opt only to receive private care, either using just the private hospital or a combination of the hospital and private health clinics. Antenatal counselling such as breastfeeding advice and breathing techniques for labour are only available at public health clinics. Depending on your outlook, you could say that antenatal services in the UK are more streamlined, or that the care in St Lucia is more flexible.

We’ve chosen the services of Dr Nadia Samuel at the private Tapion hospital in Castries. She’s a St Lucian obstetrician and gynecologist who has worked in the UK for twelve years and has vast experience of dealing with obstetrical deliveries and emergencies.

After being weighed, Dr Samuel asked me a series of questions about my medical history. She took my blood pressure then asked me to lie down on the bed for my first ultrasound scan. For numerous reasons, I’d been unable to bridge many emotions to my pregnancy until that point. Being pregnant is a lot like partaking in your own wedding – it feels oddly surreal. I’d also spent a month concentrating all my efforts on the exhausting task of morning sickness boot camp. This had left me little time to ponder life’s changing course and if I’m being honest, had me feeling partially unresponsive.

As Dr Samuel slid the ultrasound Doppler across the jelly on my stomach, a beautiful image came into view on the screen. For the first time, we laid eyes on our unborn baby. My husband mentioned something about being surprised the baby was moving so much and I fell silent in a rare moment of speechlessness. What I felt in that moment was a surge of pure love that was both primal and all consuming in it’s nature. Any suffering from previous weeks was suddenly eclipsed in the miracle of maternal biology. Mummy and Daddy already love you more than you could ever imagine and we will do all we can to protect and guide you in the years to come. 

We left Dr Samuel’s office on cloud nine, heading downstairs to the laboratory in quiet contentment. She’d been professional, thorough and sensitive to our questions, and seeing our baby was the icing on the cake to our first successful appointment. I’ll have an ultrasound scan and appointment every month. These will get more frequent as I approach labour.

The laboratory took a blood test and urine sample. I was given a total of twelve tests which included:

  • Diabetes
  • A test to establish which blood group I belong to
  • A complete blood count
  • A few tests for sexually transmitted diseases, including Hepatitis B, HIV and Syphilis
  • A hemoglobin test which can identify serious illnesses such as sickle cell and leukemia
  • A test that establishes the likelihood of a series of serious illnesses, including a rare type of cancer called adult T-Cell lymphoma
  • Rubella
  • Thyroid
  • Urine infections

A week later Dr Samuel emailed me to state that all my tests were clear.

Before planning our family, Pawel and I sat down and discussed the sort of parents we’d like to be. We believe children should be shown the same love, respect and understanding as adults. We believe children need gentle boundaries, but that these should always be given from a point of love rather than fear or threat. We are strongly against the idea of corporal punishment. We’ll strive to put our child’s needs before our own but try to avoid the pitfall of becoming martyrs to them. We’ve agreed not to read a single book but to parent entirely on our gut instincts. The problem with books is they facilitate the idea that there is one way and only one way to parent. Children are actually fairly individual in terms of the communication, boundaries and affection they require and parents are just as unique as their offspring. Some parents work. Some parents stay at home. Some parents roll around with their children in the mud. Others prefer to cheer them on from the sidelines. All possess the universal goal of wanting what is best for their kids. None of us really have any idea of the type of parent we’ll be until that becomes a daily reality. One thing I know for sure is that life will never be the same again.

DSC_059313 weeks and 3 days. Our baby is approximately the size of a lemon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grenada on a Budget

Since starting my blog I’ve received a few questions from family and friends asking about how much it costs to take a holiday in Grenada, and if this is achievable on a budget. I’ve conducted some research and I’m pleased to report that with a little creativity it certainly appears to be achievable! Below are the details you need to enjoy a Grenada getaway that doesn’t cost the earth. For the purpose of simplicity, prices quoted here are based on costs during the high season (January to April), as this is when the majority of people choose to travel to the island. Travelling during the shoulder or low seasons may reduce the cost of your holiday significantly.

Flights

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic fly to Grenada from London Gatwick. If you book in advance you can find a flight for as little as £570 but expect to pay more than double this at short notice. The total length of the journey is about eleven and a half hours, including a short stop in St Lucia. My favourite website for booking flights is Skyscanner. The cheapest prices on this website are offered through third-party travel agents but sometimes there are benefits to paying slightly more and booking a flight directly through the airline’s website. I was relieved I’d booked through Virgin directly when I had to change a flight to London recently. Having full access to their customer service team ensured I was able to amend my details smoothly.

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Accommodation

The Grenadian tourist industry is generally geared towards the luxury all-inclusive market. Despite this you can find a wide range of self-catering options and home stays. Airbnb features self-contained apartments for as little as £30 a night. If you’re the type of traveller who loves venturing from their comfort zone, nearly all parts of the island are fairly safe, but staying outside of the main tourist areas will require renting your own transport. If you prefer to stay on the beaten track, opt to stay in St George’s parish. Lance Aux Epines, Grand Anse, True Blue and Point Saline offer close proximity to the beach. The capital of St George is worth exploring for the day, but considerably more hectic than other parts of the island and probably isn’t somewhere you’d want to stay.

Activities

Apart from visiting the beach, there aren’t many free activities to do on the island. Grenada has some lovely reefs which can be explored with a snorkel. I can’t remember seeing snorkels for sale so bring one with you. The capital of St George is a pleasant city to explore by foot. The most economical way to see the island is usually with a day tour. This way you’ll get to visit several landmarks such as the Nutmeg museum, Concord Falls and the Etang Lake for a set fee.

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Getting Around

Buses are the most simple way to get around the island if you’re on limited funds, but be warned, Grenadian buses ought to come with a health warning. Pulling out into oncoming traffic without indicating, and using full beam headlights on busy roads, avoiding the buses has become something of an in joke among Grenadian road users. If this doesn’t put you off, you can find a bus almost anywhere in the parish of St George, but they’re difficult for newcomers to spot. They tend to be Toyota minibuses with a conductor hanging out one window, but are privately owned and lack any identifiable markings. There are bus stops but it isn’t necessary to wait at one. Walk along the street for half a minute and a bus driver is likely to pull over asking where you’re going and if you want a ride. Otherwise you can simply flag one down on the street. There are no strict routes or fares, most drivers will drop you where you like, as long as the location is convenient and on a main road. If you’re female you may receive some advances from the men on board! These are usually harmless and non threatening, if a little awkward. Make sure you negotiate the fare before getting in the vehicle. A one way journey should only cost a few pounds.

Food

Trying to keep this cost from spiraling out of control may be the most challenging obstacle you’ll face as a budget traveller. The majority of the island’s food is imported and restaurants targeted towards westerners are priced similarly to that of the UK. The simplest way to keep costs down is to eat local. You can buy local produce such as plantain, yam, breadfruit and watermelon from the supermarkets, or street stalls in St George. Restaurants and cafes frequented by locals are also cheap.

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Other Considerations:

Currency

Grenada uses the East Caribbean Dollar. US dollars are widely accepted but it is better to pay in the local currency. Prices are usually quoted in the local currency and in this way you avoid being fiddled by the exchange rate.

Solo Travellers/Female Travellers

Grenada is perfectly safe for solo travellers, including women on their own, but it goes without saying that one must exercise some common sense when travelling without the security of a companion or group. You may be able to meet other travellers by organising a group tour through a reputable operator, but these opportunities aren’t guaranteed, so you’ll need to enjoy your own company if you choose to travel solo here.

If you’re female you’ll also need a high tolerance threshold for catcalls and advances from the locals. Grenadians have no qualms about asking for your number, or if they can join your sunbathing session at the beach. None of this is usually aggressive and a firm ‘no thank you’ is usually enough to send them on the way to their next conquest.

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Health

Book an appointment with a doctor or travel clinic at least six to eight weeks before you travel. They’ll ensure all your vaccinations and boosters are up to date as is recommended for life in Britain. You may also be offered the Hepatitis B vaccine.

Mosquitoes are likely to present the biggest health nuisance to travellers. There are sporadic outbreaks of the Dengue and Chikunguna viruses, and the island is in the midst of a Zika outbreak, which poses a threat to pregnant women. None of these illnesses are likely to present serious problems in otherwise healthy people but could ruin a few days of your holiday if you’re unlucky. If you have any health conditions you should consult your doctor before visiting any country where mosquito borne illnesses are present. DEET is the most effective weapon against tropical mosquitos. Sleep under air conditioning or nets during the night, and try to stay in a property that has mosquito screens over the windows.

Tap water is generally safe to drink and instances of food poisoning are uncommon.

When to go

The island has a tropical climate with temperatures that rarely fluctuate. Year-round, daytime temperatures hoover about the 30C mark. In the night this drops to about 27C. Staying high in the hills or on an elevation facing the sea provides some respite from the heat. Air con or fans are essential for a comfortable night’s sleep.

The best time to visit Grenada is from January to April. This is the dry season and there are cool trade winds that placate the humidity. Another good time to go is August, which is when Grenada has it’s annual carnival. Avoid the hurricane season which runs from September to October.

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Visas

Brits can travel visa-free for up to three months.

If anyone has any suggestions for how I may improve this post please feel free to contact me, I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Caribbean Baby!

By the time we’d arrived in Grenada in February, my husband’s broodiness had reached feverish levels. I had my usual ambivalence towards the issue; I’d always wanted a family, but was selfishly reluctant to give up the freedom one become’s accustomed to after living child-free beyond the age of thirty. I was also plagued with the common anxiety of wondering what a good parent was, and if I was even capable of being one.

Moving abroad forced me to examine the unforeseen direction my life had suddenly taken. Now prohibited from conventional employment due to visa restrictions, I explored different ideas, from starting my own business to embarking on another stint of travelling. Neither idea came to fruition for the simple reason that most ideas fail to come to fruition: I lacked the passion to pursue either. Starting a business felt too big a leap for a novice expat who’d just arrived in their adopted land, and whilst I loved travelling, the one and only time I travelled sans husband, I missed him terribly.

After a couple of months in Grenada I finally found myself on the same page as my husband. I’ve been practicing Buddhist meditation since last summer and have begun to use it as a tool for tuning in to my intuition. By honing intuition, one is supposedly able to follow their heart’s desires, as opposed to the conflicting desires of the mind, and in turn lead a life which is more authentic to their true self rather than what society and other influences expect of them. So what does any of this spiritual mumbo jumbo have to do with starting a family I hear you cry? Whilst I’ve reluctantly come to accept that there is never a perfect time to procreate, a messy home filled with happy children is an ambition I’d wholeheartedly love to fulfill at this time in my life. In my gut, the decision to grow our family feels right.

I took a pregnancy test a few days before my period was due on the 17th of May 2016. I knew I was pregnant as I waited for the results whilst simultaneously trying not to vomit! Nonetheless, a haze of surreal excitement and disbelief hit me as I watched two positive lines slowly appear in the test window. What followed has been a roller coaster few months. We’ve felt jubilation as we watched our baby dance in my womb at our first ultrasound scan, and apprehension as the Zika epidemic predictably took hold of the Caribbean at the start of the rainy season. We realised we’d seriously underestimated the emotional upheaval of having a baby abroad as we navigated foreign health systems, but felt relieved I was unemployed as I battled debilitating morning sickness that had me bed bound for a month.

I will try my very best not to morph into that social media nuisance who posts incessantly about pregnancy and babies, as I’m aware that many people have zero interest in either topic. However, our journey into parenthood is now a significant story in our expat life here. I hope you won’t think me self-indulgent for including a few posts on the topic and I hope that these are both interesting and informative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Top Picks for Grenada

Grenada is a small island which is relatively easy to explore in a short period of time. A fortnight or even a ten day stay is probably enough to get a feel for what the island has to offer. Most accommodation providers offer tour packages or can refer you to a reputable company. Renting a car is another convenient option but can be expensive at about 1800 East Caribbean Dollars for a fortnight. Grenada drives on the left, and be sure to hire an off road vehicle if you plan on venturing outside of any of the major tourist spots or towns, as the island’s roads are inadequately maintained. Driving on the island is relatively straightforward for those with some experience but road safety is poor compared to Western countries. Grenadian buses are truly a law unto themselves, and don’t be surprised to see the locals speeding and overtaking on blind spots.

If you’re arriving by cruise ship in St George, exercise some caution when choosing a tour operator upon arrival at the port. You’re likely to be offered numerous options, from day tours to adventure activities. Some of these may be licensed companies, others are simply local individuals trying to make a quick buck. Either way, virtually all tours are run by natives so you’re guaranteed an authentic experience. Grenada’s crime rate is low but has been increasing of late, due to high levels of unemployment. There is safety in numbers so try to organise a sizeable group before embarking on any tour. Never dive, snorkel or engage in any other high-risk activity with an unlicensed operator.

Here are my top picks for things to do in Grenada:

Snorkel at Groom’s Beach

IMG_6992Groom’s Beach has an attractive reef

Dr Groom’s is a lovely secluded beach on the south of the island, close to the airport. I almost abandoned my first experience of snorkeling here, prematurely concluding it was an uninspiring spot. I decided to swim out a second time and found a lovely reef awash with gorgeous tropical fish. You’ll need to swim out past the safety line floats to experience the best snorkeling this beach has to offer, but do not attempt this without a guide unless you are a strong swimmer. Whilst most beach lovers will know this; I thought it important to mention that it is inadvisable to swim at any beach if there is a red flag up. This indicates high surf, dangerous currents, or both, which can sweep even Olympic-level swimmers out to sea. Most beaches aren’t manned by lifeguards and sadly there are far too many incidences of both locals and tourists drowning in the Caribbean each year.

Visit Levera Beach in the Undeveloped North

DSC_0875Sugarloaf Mountain from Levera Beach

Nature lovers will adore Levera Beach, a rugged undeveloped spot in the north of the island where the Caribbean and Atlantic Sea meet. Whilst I’ve heard this beach is suitable for swimming, the red flag was up when we visited, and the ocean here doesn’t appear suitable for novice swimmers due to rough waves and currents.

If you’re visiting the island from April to July, you may be lucky enough to witness Leatherback turtles laying their eggs at night. To counteract the threat of poaching, the beach is a prohibited area during this time, but it is possible to book a tour. Tour operators can be found online or booked through your accommodation provider. In order to preserve the safety and well being of these animals, please ensure you choose a reputable operator for this activity.

Visit the The Palm Tree Gardens in St David

IMG_6800The Palm Tree Gardens is a scenic place to spend the afternoon

The Palm Tree Gardens in St David offers a peaceful place to relax in the hills. Owned and run by Lawrence, a Grenadian who set up the gardens to fund his retirement, our group of four were given a detailed tour for 10 Eastern Caribbean Dollars each. We were given an opportunity to smell and touch the specimens, which included numerous varieties of palm, bay leave and garlic.

Explore St George by Foot

10660110_10156748197085422_3222813444978688689_nThe views of St George from Fort George

Whilst I can’t attest to this myself, as I’ve not visited enough of the region, Grenada’s capital of St George is reputedly one of the prettiest capitals in the Caribbean. Be sure to visit Fort George which offers spectacular views of the city and ocean.

Walk along St George’s narrow and winding streets and you’ll come across an eclectic mix of offerings, from a small art gallery, to a Grenadian chocolate factory, and fresh fruit and vegetable stalls.

Spend a day at Grand Anse Beach

DSC_0013Grand Anse Beach at Dusk

No Grenada itinerary is complete without a trip to the island’s two mile stretch of heavenly white sand and crystal clear waters otherwise known as Grand Anse Beach. The sheer size of this beach facilities a wide range of activities and dining catering to all tastes and budgets. Head to the far left or right corners of the beach and you’ll find tranquil and deserted stretches of sand. The middle section of the beach is more lively, with resorts and a range of water sports. Across the beach there are a wide range of restaurants to choose from, from laid back Umbrellas Cafe to the six star Spice Island resort. Grand Anse is also a fantastic place to watch the sun set.

Visit the Nutmeg Museum in Gouyave

DSC_0530The Nutmeg Museum in Gouyave where workers process everything by hand

A visit to the Nutmeg Museum in Gouyave is much like a visit to the island itself: Walk through the doors here and you’ll feel as though time stood still. This isn’t actually a museum, but a working Nutmeg factory where everything from the crop to the packaging is processed tirelessly by hand. Grenada earned it’s nickname as the Spice Isle for being the second largest nutmeg importer in the world behind Indonesia. The factory is small, meaning tours are short and last approximately five to ten minutes, but you’ll have the opportunity to take pictures, speak to the locals and off course purchase some nutmeg! Our tour was organised by the partner of one of my husband’s colleagues so I am unsure as to the entry fee. Whatever the cost, it is likely to be small and contributes to the local economy. Afterwards head across the street to Kelly’s Hotspot for some traditional West Indian fare.

 

 

 

 

Goodbye Grenada, Hello St Lucia…

Apologies, I’ve been utterly useless at updating this blog. I don’t have many excuses for the hiatus, except that I haven’t been feeling very well recently, and a bout of homesickness debilitated much of my creative energy.

We landed in St Lucia on Saturday 25th of June, after what can only be described as four uneventful but emotionally tumultuous months on the island of Grenada. It’s important that bloggers report on their experiences with integrity, so it must be said that I met many a Grenada fanatic whilst staying on the island. It just wasn’t for us.

DSC_0878Grenada’s beauty is unquestionable but we found it a hard place to live

Grenada’s provincial charm has long drawn honeymooners and retirees from the United States and Europe, seeking a peaceful getaway which has shunned the over-development that has blighted other islands in the region. However, this provided a challenging environment for a pair of former Londoners, who, overindulged by the conveniences and efficiency of the UK’s First World infrastructure found it hard to adjust. Every process, from visiting the hospital, to extending visas, to finding a house to live, presented a bewildering and unexpected set of challenges. In the end we didn’t have the patience or the flexibility which was required. The irony is that we moved to the Caribbean in hope of a simple life. The reality is that we stayed in a resort overrun by cockroaches, ordered taxis which failed to turn up and unknowingly moved into a house which resembled a construction site, duped by a landlord which failed to make us aware of the work which needed doing to it. Developing Indonesia, a riotous mix of culture and corruption that we visited on honeymoon, looked as organised as Singapore by comparison.

“I want to go home,” I flatly explained to my husband, about three months into our relocation abroad. “You don’t like the UK,” he explained, “You’ve always wanted to live abroad. Perhaps Grenada isn’t the right country for you but going back to England isn’t the answer.” I wasn’t listening. A spiritual person by nature, I was utterly convinced I’d been sent to Grenada by way of karma for not realising how lucky I was for living in London.

DSC_1080Grenada’s secluded appeal offers the ideal opportunity for a quiet break

My bout of homesickness coincided with the desire of my husband’s employer to send us to St Lucia. My husband had regularly visited the island for work in the last few months but before arriving I’d never been here. We were originally supposed to move to St Lucia but ended up staying in Grenada due to a last minute development. “They’ve asked if we want to move to St Lucia. We can go there or the other manager can go there. I’d like us to go. I love it there. I think you’d prefer it. It’s easier, more developed, less hard work,” my husband enthused. I agreed without any thought or deliberation. Moving offered a small beacon of hope to my current emotional downturn, but essentially my husband’s happiness is imperative. Whilst I have the rather privileged option of crying over Netflix on weekdays, he’s got all the shackles of a major career and had made his preference clear.

We boarded a British Airways flight in Grenada which was bound for London, and exited on it’s short stop off in St Lucia. As soon as we’d entered the taxi to our home the clouds metaphorically lifted. We arrived in Rodney Bay late in the evening, but as my husband had assured me, St Lucia looked and felt very different. Rodney Bay presented a small village of cosmopolitan shops and restaurants which could easily be explored by foot. In Grenada, one must drive, or risk being hounded by incessant bus drivers for business at every given opportunity. Of course I’m careful to rave about St Lucia too soon. We need to seriously explore and find out what this island really has to offer before drawing too many conclusions. I’ll be reporting my findings in the coming weeks, and please bare with me as I deal with the backlog of posts I’ve got on Grenada…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Options for Vegetarians in Grenada

I’m unlikely to cause offence when I say that most West Indians aren’t exactly known for their propensities towards Vegetarianism. My mother and grandmother are of Jamaican descent, so I’m able to make this statement with reasonable confidence. One only has to observe the pay day queue at KFC in Grand Anse to note the West Indian obsession with chicken. So as a recent veggie convert, it came as a pleasant surprise to learn that vegetarian options are in abundant supply in Grenada. However, leading a vegetarian lifestyle on the island does take some careful planning, as it would in most countries.

13062260_10156870894410422_450024393996717059_nThe Veggie Burger and fries, Sails, St George’s

For the most part, modern-day Vegetarians are a fairly health-conscious lot. The nineties stereotype of the Vegetarian probably brings to mind visions of a pasty individual who cooked vegetables in tomato sauce and declared it dinner. The Vegetarian in 2016 is likely to know their Omega 3 from their Amino Acids. They’re likely to seek creative ways of making vegetarian versions of traditional meat and fish dishes, such as lasagne, burritos and curry. They’ve probably researched how to achieve a healthy balance of protein, good fats and carbohydrates without compromising on vitamins and minerals. Bearing this in mind, I’ve compiled the information below as a resource for vegetarians living in Grenada or considering a holiday here…

Restaurants

Depending on the country, eating out is either a wondrous joy or frustrating disappointment for the Vegetarian. In Thailand I was lucky to find a single vegetarian option on the menu, whilst in Nepal I was spoilt for choice.

DSC_0353The Vegetarian Curry (bottom), BB’s Crabback, St George’s

By-and-large, I’ve been able to find vegetarian options in almost every restaurant in Grenada. My favourite restaurant for veggie food is The Beach Club at The Calabash resort in Lance Aux Epines. I order the vegetable and mozzarella focaccia and the banana crumble and ice cream for dessert when I’m dining there. Sails restaurant in St George offers a delicious veggie burger with fries. Round the corner at BB’s Crabback, the vegetarian curry is nothing short of divine. The menu at Dodgy Dock in True Blue features a creamy bean and cheese burrito served with salsa and sour cream and a three milk cheesecake for dessert – the ultimate in vegetarian comfort food. Head off the beaten track to the Deck Restaurant at Le Phare Bleu Resort in Petite Calvingy Bay and enjoy an elegant tofu salad and sublime views of the coast. Mount Cinnamon Resort on Grand Anse beach offers a moreish vegetarian wrap and the yummiest garlic bread I’ve ever tasted. If you’re on a tight budget, Kelly’s Hotspot in Gouavye offers a truly traditional West Indian dish of callaloo, breadfruit, plantain and mixed salad, and The Greek Kitchen just off St George’s University campus serves a delicious wrap of hummus, chickpeas and vegetables. Of course all of these places also offer a wide range of seafood and meat dishes too, ensuring that all appetites are satisfied.

DSC_0598The Three Milk Cheesecake, Dodgy Dock, True Blue

DSC_0236Traditional West Indian Cuisine minus the meat, Kelly’s Hotspot, Gouyave

Food Shopping

Food shopping is an altogether more exasperating experience which requires flexibility, patience and careful planning. Owing to importation and a lack of competition, food shopping in Grenada is very expensive. To give you some idea of the cost, eating out at mid-range restaurants (the cost of restaurants is similar to western prices) every night would amount to roughly the same price as a weekly shop. Sadly, eating at restaurants is an immensely calorific affair and we’re not guaranteed the same balance of nutrition as knowing what goes into our food by cooking it ourselves. Buying local food is your best bet if you want to keep your supermarket bill under control. Now’s the time to take full advantage of exotic fruit at a fraction of what it would probably cost at home. Buying native produce also helps to support the local economy and you’ll find fruit and vegetable stalls dotted at various places around the island. Consider choosing papayas, watermelon and mangoes instead of raspberries, apples or grapes. Callaloo offers a wonderful alternative to broccoli with four times the amount of calcium and twice the amount of iron, and Yam and Breadfruit are rich in vitamin c, fibre and potassium. Local fruit and veg are usually marked in the supermarket with a label that simply states it is local. In some supermarkets local produce can be identified as occupying a section of its own.

As most foods are imported, there’s a good chance if you take a complex recipe to the supermarket, that half the ingredients will be unavailable or sold out. You’ll need to exercise a great deal of flexibility in this respect. If the supermarket runs out of tofu, substitute it with Indonesian Tempeh. If there aren’t any green peppers, use red. Truth is, unless your recipe is incredibly simple, chances are you won’t be able to follow it to a tee in Grenada.

DSC_0242Grenada’s tropical climate is ideal for growing certain fruit and veg

An unconventional option would be to grow your own fruit and vegetables if you have the space. The house we’ve chosen to move into this weekend has coconut palms and cherry, papaya and mango trees growing in the garden. If you don’t mind the prospect of greeting a few iguanas as you do your gardening, Grenada’s rich soil and sunny climate offer very feasible conditions for growing your own organic supplies.

In contrast to Western countries, food shopping as a veggie in Grenada is more expensive than following a diet that includes meat and fish. Once you consider that vegetarian food generally features a wider selection of ingredients as way of compensating for the lack of meat and fish, this is hardly surprising. I suspect that if you have chosen to be vegetarian, your personal choices for following this lifestyle are likely to outweigh the disadvantages of any additional costs. This is a good thing, as Grenada is welcoming you with open arms…