“Hi John, it’s Candi. We’re coming to eat lunch on Saturday. How do we get to your place?”
“Turn right at the Laura Spice sign, make another right and then a left and go up.”
“OK, so after I take the right at Laura Spice, I take the next right ….”
“No, there’s a left first – call again on Saturday and I’ll give you better directions. Oh, and look for a bridge and a rum shop.”
Ah, yes, getting directions in Grenada is an adventure. Very few roads have any signage and each local person has very different definition of distance, what is considered a “turn”, or what constitutes a landmark, (not to mention what constitutes a road) but we are not worried. We no longer get lost, it’s just that sometimes it takes us longer than expected and we have to turn around a bunch of times … but we definitely are not lost.
I used to get stressed if we couldn’t find a place easily, now it happens less because we know the island so much better after coming for 25 years, but also I realize that getting there is part of the adventure and know to keep my eyes open along the way ~ for whatever.
John, a server at La Sagesse Restaurant, told us he has a side business cooking local foods in a shop at his home every Saturday and suggests that we stop by for lunch. So off we go, trying to find his house in the country. I know the sign for Laura Spice so we drive there, turn right and then I call John for the next steps. He says good, now turn right after Laura Spice and I realize, once again, how imprecise language can be. We’ve turned at the sign and now we come to another right turn to get to Laura Spice. John said turn right after Laura Spice – does this mean we should turn here, pass Laura Spice and then take another right OR does he mean we pass this right turn to Laura Spice and take the next right? You get the idea.
Of course we choose the wrong route. We turn right and head down a road that gets smaller and smaller. It’s not paved but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. I fondly remember a magazine ad years ago for Land Rover or Range Rover that had a full page photo that showed their vehicle wading through a mucky road and small stream with the caption “In some parts of the world, this is not considered off road driving”. I love this ad and had it hanging in my office for years. We get to Laura Spice and see a man walking. He doesn’t know John (a definite clue we are not in the right place, because in Grenada everybody knows everybody who lives close by) and he says there is only one more house on the road, so back we go to the “main” road and continue on our way.
“Hi John, It’s Candi. We’ve passed the second turn for Laura Spice, now what?”
“Make a left turn, go over a bridge and look for a rum shop.”
We don’t see any left turns that I can identify but come to a small bridge so I mentally check off that landmark and start to look for a rum shop. A couple of miles in, there it is. We stop and I jump out of the car. Before I say hello, the owner says …. “John called, you are doing fine, just head up and to the left”. In Grenada, up means UP. We are headed deeper into the mountainous interior. We come to a shop that is cooking local food.
“Is this John’s,” I ask?
“Nope, keep going up and he’s on the left. Can’t miss him.
Actually he’s right. We go a bit more and there’s John waving us into his driveway. He’s got a lovely spot, high on a hill, beautiful view (and breezes) for his house and a small rum shop and restaurant. A bunch of local guys are “liming” (relaxing) in the shop and having a drink. Music is blaring (as it is in all Rum shops) and the guys are singing along. Fun! As we sit down at one of the two tables and order lunch, Michael takes pictures of the men who are hanging out and having fun. The Grenadian people are handsome (or beautiful) and always have a sweet smile on their face.
“We” consists of Nadica (our very good Grenadian friend whom we’ve known since she was about 10 years old, now almost 29); her eight year old daughter, Mikiah (my Goddaughter); Michael and me. Nadica and Mikiah are coming to our house to spend the weekend and we’ve picked them up on our way to John’s so we can share lunch together.
Lunch today is curried Goat, Turkey and Possum. The Grenadian name for Possum is Manicou or Manicoo~ (I’m not really sure of the spelling). I love curried Goat and John’s recipe is delicious. The turkey is good, but I don’t particularly like the Manicou. I’m an adventurous eater so that’s not the problem, I just didn’t think it had a great taste, not bad though either – just not a favorite. (I’ve eaten Iguana here and that is very good.) John offers Michael a Carib, the great local beer, I’m having water, Nadica’s having Orange Juice and Mikiah is having an Arizona Watermelon drink. As with most Grenadian meals there’s fresh salad, pigeon peas with rice and wonderful local veggies on the plate. Garlic bread tops off the meal.
It’s fun seeing John’s place and having lunch here. I love the Grenadian entrepreneurial spirit. John has taken a nice piece of land with a beautiful view and in addition to building his house, he’s created this bar and small restaurant. It’s obviously a gathering place for locals and John is enticing the more adventurous tourists to take a walk on the wild side by driving deep into the country for a totally enjoyable, local food experience. I love Grenada – beautiful country, great food, wonderful people and always fun adventures that turn into unforgettable memories.
You can reach John at 473-406-6273 or Johng0067@gmail.com