Wow – I can’t believe it has been 3 weeks since our last post. Time flies when you are off adventuring
We got back to Nassau a couple days ago after vacationing with my family in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for 2 weeks. It was 2 weeks of wedding festivities, exploring volcanic islands, rum punch, queasy ferry rides, fresh produce shopping, and family love.
Andrew and my new sister Valdene got hitched on June 8, 2013 on Union Island (a small island in the Grenadine chain). Their wedding was an incredible mesh of old world Union Island tradition and modern elegance. The festivities started before we arrived with the baking of 28 cakes (that’s 420 eggs!) and the building of palm walls and hand woven arches. The day we arrived the tents were going up and tables and chairs were getting placed.
The morning of the big day we were scheduled to get together for the traditional Meet Up at 7a. That was the extent of our knowledge about the event. At 6:30a we were pulled out of our rooms and into a van that drove us up the street because we were late! Ahhh! What we walked into was a blur of color, drums, chanting and celebration. The bride and groom’s families start at opposite ends of the town from where the church is located and dance towards each other until they eventually meet up and merge the families together. We didn’t know the words to the songs, or what to expect around each corner, but what we did know was how joyful and electrically charged the atmosphere felt. So we danced with flowers and mouthed the words to the songs for about an hour until we reached Aunt Margret’s house where we gathered in a big circle and watched traditional flag and cake dances. Check out the video to get a feel for the celebration.
After we ate breakfast (yes, all that fun happened BEFORE breakfast!) the day was filled with more familiar wedding preparations. We met up at the chapel at 2p, went off to a beach for pictures and returned to Valdene’s parents’ place for the reception. Congrats you guys, we love you both!
We wrapped things up on Union Island and got on the fast ferry, Jaden Sun, to Bequia, a much larger island closer to St. Vincent in the Grenadine chain. We rented a villa for the week to accommodate everyone that traveled down for the wedding. Valdene’s folks, Weston and Anita, came along too. We shopped at the local markets for fresh fish and produce, played in the infinity pool and lounged on Princess Margaret Beach. I learned some great cooking tips from Anita that I can’t wait try out. We sure felt a long way from our home, Stella Blue. You know you have been away too long when a hot shower is just part of the morning routine, not a luxurious treat.
One thing that I loved about the country was taking the Dollar Bus, it was a total experience. There are no bus stops so you just have to figure out where people gather to wait. The wait is usually only a couple of minutes and then a van comes screeching to a halt in front of you and the sliding door flies open. They always seem to be full to the brim, but I never saw one pass up someone at a stop. Seats fold down, sweaty people smush together, the door slams shut and off you go. When you want to get off, “Stop!!!” The van screeches to a halt once again, you flip a $1 EC coin to the driver and hop out. It’s fast, it’s efficient, it’s cheap, and it’s super exciting.
Spending time down south got me really excited for the next legs of our trip. The Bahamas are definitely chill and picturesque, but the Grenadines were more what I had in mind before we set out – island hopping from one remote tropical green paradise to the next. It was the most isolated place on this planet that I have visited. It took us 3 days of travel each way to get there, including 2 airlines and cargo boat rides. Totally worth it for the experience – we told everyone that we would see them next year.
Get our butts in gear! All that lounging around was great, but we need to get serious about settling into a safe spot to ride out the rest of hurricane season. We are off at the beginning of next week to Georgetown, a town at the south end of the Exuma island chain. From there we will wait for weather to cross over the the Turks and Caicos and then make the final passage down to Luperón in the Dominican Republic. After being off the boat for so long, I hope we remember how to sail!