Can you believe it is almost three weeks since I left Miami. Obviously there is lots to do on board – trivia, art classes, lectures, entertainment, not to forget eat & drink, plus they have special get togethers for the Around The Worlders.
After Bonaire we had a sea day, then we had a daily stop in Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Lucia and Barbados. Barbados was the end of the first segment of the Around The World itinerary. Many people got off there, and a bunch of new passengers got on for the next segment from Barbados to Cape Town.
I have spent time on many of these Caribbean Islands over the decades, and I was surprised to see how neglected they seem to be from when I was there years ago. My guess is it might be those “all inclusive” resorts where you never leave the compound? They make a lot of money and maybe the rest of the island suffers? Perhaps the new ports to accommodate the cruise ship industry may be their salvation. But we are only there for several hours or a day. For me, it was really sad to see the islands had declined rather than prospered.
For example, coming into Grenada you think what a beautiful port. It looks like the French Riviera with houses up the hillside overlooking a harbour with lots of beautiful yachts. But once ashore it was dirty and run down. The roads and sidewalks are in disrepair and the shops and markets leave a lot to be desired. It was the same to varying degrees on all of the islands. But, most important, the people were delightful and friendly and welcoming.
A selfie moment in Ben’s fruit stall.
I was really looking forward to St. Vincent and my visit to a little island nine miles away called Bequia. We got over there on a catamaran across the Bequia Channel. I spent time there back in the 70s at a little hotel on Friendship Bay called the Friendship Inn, run by a 90 year old gnarly ex marine. He had just married a much younger woman from Canada and she decided she didn’t like living there. He wanted to sell the hotel. I wanted to buy it. Of course we didn’t, and the old lady at the local store told me the property sold for many many millions recently and is going to be developed with condos. Oh well. Easy come easy go and it was nice to see the island again.