Dispatch, Grenada: Meeting new friends

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Leaving icy roads and snow plows behind in favor of sandy walkways and plunge pools, Caribbean editor Gay Nagle Myers flew off to the Isle of Spice to take a first look at Sandals LaSource Grenada, which opened Dec. 21 following a 10-month redo of the former LaSource resort. Her second and final dispatch follows. Click to read Gay's first dispatch.

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada — I made some new friends in Grenada, which isn’t hard to do. The folks on the Isle of Spice, as Grenada is called, are very nice.

In an open-air market in St. George’s, the nutmeg lady let me browse her wares without any hard sales pitch. Instead she demonstrated with a miniature grater how to grind the hard brown shell.

Until Hurricane Ivan ravaged Grenada in 2004, the island had been the top producer in the world of the spice. Nutmeg trees take a long time to grow, but they’re growing again along the hillsides.

I met up with a group of young students near the market. School let out at 1 p.m. and they were chatting and laughing in the plaza.

They admired my iPhone.

“Do you have one?” I asked one of them.

“No,” they answered in a chorus. One explained that their parents wouldn’t allow them and “it’s too expensive. I just have an iPod."

Smart parents, I thought.

They told me they all would go to the community college in Grenada after high school.

I said I didn’t have much time in Grenada and asked for their suggestion for the top don’t-miss attraction.

Their answer was spontaneous and unanimous: “The mona monkeys!”

An hour later, near the entrance to Grand Etang National Park, I met one of the resident primates.

It was a very close encounter. My fruit-basket (plastic) earrings apparently tempted him, but a banana tossed by my guide proved more irresistible.

These monkeys live deep in the rain forest most of the time. Their ancestors hailed from West Africa, arriving by slave ships during the 18th century.

They apparently liked Grenada and stayed. I, too, like Grenada and would have liked to stay longer.

Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.

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