It's the first time I've been back to the Caribbean in double-digit years; it's the first time for Len.
Today, we find ourselves gazing out into the Caribbean Sea, moving a mere 40 mph, but what seemed more like 110 mph. We're in the local bus, they call it. I call it a mini-van - an 8-person mini van converted to hold 14 people.
We jumped on mid-way through the St. George's downtown route. We got the only two remaining seats and those two seats were jump-seats. Len in the front, me in the back, we squeezed in with only the bump-bump-bump of the blaring rap music filling the spaces. When we came to a stop, if the woman in the back wanted to get off, everyone else had to get out of the van so that she could get out of the only side-sliding door. Then, we'd file back in, taking up the same seat as before. Children on parents laps, men carrying metal frames, women carrying plastic bags full of fruit from the market.
Once we reached the downtown area, roads narrowed to single lane spaces. Sharp hairpin turns were only made worse by the steep "San Francisco" like streets. It was Saturday morning - market day - and people were crowding into every empty space, and the 'buses' were dodging them as best they could. It was amazing the melodies created by a van's horn.
More fun facts: The bus's crew is two - the driver and the attendant (watcher, money collector, door closer, signaler). The bus does not leave the downtown terminal unless there are 14 people inside. You will not get off at the same place you get on. If you miss your stop (that would be us), they are kind to let you stay on until they circle back around and they don't charge you extra. They do drive on the left side of the road. Fare is $1.25 for the trip. Best deal on the island.
If you want to be part of the populous of the 110,000 of Grenada, take the local bus. Be a traveler, not a tourist; be immersed in the community. Experience a cheap thrill and feel oddly excited at the tingle of the ride as you fold up your jump seat and hop off for the short walk to the hotel.
Whether it is exploring this amazing world or being content on my own piece of real estate near Athens, Georgia, I'm spinning stories and fashioning tales from a Southern perspective. As an editor and writer, I get to meet incredible people and share their stories. As a photographer, I get to cement these moments in time. As a wife and mother, I'm always excited to see what's around the next corner, For it's anything but ordinary.