Sunday, 24 June 2012

Mr. Williams

Having spent a week in Bequia we were eager to move ahead. We still had a few weeks before we had to be in Trinidad for the hurricane season, but we wanted to make sure we got there with time to spare. Actually, the plan to go all the way to Trinidad solidified recently, when Gabriel was offered a short term contract with a company in Ontario. Until then we planned on spending the summer in Grenada and surrounding areas, hoping to pick up some work and make a little bit of money while still enjoying the cruising lifestyle. The opportunity back in Canada, however, was just too good to pass up. It will give us a chance to make a lot of money fast, which we will use to upgrade a few things on the boat and put more towards our cruising budget for next year. Trinidad is where we are going to leave the boat on the hard to be stored for the hurricane season and later do work on, once we return from Canada. The idea of leaving the boat for 4 months is an agonizing one. We have really come to love this way of life and suddenly we are reaching the end of the line, the end of our adventure. Perhaps that's a bit too dramatic, considering that we'll be back in the Caribbean in a few months, though I can't help but feel nostalgic. Reality was encroaching on our dream. We had to start thinking of arrangements for the boat, our travel and Pickle's travel. All in due time, we still had some island hopping to enjoy before the hiatus from our hiatus. We raised the sails and steered for Canouan in the chain of St. Vincent and the Grenadine Islands, where we made an overnight stop before moving on to Tobago Cays. Once anchored Gerrard, Gabe and I made our way to shore, to explore the small village that encircles Charlestown Bay. When we were tying up the dinghy a small man with blood shot eyes staggered toward us and offered his assistance. We asked him where a good place to eat local food might be, but he only guided us into a beachfront hotel. Perhaps hoping for gratuity from the hotel dining room staff for brining people in, or more likely because he took us for the fancy kind that would frown upon a cheap meal in an alley shack. He was wrong. A cheap meal in an alley shack is exactly what we were in the mood for and we let ourselves be led by the man, who introduced himself as Mr.Williams, through the poorly lit streets of Charlestown. We could barely understand his drunken garble as he fed us tidbits about the local food and his career as a fisherman. Fishing? Now there was a language Gabe could understand. They jabbered on as we walked. The town was alive with activity. Cool evening breeze brought people out onto porches and curbside. Small bars lining the main street were filling up with loud music and swaying bodies. Mr.Williams rushed ahead of us, waving to and greeting everyone in site. People waved back and shouted his name, but we got the feeling that Mr.Williams was know by everyone in town for all the wrong reasons. We followed just the same. He first took us into a noisy bar with a deli counter, from behind which his sister was serving up bowls of pork sause and boiled breadfruit. Neither the food nor the atmosphere were appealing enough to make us stay. We apologized to Mr.Williams and his sister and asked him if there was some place else we could eat. He said something inaudible and pointed up the road. We shrugged and followed his lead. The place he brought us to was Mangrove Cafe, an open beach restaurant with a small bar and a large BBQ. The young man tending to it was leaning over a rack of pork chunks, engulfed in fragrant smoke that rose high in the air. We set down, ordered a round of beers and invited Mr.Williams to sit with us. He didn't think twice about it. A DJ was playing reggae tunes from the corner of the restaurant, a few other tourists and many locals soon filled the place. We really enjoyed the atmosphere and commented on how we wouldn't have stumbled on the place if it wasn't for Mr.Williams. Our chance encounter deserved another round of beers. Besides we needed something to wash down the BBQ pork down with. We ate, we drank, we were merry and after bidding Mr.Williams goodnight we strolled back to our boats for a night of rest before departing for Tobago Cays in the morning.

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