Wildlife wonders- Hummingbird
This week I saw my first hummingbird at the Retreat house. I had seen one a few weeks ago in a nearby garden but this time one flew into the courtyard just as I was coming into this open space. He quickly flew off before I had a chance to take a photo, hence my reliance on Google images!
There are 4 types of hummingbirds in Grenada and as he didn’t stay long, and I’m just beginning my bird watching skills, I wasn’t sure what type he was. One type of hummingbird here is the Antillean crested hummingbird with a crest on his head and there is the beautiful green-throated carib hummingbird. I don’t think he had a crest and he was more black than green so I don’t think he was either of these types. However, it is difficult to tell the colour of hummingbirds because their feathers reflect the sunlight and so they can appear black in the shade and then be a brilliant green in the sun. This iridescence effect is similar to seeing colours in a pool of oil or petrol. Then there is the rufous-breasted hermit hummingbird which has a longer and more curved beak, and last but not least there is the purple-throated carib hummingbird (in the photo above). This one is predominantly black with flashes of purple, red, green and blue and I suspect this is the type that came to visit. Hopefully in time I will get to know how to identify the various types of hummingbirds here. I hope too that they will become regular visitors to the place that bears their name.
Grenadian Gifts – Petite Anse
If you drive about 20 minutes from the retreat house, going North around the coast, you will reach Petite Anse Hotel. This secluded place offers a restaurant and cottages close to the beach. I visited this place with friends recently and we enjoyed the view of the islands and beach as well as the friendly service and good food. We went on Sunday when they offer a BBQ with a choice of fish, pork or chicken and a range of side dishes. During the week they provide a wide range of food including burgers, pizzas, salads, quiche, fish and seasonal food such as lobster and barracuda, as well as various other dishes. They’ve been open about fifteen years and the hotel is a popular wedding venue and honeymoon location.
Reflections from the Retreat
As I settle into life here, I’m keen to try different things and to get to know different people. So last Friday I found myself in the ‘Blue Bar’ on Bathway beach for a karaoke evening. In a similar way to numerous British pubs, karaoke is a weekly event here. It’s a popular evening for the ‘returning nationals’ in Bathway who have lived in the UK, USA, Canada and elsewhere before returning to their homeland of Grenada. Friday nights gives the local regulars a chance to sing and in particular, there is a Rasta guy who enjoys singing various Bob Marley classics to get the evening started. I’m not one for singing and certainly not in public so I surprised myself when I ended up singing ‘We are the champions’ by Queen, with one of my neighbours. I can’t blame my boldness on the rum because I was just drinking coke. Perhaps my encouragement came from the friendly welcome and the encouragement of the regulars that there were no expectations on the quality of singing or even being able to follow the words – just to have a go and to enjoy ourselves.
The next evening we went down to the local town to see the St Patrick celebrations. This is a significant date here because we live in the parish of St Patrick and so the area has football matches, school marches, concerts and church services to mark the saint’s day. We weren’t sure what was happening because most things are by word of mouth or via the radio but we thought we would see what the town was doing on Saturday evening. As we approached the central area, where the crowd was growing, we could see a large sound system and the stage ready for the evening’s entertainment. We then saw our reggae-loving friend from the Blue Bar singing karaoke and discovered that it was a karaoke competition complete with a line-up of judges. The evening was warm as usual and the clear sky was speckled with hundreds of stars as we sat and watched the entertainment. It was a bit surreal being in that setting and listening to various renditions of well-known songs from artists ranging from Glen Campbell, Elton John and Rihanna.
I knew that Grenada would surprise me at times but I hadn’t expected karaoke to be such a popular pastime. There are various bars across the island that have regular karaoke evenings and there is also the annual karaoke national competitions. However this is a nation which loves music and loves to have a good time and to laugh and so it makes total sense for karaoke to have found a home on this island, and perhaps Karaoke Friday nights may become part of my life here too!