Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso

Destined for greatness!

12 Things to do in Grenada December 31, 2018

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Source of map: Lucia Eggenhoffer Photography

 

Well, to be fair, the list is about what to do more on the south and around St George, Grenada’s capital. This small Caribbean country of just over 100 000 people is a gem. This spice island located to the South East of the Caribbean Sea was home for 6 days and I loved it. The runway is a few metres from the sea to a point where it felt like the A321 undercarriage was going to touch the water before hitting the runway. I flew in from Johannesburg so it took about 20 hours flying time to get there. A 15-hour flight on SA Airways to New York and then another 5 hours on JetBlue Airways to Maurice Bishop International Airport, Grenada. I visited Gorata (Dr Afagbegee to be) aka Nana who was studying medicine at the St George’s University where I spent 6 beautiful days – what a host! Thanks Nana – I miss that smile.

1. Eat a roti with a Ting

Of course the first thing on the agenda had to involve food J. I know the picture looks scary but the taste was incredible. I had a fish roti and Nana had a chicken one. The roti is available at a couple of places around Grenada but the one from Sugar Shack is amaze balls y’all. Ting was my drink of choice in Grenada. Yes me, a fizzy drink. It almost tastes like Schweppes and Fresca for the South African Community’s appreciation.

 

2. Lounge on Grand Anse beach

This is undoubtedly the best beach in Grenada. Others believe ??? is the better beach but I personally loved Grand Anse. It is also the most popular given its white and long sandy beach with clear waters. There are lovely eateries right on the sea shore in case you don’t feel like bringing any snacks. You absolutely have to try out a place called Umbrella’s. Their Buffalo Wings are to die for! Ok, food – again. J.  The beach has a sudden deep slope into the sea which makes playing on the shore not so cute.

 

3. Snorkel and see underwater sculptures

As a first timer, full review of my experience here, the Dive Grenada was excellent in both getting us ready for the trip and once there, sharing the history of the sculptures with us. The excursion costs around $50 per person. Well worth a visit. You cannot come to Grenada and leave this out of your itinerary.

 

4. Visit the Concorde waterfall

The drive to the waterfall, whoa! Not for the fain hearted. The roads are narrow, steep and that’s not all. There are no road guardrails! I looked outside into the no bottom amazon looking gorge below and decided that was no longer a good idea so for the remainder of the trip I looked in front of me. Pretty scary ride in some parts but lovely time at the Waterfall. There are some local crafts on sale too.

 

5. Take glorious sunset pics at Morne Rouge Beach

Also known as BBC Beach, Nana and I had the most fun playing on this beach. It is shallow until very far into the sea so very child friendly waters or for some of us who aren’t very confident simmers. It is not a very pretty beach by Caribbean standards, since the water is not as clear and crystal blue as Grand Anse but the beachside café, magical sunsets and shallow waters make it a lovely little chill spot. Also, because it is not so popular it doesn’t get very crowded.

 

 

6. Make chocolate, eat chocolate

My life’s greatest weaknesses: Coffee, Chocolate, Cake and slap chips/fries – in any particular order. If only my diet consisted of those 4 items I would be happy. But what with bikini body quests! ***Big sigh!*** A visit to this cute little place was sweet. You see the process of how chocolate is made and get the chance to taste and buy the chocolate. The building has a small coffee shop and beautiful ruins which are a photographers’ paradise. I loved the ginger infused chocolate the most.

 

7. Stop at Charlie’s roadside bar

The owner of this bar is such a creatively humble soul. You have to stop by to explore his artistry and have a drink while at it. Why not?

 

8. Nutmeg factory

Nutmeg is known as Grenada Gold with the country supplying about 40% of the world’s annual crop. We swung by the factory to see how the nutmeg is grown and processed for various uses.

 

9. Have a coconut 

I had it twice just to be sure but I didn’t like it much. I’m now told I should have tried it chilled, but oh well, next time. I didn’t like the coconut water as much but I liked  the coconut fruit. These are easily found on the streets for under a dollar so something definitely worth a try.

 

10. Visit St George’s University

I honestly have no idea how students study in this University. The views from here had me gazed into the distance for days on end! I mean I could literally live here, from today. It is quite a lovely place with stairs to get around, a LOT of stairs to keep the Doctors to be fit and did I mention the views?

 

11. Try out local restaurants

The area has a lot of restaurants to try out in this part of town, so go right ahead and pick one. Our fave spot apart from Sugar Shack was The Greek Kitchen which is right by the University main entrance gate. Their Lamb salad – wow!

 

12. Exercise on True Blue Bay

Such a serene place for prayer and some stretching. We stopped here for half of our run each morning just to take the silence in. This place is so beautifully peaceful.

 

I have so many other things I wanted to do while there, but that would have to wait for my next soon and yes, this is a country I would love to visit again.

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Colour me yellow (Thuli Nhlapo) December 30, 2018

Filed under: Book reviews — Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso @ 4:13 pm
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Colour me yellow

 

Sho! It is shocking, it is real, it is painful and it is brutally honest. I guess when one comes from a family with a loving mother and father one can’t really relate to struggles faced by others in their journey towards identity. I am very proud of and equally shocked by how raw and gutsy the book is. Thuli spared no punches in telling her distressing story in her own voice. There are dialogues I read in pain and some with cringe but life has taught me that we are all on a journey and as such we are to tell our stories the best way we know how. The level of depth and revelations in this book is blatant. I thought I was bare in my story telling – hello! Nothing quite like this. I’m left wondering how her family / extended relatives have treated her since the release of the book but then again, ‘family’ according to the experiences in this book is not quite like most of us envision.

 

In sum, this book is about a young girl growing up in Tsebe, close to my hometown, Phasha in a family where she was made to feel like a misfit. The details are gut wrenching, painful and at times even unbelievable. Most of her life is lived in thought of and search for her biological father. She outlines a timeline from childhood until adulthood, chronicling her complex relationship with her mother and other adults in her life, her relationships with guys, excelling in school, the constant void of a father she can’t pin down because adults in her life were not honest about the truth and finally a glimpse of the woman she’s become despite it all. The search for the truth behind her father’s identity pendulums between hope and despair as clues and subsequent inquiries meet  disappointing responses.

 

I recently learnt that a friend who’s 42, just got to know who his father was a few months before he died and I found myself wondering why there are so many of these stories in our communities. I mean why is it considered ‘unAfrican’ to talk about these matters? It is said secrets are kept to protect children but is it really protecting or harming them in the long run? Gosh man. People, let us tell the truth. It is unfair for children to go through life not knowing who their parents are because one way or another, sooner or later, we tend to look at where we come from to help us form an identity as we chart a way forward.  Haai man!

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My first snorkeling experience December 9, 2018

Ok, suffices to say black people and water are generally not friends. By water I mean large bodies of water like swimming pools, the sea, lakes etc… I don’t know whether it’s because we grew up in areas where there were no swimming pools, or whether it was because we historically didn’t have showers and thus didn’t get used to having water on our faces, or that we didn’t have swimming pools at our schools, or maybe a combination of all these. For a lot of us, playing on the beach or sitting poolside with only the feet getting a bit of the water splash is enough. For me, Swimming = heart attack scares, snorkeling = death and diving = burial. I mean the fear I had (have) of water was beyond real. You see when I was 13 I went to Fountains Circle, a resort of some sort with a relative, my mom’s cousin who’s stokvel had a family day closing party. I was happily sitting on the edge of the pool with my feet in the water. My cousin, Lebo (mom’s cousin’s daughter) who was attending a Model C school was swimming merrily with others having a great time. They kept lobbying me to go in and I told them I couldn’t because I didn’t know how to swim. They laughed and kept teasing me. From nowhere I felt my foot being pulled into the pool and under I went. I felt little feet step on my chest as I frantically tried to get up. An adult eventually noticed something amiss and I was pulled out of the pool, half dead (ok ok maybe not half dead but that’s how it felt.) I coughed, vomited and cried all in one setting. That was the last time I would dare sit anywhere near any body of water. So as I grew older and started flying, flying over water during the day was a nightmare. So that Fountains experience was my introduction to swimming and so when I decided to conquer my fears at age 24 (failed attempt – thanks Mav for trying my friend), and again at 30 (almost there) I never in a million years thought I would beat my fear enough to snorkel in the Carribean Sea. So this is a story of my triumph over failure and courage over fear.

Seeing underwater sculptures in Grenada was one of the things on my to do list when I was finalising my to-do list for this trip. It was a beautiful sunny day on 5 September 2018 when we explored the crystal clear waters of Grand Anse Beach. Gorata came for moral support as she had done it before. Dive Grenada which I unreservedly highly recommend was the tour company that took us on this unforgettable experience. I explained to the instructor (Brittney) that I was a newbie at swimming and that I was very nervous. She took time to calm my nerves, gave us a safety briefing, suited us up and off we went. A fast 10 minute boat ride and we had arrived.

It took me about 15 minutes get the courage to get off the boat. I admit I needed a lot of pep talk to go ahead with it from my courage squad, Gorata, Brittney and Kirhon the boat captain. Kirhon suggested that I sit on the staircase of the boat and drop my legs into the sea which I did after some serious self-talk. He then suggested I look into the water so that I see what’s underneath while I sat on the staircase. I dipped a little of my face into the water for about 2-3 seconds and I was mesmerised!!! All I could say over and over and over was ‘Wow!’ There’s a whole world under the sea y’all. Oh my word! How am I only discovering this at age 36? It’s one thing to see under the sea on National Geographic and a completely life changing experience seeing it yourself. What a moment in time. I literally needed a minute (ok, make that 5 minutes) of silence when I was at a particular statue and on seeing that one, I froze and the instructor let me have my 5 minutes of solitude as I floated above the sculptures and took in what lay beneath. I will do a blog on the history of the sculptures soon. Although I can say a whole lot, they say a picture says a thousand words and here they are and a video for good measure. 🤪