Random Observations about Grenada

by Nora Dunn on August 6, 2013

It has been a while since I’ve posted anything about life in Grenada, and given that I’ve been living here on and off for the last year and change, I’ve discovered a lot – and there’s still a lot to discover (which, given the small size of this island country, is amazing).

Here are some random observations about Grenada, and daily life in Grenada:

 

Capital city = Town

The capital of the country is St George’s, which is referred to as “town”.

Where is _____?

Oh, it’s in town.” No further address or description is usually offered. Once you’re in town, you’ll probably find what you’re looking for. (Read on).

 

Addresses? Not really

I live in a house with no number on a street with no name. My “official” address for the cable company is “third house on the right after the pasture”. No really.

 

Got a political campaign? Get a loudspeaker

A totally viable political campaign strategy is to drive around with a loudspeaker and announce your message to the island. In fact, this is one of the more effective ways of communicating any important message to all Grenadians.

 

 

Living without a car is a pain. Sort of.

Taking the bus is quite a colourful (and relatively efficient) experience, however buses stop running by 10pm and they don’t run on Sundays at all. This inspires a much simpler lifestyle – which is good. But it’s murder for going out on weekends and being social in the evenings.

 

 

Night life?

The buses may stop running early because there just isn’t enough night-time demand. Although there is a decent selection of night life in Grenada, it’s not huge. Big nights for going out tend to be Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; there are a few marinas and bars or restaurants that tend to be “the place to be” on those given nights, before you move on to a handful of clubs open from late night through early morning. Night life exists, but it’s not prolific.

 

 

Sunrise, sunset

Why is night life not prolific? Despite the slightly cooler night temperatures, Grenada is best experienced during the day. With the beaches, waterfalls, coastal drives, and colourful island flavour to experience, it’s no wonder that Grenadians generally rise with the sun, and are relatively early to sleep.

And you can almost set your watch to it; Grenada gets about 12 hours of sunshine a day year-round: 6am-6pm.

 

 

Drive slow

A local friend observed that “the real way to show somebody Grenada is to drive slowly”. To some extent it’s a given, with the curvy roads and random obstacles.

But as you drive along, you’ll notice that every angle and aspect of Grenada looks different. I can drive the same route daily for months and I always see something new. Like – entire houses that I didn’t notice before, partly because there’s so much to look at, and partly because the hilly landscape and dense foliage plays tricks on the eye.

 

Go sloooow

The above observation applies to enjoying Grenada in general; slowly. Everything in Grenada happens slowly (as has become painfully evident in the aftermath of my accident and ensuing insurance battles).

But icky business aside, the slow pace of life is generally worth celebrating. Liming is Grenada’s national pastime, after all. People look up and engage more; whether they’re in line together, in the market, or in a waiting room. No matter where you go or what your mission, you’ll probably end up doing two things: waiting for something, and chatting to somebody.

 

 

Two degrees of separation

In chatting with the random stranger next to you in line, if you spend much time in Grenada, the conversation will quickly turn to who you are, where you live, and who you know. There are at most two degrees of separation between most Grenadians, and it’s fun to discover common friends and family members.

Although I wouldn’t say I have two degrees of separation, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say I’m four (or less) degrees of separation from everybody in Grenada.

 

 

Friendly – and safe

“Grenada is the sort of country where you can still give a lollipop to kids,” said a friend of mine. Most school kids take public transportation, and not usually with their parents. Grenadians generally take care of one another, and parents can rest assured that their five year-old will be under the protective eye of the bus driver and conductor, and will be dropped off at school/home safely, and even escorted across the road.

This safe atmosphere and friendly chatty culture makes for a wonderful destination of discovery.

 

 

Kissy faces

This friendly culture is abundantly evident in the rampant remarks of appreciation women receive from passers-by. Although it’s generally harmless, kissy-face culture in Grenada is very much alive and well.

 

 

Rum Shop Culture

From early morning to late night, rum shops line the roadsides just about everywhere. Many offer convenience items and some offer prepared food (most commonly fried chicken); and all of them offer rum;an eighth of hair-raising rum costs about $2US – it’s ridiculously cheap, and most often drunk straight with a water chaser.

It’s fun to stop off at a rum shop or two along the way as part of an island excursion; and if you’re not of the rum-drinking ilk (I’m most certainly not), there are always a few cold drinks on offer.

(Women be warned: most rum shop lurkers are male, and they can be drunk at any time of day or night. As long as you are friendly but firm, their kissy-face advances are harmless).

 

 

It’s a university town

St George’s University makes up for almost 10% of the population of Grenada. It is best known for it’s medicine and veterinary medicine programs, and draws an international student body.

 

 

It’s all on the south side

Almost half the population of Grenada lives in the parish of St George, which encompasses the southwest corner of Grenada – which, in turn, encompasses the capital city of St George’s (“town”), Grand Anse (the hub for most holiday-makers), the university, and the airport.

 

 

“Grenada has a bit of everything, and not too much of anything”

This is what a friend said while chatting about all things Grenada. The “everything” in Grenada includes all the accoutrements of the Caribbean like beaches, waterfalls, water activities, bars, restaurants, markets, etc. But there’s not too much of any of it…nor is there too much of…pretty much anything.

 

Grenada is a place where you have what you need to get by and not too much more; but once you learn to enjoy the simplicity of Grenadian life, there’s very little to miss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Quade Baxter August 6, 2013 at 11:26 am

Great post. My own journey, if everything stays on course begins in October!! You make your little country sound very compelling indeed! St Georges is one of the cities I follow on my weather channel app.You have great weather there!

I am fascinated by Suriname, Guiana, and French Guiana. Is Grenada a hopping off point to any of those 3. Not much anywhere on them! ( Making them even more interesting!)

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theprofessionalhobo August 6, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Hi Quade,
I believe there’s a direct flight from Grenada to Guyana – airlines to check out include Liat, Copa, and Caribbean Airlines.
Grenada isn’t much of a hopping off point to anywhere – besides the “commuter” airlines like Liat that go up and down the chain, Grenada’s main flights in and out are to Miami, Toronto, and London.
You will find more opportunities out of Port of Spain (Trinidad) however – which is a 20 minute flight away via Liat.
Hope this helps – happy travel planning!

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Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) August 6, 2013 at 12:44 pm

My friend Sicorra just sent me your blog since I also live in Grenada. My husband is Term 5 at SGU and I’m working there as well. I’ve been blogging for 3 years and have written a lot about the island. I can’t wait to read more of your posts!

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theprofessionalhobo August 6, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Hi Cat – Nice to “meet” you! I’m sure we’ll run into one another one of these days….your site looks great. I look forward to reading about your island adventures!

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Cat Alford (@BudgetBlonde) August 6, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Thanks so much! Please feel free to e-mail me if you ever want to grab a drink at umbrellas and talk blogging. :D

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Tracey - Life Changing Year August 6, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Oh you make Grenada sound awesome. A simple lifestyle with some time spent early to rise and early to bed sounds a bit nice.

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theprofessionalhobo August 7, 2013 at 11:02 am

Hey Tracey – It’s a pure and simple lifestyle (if you choose for it to be…and I generally do)! No wonder it’s easy to spend time here!

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Cyrus August 7, 2013 at 5:39 am

Grenada sounds like a fun and diverse place.
Is it very humid in Grenada ?

http://www.icamesawlaughed.com

thanks,
Cyrus.

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theprofessionalhobo August 7, 2013 at 11:07 am

Hi Cyrus,
Yes it’s humid (more so at certain times of year), but if you’re somewhere with a breeze (which is a lot of places in Grenada – either by the water or in the hills) it’s tolerable. Weather forecasts here don’t have “humidex ratings” like I’ve seen in Canada….so although the temperature is generally steady around 29 degrees (Celcius) day and night, I’m quite sure on many days – especially in the summer – it’s more like 40+ degrees.

Sweating is a sport here, and locals tend to use copious amounts of talcum powder on their bodies, and carry a small towel for mopping sweat off their brow.

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Tez Plavenieks August 7, 2013 at 10:22 am

Great post and having spent a significant amount of time on the island I found myself chuckling at all the familiar points you raise – in particular the ‘kissy face culture’ that my (now) wife was on the receiving end of during our first visit. It totally span her out at first, but, as with everything, is a thing you learn to deal with.

We were both on the island when Neilson still had one of their watersports holiday centres based on Grand Anse. Unfortunately the hurricane put paid to any further operations on this front and after the storm blew through Neilson never returned.

This is a fact that, from an enthusiasts point of view, like me, is a sad state of affairs. Watersports in Grenada, particularly windsurfing and stand up paddle boarding, are severely lacking. It’s a shame as the conditions, particularly around the Lance aux Epines area are great.

But, having said all that, Grenada still holds a special place in our hearts and your post was a great read!

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theprofessionalhobo August 7, 2013 at 11:11 am

Hi Tez,
Between the hurricanes and the economically depressed climate, Grenada is indeed lacking; tourists just aren’t coming in the droves they once did. Some people would call it “untouched”, “unspoiled”, even “off the beaten track”.
The unspoiled postcard that Grenada is is lovely….but it can be so much more – like you say.

So I’m enjoying the “untouched” Grenada while it lasts, and looking forward to seeing this country develop their tourism, agriculture, and fishing industries – so everybody’s quality of life can improve.

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Tez Plavenieks August 7, 2013 at 11:21 am

Yep’ tis a fine line between keeping something in its original state and watching it evolve into a completely different animal.

It would be a shame if the island lost its charm and friendly atmosphere, but at the same time, as I’m sure you’ll agree, the local population needs something to aim for and a better quality of life is just that. Tourist Dollars and Pounds is one way to achieve this, but often comes at a higher price…

Commercial tourism, on the plus side, CAN be controlled to some level and hopefully, with the right people leading the charge, this will be the case.

I’ve spoken at length with Bentley Skeete (you probably know him?)on the subject of getting some form of watersports set up back on the island. The main problem I have is funding otherwise I’d stump up the cash!

But the potential is there, particularly if you look at Grenada’s neighbours – Tobago and Barbados etc.

Oh well, keep up the good work on your site.

Cheers,

Tez

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theprofessionalhobo August 7, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Thanks Tez…..I’m looking forward to seeing more watersports opportunities in Grenada myself.

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Kate August 7, 2013 at 11:50 am

Nice post, BUT…

YOU are missing the REAL Grenada if you ignore the north of the island! We have some of the most beautiful (and most empty) beaches, one on which the leatherback turtles nest. We have the chocolate company, which produces award-winning chocolate, and Belmont Estate, where some the the cocoa for said chocolate is grown. We have the River Antoine rum distillery, which is like a working museum. And we have people even more friendly, more open, because they are not dealing with cruise ship tourists (and others) nearly as often, so aren’t tired of the interaction. (There’s so much more, I could go on and on.)

And, of course, we have Almost Paradise Cottages.

But don’t mind me, I’m biased! ;)

Still, you should come and check out the north, there are lots of quirky corners and interesting projects.

By the way, I’m Canadian, and have been living in St. Patrick’s for 12 years…

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theprofessionalhobo August 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Hi Kate,
Oh I hear you, girl! I’ve been to all the places you described, and a few more.
I also loved living in St Pauls – which has a much more rural feel – similar to the north – than St. George.
But access to amenities (and other accoutrements of the south) is a real hassle; it feels just a wee bit remote for me all in all.
Then again, I know that’s the appeal in and of itself…..it’s like you say….Almost Paradise! :-)

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Mark Mercer August 7, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Oh I so love this post, and that country. Lisa (@lisamarimer) and I honeymooned there in 1989, and went back for our 15th anniversary. Both times staying at the La Sagesse Nature Center on the Atlantic side, several km outside of town. (I’m originally from Boston – of course a capital city is called “in town”!)

Some of what you write reminds us also of our life now in Uruguay, in a coastal town. If in a line, you start chatting with your neighbors – and make new friends. Oh, and the “kissy-face” culture!

Grenada always will have part of my heart.

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theprofessionalhobo August 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Thanks, Mark! I guess an advantage of Grenada over Uruguay (at least for me) would be language, as they speak English here…..well, sort of…. :-)

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Kathy Reager August 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Nice post,we are here in Grenada for our third season,we live on our sailboat which is in Mt.Hartman bay and we are waiting out hurricaine season.We love it here,the people the weather and the buses are wonderful.

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theprofessionalhobo August 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Hi Kathy,
Yes, Grenada is a cruiser’s paradise during hurricane season – I forgot to mention that! Maybe we’ll run into one another some time soon! You know what I look like….feel free to call out if you see me! :-)

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Kathy August 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Nice article! I was born and bred in Grenada, I now live in Toronto, your story brought me back to the island I dearly love. You had me laughing so hard at times, it’s amazing hearing your interpretation of life on the Spice Isle. Despite the few up and downs and lack of conveniences that we are so blessed with in Canada, I am elated that you chose to share your experiences with the world. Your account of my island is beautiful and honest. Hope you will inspire others to journey to Grenada, to feel the warmth of it’s people, be kissed by it’s endless sunshine, explore our many beaches, especially Grand Anse Beach and explore more of Grenada’s countryside. Thank you.

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theprofessionalhobo August 8, 2013 at 10:15 am

Hi Kathy,
I’m touched by your response! And how interesting that I was born and bred in Toronto – which is where you are….we’ve switched places!
To read that you feel my account is beautiful and honest is the highest praise I could receive, given that Grenada is – or has been – your home. Thank you!

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Kathy August 10, 2013 at 11:03 am

Hi Nora,

We have definitely switched places, Grenada will always be my home, I continue to visit as often as I can to rejuvenate! Let’s continue to enjoy the best of both worlds, I think we are both blessed! Maybe one day we will cross paths in Grenada, I would like to introduce you to the way live on my side of the country!

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Uwe Baumann August 7, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Nice article, but one thing has to be said …..not close to everything is in St George’s and not half of the population lives in St. George’s. St.George’s has a population of around 35000. St.Andrew’s and St. Patrick’s in the north have together even more, not counting the other parishes.

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theprofessionalhobo August 8, 2013 at 10:23 am

Hi Uwe,
My research came from Wiki here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parishes_of_Grenada
…which indicates that the population of the population of the parish of St George (not just the town of St George’s) is over 37,000….which is more than the parishes of St. Andrew and St. Patrick combined (admittedly, not by much).

But I would also surmise that accurate population statistics would be difficult to attain, since I imagine that not all Grenadians are registered on a census.

Please forgive me if you’re from the north/east and are feeling shunned! Although I’ve been around a great majority of the island, and have spent a little bit of time in Grenville, I haven’t lived in or spent extensive time in these areas. I know that life “Grenville side” is very different – and those who live there vastly prefer it to the “hustle and bustle” of St George.

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swindon August 7, 2013 at 11:08 pm

thank you for what you have done and said about my little island… all that you have said is what makes my island unique and please don’t forget to remind others that it is called the isle of spice for a reason.

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theprofessionalhobo August 8, 2013 at 10:29 am

Hi Swindon – Grenada is indeed the Isle of Spice – in many ways! :-)
I’d like to see Grenada further capitalize on their many resources. I understand it’s been a long recovery since hurricane Ivan (cocoa trees take many years to mature enough to produce, for example), and I believe the farming population is decreasing. This is an island where everything grows everywhere – I want to smell more cinnamon and nutmeg in the air! :-)

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Rachel M August 9, 2013 at 7:52 am

I live in a house with no number on a street with no name. My “official” address for the cable company is “third house on the right after the pasture”.
LOL, welcome to the developing world. Having just completed my studies in the UK, my mail was delivered right at my doorstep, thanks to the street, house no. and all. I am back in Kenya (my home country) and guess what? I live in a house with no number on a street with no name.

The capital of the country is St George’s, which is referred to as “town”.
In my country the central business district is what is referred to as “town”, and you are likely to find what you are looking for in “town”.

Enjoyable post!

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theprofessionalhobo August 9, 2013 at 9:31 am

Hi Rachel,
It’s nice to know the informality and tight friendly culture is a pervasive trait in many countries. I consider it a lovely way to live – despite the slight inconvenience of never knowing if your mail will arrive! :-)

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Christoffer Moen August 10, 2013 at 1:57 am

Thank you for this. I’m thinking Grenada’s a reallly great place to chill out, in all sense of the word. :)

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theprofessionalhobo August 10, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Christoffer – Yes, Grenada’s a great place to chill out in every sense of the word – except literally! It’s damn hot here! ;-)

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Julio Moreno August 10, 2013 at 5:30 am

Hey Nora,
Really enjoyed this article since I knew close to nothing about Grenada. It really seems like a great place to live. How long has it been now? Living away from the familiar is amazing, as I can relate living in Korea.
I was happy to hear it is safe. I am considering a trip in the Caribbean and will be sure to add Grenada to the list.

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theprofessionalhobo August 10, 2013 at 12:32 pm

Hi Julio,
I first arrived in Grenada in October of 2011, and have been here on and off since then – probably a little more than half the time in all. I barely knew anything about Grenada when I was booking my first flight to come here; and it’s been quite a land of discovery ever since.

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Lauren@GreenGlobalTrvl August 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm

It was great to read about your trip in Grenada. This seems like a wonderful place to visit. More of a local rather than touristy travel. I personally love traveling around college towns for the sake of the innovative culture and arts. Thanks for posting. Safe travels :)

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theprofessionalhobo August 22, 2013 at 8:56 am

Hi Lauren – Thanks! I always try to feel the local scoop as much as I can, and since I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Grenada, I’ve been able to dig deeper into various idiosyncrasies that make the place tick.

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Deborah Benbrook September 20, 2013 at 5:14 am

Wow Nora, Grenada sounds lovely. Do they have Dengue there? Both Darren and I have just been diagnosed with it and we are wondering if we should stay around in Thailand.

Grenada does sound a bit like Koh Phangan. A small island with great beaches and a main town. We drive into ‘town’ 3 times a week to visit the local market and supermarket. We are lucky we have access to a car as there are no buses on the island, just expensive taxis and the ‘road’ is a dirt track through the jungle!

We visited Tobago many years ago and loved the vibe of the place. We hired a jeep and explored the whole island, we ended up having a BBQ on the beach with these guys who we said hello to :-)

hope you continue to enjoy Grenada dxxx

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theprofessionalhobo September 20, 2013 at 8:40 am

Hi Deborah – Oh no! You’ve got Dengue fever? Like, right now?? How are you able to even remain upright!?
A former partner of mine got dengue in Thailand in 2008 – spent a week in hospital fighting for his life.
And yes, dengue is alive and well in Grenada – I got it days after my first arrival in October 2011. I didn’t have to go to hospital (in reality, I was alone and too sick to get medical help, but I didn’t think it was worthy of an ambulance either way).

Hang in there, both of you. The good news is once you’ve had that particular strain of dengue, you won’t get it again. (Granted, there’s four strains – and three more chances….) LOL!

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Deborah Benbrook September 20, 2013 at 8:50 am

Yep, right now. Both of us have it. We aren’t upright, we are both laid in bed and feeling pretty terrible. We are having paracetamol every 4 hours and hydration sachets too. We got some codine today too as both of us could no longer stand the pain in our backs and hips. We are having daily blood tests so hopefully we won’t end up fighting for our lives. We are lucky that we’d decided on a short holiday to Samui, not much of a holiday but at least we are near a good hospital.

Sorry to hear you got it in Grenada – that sucks. You crazy woman, you should have got medical help!!!!!

Yeah just read that there are 4 types and we are now immune to one of them – silver lining an all that :-)

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theprofessionalhobo September 20, 2013 at 8:56 am

Oh gosh. Hang in there…and rest assured that the worst will definitely be over in a week or less. (Even though it may feel like a month)… ;-)

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Deborah Benbrook September 20, 2013 at 9:01 am

that’s good to know, thanks :-)

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Kitty October 7, 2013 at 10:18 am

Loved your article, but agree with Kate & Uwe – you may want to come up to stay around the Sauteurs/Bathway Beach area sometime! Cooler, greener and more laid-back than the south, the North offers plantation houses, Rivers Rum distillery tours, Belmont Plantation & Grenadian Chocolate tours. We have a range of beaches, fishing towns and stunning views from the wide selection of B&Bs & vacation rental options – here at MoonFish we have almost 3 pages of restaurants for our guests to choose from (names, contact details plus descriptions) all within a 5 minute walk to a 20 minute drive… and there’s always somewhere new to discover!

Grenville is an incredibly busy port and although friendly & vibrant, it definitely lacks the charm of the smaller towns in the North, hope you get to enjoy a trip up here soon!

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theprofessionalhobo October 7, 2013 at 11:11 am

Hi Kitty,
Okay, you’ve sold me – it’s on my list when I return – before Christmas!

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Kitty October 7, 2013 at 1:11 pm

You’ll love it!

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Arshiya October 14, 2013 at 11:25 am

I enjoyed reading your blog! As someone at SGU, I deeply regret that I’ve barely seen anything on this island and it’s great to come across someone who seems like they know so much about the little things of Grenadian life. Would love to meet you and share in some of your adventures on this island!

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theprofessionalhobo October 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm

Hi Arshiya,
Sweet! I’m not on the island at the moment, and will probably return when you’re off for the holidays….but send me an email when you’re back for the new term in 2014 and let’s connect! Cheers.

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Arshiya October 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Thanks for the response! Yes I would love to, is there a more direct way to connect with you instead of commenting on your blog?!

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theprofessionalhobo October 16, 2013 at 10:54 am

Hi Arshiya,
If you send me a message through my contact page, I’ll get an email and we can correspond that way:
http://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/contact/
Thanks!

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