I’ve opened my door a few times and felt like a total alien – no beaches or brownstones (and no cats in the newsagents, lol). The feeling of culture shock is something I’ve experienced once before when coming back from Lagos but this time hit me bad. Although the language was the same, the smells different, people just as unapologetic about themselves as the music seemed to be and the sun and my skin were in a constant embrace.
Although only there for a 24 hour layover my time in Miami definitely set the tone for the rest of my trip. Visiting PAMM’s collection of Art from the Caribbean and seeing how each artist had interpreted often dark and political times of that part of the world’s history was moving and made me wonder of the common themes shared in the collection would ever be shaken and a new identity formed.
With it being carnival season in Grenada, the passengers on my flight were greeted warmly by the best of Grenada’s carnival characters, oh and glasses of rum of course. Having spent the majority of my trips back to the island in the country, this would be the first time I’d spend the majority of time in ‘town’. It took some getting used to but with carnival just around the corner and a family reunion this trip was the perfect opportunity to relax and explore.
The non-family portion of the trip involved drinking copious amounts of ‘local juice’ and trying to walk as slow as possible in order to not stick out as a foreigner – I was successful 70% of the time #winning.
As Grenadian as I may think I am, after visiting the island and learning more about its people and actually visiting the remnants of history that still remain there I realise that for the most part I’d been living of the knowledge of my parents, something which wasn’t inaccurate but at a time I feel it’s important for those of us who have parents from other parts of the world to make those experiences our own and it become more than just the food and music. We’re the generation where travel and the sharing of experiences is part of who were are and we should embrace it.
One of the groups ensuring that the narrative of young Grenadian artivists is being told is the work being doing by Malaika Smith-Brooks-Lowe and the other members of Groundation Grenada who I finally had the pleasure of meeting, creating and even hiking with.
Taking part in their week long ‘Forgetting is Not An Option: Phase 1’ program which included creative workshops held by artists including Robin de Vogel and Rosabelle – who also happen to be part of the amazing Art Rules Aruba Crew, was the perfect opportunity to meet with Grenada’s young creative scene.
I’m yet to experience carnival on one of the bigger islands such as Trinidad but Grenda carnival is something special. Parties and festivals were in abundance during carnival week and it’s actually now somewhat of a colourful blur lol. This year included many firsts including playing jouvert in St Georges and working up the guts to jump up with a band – Cherosmas whose theme was ‘In Flight’.
You wouldn’t think that the madness that is Spicemas takes place in Grenada if you’re there a week after it’s over. Although the remains of paint stained signs remain, everything returns to ‘normal’. People return to work and the familiar sounds of Soca songs are replaced with American pop charts.
There was definitely a point where I wanted to go home (Caribbean customer service, or lack thereof will do that even to the most patient of people lol) but I soon got over it and definitely wasn’t ready to leave when it was time to head to my next destination.
For the first time, Grenada took me by surprise for many different reasons and my desire to not only go back for an extended period of time but to also use Thenublk as a way to showcase the island and its creatives continues to grow.
Check back tomorrow for Part II of #beachesandbrownstones! For more photos from the trip follow Thenublk’s instagram page.