Like any place you visit for the first time, the impressions you first get are crucial. If you arrive late, you miss out on one of the biggest sensations–sight. And if you’ve ever gone to an island in the Caribbean at night, you know exactly what it’s like. You’re hovering over the landing zone, seeing only black and scattered dots of light, and suddenly WHAM! you’re on the ground. The wheels screetch to a halt and before you have a chance to assess the situation, you are safely on ground in a Caribbean island.
The same could probably be said for any night-landing on an island anywhere in the world, but for whatever reason, there’s something different about landing in the Caribbean at night. Maybe it’s changing seasons in just a few hours. Maybe it’s the sudden laid back attitude. Either way, you know exactly where you are before the captain comes on to tell you the local time and weather.
I arrived in Grenada today after a long and tiring day of travel. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to leave Amherst, driving in the dark to Bradley International Airport somewhere between Springfield and Hartford. With a layover in San Juan, Puerto Rico, I had a chance to reflect on some of the other Caribbean destinations I’d been to in my time. Grand Cayman, Bahamas, Barbados–after a while they all start to blur together. Especially when you land at night and all you have to go on is your primal senses.
So when I got off the plane a little after 8:30 p.m., the first thing I noticed was the sweet smell in the air. I’d noticed this smell before in St. Thomas–so strong that you can’t ignore it. But there’s something else. There’s the smell of a fire burning. The smell of some food on the grill. The smell of the night just getting started as hungry Grenadines decide what to do on a beautiful Friday night. No clouds, no wind, just the 5 feet of visibility in front of them and the smells they’re all but accustomed to.
I’d like to say I’m all but jaded to this “newbie” phenomenon to an island, but I’m not. I’m excited as you could be–a newcomer to something beyond what I could have imagined. After a fantastic dinner at The Aquarium Restaurant, hosted by Ulrich Kuhn, we took the short ride to our lodging, the Spice Island Beach Resort, which completely blows away anything I ever could have imagined.
A private pool and sauna are just two of the things awaiting me in my own villa, and the champagne has been on ice waiting for me as well. Perhaps it’s chilly for the Grenadines, but for me, it’s just right. I can smell the sweet fruits that I don’t yet know, and many other things which amuse my nostrils, tempting me to stay out longer. But for now, it’s time for some sleep, for it’s been a long enough day, and lord knows there’s more of the sweet life in store tomorrow.
I will be in Grenada from Friday to Tuesday morning. Check my blog daily for updates on the trip.