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November 18,2003

Hmmm...Tuesday already. Sorry to those of you who checked over the weekend and found no journal entry. As I mentioned in my last journal, I spent part of the weekend in Carriacou, one of the Grenadine islands that makes up Grenada. Another one of the volunteers, JP, and I departed Friday morning from St. George's. There's a ferry that does trips twice daily to Carriacou and Petit Martinique (the other of the Grenadian Grenadine islands). The ride is about an hour and twenty minutes. We rode on the top on the way out and got a wonderful view of the western coast of Grenada (plus some great splashes of sea water!). It was really fun to knew the island as we were passing and be able to identify the different towns and landmarks along the way. Carriacou is only 7 miles long and a few miles wide and has a population of 6,000 people. We pulled into the harbor in Hillsborough, the main town on the island. They were having sailboat and yacht races during the weekend. We actually pulled in just off the race course so we got a great view of the boats. Carriacou is similar to Grenada in many ways, but it has a much more relaxed, less rushed feel to it. It's mainly rural which might be part of the reason...I do suspect part of the reason, though, is simply a matter of where would you be rushing to? On our explorations of the island on Friday afternoon, we were waiting for a bus. When one passed, we flagged it down and started hurrying towards where it stopped. As we got closer, we heard the driver saying "Slow down! Slow down! There's no rush, take your time." The two Americans, constantly in a state of rush, did our best to slow it down. Our activities consisted mostly of exploring the different parts of the island, taking some great pictures, visiting the beach, having a yummy dinner at a beachside restaurant and, admittedly, enjoying our air conditioned room. Ahhh! The simple pleasures (or maybe not so simple). The scenery on Carriacou is beautiful, the blue and aqua tones of the ocean are much more intense and picturesque than you see off the coasts of Grenada. Combined with the islands that dot the horizon and the dozens of sailboats going by, it made for some beautiful scenery. I included a link to some of the good pictures on the photos page.

Our gray days of last week, I was informed (by my father) was actually a tropical depression passing through. As suspected, the hot weather and sun has returned. I think that the nights are getting a little cooler and I haven't been quite as bothered by the heat during the day either. Not having a thermometer though, I'm unsure if it's actually cooling by a degree or two or if my body is just getting accustomed to the heat. Perhaps a nice little combination of the two.

Elections in Grenada are coming up soon. Election day is actually Nov. 27 which is American thanksgiving. Typically there are only elections every 5 years and this year is shaping up to be a bit of a heated one. In the past, the government has held the vast majority of the seats, but opposition parties are predicted to take more this year. One of the primary means of campaigning is holding rallies. The rallies consist of a large gathering of people (often in the middle of a road) with huge speakers for music and speeches and plenty of vendors selling food and Carib. There's also a number of cars outfitted with two huge megaphone type speakers on top of it. Their main job is to just drive around neighborhoods announcing rallies and giving out information and campaign promises. From what I can tell, they program the speakers to project the voices on the annoying brink between totally blurred because it's too loud and just barely picking enough of the words to try to strain to listen. Then there's the painted promises. Paint on roads, curbs, sidewalks (where they exist), trash containers, abandoned buildings, where ever there's an open "canvas". Most of the busy roads have something written every 50 feet or so by now. They say anything from "NNP for jobs", "Vote NDC" to my personal favorite (located outside one primary school) "School children say, NDC all the way!" Hmmm...really? Each party has a symbol, a house, heart, key, etc. which I've been told is because of the high levels of illiteracy here--they must use pictures to identify their party. It should be an exciting week next week. Regardless of what happens, it looks like next Friday will be declared a public holiday, since all the parties are claiming that should they get voted in, they'll give everyone the day off. The elections are supposed to go off okay, but with Grenada's history and it's tendency towards conflict, the volunteers have all been asked to be home by dark that evening just to be safe.

I'm still receiving some late entrants into the fall foliage fiesta, so hang on another week or two to find out the winner. Well, I believe that's all the news I've got. Take care everyone!