Walking around Broadmead is a lion’s den, due to all the chuggers trying to ensnare you with their outstretched claws, which makes navigating the centre of town a bit of a zig-zag fest. Grenada’s capital St Georges is even more of an obstacle course, as it seems that everyone you pass is either a potential market seller or a tour guide.
Enter Paul. He first approached us at the bottom of the steps to the city’s fort, and didn’t take no for an answer as he later assaulted us at the tourists’ station. “I do this every day. The cruise ships come, they go home telling all their friends ’bout Paul.” And after a non-stop PR barrage, we eventually let him get on with it.
He cunningly circumvented the admissions system for the fort (sending us in through the… er… exit) and went on to describe the island’s bad luck in the past few years: “This was destroyed by the Hurricane Ivan, six years ago.” He said that a lot. Unfortunately many buildings, churches and infrastructure were obliterated by Ivan in 2004. Even the hotel we’re staying in was badly affected.
Paul took us round the Spice Market, Fish Market, and up and down steep hills, before he gave us a glimpse of the Chinese-built national stadium and then left us to our own devices. We ended up paying him US$50, which was relatively little to us but would have gone a long way towards his living wage.
Grenada’s number one economy has shifted from nutmeg plantations and other agriculture, to tourism since the awful hurricane of 2004. But the people are still friendly and optimistic, and it’s holidaymakers’ duty to support the local economy. If that involves indulging wannabe tour guides when it means learning something new about the culture of the island, so be it.