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Guilt-free in Grenada

Sitting at the hotel bar in Tobago, I gaze dreamily ahead. I take in the stunning views of the empty beach, which is surrounded by rocky cliffs, lush green plants and exotic flowers. I am having a well- deserved cocktail. Just a couple of hours ago I was pushing a trolley laden with passenger meals down the narrow aisles of an aeroplane, wondering how much of the beef stroganoff really was beef.  During almost nine hours in the air, I had heard the incessant chime of the passenger call bell enough times to develop a nervous twitch. Now, I am sipping a delicious rum punch sprinkled with freshly- grated nutmeg and feeling a gentle, warm breeze brush across my face. In the distance, a pelican is gracefully diving into the rough waves and re-emerging with its dinner for the evening. The light of the sun is just beginning to fade and reflections dance on the surface of the water. All I can hear for miles around is the crashing of waves against the cliffs. Well, that and the excited chattering of the other cabin crew (which is becoming slightly slurred thanks to the tasty yet potent rum cocktails).

The following evening, after spending the day lazing on the beach and enjoying a fresh catch of the day from the hotel restaurant, we pile into a minibus and head for the airport. Just as we leave the resort, the driver indicates to the fishing lake to our right and we see a large crocodile resting against the edge.

Once we arrive at Tobago airport, we climb into a tiny aircraft with about ten other passengers and cross the vast ocean. Less than half an hour later we land in Grenada and jump straight into a taxi to the Allamanda resort. When I reach my hotel room, I step onto the balcony and admire the beautiful view. The hotel couldn’t be in a better location. Grand Anse beach- an impressive 3km stretch of paradise, often rated as one of the top ten beaches in the world- is right on our doorstep. There are palm trees and mountains for miles around. The smell of fresh bougainvillea and hibiscus reaches me in the balmy breeze. At this time of night, the sky is a watercolour of pink and orange.

That evening, we all go out for dinner at the Dodgy Dock- aptly named for the service rather than the food. It takes the waitress half an hour to produce two bottles of wine for our table, and she appears confused when we remind her after a further half an hour that we have ordered food. But, as we sip our wine, I am so captivated by my surroundings that I completely forget about my dinner. I look out across the stunning south coast where the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. The soft moonlight shines on the small harbour, which is lined by the red-tiled roofs of the old sea-front shops and houses. Small fishing boats rock gently back and forth as the waves lap against them. The meals eventually arrive- a collection of simple yet satisfying Latin-American-inspired dishes, lightly seasoned with local spices.

The following day, we decide to book a day trip. We are greeted by a friendly tour guide, and soon we are driving up a winding mountain path, passing vast areas of lush green forest. It feels as though we are dangerously close to the edge of the steep cliff, and the driver narrowly misses other cars as he turns round tight bends in the road. When we finally reach the top, we come to a large plantation. The island is known as the ‘spice island’ because it is the leading producer in spices such as nutmeg – which has even earned a place on the national flag. As we make our way down to the Seven Sisters waterfalls through the forest, the guide stops us every now and again to point out different natural spices such as mace and cinnamon. The bamboo that towers over us creaks and sways as the local wildlife moves around in the branches above. We stop when we notice a small, sociable moaner monkey perched on a branch, practically posing for us. Just as I take out my camera, the monkey is startled by a piercing screech coming from behind me. I turn around to find one of the girls from our group staring in horror at her mud-covered flip-flops (an interesting choice of footwear for a hike in the rainforest).

When we reach the waterfalls, we watch in awe as our tour guide climbs 20 feet and throws himself into the crystal clear pools of water below. I am only brave enough to attempt a belly flop from a smaller waterfall and feel refreshed by the cool water. I perch on a nearby rock and feel the mist from the waterfall spray my face. After a couple of hours relaxing back in my room, I join the other cabin crew for a meal at Aquarium. The restaurant is beautifully decorated with plants and water features to resemble a tropical garden, which fits in wonderfully against the backdrop of Grande Anse beach. I order the fresh jumbo shrimp fried in shredded coconut with a mild, smooth curry sauce that has just a hint of lime. The waiting staff are friendly and attentive, and, when the bill arrives, I am pleasantly surprised, as the food and location are both first-class.

The following morning, I am wishing I could stay longer, but will be checking out of the hotel in the afternoon. On my way to the beach, I watch as a crab scuttles across the path and I go for one last swim in the calm, turquoise sea. The seabed is dotted with starfish and sea urchins. I feel sleepy as I float and wait for the small waves to carry me back to the shore. I return to my hotel room and really start to feel the heat as I put on my polyester uniform. Back in the hotel lobby, I watch the palm trees outside swaying gently, and then take one last look around. I step reluctantly onto the minibus and head back to the airport where the plane is waiting to fly us home.

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