After a long day of tooling around the island of Grenada in a van, cutting corners too quickly and, as far as I was concerned, nearly nose-diving off of at least 20 different cliffs into the Caribbean Sea, we finally pulled over to a used-to-be airport. The dilapidated runway was beginning to overgrow in places and cows, fastened by rope to the terrain, chewed grass alongside the cement, looking at our stopped car with suspicion.
In any other place, this old airfield would slowly give in to the overtaking of nature and become the mix of pavement and plant so many other abandoned airports have become. But in Grenada, this runway is a place for routine drag racing. Community-approved and police-monitored, big boys (and one girl hailing from Trinidad, reportedly) shine up speedy cars and enroll in races that take place a handful of times a year. With a license to gun it all the way into the crashing sea at the end of the track, spectators are wowed by the thrills and flock to the races.
As bad luck would have it, a race date didn’t occur during our visit. Instead, I cautiously meandered through the cows’ field toward a long-gone airplane. Someone told me it was a gift from Cuba which leaves me asking some questions. Did Grenadians ever even use this plane from Cuba? Or was it immediately thrown out to rot? Did Cuba give Grenada a plane after it had crashed and dubbed it a gift? Maybe it was re-gifted from Russia?I don’t know. But I do know I’d grab some Caribs and fried breadfruit and climb up on that plane to catch the view were I in town during a race. Drinking, grilling, and watching engines explode: exactly what I hope to do the next time in Grenada.
By: Elizabeth Seward, Photos By: Ben Britz