Letters to my sons.

Trying to explain the world to two very small children.

Trinidad Holiday

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Dear Son,

we have just returned from Trinidad after your first visit for carnival. You are too young for Carnival at the moment but you did have time for some noticeable firsts:

  • First trip to Tobago
  • Sang calypso
  • Took the skin off your knees
  • You felt the effects of an earthquake
  • You went into the sea
  • Ate shark
  • Stepped on a scorpion

This was your very first visit to Tobago. In the past we have always flown directly into Piarco International but this time we flew with BA into Tobago mainly because it was a lot cheaper. Your mother and I have made the hop from Trinidad to Tobago for a few days R & R in the past but this is the first time we have flown directly to Tobago.

We were all still on English time when we arrived in Tobago from London so had an “early night” – 7.30pm Tobago time, 11.30pm English time. You woke up at 4am Tobago time and we spent the next hour walking around the hotel grounds. We then got you in the shower and dressed. But it was only 6am so we had another run around the hotel grounds until around 7am when we got a lift to Crown Point and went to the Crown Point Hotel for breakfast. We arrived a good twenty minutes before breakfast started at 7.30am so we took in the view of Store Bay beach and the Caribbean Sea before a lovely breakfast.

The restaurant at Crown Point Airport has always served really nice food when we have been to Tobago in the past so we thought we would take our bags and go there for lunch before getting the shuttle to Piarco. When we tried to check in we were told that we were too early but they would try and get us on a much earlier flight – all we had to do was pop back in 40 minutes and if there was space we would be on. So we trooped off to the eatery opposite with our bags and ordered some food. You weren’t too hungry but you did drink your drink which seemed to consist entirely of sugar and colourings, it was only went you started to go mental that your mother tasted the “fruit” drink she ordered for you. But it was too late – you were all sugared up!

The food wasn’t up to much so I went to check to see if we could get on the next flight. I checked the three of us in while you and your mother were still eating – or in your case getting more and more hyper. When we went through security the guards made us take our laptops out of our bags, as we did this you ran off to cause havoc in the departure lounge – “bacchanal” is the word they use in Trinidad. When we managed to clear security you were running back and forth, still high on the effects of the sugar. We let you run around to get it out of your system before we got on the shuttle and this seemed to have worked.

When we got into Trinidad we picked up the hire car and decided to wait in Port of Spain to avoid the evening traffic. A quick recap of the times when I have shivered in Trinidad:

  1. J’Ouvert in Arouca 2002. 4am and it started to rain
  2. The Kapoc hotel in Port of Spain when I set the air conditioning was set to a very low temperature
  3. On Caroni swamp when we were moving very quickly on a mass of water after sunset

So we went to a restaurant in Movie Towne where the air conditioning was far too high. The three of us had to cuddle up to keep warm, I was close to setting fire to a menu to keep warm. The food was excellent but it was far too cold – I don’t travel to a hot country to shiver. So now I have shivered 4 times in a tropical country. You enjoyed being cuddled mind as me and your mother kept warm.

We left Movie Towne and managed to get stuck in traffic on the way to Arouca but arrived at Maraj Street in time for the Soca Monarch competition. Although you were in bed before the competition started, there was a party in the back garden as we watched the various artists performed on a big screen and consumed alcohol. The song I thought I would win was Crazy’s “Cold Sweat” and I have been singing the chorus for a while. You have recently been singing songs such as “Twinkle twinkle little star”, “Row, row, row your boat” and “Meunier, tu dors” so picking up on my rendition of “Cold Sweat” didn’t take you long. So now you are singing calypso much to the amusement of those in the know.

After settling in at Maraj Street you were able to run around in nothing more than a vest, with the cold weather in the UK you have always walked around in long trousers. So with you falling over every now and then, it was no surprise that you would take the skin off one if not both your knees. For some reason you managed to keep taking skin off your right knee. Just as it was starting to heal you would fall over again and take the scab off it. We eventually put a massive plaster over it and changed the plaster when you fell over.

The earthquake we felt was reported by The University of the West Indies Seismic Research Unit as:

February 23, 2007
At approximately 10:48am local time an earthquake occurred near Port of Spain, Trinidad at 10.61°N 61.48°W. The preliminary magnitude for this event is 4.7 and the depth was 41km. The event was felt in Arima, Cunupia, San Fernando, Point Lisas in Trinidad as well as Tobago and Upper Hopewell, St. Vincent. There has been at least one small aftershock since the earthquake occurred.

We certainly felt the shock on Maraj Street in Arouca. I had just changed your nappy and picked you up off the bed when I heard a loud bang and the whole room shook. I thought at first that I might be having a dizzy spell as the heat, lack of sleep and time difference were getting to me. The thing was, the whole room wobbled. The walls rippled and it was very odd. When we went downstairs the rest of the family confirmed that yes, there had been an earth quake and it wasn’t me.

You have been to Southend but you have never been into the sea proper. We went with Uncle Wayne and Aunty Helen to Maracas Bay for the afternoon on the same day as the earthquake where you experienced the sea, the Caribbean Sea, for the very first time. You were a little frightened of the waves coming in and out and weren’t happy when the water, although only a centimeter deep, washed over your feet. You cried out and made a run for land.

You did make a friend on the beach when you had got used to the sand and started wandering around. In a very romantic gesture you pointed up at the sky and said “moon”, and you were correct – the moon was out and overhead even though the sun was still beating down. The little girl you were talking too was not impressed – but you’ll find that in life.

There was a pelican flying over the beach and diving into the water to catch a fish or two. It had white markings on it’s head which made it look like it was wearing on old fashioned crash helmet to protect its head when it hit the water. It wasn’t the only bird I was watching on the beach but I was with your mother so I had to be discrete!

After we had finished Carnival we hopped back to Tobago for a few days R & R. The first full day we were there we went to Store Bay beach for the day. Your mother had shark for her lunch and you tried some, enjoyed it and ate some more.

On the last morning there you were playing near the bed when you moved some shoes and a scorpion came out and with bear feet, you stood on it. Luckily it didn’t bite or sting you or any one else. We vacated the room at speed and when we came back in it was no where to be found. We thought that it must have shuffled off somewhere. What worried me was that none of us had checked inside our shoes before putting them on each morning – scorpions like hiding in dark places and shoes and boots are a particular favourite. I checked my shoes and did a reccie of the room but no scorpion was wandering around. I did notice what looked like some fluff against the wall which them moved and morphed into a scorpion – I stuck a glass on it and it was then sprayed with insecticide before being removed. The hotel owner had never seen a scorpion in Tobago and hopefully we will never see one again.

I think we all had a good holiday although we are not sure when we will be going again.

P.S. We spent the night before we flew out in your God Fathers house as he lives a couple of minutes drive from Gatwick. During the night you said in your sleep “Toon Toon” and your mother, also talking in her sleep, replied “Black and White Army”. Priceless.

Written by Administrator

March 8th, 2007 at 9:13 pm

Posted in Family,Memories

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