Monday, September 18, 2006
The islands of Trinidad and Tobago form one nation but until last week we had only been in the first. Tobago is out of the mainstream of other Caribbean Islands. The furthest east and only 116 sq. miles, with a population of only 47, 000 persons, it has changed hands more times than any other Caribbean island - between Dutch, English, Courlanders (now part of Latvia), and French. The count is sometimes 24 times, sometimes as high as 31. Along with Trinidad, it once was part of the South American continent. We took the fast ferry over, a huge jet catamaran that takes 2. 5 hours. The trip along the north coast of Trinidad was lovely. Eighteen of us, nine couples, traveled together over and back. We played dominos and talked both ways. On the way over a bomb scare delayed us a few hours, unfortunately spent out in the hot noon day sun.
Scott and I were going to visit our friends Ed and Linda from "Dreamtime" who were staying in a condo at the South Point Beach Club, a RCI timeshare resort. The others were all staying on the other side of the island at Speyside. We rented a car for the four days and managed to see most of the island. It is very mountainous and the center portion contains a rainforest that has been protected since 1765. Lovely and in most cases undeveloped beaches line the coast. The road is full of hairpin turns and is often very narrow and full of potholes. The four of us hired a guide, Renson Jack, a former forest warden, for a day. He took us into the rainforest for a two hour hike and pointed out all the flora, fauna, birds and animals. He gave us a good overview of the history and politics of the island. He is a environmentalist and very discouraged with the cavilier attitude of his government. Still this is a out of the way island and has been much less invaded by rich tourists and businesspeople. We also hiked into Argyle Falls with three tiers of cascades.
Scott was able to go out for two dives near our resort. The weather wasn't perfect but he really wanted to practice his newly learned skills. We all hung out at the pool, beach and generally relaxed. One night the resort had a limbo competition - really a performance with flaming torches and limbo pole. Linda and I were the performer's "assistants". When I went to try the limbo, the pole was still scorching hot and I wasn't limber enough. I now have a four inch long burn on my chest as a memento.
We enjoyed this visit so much we may try to get back there one more time before we leave to head north. Meanwhile it's back to supervising workers, stripping and varnishing - and bridge, dominos and of course, too much eating and drinking.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Weeks ago I and seventeen other cruiser women signed up to participate in a Trinidad Tobago Breast Cancer Awareness Walk/Run on September 9 in downtown Port of Spain. This was a 5K course around the historic Queens Park area and over 4, 000 women took part. We gathered at the start in a huge athletic field and did some preliminary exercise/stretches. The race began at 4 PM after the worst heat of the day but there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the sun was still very hot. We all drank several bottles of water before even starting and refueled at water stops along the way. There were several starting locations for independent entries, corporate entries and mother/daughter teams but it was still really crowded for the first five minutes. I started off with one women but became separated after a while and walked/jogged alone. What a wonderful feeling to be among so many women, all gathered in a great cause, many of whom were survivors themselves. The route was very scenic and at least half the time in the shade of trees so the time passed very quickly. My final time was 46 minutes - not too bad as I haven't been doing a lot of walking here. All of our friends finished the race, one in 36 minutes (and one in 70 minutes) and everyone was excited and feeling fine. Various sponsers handed out feebies at the end, the yougurt, cookies and cold drinks were particularily welcome. Scott, the only man to come along, took pictures of us all and cheered us on. The local news station filmed interviews with Scott and Diane from "Cloud Nine" who organized the group and is a 11 year survivor herself. Both interviews were featured on the evening local news. It was a memorable event!