As I continue my seemingly-forever fight with this upper respiratory bug, my husband Tom is in the warm Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago. He escorted his elderly mother there so she can escape the cold northeast winter for a few weeks, but not before I extracted a promise from him to fully document his trip. Armed with my Canon S5 and a Magic Jack (let’s see how that works out—so far, it’s been troublesome), he vowed to be this blog’s first ever “foreign correspondent.”
After some internet difficulties down there, I finally began to receive his first missives and photos. And so I’d like to introduce you to my husband Tom, intrepid travel reporter, currently working on assignment (ha! I get to pretend he works for me!) in his home country of Trinidad and Tobago. I love how he simply refers to it as “the island.” (I, on the other hand, come from a country with over 7,000 islands, so I’m going to start referring to my home country as “the islands.” Just to remind him who’s got more.)
I’d just like to add one more thing before I turn this post over to him: next time, there’ll be no more leaving me behind. The temperature here this morning: 29 degrees. The temperature in Trinidad: 90 degrees. That’s just … that’s just wrong.
As with every trip, the anticipation is always overshadowed by all the necessary preparation that needs to be done. Packing, despite all the good-intentioned planning, always ends up being done at the last minute. While I’m pretty structured, making a list and everything, the list is only as good as my memory at the moment. Sometimes, out of nowhere, a thought pops into my head. If I don’t act on it then, it eventually escapes into the land of forgotten things. For example, the extension cord. Yes, I actually remembered to bring one, but only after remembering and forgetting several times. You need one here on the island, since there is only one outlet in the room where I’m staying, and I know beforehand that won’t be enough. Why? Because I have a laptop, a cell phone, a camera battery charger, and at least one other “thing” I need to plug in. (No worries, the “thing” is nothing more than a medical/prosthetic device that has to be recharged.)
The flight was good, especially for me since, being a frequent flier of this airline, they upgraded me to their first/business class cabin. How wonderful it was to be seated early and fussed over! “Would you like something to drink?” The words were music to my ears after the Fort Knox type of security checking that went on at the airport. My double Bloody Mary came quickly and with a smile, and I sat there relaxing while the other passengers filed in.
(Ivoryhut’s note: Yes, I can attest to the whole security ordeal for him. The “thing” he mentioned earlier always sets off the metal detectors. Which means he always gets a thorough inspection.)
We arrived at the Port of Spain airport at 6:00 a.m. I expected some grumpy attendants at the airport, but the process through immigration and customs was a breeze. No hassles, which was a pleasant surprise. My ride arrived and we headed to my sister’s house, where my mother will be staying. As we left the airport and headed out, the beauty of being on a Caribbean island came rushing at me. My eyes kept gazing from one side to the next, admiring the simple beauty of the not-so-structured landscape, houses, gardens, intersections—the whole lot. My one thought was that I just left New Jersey where the temperature was hovering near the freezing mark and here, it’s 7:00 a.m. and the a/c is on full blast in the car.
I asked the driver, a family friend named Rennie, if he would like something cold to drink. He said yes, so we stopped in a little shop where you can get the newspaper, candy, basic food supplies, cold drinks and an assortment of vegetabables and other things too many to count. I half-jokingly asked the young lady at the counter if I could get a cold bottle of the local brew, Carib beer, and without hesitation, she said yes. Ah, life in this island certainly is different.
So why are we living in New Jersey again?