Part of what made my summer more amazing than ever was reconnecting and spending time with my friends.
One of the friends I spent a lot of time with was my lovely friend Angie. She’s the pretty one on the left.
I almost went bananas when she invited me to take me on a four day, three night trip with her to Grenada. She would be going for work, and I would just be along for the ride…There was no way I could pass this up. My fear of flying would just have to deal.
The only issue with our trip was that we would have an eight hour layover in Trinidad. Angie asked if I would mind taking a tour during our layover. Would I mind?!?!?! What better way to spend the hours of a layover than to take a tour of a country neither one of us had ever been to before!!
This has absolutely nothing to do with our trip, but we had a Vanessa Williams sighting while we were at the airport. She was so much littler to me than she looks on TV and I couldn’t believe she was just walking around the airport as if she wasn’t famous. Standing in line next to us ordering her breakfast… I really tried not to look, but she is so pretty… I cast as many quick (I’m not staring at you) glances her way until she was out of my line of vision. So pretty…
Anyway, once we boarded the plane and were in-flight, I spent more energy trying to keep my mouth closed while I slept than worrying about the flight. And although I tried to watch the in-flight movie (Snow White and the Huntsman, which I really wanted to see), I couldn’t keep my eyes open.
We landed in Trinidad, Port of Spain around 1pm.
New York City was chilly and dreary when we left, but the weather in Trinidad was great! Sunny and in the nineties, just the way I like it!
Our tour guide, Errol, picked us up at the airport and gave us a tour of the city and financial areas before taking us up the winding roads that lead to the green, mountainous scenery. He asked if either of us suffered from car sickness because there were many, many tight twists and sharp turns on the skinny roads that took us up the mountain.
The views down from the mountain were absolutely stunning and the air smelled so delicious!
Errol was very patient with us, stopping to allow us to take pictures and sometimes forcing us to take pictures.
It was apparent the he loved his job and that he loved his country because he was eager for us to get the full experience by making sure we didn’t miss a thing and that we went home with the memories.
Towards the end of our trip up the mountain, Errol stopped at a little market that sold local Trinidadian preservatives and sweets.
This stop also offered a view of Maracas Beach where we were heading to have lunch.
On Maracas Beach, we had lunch at Natalie’s Famous Maracas Bay Bake & Shark.
Bake and Shark is a native Trinidadian dish that consists of deep fried shark."Bake" is kneaded flour that is fried to make the bread.
I was very, very leery of eating shark, but I was willing to try it. There were about eight toppings laid out which you were supposed to put on your sandwich, but I don’t like sweet with my fish so I almost didn’t put anything on my sandwich. I don’t like to divert from the way I normally do things, but Errol was having none of it! He spooned a dab of chopped mango, cilantro sauce and garlic sauce on my sandwich and then topped it off with pineapple slices and lettuce. I am so glad he forced me to be adventurous with my food, because that Bake & Shark was one of the best things I have ever eaten and it wouldn’t have tasted the same without all of the toppings. And the bread! OMG the bread! Fried and crunchy. So bad for you, but so good on the taste buds.
Note to self: When a local tells you how to eat something in their country, you listen!
After lunch, which turned out to be more like dinner, Errol gave Angie and I a chance to relax on the beach alone before heading back to the airport.
With our bellies full, and the sun beginning to set, the windy ride down the mountain was so relaxing it almost put us to sleep.
Although we were only in Trinidad for a few hours, it was a fantastic experience and if I ever go to Trinidad / Tobago again, I will definitely contact Errol. It was great that he gave us the local Trinidadian experience instead of a touristy one.
He spoke so fondly of all of the people he had given tours to and he had a notebook that he passed around to his tourists so that they could leave something for him to remember them by. We were no exception. Errol handed the notebook to Angie who passed it over to me saying, “You’re the writer.” And although I didn’t feel like I had that much to say, I managed to fill more than half the page.
We really wouldn’t have had the same experience if it wasn’t for Errol. We would have ended up staying in the city, having lunch at a hotel and we wouldn’t have seen the breathtaking sights he brought us to.
Errol Hassanali - (868) 797-0397
Taxi & Tour Guide
After hugging Errol goodbye and thanking him for the wonderful experience he gave us, Angie and I said farewell to Trinidad and headed into the airport to check in for our thirty minute, loud as hell, mini plane ride to Grenada.
The flight was supposed to take forty-five minutes, and after rolling her eyes at me, Angie talked me off the ledge by explaining why flights can sometimes be shorter than expected. Needless to say, we landed in Grenada just fine.
…To Be Continued.
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