Friday, October 26, 2012

Summer 2012 – Trinidad

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.

~Louise C.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Summer 2012 - Fire Island

Dear fans and readers of Louise Cazley,

Please forgive me for not keeping up with my blog. I can't promise that I won’t disappear again for such an extended amount of time, but I'll try my best not to.

One of the reasons for my disappearance was because I was busy having an amazing summer. One of the best summer's I've had in a really long time. And I've also been busy reading books again (Fifty Shades of Grey and J.R. Ward's Vampire Lover Series...). Very serious reading as you can see. I hardly read at all while I was writing Undies in a Bunch and it feels really nice to be reading instead.

Anyway, on to the post...

In my blog post 'Summer's Coming' I detailed all I hoped to do with my summer. My summer really didn't kick off until July, but it ended up lasting longer and being much more than I’d hoped.

I absolutely love the beach; and although you have to get on a plane to get to the best beaches, I decided to try visiting a beach I'd never been to, being that I was trying to keep it local and inexpensive.

My first stop was to Cherry Grove on Fire Island. Although I would be staying the night with my Edward Lover, my posse joined me for the day.

The only downside to Fire Island is that if you are looking for a place to rent, you have to start early, as in before the summer season begins. Otherwise you won't be able to find anything to rent and if you do it will cost you.

Fortunately I found a place (Dune Point) and rented a one bedroom apartment with an ocean view. Unfortunately that shit was expensive, but it was totally worth it.

The beach area, near where the ferry docked, was very crowded, but the beach area near our rental was less crowded and very peaceful. The rental was so cozy and had direct access to the beach and the ocean view was amazing.

Having a friend on the scene volunteer to be our chef for the evening was awesome because we didn’t have to worry about spending a huge amount of loot at a restaurant. Instead we had a nice Sunday dinner on the deck, facing the ocean, then went out for drinks and watched the sun set by the ferry dock.

We had a few interesting sightings. There were deer grazing on the beach, a parrot next door who repeated ‘Hey Momma’ over and over again and lots of naked people. Because we were on the gay side of the island, everyone was more laid back and free with themselves, so I saw a lot of penises… which was interesting, but wouldn't stop me from going back. Everything was too perfect for me to be turned off by a little nudity. The rental was way too nice and convenient, the beach was so relaxing and you can’t beat waking up to the sound of the ocean in the morning.

The next day Edward and I took a water taxi over to Ocean Beach.

This side of the island was so adorable and quaint to me. Ocean Beach is more of a family oriented town and I see myself making multiple trips when I have my own family.

I had a Groupon for the Clegg’s Hotel which was where we stayed that night. I was a little scared to stay at this hotel after reading some of the reviews, but because I knew some of what to expect my experience wasn’t bad at all.

The location was great! Less than a minute’s walk from the ferry and right in the middle of all of the bars, restaurants and shops. It was about a ten minute walk from the hotel to the beach, but it was a relaxing, scenic walk.

What scared me about the hotel was that there were no bathrooms in the rooms. There were four bathrooms which were shared by all of the hotel guests, but the bathrooms were so much cleaner than I expected. I guess it depends on how everyone cleans up after themselves and everyone was pretty clean.

Breakfast was served around 9am so not having to go to a restaurant for breakfast was a plus.
Some people don’t need television when they are on vacation; I am not one of those people. I like background noise before I go to sleep. This hotel didn’t have televisions in their rooms, but they provided free wifi. Honestly, with the beach, the restaurants and each other, we really didn’t need the television. Hanky panky is so much more entertaining…. Just saying.

All in all, I had a wonderful time and I hope that we can make Fire Island yearly vacation tradition. I can’t wait to go back to both sides of the island, only next time, I hope to lock down a rental on Ocean Beach so that we can stay more comfortably and for a longer amount of time.

Man, when I win the lottery, I am so buying me a beach house.

~Louise C.

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