I'm back from Tobago.
This in itself is quite a tragedy. I will save the purple passages for the travel feature I'm writing on it (it wasn't a freebie like Malaysia but I want to store up some credit with the travel ed for when I pitch him my plan to blag a honeymoon and do a feature on it) so I will give you the expurgated version.
Tobago rocks. You know you go on holiday to relax? But with having to worry about catching transport, getting to places, making sure no-one nicks your stuff and all that kerfuffle you have to think about you hardly ever end up actually relaxing? Well, in Tobago I rested. And relaxed. And chilled out. And slept through the night, waking up refreshed, at a reasonable hour and not tired EVERY day.
In Tobago, chilling out and doing nothing is so much a way of life, they even have a word for it - liming (begs the question, where does the word come from - are you supposed to be standing around doing nothing like a lime?)
I've never before been somewhere I have been so much in the ethnic minority - off season, and away from the resorts, there were times when we were the only white faces in a crowd. And you get a LOT of attention being a white woman - but not once did I feel threatened. They just wanted you to come lime with them. And maybe, if you're lucky, do a bit of wining too (err, erotic hip swinging dancing - also a Tobagonian way of life).
It's not like Thailand, or Egypt, or Greece, or any of the myriad destinations I've been where people are constantly trying to sell you stuff. No, when people stop to chat, or try and hitch with you (when you've got two white women at the wheel, a common occurence) it's purely friendly. We got invited to have some chicken at some guy's grandma's birthday. When the roti shop we got to had run out of food, the owner called up her sister who promptly appeared with some roti - then drove off towards the waterfall we were seeking with us following.
There were so many bizarre events I'm not going to describe them all, but here's a flavour: coming round a corner to find an entire section of road missing; screeching to a halt for a log in the road - which turned out to be a two metre python slithering lazily across the road in the rain; catching our boat driver having a not at all sneaky ENORMOUS spliff to add to the many bottles of beer he had consumed, before getting back behind the wheel; abandoning a car at a petrol station because it, and the filling station, were out of gas and there would be no delivery until the next day; being silently presented with two pieces of tissue when we walked into a restaurant dripping with monsoon rain; driving up an incredibly hairy cliff path with a sheer drop on one side in search of a beach only to have to reverse half the way back down again to a passing point and execute an 103 point turn because there was nowhere to park at the top; running into a group of men and hounds in the middle of the rainforest - when we asked what they were hunting, being told "armadillos".
I want to go back. After my ridiculous health issues before I went (I was sent home from work several times the two weeks before we left for being dizzy, light-headed and on one occasion, inappropriately tearful) it was exactly what I needed. I never imagined the Carribbean could be that good.
And now, in Oxford, it's raining and I've got a council meeting tomorrow eve. Whoop.
Pix to come (picking them up tomorrow).