First Class Service that Wasn’t (Part 1 of 2)

So, for my recent trip to Trini carnival, I decided to do a package based on a friend’s recommendation.  Now, I am not throwing my friend under the bus or anything, but I will say that this group/service, which purportedly brings the vibes wherever they go, was full of crap.  I am not turn-up Tammy or Wine down Wendy by no stretch of the imagination, but I also am not stush Stacey.  I am more liker Responsible Rachel who knows her limits, but still will bruk out and buss a wine when her chune comes on.  That said, I was looking forward to this season for carnival because it was to be my 2nd and last trip.  So, I planned to turn it out a little.

Prior to the trip, there was periodic email conversation with one of the two owners of the group.  She would post updates on what had been paid, request that we check our email and respond in a timely message to notifications and just prepare ourselves for this awesome experience we would have.  Why?  Because they bring the vibes.  One thing the group leader kept stressing is that you will be left if you were not on time when the transportation was ready to depart for the fêtes and things.  I was happy to see this because it showed me they were about their business and despise being late.  No one pays 2-3 mortgage notes to be late to events and have a sappy time on vacation.  Especially when they can use that same money to fund 4 other vacations.

Of course, anyone who knows anything about carnival know that Carnival Monday and Tuesday are the big draw; however, the fêtes are what a lot of people truly look forward to because that is when you get to dine on local cuisine (think doubles, bake and shark, and corn soup), see some of the major soca players and enjoy the wotless behavior of others.  So, naturally people were asking questions about which fêtes we were going to so that they can plan their schedules (and attire yes, it’s that deep).  Unfortunately, she could not release a full itinerary to us for quite a time because she was waiting to have all tickets in hand.  That’s understandable.  But of course, it would be nice to have an idea of what you are shooting for so that people can arrange for tickets to some of the other fêtes that may not have been included.

So, January 2015 rolls around.  One month and some change until blast off and we get the schedule and list of fêtes.  Most of the most popular are on there.  What is different from most groups is that this one goes to Tobago (sister island to Trinidad) on Saturday vice Wednesday like other groups.  So, prior to the schedule release, I actually purchased a ticket for a different boat ride than the group was slated to go to on carnival friday morning.  I also purchased a ticket to a fête right after the boat ride on friday afternoon and two group limes on Saturday and Sunday evenings.  Other than that, I was good to go with the rest of their offerings.  After the schedule was released all I needed to do was make it to 11 February 2015.

So moment of truth finally arrived.  The pre-carnival festivities actually started with a small group lime at gate in the MIA airport, complete with soca and liquid vibes.  Hey, we complied with the TSA 3-1-1 rules… Tee Hee!  A little under four hours and we were in Trinidad.  It was late when we arrived and the immigration line was really long, but once I retrieved my bag and headed outside to meet the driver, the vibes were in full pump.  There was a dj blasting soca, people drinking and dancing and happy faces all around.  I was tired, but excited for what was about to take place over the next 7 days.

Our first fête is on Thursday afternoon at 2p.m. and the schedule time to depart the hotel is 3p.m.  Hmmm?  Why are we leaving an hour later, especially when we are going to have to contend with traffic?  Of course I am annoyed, but let’s just go along for the ride.  We arrive at the fête, which is well underway of course, and immediately run to the food.  I hadn’t eaten anything since the plane ride and food in first class simply isn’t first class.  The lines were kinda long, but the food was good.  Grabbed a couple of drinks and headed straight to front to wine a bit.  The group we traveled with hung out at the back of the event… no vibes like in the front of the stage.  Party done around 8ish (or maybe 10ish, not sure because I was on cloud 9) and we headed down the hill to meet our ride.  One fête down, 5 more to go.  Can’t wait until tomorrow because that is where I get to let my hair down a bit and enjoy the wickedest boat ride and Phuket up a bit.

Carnival Friday is here and…. to be continued in part two.

Sick in Foreign Land

Never in all of my travels have I ever gotten ill.  I mean, I may have had the bubble guts from enjoying too much of a really great cuisine, but I have never been down in the dumps sick.  However, my last adventure definitely was a first in that category for me.  Before I departed for my time of one week in the sun, I carefully package my bags with aspirin, ear plugs, heating pads, soap, lotion and some Theraflu among other things.  However, at the last minute, I decided to take the Theraflu out.  After all, I was going to be in 90 degree weather.  There was NO way possible that I could ever get sick.  Right?

Well, I should have stuck to my guns and gone with my gut.  The worse that could have happen was that I bring the packs of Theraflu back to the states and save them for a stateside day.  But, I second guessed and that ended up being my downfall.  The rainbow part of this story is that I didn’t get sick until a day and a half before I left.  So, by that time, I had already basked in the sun, fêted until my heart could fête no more, eaten mounds of corn soup and doubles and drank until my liver cussed me in silence.

So, how was it that I ended up sick?  Well, unfortunately, when you are in close quarters with someone who is hacking and coughing, you may want to exit the room.  But, I stayed there to rest.  And next thing I know, my nose is running.  Then my throat is hurting.  Next I am coughing up a storm.  Now, on top of all of this, my voice was already shot from singing, laughing and screaming to the top of my lungs, so I sounded like Wolfman Jack and could barely speak.  This was actually an improvement because three days before I returned to the states, I could only whisper (the soca whisperer- LOL).

So, here we are.  Over a week later and I am still dealing with the remnants of germgate.  The weekend after my return, I could barely make it from the couch to my bedroom upstairs.  And, almost didn’t shower because I was so weak.  Orange juice, water, kleenex, Theraflu and zinc tablets have become my new besties this past week.  The amount of phlegm that I have coughed up, and the fact that I really don’t have an appetite, should have at least helped me shed 5lbs.  But, thanks to God, I am on the rebound.

No longer is my nose running like a broken faucet or the town gossiper, just a little drip here and there.  The green slime (phlegm) has pretty much dissipated and I was able to start consuming soup.  The aches and pains are one and I, prayerfully, will be 100% by the weekend.  However, I learned a valuable lesson.  Intuition is there for a reason.  Listen to it. I will not have to worry about being in close quarters with anyone for a lengthy stay again; however, that doesn’t guarantee that I will not run into someone’s germs along the way.

So from now on, I will pack cold and flu meds, no matter what the season… just in case.