I had a hard time deciding where I wanted to celebrate my 30th birthday. Time was winding down, and I did not have long to decide. I really wanted to visit Brussels, but they had just been the center of attack one month prior, so that was out of the question…temporarily. Since visiting Curacao last year, I felt compelled to visit every island that constituted the “ABC Islands”- Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. I searched flights to Aruba, and they were around $500. I just could not bring myself to pay more than $250 for a flight to the Caribbean when I paid $211 for a 14-hour flight to the Middle East. Yes, I understand that that was a glitch fare, but still… I researched other countries and came across Trinidad and Tobago. The flight was $260, $10 more than what I said I was willing to pay, but it was cool. You only turn 30 once. Trinidad was it. This is where I would celebrate a new chapter.
Trinidad was a beautiful country with its colorful buildings and lush landscape. We stayed at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre. What was so unique about this property was its location; the hotel was actually built into a mountain. This was not the only interesting feature. Most hotel lobbies are below the guest rooms, but the Hilton lobby was actually above the guest rooms; we had to descend to access our rooms. Note: my friend knows someone who works for the Hilton so our rooms were only $75/night!!! After we got settled, we celebrated my birthday at Veni Mange. I highly recommend this restaurant!! The food was delectable and the owner was very welcoming. We chose a table that was situated right beside a window and enjoyed the cool breezes and calypso and soca sounds coming from the street.
The next day, we headed to Maracas Beach. It was about an hour drive up the mountains from our hotel. If I told you that I was not nervous, I’d be lying. The roads were very narrow and the curves were very sharp, so sharp that whatever was approaching us was not visible. Any time we’d encounter one of these sharp curves, our driver would blow the horn to notify any oncoming drivers of our presence. Half way up the mountain, our driver stopped at the Maracas Bay overlook so we could take pictures. As soon as we arrived at the actual beach, we headed over to Richard’s so we could try bake and shark. Shark actually isn’t bad at all. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it was good. Several different toppings were available to prepare the sandwich to your liking. We decided to take a quick dip in the water before it got dark. One thing I did notice was someone urinating in the water…the water that we were standing in!!! The water that I’m glad I did not fully submerge myself in!! Apparently, there was a fee to use the restroom, and this particular person refused to pay. I would have slid the man a dollar or two if it was that serious!
Since we had not explored much, we paid a driver to give us a tour of Port-of-Spain. Before we headed out, we grabbed a bite to eat at The Original Breakfast Shed. The shed was similar to a food court in that it offered several different meal options. Now, on to the tour. Near Queen’s Park stands seven fascinating buildings, all of which contribute a portion to T&T’s history. They are known as The Magnificent Seven and were constructed as early as 1900. The Magnificent Seven consists of Queen’s Royal College, Hayes Court, Ambard’s House, Mille Fleurs, The Archbishop House, Whitehall, and Stollmeyer’s Castle. Unfortunately, not all of the buildings were visible because some were under construction. After providing us with a history lesson on The Magnificent Seven, we headed up the mountain to Ft. George. As we ascended up the mountain, my ears began to pop. We were at an even higher altitude once we reached the fort than we were at Maracas Beach. Not only did we learn more about T&T’s history, but the vantage point gave us a stunning view of Port-of-Spain. The drive down the mountain from Ft. George was nerve-racking, and it was raining!! By the time we reached the bottom, I’m sure our driver had worn the brakes out. Lol. That night, we mingled with the locals downtown and tried some of the homemade ice cream from a street vendor.
I thought about leaving this part out, but how can I share my experience if I exclude certain parts? Sigh. Here goes. On the morning that my flight was scheduled to leave, I encountered an ummm…road bump. Apparently something I ate did not agree with my stomach and had me running like a track star!! My flight didn’t leave for several hours and I was running every 30 minutes. I made it to the airport safely and checked with all of the stores. No one had anything to relieve my symptoms. I have never been more afraid on a plane in my life. It was so unpredictable. I didn’t know when it would send me running. I had never used the restroom on a plane before, and this was not that type of party. I envisioned me leaving the restroom and getting disgusting looks from the passengers seated at the rear of the plane. Lawd, please help me get through this flight! No Ms. Flight Attendant, I want nothing you have to offer. One sip or one bite might send me into a frenzy! I didn’t even contract traveler’s diarrhea in Mexico, but it sure hit me in Trinidad. It lasted for days!! Talk about going out with a bang. Moral of the story, pack a first aid kit that contains medicine for incidents such as these!!
There was one item on my to-do list that I was unable to accomplish. I wanted to visit Tobago. When I conducted research, I read that flights could be purchased at the airport. Ok, cool. Bad decision. All of the flights were sold out. Another option was a boat ride but I don’t fare well on boats, and that would have taken a total of four hours!!! Whenever I do make my way back, Tobago will be at the top of my list and my flight will be purchased in advance!!!!