Trials and Tribulations in Trinidad (Part 3)
Posted on: August 1, 2014
By about the sixth day of the world's worst tropical dream vacation, I was starving, hadn't slept or bathed since we'd left port, had permanently lost a small part of my dignity, and every inch my body was either sunburnt or covered in a fine film of sea salt. The novelty of sailing in the Carribean had worn off within the first 48 hours and the unrelenting presence of the three weird old dudes with whom I'd embarked on this journey was causing me to wonder how difficult it might be to stage an "accident" at sea. Perhaps even three "accidents".
The only thing stemming my homicidal urges was one of the few genuinely redeeming qualities of the trip - being able to see what the night sky looked like when there wasn't a single light on for 500 miles in every direction. A truly, unsarcastically, humbling and life-changing experience. One that was usually accompanied by the sound of Captain John's sleep farts wafting up through the rear hatch. I was ready to be off of that boat. Immediately.
Fortunately, we expected to reach Trinidad by the following morning and it seemed that at last the long nightmare was coming to an end. More imporantly, John was cooking up a frozen lasagna that he had been telling us about all week. It was to be our last-night celebration after enduring nearly a week aboard the boat of the damned. Appropriately, it was taking hours to cook because - shocker - the oven was a busted piece of shit just like everything else on that boat.
The smell was toturous. I was so, so unbelieveably hungry and just could not wait any longer. Of course, all throughout this period of endless anticipation I am picturing a lasagna with noodles, meat, cheese, red sauce, and so forth. A Real Lasagna made the way the good lord intended. When the moment of truth finally arrived, my bowels were aching with anticipation. The time was now. I had earned this. Come to me.
Moments later, John handed the first slice up through the galley hatch. It took a full ten seconds for my brain to process what I was seeing: a Spinach. Fucking. Lasagna. In an instant I had experienced all five phases of grief. I was gutted. Mortally wounded. My brain flashed to a scene from Planet of the Apes - "You maniac! What have you done!?" I took the plate from John, hands trembling just ever so slightly. The aroma had betrayed me. I did not know it was possible for a smell to change colors, but now all I could see were green cartoon stink lines. A smelly, nasty middle finger from the universe. John was a sadistic mother fucker.
I tried to choke down the vile concotion out of shear hunger and desperation and denial, but only managed about a quarter of it before surrendering. I spent the remainder of our final night on the boat dry-heaving over the side of the rear deck while being serenaded by sleep farts. Eventually I drifted off into a tortured slumber, the odor still hanging heavy in the air.
I awoke early the next morning broken, bleary-eyed, and just barely able to make out the thin strip of land looming on the horizon. It was over. "Prepare the sacrificial altar, we must celebrate!" Everything was going to be fine from then on out, right? Right?? Hold me and tell me so. Lie to me, baby.
It took us a number of hours to actually arrive in Trinidad. Most of the day, in fact. On our way there we were waylaid by three men in a small boat who were almost certainly Venezuelan pirates (seriously). Saul bravely tried to save us by using his pointer finger to pretend he had a gun in his pocket (seriously). Apparently it actually worked since they left us alone shortly thereafter. Brave is the man who enters into a firefight with the mighty Saul.
By the time we'd arrived at the island it was too late to check in with customs and immigration, so we anchored in the nearby Scottland Bay. At one point, John asked if I'd be swilling to swim to shore so that we could tie a rope to a tree on the beach if the need arose. I was willing to take any excuse to get off of the boat by then so I agreed. Later that night, we were all standing on deck looking out at the bay when suddenly a massive dorsal fin broke the surface of the water, thrashed around violently for a few seconds, then disappeared back into the darkness. "Whoa! Good thing you didn't get in the water before, huh?!" Haha, yeah! Imagine if that single, seemingly minor decision had resulted in my terrifying and agonizing death? Hilarious!
The next morning we went to check in with the customs office in Port of Spain and I was able to set foot on solid ground for the first time in nearly a week. We lied about arriving the day before due to the fact that what we did was apparently highly illegal! There was an iguana swimming in the shallow waters just outside of the office and, let me tell ya, that was pretty neat. We passed by a guy who had Spongebob Squarepants crudely painted on the side of his boat and then went and had beer and cheeseburgers. I was at peace. I was ready to be with Jesus.
The last five days of the trip consisted of me palling around with three completely out-of-touch old white guys on an island filled entirely with black, hispanic, and Indian people. My favorite game to play during this time was "pretend I don't know these guys while they ogle and make inappropriate comments about 14 year old black girls." There were no winners in that game.
At one point, Saul and I took a ferry to a city called San Fernando. A taxi driver told us it was a good place for tourists to visit. I'm pretty sure he just wanted to have a good chuckle over two white idiot Americans getting shanked in a straight-up slum. I swear I saw a pack of pregnant dogs hunt down and eat an old man. We were the only white people there and everywhere we went we were glared at menacingly. Ultimately, we got off the ferry, walked about three or four blocks, shit our pants, turned around, went back to the ferry station, and sat there for two hours waiting for the next boat to arrive. What a fun excursion!
All in all I can't really complain too much about that part of the trip. Aside from the staggering inequality, occasional abject poverty, and having to hang out with senior citizens (and no cheese anywhere on that damn island), Trinidad itself was actually pretty fun and interesting. Saul hunted for bargains, we ate some shockingly good pizza, and Marty finally started to shut the hell up. Saul and I went to see The Watchmen in an adorable and slightly creepy May-December man-date. We also got to spend a lot of time riding in "maxi-taxis" - an experience which consisted of crazy men driving around in vans with pimped out interiors tear-assing around the back roads of Trinidad. The local children liked to jump out in the middle of the road and pretend to throw rocks at any tourists dumb enough to have the windows rolled down.
Those five days flew by and, before I knew it, the dream had come to an end. On the plane ride home I got to sit next to three twenty-something girls who were talking about their amazing, fun, toilet-having spring break in Miami. We got back to JFK and I spent 40 minutes waiting for my bag to come down the conveyor. Eventually, I noticed that it had been quarantined or some other such horseshit off to the side. The fat-'n-sassy TSA lady told me that I couldn't take the bag because the name on the tag didn't exactly match the name on my ID, to which I responsded "THIS IS MINE I'M TAKING IT GOODBYE." Then I walked out without being tackled by homeland security. To this day, my proudest moment.Tweet