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Goodbye from the Caribbean

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                                                                                 Caribbean Map


Martinique

 

 

 

12/24/04:
The temperature in our 20-feet container rises to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit as Emil lashes carefully our LandCruiser, after he has placed our two spare wheels in the front as an additional security measure. Then, we seal the door and wish “our best partner” a safe sea-journey to Georgetown in Guyana. We walk back to the shopping streets of Philipsburg, which are lovely decorated and teeming with life on this Christmas Eve day. By now, we know them almost as our own pocket. There is hardly a shop, a kiosk, a souvenir stand, a corner – we dare to say hardly any stone which is not familiar to us, as we spent totally 133 days during our four stopovers on this tiny island.

 

 
On the other hand, our LandCruiser and we became a familiar sight to the locals too. We were so well known that we got already included in the sight seeing program of Duck-Island-Tours. When they arrived with their amphibian truck at Kim Sha Beach - where we mostly spent lunch time - they explained the surroundings to their guests before they drove and dived into the crystal clear water. Then the guide was pointing towards us and we heard him say …..and this car has been driving around the world since 20 years and has already been in 150 different countries etc, etc.….. Everybody was turning its head towards us and waved. It was really amusing. Less amusing is that exactly at 8pm on Christmas Eve our IBM Laptop says “good-by” and goes to the angels! It crashed after over 5 years of pretty heavy use. Our mood to celebrate Christmas is gone immediately.

Sint Maarten
Netherlands Antilles

 

 


Grenada

12/25/04:
The computer crash stays in our mind the whole night. At dawn, Emil comes up with the idea that we should try to get access through our agent to our container again. He has a little hope that our laptop could be restarted with the “Rebooting”-Floppy. But it is left in the car, and now is Christmas! We have still a little chance to catch somebody from our agency, as Maduro is also dealing with the Cruise Ships, and some while ago one just docked in the harbor. And we are lucky. At 10am Cyril shows up. First, he shakes his head, as we ask him to let us have the phone number of Mark, who was dealing with us. “It is Christmas, I cannot disturb him”, he argues. But finally we can persuade him. We reach Marc at 11am and luckily, his reaction is positive as he wants to help us. He asks Cyril to assist us to get access into the port. But it is not at all an easy task to convince the two security guys at the gate that we are firstly going to break the seal of a container and secondly get stuff out of a car. But finally they cooperate. To make things short: It was not worth the efforts. Our laptop could not be revived anymore.

 
Another sad moment - saying good-bye to our adopted sweet cat on the Toyota premises - happened already in the early morning hours. It was not easy because we got very attached to her. And she was pregnant and we would have loved to see her kittens. But these are the “down sides” of our nomadic life! At lunch time, we are sitting on the veranda of Marietta and Han’s lovely house and are enjoying a hot coffee, Christmas pie, cheese, ham and egg cocktails. It was long, long ago, when we met them the first time. It was 1986 on a campsite South of Valparaiso on Chile’s sea coast. The Dutch couple was touring South America with their Mitsubishi and a roof tent. Unfortunately, we lost contact.


Dominica


Anguilla

 
 
And now, 18 years later, we have met again on Sint Maarten - their new home country - thanks to the very special look of our blue LandCruiser, which Han spotted on Kim Sha Beach – what a beautiful surprise! Of course, together with their pictures we had many memories to share. Early afternoon, we are very grateful that Marietta and Han drive us to the airport. At the counter of BWIA West Indies Airways – called simply Bee-Wee - only a few passengers hang around. Very soon we find out the reason: Today’s flight to Guyana via Barbados is cancelled; the next one will leave tomorrow at noon via Trinidad. Our ticket has to be rerouted what takes one and half an hour. At least, Bee-Wee put us into a clean small hotel, the “Carl’s Unique Inn”, for the coming night. We enjoy every moment of it.

 

 
12/26/04:
At 8am a small breakfast buffet is ready, and at noon a sweet and sour lunch from a Chinese catering is served. Then we get the message that the flight is postponed to 11pm. At 8pm a taxi drives us to the airport and afterwards it is waiting and waiting again, until 2.30am the next morning, in a freezing departure hall without any possibility to buy a drink or something to eat. As the aircraft finally takes off in the darkness of the night and the many lights of Sint Maarten disappear, we already know that the Caribbean world we had come to know so well and love so much, will always keep a very special place in our hearts in many ways. Twenty months ago, these islands meant nothing else for us than little dots on the American map, and now they became an acquainted world, a beautiful world with unique people, new friends, bright colors and countless experiences, which we will never forget.


St. John
US Virgin Islands


St. Vincent

 

 

12/27/04:
At 3.30am we are landing at the airport of Bridgetown in Barbados. The captain informs us that he has to refuel but that no responsible person is around, what means waiting again. Finally, at 5.15am we take off to our next destination – Trinidad. Arrival is at 6am. There we have to disembark. We get a voucher for breakfast, the only serving during the whole flight. Departure to Guyana is announced for 8.35am, but then changed again to 11.40am when we finally leave. I am sitting next to a middle aged American missionary who is talking nonstop in a soft, but persistence voice to her other neighbor, an “Afro-Barbadian” and I am wondering if her efforts are falling on fertile soil.

 

 

St. Lucia
 

As we finally are landing shortly after 1pm in the bright afternoon sun at the airport of Timehri in Guyana - the small country in the Northeast Corner of the South American Continent - we are already longing for exploring its colonial richness, the mysteries of the virgin rain forest and the vast plains of the Rupununi savannah again.

Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago