For years, I have always wanted to participate in Trinidad Carnival but it was never a good time to do so. Either, I had other financial obligations, I was too busy at work, I did not have any days off – there was always a reason not to travel to Trinidad. Finally, the day was here when I was to leave the great white north and head down to the Islands in the Sun (Fantastic Friday!).
There was a heavy storm brewing on my departure date. I spent the day madly refreshing the webpage with the status for all flights leaving Toronto. As the day progressed, the storm grew worse and worse….flights started being cancelled. At first in a trickle and then in a flood. Everyone at the office kept on expressing their hope that my flight would not be cancelled. This only made me refresh the flight status page even more while trying to remain outwardly calm.
I left the office at 6pm. By this time the storm had really picking up. Knowing that lots of flights were delayed, we got our bags to head to the airport.
Normally, it would take ten seconds to a cab but on this day, it seemed that all cabs were full. Finally after standing in the snow for about 15 minutes, I managed to flag one down. Initially, the cab driver refused outright to drive us to the airport because he did not want to get caught in the storm on the highway. He finally agreed to get us to the airport on condition that we paid an CDN$80 flat rate. That’s about TT$490 for a one way trip to the airport.
After a surprisingly uneventful drive to the airport, we checked in, went through security and headed to our gate where we patiently waited to board.
The flight was via Guyana, so everyone by the gate was either flying to Guyana or heading to Trinidad for Carnival. There were a lot of families and groups of friends in the waiting area. The atmosphere was electric (Going home! Going to Carnival!) and yet a bit tense (Will the flight be cancelled? Delayed?).
I heard flights’ gates being changed over and over to accommodate late departures, cancelled flights and so on.
We were lucky, at 11:30 PM, we boarded the plane and were on our way to Port of Spain.
Humorously, there was a sign on the seat in front of us written in both English and Swahili. I wondered how many people on the flight (other than myself) spoke Swahili.
We arrived at Cheddi Jagan International Airport – Guyana early in the morning. I have to say that the Guyanese don’t care! The plane had barely touched down when about six people got up, one ran to the washroom, the other started taking their luggage out of the over head storage. A flight attendant noticed this as we were taxing on the runway and got really vexed. She was almost shouting into the PA that everyone should get back on their seats until the “Put on your seat belt sign” is switched off. She made this announcement three times before anyone complied. Like I said, Guyanese don’t care.
After spending an hour in Guyana, we were on our way again. After a short flight, we finally touched down at our intended destination, Port of Spain.
I’ll skip telling you about going through immigration and customs because it was uninteresting and uneventful though I did really enjoy duty free where we picked up Johnny Walker and Cafe Patron.
Total cost of trip at the end of Day 1 = CAD $1025.
Flight $790, Cab $80, Airport meal $25, Local Bmobile cheap cellphone with airtime $50, and Alcohol $80 (underestimate).
In my upcoming post I’ll write about my stay in Trinidad – including puncheon snow cones and how doubles ruined my first fete experience. More pictures and videos to come. Feel free to leave a comment or tweet with questions and comments.
Click here To view more photos from @SoulRebelTO’s trip to Trinidad : http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.500385203352499.1073741825.205129872878035&type=1&l=f137854dc5
@SoulRebelTO is not a Trini but he loves soca music, good rum, Stag and corn soup. You can follow @SoulRebelTO on Twitter