From the Caribbean to Western Cape province

Published: January 27th 2015
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Tobago, West Indies the Journey begins here.

Located at the southern end of the Caribbean island chain, part of the English speaking West Indies. The two island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.

The beach at Lambeau village The beach at Lambeau village The beach at Lambeau village

Very typical of Tobago - quiet with no crowds - this is Little Rockley bay on the Atlantic coast, near Scarborough, the capital of the island of Tobago.

Fourteen days to go....

I haven't been this excited for quite some time... and it's not just because I will soon be travelling. I have done that for years and always loved doing it. This time it's because I'm going somewhere I never dreamed I'd visit - to the African continent.

Now, here I am on the threshold - soon to be climbing the steps to board the aircraft. Wow!!

How did this happen? Simple. My sister has a long time Uni friend from the UK who now lives in the Western Cape. Her name is Alison. She visited us at home in the Caribbean last year and now we will visit her in Africa. And just like that, in a snap, I'm about to visit where I'd never imagined going.

My tiny peaceful island neighbourhood in Tobago will soon be exchanged for a rugged and exciting African landscape.

One of the amazing things I've noticed since deciding to make the journey is just how many people I know personally, friends and family from the island, who have already visited South Africa. I'm sure in the last three months, I personally met a dozen
Flowering yellow poui and flambouyant treesFlowering yellow poui and flambouyant treesFlowering yellow poui and flambouyant trees

Heralding the end of the dry season months, in May the brilliantly coloured yellow poui, the red flambouyant or poincianna, the pink poui and other blossoms line the island's only Highway.
people who have been there. Who'd have thought the world is really that small! And without a single exception they have told me how beautiful and exciting a country it is. I can hardly wait for my turn 😊

For the time being then, here are some images of the life I will be leaving behind in the West Indies. Tobago is situated at 11.9 N and 60.40 W far down at the southern tip of the chain of islands - we are both in "the West Indies" - meaning the English speaking Caribbean islands AND we are in "the Caribbean" - meaning the entire archipelago which frames the Caribbean Sea. Some islands speak Spanish, others Dutch or Papiamento, some speak French (Patois). Tobago is English speaking, loosely! We also speak "Tobago talk" but that's another story.

Quick facts - the population size hovers continually around 55,000 most of whom live on the south eastern end. The main town is Scarborough with about 15,000 pop. Over 95%!o(MISSING)f the pop. (say: Tobaygo-nee-ans) are descendents of enslaved West Africans brought during the brutal sugar cane plantation era C16-19th. Physically the island has a reclining elongated shape of 300 sq
Goats in training for the Buccoo goat racesGoats in training for the Buccoo goat racesGoats in training for the Buccoo goat races

For over 80 years, every year on the Tuesday after Easter weekend, goats have been racing for honours in the village of Buccoo
km or 116 sq miles with a ridge of mountains running its length like a backbone. It is part of the two independent island state - Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. Her two most famous sons are Dwight Yorke, international footballer and ANR Robinson co-founder of the International Criminal Court.

.... Paperwork

International travel's two unavoidable nusiances are official paperwork plus the security and check in menaces.

The last two have ruined the innocent joy of travel back in the day when you enjoyed the journey as much as the destination. Not anymore. You must Virtually expose yourself before boarding the aircraft to prove you are not a terrorist and get all that documentation before you are allowed to leave.

I discovered there's a huge cost difference between On line booking VS Travel agency booking service.

On line flight purchases cost 50%!L(MISSING)ESS than buying from a travel agency! For starters that includes NOT having to pay 15%!V(MISSING)AT. You will need a credit card or a PayPal account. On line is not forgiving of booking errors - you will pay
The day's catch The day's catch The day's catch

Fishing is an important economic activity along with tourism. Every morning the pirogue boats head out over the Atlantic, returning by mid-morning with the day's fresh catch.
for changes 24 hours after ticket purchase, even if the airline mis-led you by sending wrong information in its email. Which British Airways did with my Booking inquiry. It cost me L100- to correct their mis-information but that's still less than buying the flight at the Travel Agency. Don't even bother trying to contact BA Customer service to sort out the mess. That's a nightmare! A perpetual roundabout. I've Skyped. I've emailed. I've given up.

The Travel agent was not knowledgeable about other things we should know. Thank heavens for Dr Google.

SAfrica Visas - not required fromTT visitors

Vaccinations - Trinidad is in an "endemic yellow fever" zone so we need the vaccine to visit SA. Hep B and Diptheria/Tetanus were highly recommended. So I got them all.

Special assistance from the airline - including Biz class perks like Fast track to quickly get through security and immigration, Airport lounges while intransit. Transiting between Gatwick and Heathrow etc. The TA was clueless.

Finding Travel and Flight insurance required some digging around.

The credit card covers you for accidents which may happen in-flight if you used that card to purchase
All Stars steel orchestra - steelband group at practiceAll Stars steel orchestra - steelband group at practiceAll Stars steel orchestra - steelband group at practice

Trinidad, the big island, is renowned for the unique invention of the musical instrument called the "steel pan". Here is one of the largest bands with over 100 pan musicians.
the ticket.

The Airline broadly accepts certain responsibility e.g. lost luggage, missed connections etc.

Pan American Life (TT) offered us Travel Guard Medical coverage - for emergency sitations during the vacation. But nothing's going to happen anyway - that's just a nice pillow to sleep on.

But try getting general travel insurance, you can't have it if you are over 65! So, do 66 y.o people suddenly turn reckless and stupid when they travel? Do they start bungee jumping or sky diving?

When we take off on Thursday evening Flight Tracking has a live.easy to use and free website to follow what's happening with BA 2158 from Piarco Feb 12 and BA043 from Heathrow Feb 13. Track any flight ...It's quickest if you know both the Airline code and the Flight # but you can search for Airline or Airport info as well. There's a LIVE map that shows a flight's progress as it travels through the skies.

Additional photos below
Photos: 6, Displayed: 6


PAWI Nature resort bird loftPAWI Nature resort bird loft
PAWI Nature resort bird loft

The endangered Pawi bird on Trinidad is at home and protected at the Pawi Nature resort near the Matura Reserve on the north coast at Grande Riviere.

27th January 2015

Trying out the TravelBlog facility
Seems good reasonably user friendly and intuitive. I like the experience so far.
27th January 2015

Lovely idea, looking forward to your posts. Enjoy your visit
27th January 2015

test comment
See if you get this
8th February 2015

Got the notification. .and enjoyed the read..look forward to the trip..virtually
9th February 2015

I need to know if the email messages which are automatically sent went to anyone's junk mail box or were they received in the regular inbox.. Anyone?
8th February 2015

Looking good
A great idea to share with others and to remind yourself also of people, places and events. Perhaps there will be a travel book eventually! HAppy writing. We look forward to reading!
9th February 2015

Great read. I will enjoy following your trip. See you soon
9th February 2015

Got it
Got the email in my inbox. Wonderful read. look forward to following you on your journey. See you soon.X
9th February 2015

Like in London Friday 13th
Saghi you are part of the first leg of the journey you know that Friday 13th Airport Lime in London. Great start to see you Joanna and Liz though Vaughan has to work unfortunately. We'll miss him but we will manage😁
9th February 2015

Margaret and Judy have a wonderful trip. Enjoy every moment and send photos for us all to share in your escapades.
9th February 2015

emails n other things
Your email went to my inbox, so that's OK. I didn't know you were travelling because I haven't seen you for ages. I envy you. have an absolutely fantastic trip Margaret.

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