Monday, August 31, 2009

Stranded in Toco...

Last weekend found me and the family and the family and the family (a total of 36) headed to Toco for a mini family vacation. Most of the family went up early on Friday morning, with the balance of us heading to Toco after work.

I was initially hesitant about going to Toco for a couple of reasons, one of them being that I was going to miss Island People's Launch, which I got over when I figured I could just carry a laptop and watch it "live' on Triniscene like I did with TRIBE.
Only to find out that the place we were staying in Toco had NO internet access. None! That meant no live launch, no Maccobook, no Trinidad Carnival Diary for the weekend!!

I wondered what hell I had signed up for. *sigh*

I was mildly pacified by the fact that there was no "live" IP launch and I could possibly pick up The Blog (TCD) via my uncle's Blackberry. So on Friday evening after work I bid the peeps on Facbook and the cbox farewell and went off into the wilderness.

Just before leaving, my Facebook status read "*** is heading to an internet-less Toco this weekend, which means I'll miss the IP launch online."

We left home just after 4pm and with not much traffic as I expected, we arrived at the Jammev Beach Resort around 7pm. The family took up all of the main building.
I was a bit underwhelmed, but thought maybe it was because we got up there in the dark that I wasn't overly impressed. I took a dip in the semi-infinity pool and after some delicious fish broth and ole talk, I found my way to my bed just after midnight. Attempts at viewing the IP launch pics on Saucy's Blog on the Blackberry proved to be futile.
What a lame start to my weekend I thought, it cyar get worse than this!

Eh heh? Well who tell me say dat?!
I wake up to realise that the place still underwhelming and maybe even more so in the daylight. While the landscape is lovely, the "resort" itself looks as if it was built/designed by a blind man, with rooms and bathrooms placed all over the place and even a Queen sized bed in the kitchen. I kid you not! More like a kitchenette really. Cause there was no full kitchen in the resort/house.

So shortly after bathing and having a delicious meal of roast coconut bake and cheese, I grab my book to have a read, cause it's raining. Not any torrential showers, but a steady drizzle that hampers the kids from going into the pool.

Just after lunch time, we got news from the caretaker of the property that the Balandra bridge had collapsed while a crane was attempting to go over the bridge. :|
WHAT?! This HAD to be a joke!

So now it's no internet, it's raining and the bridge has collapsed cutting us off from the rest of Trinidad!

Of course being Trinis...we went to macco the scene with the bridge. It was bad. It wasn't a partway/half way thing...the bridge just GONE and is a one way in one way out scene. *sigh*

Well it cannot get worse than being stranded in Toco.

Eh heh? Well who tell me say dat!

We reach back to the house and I continue my reading when dry so, the fans stop blowing breeze. Current gone! At this point we could only laugh yes. And of course I foolishly thought the only thing worse go be if water go now!

Eh heh? Well who tell me say DAT?!

We get a message from the caretaker dat because electricity gone, the water pump cyar wuk! Well at this point I fraid to say or even think anything. But is good news cause we have a generator! Well finally, it look like things looking up!

Eh heh? Who tell me say dat?!

Yes we have a generator but the generator eh have enough diesel fuel to run, and when the caretaker went to get more diesel the gas station eh have none!

At this point I borrowed my uncle's Blackberry and changed my FB status to "***is in Toco on a borrowed BB with no electricity no water no diesel on the gas station for the generator and the Balandra bridge has collapsed! What a weekend..."That night, the generator was put on for a two hour period so that we could bathe, cook and wash dishes. The men took the opportunity afterwards to visit a neighbouring bar that had electricity, while the ladies and the kids stayed at the house and played Charades and Balandra's Got Talent in the dark.
At night, with the lights out the place is pitch dark that you could barely see your hand in front your face. The kids seemed not to be too bothered though as we had a few candles and a flashlight.

We woke up with the promise of sun, still no electricity, but mysteriously during the night the water situation rectified itself.
FB status "*** is still in Toco...we have water and sun today,but still no electricity no pool and the bridge is still down".
Good news though, the caretaker agreed to put the generator on for a while so the pool could be filtered and the kids were happy. Just before the pool was ready however, electricity miraculously came back! It seems that it was a problem localised to our street only and someone from T&TEC came to sort it out. YAY!!

FB status "*** is still in Toco waiting for the bridge to be repaired, but at least we have electricity, water and the pool is back in service. Who say no work tomorrow?!"

We took the opportunity later that day to go visit the beach which was packed with people who had also been stranded. Some persons had been put up at the nearby schools including Toco Composite and Toco SDA School.

We were expecting that the bridge would have been repaired by midnight Sunday, but this was not the case and we resigned ourselves to spending yet ANOTHER night in Toco.

At this point we were asked to vacate the guest house as the owners were expecting guests (who had to cross the same bridge that had collapsed) and they had to clean to prepare the place. We ended up paying for the extra night and we got two available rooms, the gazebo and the open patio area that we could spend the night.

We spent what we hoped was our last day in Toco chilling in the pool and packing up and getting ready to go home.

Whilst playing in the pool during the day one of the young ladies in our party got struck in her face and we had to send her to the Toco District Hospital. When she got there they said she was okay, but still wanted to do some scans which could only be done in the Sangre Grande hospital. She and her mom were escorted out of Toco via ambulance over the pedestrian walk on the bridge across on the other side.

FB Status: *** still in Toco with the family, but we had an emergency and had to get *N* to Sangre Grande hospital. We have no more food, and we got thrown out of the guest house. Bridge should be open by midnight and we're outta here *fingers crossed*

At this point everyone was just ready to go home.
We took a trip to the lighthouse and got some lovely pics. A trip to the mini mart to get some stuff for our last meal...some good old dependable Crix and cheese. (The salad was a leftover from lunch). I doh know when last I got such a crispy Crix, nice and fresh! One of the aunts also made some delish mini fry bakes that went down really well with the cheese.

After what felt like the quickest of sleeps, we were up bright and early at half 5.
The men went out on a reconnaissance mission and came back with the good news that the bridge was open and we had thankfully missed all of the traffic that had been lined up all weekend to leave Toco. We also got confirmation on the radio that the bridge was open, so we made haste and said goodbye to our guest house, the pool and headed out of there!

Crossing the Bailey Bridge to get out of Toco

FB status: *** has crossed the Balandra bridge and is back! :D WOOT!WOOT!


Joanne said...

I have to admit I was stalking you, waiting for this update.

My favorite parts: "Balandra's Got Talent" and the "changing room" on the beach.

Yuh tink alyuh could arrange for a trip like this when we come nex year?

Trini Orisha Gyal said...

Love the post.. detailed and told with humour in the midst of re telling all the challenges.

"Balandra's Got Talent". LOL TOO FUNNY!

babydoll said...

Sounds like the vacation from hell. Glad all is well now.

JJ said...

wow! I'm so jealous. like you had your own episode of Survivor there. Did you lose any weight on that Crix and lettuce diet?

note to self: never go to , um what's the name of that resort again...that caretaker is hilarious.

my favorite: kicking you guys out to prepare for the new guests who wouldn't be able to get there anyway unless they helicoptered in!



afro chic said...

Sorry to keep you waiting Joanne. And I will not be hoping for a recurrence of this!

Balandra's Got Talent was the kids singing for us...we got lots of Michael Jackson, some John Legend and a lil soca. ;)

It wasn't as bad as it could have been yes babydoll, at least my family was with me :)

JJ I did not lose a damn pound!

triniannie82 said...

OMG, this post is too funny. The sad thing is that my entire family found ourselves in that exact same situation. Luckily we didn't get kicked out of the house, but everyone had to call in sick 'cuz nobody told the bosses where we were going.

law said...

"Eh heh? Well who tell me say DAT?!"

Well yes, this was hilarious. Glad you guys made it out safely

Wuzdescene said...

oh gosh Afro .... yuh had meh crackin up wit dis one .... ah love de changing room .... the audacity of charging $2.00 tuh use it ....

and LOL at 'made haste' ... yuh know how long I eh hear dat ....

afro chic said...

Serious triniannie82? Where did you guys stay?

Thanks law.

Hear nah wuzdescene...I REAL laugh when I see dat changing who would even VENTURE into there?

Princessredz said...

Good post AC. Too funny. Brings back memories of being in Toco with the fam back in de days... Balandra got Talent! I must remember that one!

Bizzie Chic said...

OMG!! I really enjoyed reading this...too funny.