Today is moving day and alas , we have to say goodbye to Simon – for you Simon ze tour is over. Simon will stay in Barbados for a few days then has to return home to tend his allotment. Until the next tour mate. It will be here I suspect sooner than any of us think.
The rest of us are travelling to Trinidad by diverse means.
The taxi arrives at 6.30 am for those with early & direct flights. Midnight , Wycombe , Streetfly , Vinny and Saint fall into the former category.
Herbie and Freddie , due to Herbies superior flight arranging skills, the latter.
Mr & Mrs Blade , Thomas , Walt & Christine will follow in the afternoon – they are staying at a swanky hotel called “Kapok” near the ground. It wont be as good as ours , the “Maracas Bay Hotel” though!
Son of is flying late due to his poor flight arranging skills and will arrive in Trinidad after dark. Par for the course I suppose : he does seem very comfortable moving about during the hours of darkness.
The Saint manages to “ self-scoop” out of bed and is in the taxi at 6.25am. Herbie arrives 5 minutes later at 6.30am. Everyone else is up & ready.
The driver makes some sarcastic comments about Wycombes big pink suitcase , and we head for the airport.
Our island-hopping flight , number LIAT 722 , leaves at 8.15 am and will put down in St Vincent & Grenada before arriving in Port of Spain at approx 2.30pm.
Herbie and Freddies direct flight , number MUG5 RUS , leaves at 8.10am arriving direct in Port of Spain at just after 9am – so we naturally allow the chaps priority in the queue.
We arrive at the check in desks together , Herbie and Freddie at “Priority First Class” and the rest of us at “ Sub-Economy” – Streetfly has booked our flights.
We are checking in when….wait….whats this? Herbie seems to be having an altercation with the airline official!!
As Herbie and Freddie are refused admission to their flight because it is already full and they have arrived at the airport too late, we banish all thoughts of mirth and meekly slope away to wait for our 8.15am to Grenada , which duly leaves on time. There is still no sign of Herbie & Freddie in the departure lounge.
We land at Grenada where we leave the airport and go to the beach for breakfast. Eeeeh its lovely. Saint , Vinny & Streetfly have beer with breakfast.
When asked the type of dressing he would like on his salad Saint , no doubt thinking of Herbie , replies “ Same Island dressing please!”
During breakfast we receive a cryptic text message from Herbie referring to a diversion to St Lucia and the payment of a flight supplement, which provokes a fit of spontaneous puerile giggling.
When we arrive at Port of Spain early at 1.30pm without mishap , our taxi driver Martin is waiting for us in the reception hall. Martin , who will later prove to have superhuman powers of sight , spots us from 500 yards away despite the fact he has never clapped eyes on any of us before.
We also spot Martin , as he is holding a piece of cardboard with the word “MANPON” emblazoned upon it.
Our ride to Maracas Bay Hotel thus promises to be a snug and comfortable one , if perhaps a tight fit.
During the taxi ride we receive another cryptic text message from Herbie informing us how nice St Lucia is. More spontaneous puerile giggling.
Martin our far – sighted driver offers to stop at the Queens Park Oval so we can obtain tickets for everyone – the Test match starts tomorrow.
We proceed there & park up then wait for nearly two hours in what is only a small queue in order to ensure everyone is catered for. Midnight and Wycombe have a small altercation at the ticket window as we are about to buy 12 tickets , brought about by the stress of standing in this queue in the tropical heat , and the fact that the local staffing arrangements mean that ticket windows close in direct proportion to the number of people added to the line.
Tickets safely secreted , we head over the hills and far away to the Maracas Bay Hotel. It is a 40 minute taxi journey over a winding cliff road and it soon becomes apparent to all that we won’t be heading into Port Of Spain for nights out – so we will have to hope our hotel caters for our modest social drinking habits.
By this time dusk is falling and Martin takes us for tea to a Shark & Bake hut on the beach. We sample Shark Muffins with beer for our evening meal.
We arrive at our hotel. On first appearance it looks fine , although the chap at reception is twitching ,
giggling nervously , and tells us his hobby is collecting stuffed birds.
We are directed to the bar. This , we are told , closes at 8.30pm every night. Oh sh*t.
Drastic action is called for.
Suitable bribes / discussions are undertaken with the barman , Brandon , who eventually agrees to extend his opening hours slightly due to our presence.
This extension proves to be till 2.30am.
At about 10.30 pm Herbie , Freddie and Son of arrive. They have had a torrid journey. We offer both empathy and sympathy. Freddie has managed to lock himself out of his suitcase of English food supplies and has to have this opened by a hotel employee with a pair of wire cutters.
We are joined in the bar by other England fans who have journeyed here. Garry , a Sheffield Wednesday fan from Rotherham ( aren’t they all, says Mr Blade ! ) who we decide will make a super dooper drinking companion for Mr Blade. And Steve , from London.
A heavy nights drinking continues and Vinny has clearly swallowed too much rum. He sits there grimacing in pain , bolt upright , ready to spew forth like Vesuvius but dismisses the advice of Midnight “ Go to the room and get shut of it Vinny” and Garry “ Tha’ wants to shove tha’ fingers dahn tha’ throat” .
Eventually Vinnys iron control fails and the inevitable cataclysm occurs. Vinny erupts like John Hurt’s chest in the film “Alien”.
This will have dreadful consequences pertaining to his Addis Army name.
After Vinny has made a tactical withdrawal to the toilet we alter the words of one of our most beloved songs to describe the troubles experienced by Herbie and Freddie that day.
“ Time flies by when you are on a direct flight And you use Liat airways – they’re a load of sh*te Into airports out of airports where’s our destination In and out of customs checks its nowhere to be seen Time flies by when you are on a direct flight And you use Liat airways they’re a load of sh*te!”
When we turn in at 2.45am , we meet Five-O and Gigi who have just arrived from Florida and are heading down to the bar for a drink – Trinidad promises to be fun!
Quote of the day
Herbie “ Everybody in that airport are c*nts” Wycombe “ Midnight , if you mean by that you don’t trust me to get the correct tickets for everyone I’m not happy with that. No , I’m not happy with that at all!” Vinny “ No – gulp- its okay – gasp- I’ll be all right”