Sunday, October 24, 2010

update from tobago

ok, so a lot has happened since the last time we wrote anything about our whereabouts and doings.  here's the short run of it:

had a great last week in seoul (complete with weathering a category three typhoon right on the coast in incheon), an amazingly unforgettable two weeks in japan, a great time in georgia for claire's wedding, and a occasionally hectic but mostly relaxing three weeks back in tennessee.

on the 14th we flew down to new orleans, where we met claire and daniel and did fun things like walk around bourbon, eat too much cajun food, and take a carriage ride.  i love new orleans, and we were sad to leave it behind.  but we had good reason:

we said goodbye to claire and daniel, got to the airport at 4:30 in the morning, and got on three different flights that eventually led us to tobago.  (the flight from trinidad to tobago is on a prop plane and lasts only about 20 minutes, but very interesting, cool, and somewhat slow.)

this is the morning of our seventh day in tobago, and i can say with only one qualification that we absolutely love it.  that one qualification is the mosquitos.  our cottage has no glass or screens on the numerous windows, and only some of those have shutters.  There is at least one doorway to the outside that has no door, and there are several feet of wall underneath the roof that are latticework and open to the outside.  this makes for a pleasant morning breeze, and cuts down some on the midday heat, but it also means mosquitos love our cottage.  and nora and i have had the misfortune throughout our lives of being adored by mosquitos more than anyone else we've ever met. so it's a banquet in here.

we sleep under mosquito netting, and keep two floor fans going on high speed all day and all night to discourage them from flying near us, but that only helps keep some of the away.  i've been wearing long sleeves, pajama pants, and socks almost continually, so nora has more mosquito bites than i do, but i've still got my fair share.

harrison ford has a house just up the street, and we've walked by a few times.  harrison, it seems, can afford real glass windows, and probably even air conditioning, so we're a little jealous but the signs on the gate of electrocution and being shot on sight have kept us from making a house call.

we are on a hill overlooking a golf course, which runs right up to the sea, and not far east of the golf course is a small beach.  we have been there several times, and never seen more than four other people there, so we consider it our beach. getting there involves a steep walk through the woods, and then across several holes of the course and hoping no balls come flying your way, and another short walk along one of the very pedestrian-unfriendly tobagoan roads, but then we are there, and it is nice. no mosquitos, very few people, clear water, nice waves, and usually not above 85 degrees.

back to the cottage: we have lots of birds and lizards and some iguanas that know our house better than we do and visit us frequently.  most of the birds are small, but once or twice a day two or three rather large birds with long tail feathers land on our porch railing and strut around, just to let us know they were here first.  they also scream at each other frequently at night, which sets the neighborhood dogs to barking, and wakes you up just enough to remember that there are probably mosquitos inside the mosquito netting that you can't see.  yesterday morning i killed nine inside the netting, three of which had had more than their share of blood.

the cottage is surrounded by palm trees, fruit trees, flowering trees, and other sorts of trees.  we wake up to birds singing usually, unless it is raining on the tin roof, which is also a pleasant way to wake up.

so far we have been to the grocery store twice -- once on the way to the cottage from the airport (our landlord, tony, is really awesome), and once again a few days later.  other than that, besides two ill-fated walks -- one ending with us being trapped in a thunderstorm, and seeking shelter in the carport of the house next to harrison ford's (we didn't want to be electrocuted or shot at his place), and the other being long, hot, scattered with chickens and dogs, and ending nowhere in particular -- besides that, we've only left the cottage to go to the beach.  it's very nice to have little to do all day (i'm teaching five classes this semester, and nora is taking five, so we still do have some work every day), and no more pressing decisions to make other than what to eat and whether or not one feels like reading in a hammock chair on the porch or reading on the beach.

so in summation, it is hot and the mosquitos are the bane of existence, but we're happy here and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.