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Trip Report 11/30 - 12/12/2005

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This is the first time I've done this so please bear with me.
I must give a bit of history leading up to my departure from PIT.
I booked my Windjammer cruise on the Yankee Clipper for Dec 5. I always spend a few days In SVG with a longtime friend who I met 14 yrs ago on my first WJ aboard the Polynesia. He was worked as part of the crew. Over the yrs his family has adopted me and vice versa. This visit was to be different from all the others. When I called to let him know I was coming for a visit I found out my friend was having some major health issues. To make a long story short between Sept and Dec my friend had surgery and was diagnosed with terminal esophageal cancer. Needless to say my nursing background in home health and hospice played a big part in this trip. I shipped vitamins, nutritional supplements, just about anything I thought would help prior to my leaving.

11/30 My flight takes off from PIT, connects in Charlotte and onto Barbados. Those of you who travel thru the airport there know what a pain it is due to construction. Believe it or not it wasn't to bad. Arriving on a week day the flight schedule and passenger arrivals were minimal. No problems with immigration or customs since I was "in transit". Checked in with LIAT and awaited the call to board my connection to SVG.
The flight was fine. My friend usually meets me at the airport and of course I stayed in complete denial hoping he would be there. Ardon always pokes his head thru the door searching for me everytime the security officer opens it for another passenger. Reality set in real quick when that didn't happen. Lucky for me my seat mate was an American who had been lived in Bequia. He was staying on St.V overnight and happened to be going in the same direction so I took him up on his offer of a ride. Crazy yes but any of you who truly spend time on the island outside of a resort would understand why this was the most logical thing for me to do.

I arrived at Tranquillity and was taken to my room.The room had been newly updated in anticipation of my arrival. You see I have been going to this hotel since 1992 and the owners also treat me as family. Tranquillity is small and barebone basics. A true one room efficiency apartment with stove, fridge, sofa, table and chairs double bed and private bath. Neat and clean. The view of the Caribbean is to die for. Every room has a porch overlooking the sea. No air conditioners here. A fan on low and louvered windows kept me quite comfortable as the chirping of the tree frogs and sound of the waves put me to sleep. I contacted my friend to let him know I reach safely, spoke with Lucille the owner for a bit and then bedtime. I slept like a baby.

12/1/05 The phone in the office rings. What time am I coming to visit. I haven't taken the trek up the hill to visit since 1998. I'm not the most atheletic person so usually everyone comes to visit me at the hotel or we go out. This time was different. I knew I had to be the one to go and them. Here's the scenario... Down the hill from the hotel about 3 blocks or a bit more on level ground then up the hill to the main road to catch a bus. With some huffing and puffing I make to the top. Boy have I been spoiled the past few visits. I hop the minivan and off I go. It's about a 15-20 minute ride. I remember which stop to get off and then I look around because someone was to meet me. No one's there yet and I know I have to climb the hill to their house but where to start. I thought one of the men at the busstop might have been a brother of my friends so I asked but he wasn't . Didn't matter he knew where I was headed so he stopped traffic for me at the bottom fo Sion Hill so I could cross the road and start my ascent.Up 2 but steep hills and then thankfully some level street. There is a corner minimart/bar you know the usual with men sitting around playing dominoes and drinking some rum.I ask if I'm headed in the right direction and yes I am just keep on going up the hill. At the end of the level part of the road the road forks, again I must ask direction. A nice young woman and her son are kind enought to tell me bear to the right, straight up to where the paved road ends and then climb the steps. The grade was more than 45 degree angle and not quite 90. I made it. Now I'm really huffing and puffing plus I'm carrying a large package with some medical supplies. I start up the steps and then # 1 son appears. We hug and discuss his father's status. I shed a few tears,compose myself and then hit the goat path literally. I walked in and couldn't believe the man I saw was the same person I've known all these years. The cancer has taken it's ugly toll. We talked for a bit and then I commenced into doing what I do best. I began teaching them how to care for him. His wife is the absolute best and I love her too. If anyone ever needed a picture of what "one love" is then this is it. We all laughed and cried and had one goal... to help each other thru this tough time. I played with the grandchildren, we listened to music, talked politics and relaxed. Bittersweet yet so wonderful. I stayed until almost dark and then #1 son escorted me all the way back to Tranquillity. Lucille had dinner waiting for me. She mothered me the entire stay. I am so blessed to have friends like this.
This was my routine for the next 3 days. Didn't make it to the beach but briefly one evening and watched the sun set. Breathtaking as the crescent moon and one very large star appeared. Thank you Lord for giving me ths opportunity. Stars at night are endless. At time sthe clouds would roll in then a pretty good downpour and then stars again.
Yes I worked during my visit doing the same job I do everyday here at home. What a wonderful experience. I will cherish it forever.

Sunday early am I went to see them before I left for Grenada and onto my cruise. I left SVG around 6:30p on LIAT and arrived in Grenada to flooded streets and a downpour in which you could hardly see 10 feet in front of you. Mandoo was waiting. A true professional in his job. If you ever need taxi service or a tour while in Grenada he is the man to call. I was quite impressed with him. I had no way to contact to tell him I would be late and he waited well over an hour for me. I made it to the dock and Lynn my friend from home was aboard and enjoying her rum swizzle. It was nice to see familiar faces in the crew from my trip last year. The best part though is being remembered by name. Hugs and kisses exchanged and then onto making some new aquaintences. Buffet dinner in a word excellent. It is amazing what that small galley turns out. Shrimp curry, rice, salad and dressing homemade bread, beef tips Ic can't even remember what all was there but one thing i do remember is it was GOOOD!!!
Listened to some music had a few drinks then off to bed for me. I fell asleep almost instantly.

12/5/05 The Carenage. What a maze to transverse thru all the containers on the dock and vehicles and large trucks coming and going. A true working seaport. Lots of reconstruction going on. St. George is making a comeback from Ivan. We checked out the shopping, bought a few odds and ends then onto a small bar at the end of the Carenage where they have the absolute best Pina Coladas. A couple from on the ship Cheryl and Jack joined us and Cheryl agreed with me that these were the best Pina Coladas she had ever had. Back to the ship for lunch and then sailing. We are headed to Bequia. Safety drill session and off we go. The sailing was tremendous. The white sails and strains of Amazing Grace as we glide across the water. I'm speechless everytime.

12/6/05 Bequia Mac's lobster pizza and a walk around town. I didn't take any tours felt like being a bit lazy and had done the island tour last year. I highly recommend it though. The Turtle sanctuary and Spring Pottery should not be missed if you have never been to Bequia in the past. This is one of my favorite islands just enough attractions if you want to be a tourist but very low key. My idea of a vacation. I stayed on board for dinner and visited with other passengers. This trip was quiet and I wasn't complaining. Just what the doctor ordered. I'll continue the rest tomorrow.

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