Tuesday, July 1, 2014

You got everything? Umm.

You'd think that with the amount of trips I've taken, stamps I have in my passport and places I've visited I'd know how to pack a bag by now. Well, if you did then you thought wrong. 

I don't. 

I mean, technically I do. But I still messed it up this time. 

Here's how: 

I wrote a short packing list, then I packed a small bag and an even smaller backpack (I really did travel light this time), then I tidied up the apartment a little bit and then I left. I went to my friend's house, who was so kind as to take me to the airport at 3.30 AM (...yours truly booked her flight to St Vincent for 5.30AM, don't ask me why). Because she lives very close to the airport she said to spend the night at her place so we'd (she'd, really) have less driving to do in the pre-dawn hours: just from her place to the airport and back instead of from her place to my place and to the airport and back to her place. 

Because she's so close to Piarco International, you actually have a really cool view of the airport in the night; it's all lit up and it looks so beautiful. Therefore, naturally, after I got up and got my stuff together I took a photo of the nighttime airport. Long exposure, slow shutter speed, it came out great. 

Then I left my camera on her desk and we went to the airport.

I noticed my camera's absence when I wanted to play tourist and take a picture of the information screen that announced my upcoming flight - and couldn't. Unpack the whole backpack, curse under my breath, re-pack everything. Curse again. 

However, when I was done cursing I took a deep breath and decided I wouldn't let the absence of a camera ruin my trip, although that was an extrenuous task for me because we all know how much I love taking pictures... 

But! My phone takes pictures that sometimes turn out not-terrible, so I had something to fall back on there, at least there would be some few photos, even if not as many and as nice as I would have liked. Still, better than no pictures at all, right? (Forgotten was the resolution to not let the absence of photos on this trip bug me too much.)


When I was going to plug in the phone to the charger (because the old thing needs to be charged daily now) I couldn't - St Vincent has different power outlets than Trinidad and Tobago. From the way I'm writing this you can deduce that I had not googled that before my trip and was therefore utterly unprepared and completely adapter-less. A few more hours and I would no longer have: my phone (no calls, no texts, no photos - omg), my Kindle (no books - OMG), my laptop (no internet - OMG!!!). 

You ever see that movie Castaway with Tom Hanks? Yeah, that was nothing in comparison! 

Unlike Tom Hanks, however, for whatever reason that I still haven't figured out because it can't be Karma, I'm most definitely not nice enough for that to be it... I was saved!


First, the hotel's front desk lady was incredibly nice and not only did she have a bunch of adapters, one of which she lent me for the duration of my stay, she even went through the trouble of trying them all to figure out which one was the most reliable one. Phone, Kindle and laptop saved (no need to go cold turkey on internet, whew)! 

Then, my vincy guardian angel saved me from the photo-less-ness dilemma. 

Before going, I'd asked my colleague and friend Clevon from the UWI Seismic Research Unit if he had any tips/tricks/recommendations for St Vincent, because he and Alia, another volcano-and-earthquake-expert-superhero, go there regularly. Instead of giving me a list of things to see and things to do, he gave me the phone numer of his friend Carl, who's SVG's seismic person. Not only did he pick me up from the airport and take me to the hotel in Villa Beach so I didn't have to find my own way there (I would most certainly have gotten lost because I had taken a look at google maps earlier and decided: I can walk that far!), no. He also let me use his phone's camera to take as many pictures as I wanted, every single time we met up, which leads to the revelation of two wonderful circumstances that you might appreciate, you know, maybe: 

1) Originally, we were just going to see La Soufriere and do that hike together, but because vincy hospitality exceeds all possible expectations, Carl took some time to spend with me and show me around every. single. day! I have seen more of that island than I ever could have had I been on my own (mainly because on my own I'd have given in to the temptation of having a lazy vacation and just reading on the beach all week). 

2) I get to show you a ton of beautiful pictures of St. Vincent, because of Carl's generosity (re: his time and his camera phone), so that picture up there of the airport at night is not the only one I have from that trip. 

Because of that, and because of Carl and Clevon, more posts are coming up: with more stories, more pictures and more wow-factor.

Thanks, guys!!

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