Sunday, September 27, 2009


With the goal of getting fresh tan lines for Cara and our roomates, and adding a few freckles to my ever growing collection we piled into sunny (our rental car) and started heading for Maracas Bay. I remember going to Maracas Bay when I was here about 14 years ago. Then it was a cold rainy day, and I had a shark and bake, the shark fishy, and the bake falling apart from too much tamarind. I don’t remember really liking it, and I remember being a bit disappointed at this rainy grey beach.

Oh my, how things change.

This time we arrived to see it start raining, but being fearless travelers, and strong swimmers, unafraid of riptides and big waves, we stowed our stuff in the car and headed for the ocean. Not without Happenstance stepping in.

Have I mentioned how Trinidad is small? No? Okay, Trinidad is small. Even as a larger Caribbean island, you run into people you know regularly. So it’s not that strange that it took approximately 5 minutes for us to run into Nick, who I had played Ultimate with not 4 days ago at queen’s park Savannah, and his wife and kids. I introduced him to Cara, Teresa and Rachel, and he kindly offered us the use of his tent to store our stuff, and a disc to toss with (I’d brought one of mine too, of course).

Finally having shed our towels and clothing to the relative safety of the car, we headed into the sea, it’s waves of clear water, washing over us. Even in the rain the water was a perfect temperature. As we jumped, swam, dunked, and frolicked we were approached by Victor, the Venezuelan. Victor, being a pleasant sort of fellow with good intentions and a desire to practice the English he came here to study, brought along his 4 friends. Quickly, our group of 4 became a group of 9, and we hung out with them all day.

Playing in the water worked up an appetite, one that our small breakfast of chow and donuts could not satisfy. Being hungry at Maracas means one thing, and one thing only. Shark and Bake. This time around, it was much better, the bake held, and the tamarind did not dominate. I’ll explain later what makes this fried fishathon special, but let me assure you, it is very special.

One of my missions while here is to spread ultimate, I wasn’t totally sure how to, but now I had 5 Venezuelans, and 5 Americans, all 5 North Americans (with a Nicks wife being a sixth, watching the kids) being familiar with the game. After a short circle toss Nick and I explained the rules (Does anyone know how to say endzone in Spanish?) and beach ultimate began. Surely our legs felt like Sisyphus pushing against that sand to get a little sprint, again and again. But we ran and ran, we threw caught, we scored, and won and lost. The Venezuelans had heard of the game but had never played it, and seemed to enjoy it. A few even had some natural aptitude, with lateral cuts from soccer that I had trouble following, or forehands from 10 minutes of play that looked like mine after my first year of team play.

Under that hot Caribbean sun we played, til we had to take a water break, which took a new meaning. Little water was drank on a water break, instead we simply went, and layed out on the ocean, letting that cool water wash over us. Refreshed we went back to it, throwing, bidding, sprinting, and sweating under Apollo’s gaze, which was no longer hiding behind storm clouds. Even with the ocean’s cooling effect, we couldn’t play longer than 40 minutes till we retreated to the shade and cold drinks.

And so we sat, relaxing, napping, and liming until our new friends from an international rival headed back to POS. Most of them will return to Venezuela in November, where they will spread word of the humble friendliness of Americans, and the joy of the sports they play with plastic discs. The stories of us shall spread through the country, till the reach the president’s office, where he will reconsider his views, on US Venezuelan relations, and relations between our countries shall improve. Mark my words, come 2010 when America and Venezuela sign a new trade agreement and Chavez ratchets down his rhetoric the seed will have come from Maracas Bay, Trinidad in late September.

Okay, definitely not. Sorry about that, I just read a Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius and I think I picked up some of Dave Egger’s writing habits. Now if I could just pick up his aptitude for alliteration and other literary devices. Bottom line, it was a great day. I had planned to talk about why Maracas is awesome, and a place worth visiting for those traveling, and how it shows how Trinidad could be a great place for tourists, but those ruminations will come another time, as I’m already over 800 words here, and I’ve barely described how awesome the day was, and what great people Nick and his wife are, and how delicious Phlourie is.


  1. "So it’s not that strange that it took approximately 5 minutes for us to run into Nick..." I agree its not THAT strange, but it was strange that we ran into him again this morning at breakfast...I think we might have a friendly Canadian Stalker in our midst (:
    J/K we have been very lucky to meet so many great people in our first (almost) month in Trini, Nick and his fmaily are def. included in that.

  2. I love A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. It is an awesome book, and you have to have chutzpah to give your book a title like that!

    Woot! Glad the beach was better the second time round, but boo for the sand fly bites.