Monday, October 22, 2007

"Only Mad Dogs and Englishmen.....

....go out in the mid-day sun." I know this to be true, having just spent 11 days on the beautiful island of Tobago for my honeymoon, watching pale vacationers park themselves on beach chairs in the unrelenting heat for hours at a time, crisping their delicate skin to a fiery reddish tone.

For those not in the know, Tobago is a small island near the eastern coast of South America. It is influenced tremendously by the British and therefore 90% of the resort was occupied by Her Majesty's citizens. This was not, for the most part, a bad thing. I tend to find my fellow Americans on vacation to sometimes be a tad embarrassing and loud. The few American Scuba Divers at the hotel certainly didn't disappoint in this regard, (even doing the unthinkable...The Electric Slide.....during the evening's entertainment down on the patio while my wife and I desperately attempted to distance ourselves by appearing as European as possible.)

Though the English may be reserved, they are far from boring as evidenced by the characters we witnessed on this trip. First up was an old gentleman we nicknamed "Brother" for his charming habit of referring to every male he encountered as his brethren. I moved out of his way at the buffet line and received a cheery "Thank you, Brother!" for my consideration. Easily 60+ years old, Brother was the unquestioned Big Man on Campus (or Resort as it were). He and his wife were on their tenth trip to the hotel and seemed to know every staff member by name.

There were other notable individuals as well: "Dumpster" (a stout, boisterous, linebacker of a woman who wouldn't seem out of place in a Sumo ring), "Snarky Snarkerson" ( a 12 year old boy whose face appeared to be frozen in a permanent favorite memory involving him occurred when his own parents, tired of the boy's constant bellyaching, dumped him off the kayak they were all riding in and paddled away as the impudent lad flipped them off) and the Cholesterol Brothers (a portly duo straight out of "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels". The fatter one could've easily won a Wet T-Shirt contest had one been held. However, their veins were also full of a genuine love of fun and they provided many hours of beach side antics.)

Coco Reef Resort and Hotel has the most tranquil and beautiful lagoon I have ever had the pleasure to come across in the Caribbean. The newly-minted Mrs. P&P and I snorkeled to our heart's content by the amazing reef and found ourselves up to the neck in Sergeant Majors and Clownfish. We also brought down bread rolls from breakfast and lunch and stood in the waist high clear water, literally feeding these same fish by hand. An unparalleled experience, I assure you.

If it sounds like we were clutched tightly against Mother Nature's breast, well....we were. At no time was this more evidenced than the occasion when we were sitting in the open air patio area, enjoying a nice breeze and some shade. I glanced to my left and saw a 2 1/2 foot snake slither into the area. Anyone who knows me knows that, by all I find Holy, I do NOT do snakes. Exhibiting a cowardice which shames me as I write this, I dashed off to the Front Desk for help, leaving Mrs. P&P (who, for the record, is much braver than her husband) behind with the viper (ok, so it was most likely some sort of non venomous garden snake...but I wasn't taking any chances). The serpent went away unharmed and peace reigned once more, leaving me only slightly shaken and a little worse for wear.

Overall, a wonderful journey to a place not many of my fellow countrymen know about. However, I missed football and hockey and missed writing for all of you. I'm back and raring to go.

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