Mary Allan shares from her archives: My first honeymoon was with my daughter’s father. I was 19 and we drove to Sarasota, Florida where he had rented a waterfront apartment. I laughingly say that I’m half fish because I love to swim, snorkel and deep sea dive. We went out to dinner once in a while, but he spent all of his time painting portraits for clients all over the country. I walked everywhere since I didn’t drive. My memories of the month we spent are vague.
After he died, I married again, a man who had been a Flying Tiger during WWII. I met him when he came to St. Louis to work on the Apollo Space Project. We bought a single engine plane which was burned to the firewall. We removed the wings, had it in our large back yard and rebuilt it. Once it was certified and I learned how to fly, it was time to take our honeymoon.
I had been to Mexico many times, but never to Cabo San Lucas. We made reservations at a beachfront resort. Our first stop was Tucson where we overnighted, and the next day we headed to Mexico. A voice came over our radio, “Senior, one of your wings has been damaged. You can land down here, and we will fix it for you…” We returned to Tucson, parked our plane and took a commercial flight. I fell asleep, and when I woke I asked the stewardess where my husband was.
“Oh, he used to fly for this airline, and he knew the Captain from the war. I think he’s flying the plane…”
Cabo San Lucas was quiet, as though it had not yet been discovered by tourists. The beach was glorious, and the local town had a marvelous restaurant but few shops. The memories remain. He, too, died years later.
When searching for papers in my desk last week, I ran across one of my travel diaries. Whenever I have traveled as a travel agent, I keep notes. I’d recently bought a large home so that my son and daughter would have their own space. My housekeeper had a large room on the third floor, and I had an aupair on the second floor. If I had to travel, I knew that my children would be well looked after. A travel agent’s familiarization trip to French Polynesia had been offered. I had not taken my vacation, and my boss asked me if I would like to take it. My children and friends all shouted “GO”, so I signed up and soon found myself enroute at the internati0nal departure terminal in Los Angeles, California enroute to Papeete, Tahiti.
I pulled my drapes closed against the hot sun, longing to be back in Tobago, 20 miles northeast of Trinidad in the Caribbean.
When work left me exhausted I closed my eyes and found myself walking along a cool, Caribbean beach…Tobago with about one third the population of Trinidad.
It’s rumored that Tobago inspired the story of “Treasure Island” and “Robinson Crusoe”. The island separated from the South American land mass years before. Its sister island, Trinidad, is famous for its Carnival. Both are called “true” Caribbean, since neither island is dependent on tourism to survive they are not as commercial as other islands. Their hotels don’t jam beachfronts and you’re not surrounded by people trying to sell you something.
I kick off my shoes, leave stockings at home and relax as I saunter along well kept beaches and breath a sign of relief as the cool waters caress my ankles. Many years ago the land of both islands rose from the ocean floor with help from earthquakes and volcanoes. Venezuela is less than ten miles from Trinidad. Don’t worry, the earthquakes and volcanoes did their job and then went to sleep again.
I’m always fascinated by the birds, plant life and animals here. These were left when the islands separated. Twenty percent of the world’s population of leatherback turtles live here. And Angostora bitters are made here. Tobago has been called “The Dream Eco Destination”. I agree. Of course, there’s golf, and all manner of water sports…plus unique Argyle Falls. Enjoy the reefs, diving, snorkeling…see what you may not see elsewhere.
There are comfortable hotels – even a Hilton, Marriott and Radisson. I prefer the local guesthouses, some as small as 8 rooms, others over 30 rooms. Many have apartments complete with kitchens, and most of them are air conditioned.
Come, make your own memories – the islands are waiting for you.