Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Grand Turk

If you've never heard of the Turks and Caisos Islands then google it and you'll find that it's a tiny cluster of islands South East of Florida.  When TR and I flew there we flew over the States with a layover in Florida and then took a smaller plane to Providenciales.  Providenciales is the most populated Island of the T & C.  Our trip was mostly uneventful except for when we first boarded our flight in Calgary.  We had to leave very early.  I remember waking up around 4 in the morning to drive to the airport.  TR had a wonderful friend in Calgary who was willing to wake up super early to take us so we wouldn't have to leave our vehicle at the airport.  I had never been on a plane before and it was all very new and exciting.  TR and I decided that we would go in separate lines due to the fact that all my information was still in my maiden name.  While I was talking to the customs person I saw TR being led away by this very stern looking woman.  I had no idea where he was going or when he would be back!  He just looked at me and shrugged his shoulders.  After waiting and waiting for him he comes out.  I guess he hadn't remembered our exact itinerary and they thought it strange that he didn't have a carry on bag (I had it).  So they had questioned him for a while.  Thankfully he was able to board and we were off!

Stepping off the plane in Providenciales was intense.  The air was just thick with humidity and it was hot.  Hot to us Northern people anyway!  Customs here was very low key and it was interesting to see the difference.  When we arrived at our hotel we were in for a surprise!  TR's parents had just been to the Island a few years before and had told us that this was a great hotel and close to the airport.  Well.  It might have been close to the airport - but it was not great.  It was a 1 star hotel.  The ceiling fan over the bed seemed like it would fall at any moment.  The bathroom looked so gross I was hesitant to use it.  There was a bar nearby and I felt anything but safe.  Thankfully we only had one night there before we flew to our real destination - Grand Turk.

The flight to Grand Turk was in a small plane.  Maybe only about 30-50 seats on it.  It was really neat to fly over the Islands and see the ocean so close up.

Arriving at Grand Turk we entered what appeared to be a very new airport.  It seemed unlike any we'd ever been in before.  We looked around for someone to give us directions to our bed and breakfast - TR's parents had stayed there and highly recommended it.  They had told us that it was a short walk from the airport.   When we found someone to help us they laughed a little and said there's no way you can walk there!  She suggested a taxi instead.  She started calling "does anyone have a cell phone?" (this was someone who worked at the airport)  When someone produced a phone she called a taxi for us :)

When the taxi arrived we got in and then quickly realized that a second taxi had pulled up and they were now fighting over us!  When they finally came to an agreement over who was going to give us the ride we were off.   The taxi let us off in a back alley and told us that it was just up the alley a little ways.  So we took all our bags and started walking down this sanding back alley.  It took us a while but we finally found it thanks for another passerby who helped us.  It was tucked in a ways and the sign was anything but obvious.

The entrance to our B & B. Our room was up those stairs - the top level of their house.  It had a little deck, a bedroom with a small fridge and a bathroom.  We bought little juice boxes and froze them in the tiny fridge freezer to help cool off on those hot afternoons.   

Our hosts were really nice and they remembered TR's parents which was cool.  We were hungry so we didn't stay long.  Our host recommended a restaurant down the street a ways so we walked over.  It was in the backyard of someone's house.  We were the only people there.  There was a chicken running around and the table was dirty.  I wanted french toast and asked how many pieces it came with "Four".  Four turned out to be two pieces cut in half.  TR had a lemonade without any sweetener in it.  It wasn't exactly what we had been expecting.  We went back to inspect our room and learned that they hadn't had rain since Christmas.  The Island has no clean water supply as a hurricane had contaminated their fresh water many years earlier.  All they had was a holding tank for rain water, and that tank was almost dry.  They showed us how to handle the toilet (no flushing until absolutely necessary).  The water stank and was a yellowish colour.  Similar to what dugout water can become in the Spring.  Our room was nice but we were a little sad when we realized there was no air conditioning.  We had not realized it would be so hot!  Neither TR or I get excited about extreme heat!  By this point we were tired and a little unsure about this whole Island vacation! 

We went out to inspect the ocean and discovered a wonderful beach.  It was sandy and the waves just came pounding.  There was a big wall to hold the ocean back from the street and I just loved the way it pounded against it.  There was no one else on the beach and it was wonderful!  I had never been to the ocean before and I was amazed.  We would spend lots of time on that beach while we were there and we never had to share it with anyone.

 Our little slice of paradise on the Island

Our bed and breakfast was along this street just in a little. 

We had supper at this neat little restaurant by the ocean.  They had live band music and I remember they played the song "What about Breakfast at Tiffany's, as I recall we both kind of liked it".  The Island got dark very quickly and we enjoyed a sunset on the ocean over supper.  The walk back to the b & b was dark as most of their street lights were burned out.  But that supper and the evening with the music over the ocean was one of our favourite experiences from our trip. 

We started exploring a little and learned many wonderful things about the Island.  We met TR's Great Aunt who worked at a little grocery store.  She is the sister to his Grandpa Frith.  Grandpa Frith was born on the Island and left when he was 17.  TR's parents discovered all sorts of burried family history when they had visited there.  I guess Grandpa Frith's Dad had had a black mistress and had a daughter with her.   At that time most white men had black mistresses and everybody knew it but no one said anything about it.   The Friths were very well known well-to-do people back then and the family history was so neat.  We saw some of their graves in the Church graveyard.

Well, this is turning out to be a long post so I'll have to finish it later.  Stay tuned!    


  1. I love this story miranda though am a little embarassed that dad and I were the ones to recommend the trip :) just glad that you got some good stories out of it !

  2. I love this story miranda though am a little embarassed that dad and I were the ones to recommend the trip :) just glad that you got some good stories out of it !


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