As a ten year old girl, the prospect of going to a Caribbean island for three weeks was naturally very exciting. My parents settled on the island of Tobago and sure enough in October 2006 we flew there. We were staying in this beautiful, privately owned villa, which was precariously balanced on a cliff edge… (Excellent start..) Marine iguanas roamed the stunning gardens which surrounded the place. Ok, so this all sounds like a holiday of dreams and to be fair (sorry to use that term..) it really was! A holiday packed full of snorkelling, sun bathing and freshly sliced open coconuts. You may recall that I have referred to my parents as pretty eccentric characters (to say the least..) and that our holidays were never just simple ‘holidays’. Well… Tobago was no exception and several so called ‘near death experiences’ soon followed. The first occurred when my parents announced we going jungle trekking with a bloke called Darlington Chance… (oh lord..) Yep. SO off we went trekking through the steamy and beautiful tropical rain forest. Now the first incident occurred when ten-year-old me got tired and asked for a rest. Darlington kindly offered me this large, hollow tree trunk to sit on. I sat myself down and had some water. Darlington was stood up in front of me and chuckling away to himself. When my parents asked him what he was laughing at, he replied with “python. Biiiiiig python live in there” (pointing at the rather comfortable tree trunk I was resting on).As you can imagine I quickly jumped up and never re-situated myself on that god damn tree trunk again.
The second buttock clenching experience happened just after we had taken a lunch stop. Darlington was explaining the shear strength of the thick vines that were hung and twisted around the ancient trees. “Very very strong. You try. Try.” he said, pointing to me… So, I grabbed hold of the apparently ‘oh so strong’ vine, which appeared to be just hanging amongst some thick bushes and pushed off from the ground, taking a Chance on Mr Chance’s word. I swung out being bashed and scraped as I went through the bushes.. I looked down. Big mistake. HUGE mistake. I didn’t take me long to realise that I was swinging over a gorge which happened to be at least 100m in depth (literally!)…. and I was grabbing to a vine… As I swung back through the bushes (white as a sheet and unable to talk), Darlington quickly guided my poor naive father to the vine and said “now you try”. So dad took a flying jump and swung out, only to return with the same bewildered/terrified/sick/pale/angry face that I had returned with not 20 seconds earlier.
After introducing us to his parents pigs (I don’t even…) Darlington Chance kindly took us back to the relative safety of our villa. What a bloke.
Below: Darlington Chance’s parent’s pigs… Me as a foetus with ‘Pirate’ the parrot on my arm.