Not far from the Orange Suspension Bridge over the Marianne River is the Laguna Mar Beach Hotel, owned and operated by 82-year-old Gottfried Franz Zollna, aka “Fred”. The Cocos Hut restaurant is the only restaurant in Blanchisseuse and since it was time for lunch, we stopped. Blanchisseuse, by the way, translates to washerwoman and was so named because the local women did their laundry in the Marianne River.
The restaurant is located in a converted cocoa drying house. It's a pleasant venue with outdoor tables on a covered veranda, sheltered from the street by lush flowers and shrubs. Butterflies and birds flitted about as we drank cold beers and rum punch and made our choices from the menu. The lunch itself was nothing special, but Fred was a charmer. We spent a good portion of our lunchtime chatting with him about his colorful life from post-war East Germany to Canada to California to the US Marine Corps to Trinidad.
As planned, we made several stops on the return trip. The first stop was at the ill-kept Our Lady of Mount Carmel cemetery. Overlooking the Caribbean, it was a beautiful spot, but the gravestones were overgrown and crumbling.
We stopped at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church as well, a few miles up the road. It was a small, picturesque little country church with two bronze bells out front ready to beckon parishioners to Mass.
Simple, but lovely, the inside of the church was still decorated for Easter.
The best stop, however, was at Las Cuevas Beach. Las Cuevas, the caves in Spanish, was busy, but the wide expanse of beach accommodated everyone comfortably. The caves along the beach afforded great little nooks and crannies for people to seek shelter from the sun and set up their picnics.
As always, we were looking for the sameness in people as well as the differences. We observed parents carefully watching their children on the beach. Children made sand castles and played in the surf. Universally, covering up your brother with mud has always been a particularly enjoyable beachfront pastime.
We headed back down the serpentine road to Port of Spain and to Chaguaramas. Our friends on Wind Wanderer were leaving to head back to Australia and we wanted to wish them farewell.
Tomorrow we head out for five days of touring Trinidad. We're all packed and ready to go. Come along with us.