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Date: 24 Dec 2014 14:36:00
Title: Missing Blog 24th Dec 2014

Christmas Eve – Wednesday 24th December 2014
Think of the most contrasting place, climate, pace of life, stress levels everything really, to Christmas Eve in England, and that is what today is like here, in Balmoral Bay, on the Island of Monos, a 6 minute power boat (I love fast boats without sails) whizz away from Trinidad.
There’s rain, torrential, but short lived and absorbed by swimwear which rapidly self dries in the 28 degree sunshine.
There are Christmas decorations and carols, so, we go into a grocery store, gasping for chilled water because of the heat, to be greeted with baubles and garlands aplenty and “the first Nowel” pumping through the store!
As I write this, Steve, Bruce and a quantity (I’ve really lost count, there are so many of them!) of young men, have taken the Thunder Boalt, (not a misspelling, an intentional pun,) to a rope swing, having replenished the beer crates for the third time since our arrival on Sunday night....
Our arrival on Sunday 21st was somewhat delayed....due to 2 hours of queuing to get through immigration, followed by the same queue for a further 2 hours to get through customs. The latter was a tad more stressful than the former as I was anxious at having not declared the mince pie flavoured pop corn I had packed as an essential Christmas snack, and needed reassurance from my three boys and Dan, that all would be well. It was heightened by having been made to feel a bit of a criminal, when we finally reached one of the 2/7 open booths for the three Boeing aeroplanes that had landed,  for not having a phone number for where we were going to be residing in Trinidad, or a return flight time. My  Customs angst was somewhat diluted by the boys spotting Skillex’s arrival not far from our endless line,  (may have mispelt that!) a famous dubster artist.
However, we were warmly greeted by a joyful Caribbean choir singing of Jesus birth as we left the airport and joined the minibus taxi, which had awaited our arrival for 4 hours! Adorned with religious icons and  festively decorated the “maxi” weaved its way through the Port of Spain streets, festooned with Christmas lights. Steve and Bruce were at  Power Boats Marina to greet us. We rather feel that Steve is either the most unaware person or best liar on the planet, as there have been numerous occasions  when the secret of Josh’s “surprise” inclusion has knowingly been divulged in Steve’s presence, yet he swore complete ignorance when Josh leapt out of hiding. Of course, he was delighted that we would all be together for Christmas!
We are staying with the Melizans in a house on the ocean, owned by long time friends of theirs (Robert). The  6 strong Bates family are a short kayak/swim/boat stop away, within shouting distance away, and join us for meals. Days are spent taking advantage of the glorious heat and lack of anything particular to do, gathering groceries from the mainland to keep the 16 of us fed and watered, preparing food, swimming, “liming” (that’s sitting, chilling, chatting, drinking,) wake boarding, rock jumping, rope swinging, meeting up with Melizan friends and relations, and today we boated to Church to share in the Christmas Mass. The church overflowed into the surrounding field, and the boys were completely distracted by all the beautiful girls in attendance! 

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