By Tom Everitt
J (Bahamas graffiti-photo Tom Everitt)
Angels exist. I know they do. I have irrefutable proof. And, no, they did not appear to me on Christmas Eve, showing me in graphic detail the errors of my ways in my past, present and future lives. I am already painfully aware of my many shortcomings, as is my wife.
Angels, though, have indeed appeared to us in human form, right from the beginning of our idea for 80 anthems. From Marilyn and Melanie, our SOS connections in Canada, to SOS USA and Amanda Moore (who took us to a simply FABULOUS pre-Christmas brunch at Lillies in NYC), much needed angels have been appearing to us when we least expect it and often when we are at our most vulnerable.
Case in point: Mexico, St Kitts, Cayman Islands and Trinidad & Tobago. In these four places, Karen Bloemhoff, Krista James, Lydia Barnes and Sally Ann appeared to us from the heavens in human form, taking time out from their insanely busy pre-Christmas days to not only introduce us to their schools and students (in Sally Ann's, it was Purple Dragon Martial Arts in T & T) but to give us private tours of their stunning neighbourhoods/islands.
Y(Old San Juan, Puerto Rico-photo Tom Everitt)
For quick examples of their heavenly generosity, Karen took us to an incredible seaside restaurant owned by a friend for a private lunch (on the house). Krista actually drove us around the island of St Kitts, after singing with the children, for a 2 hour stunning private tour including stops at local 'secret' spots. Lydia picked us off and dropped us off, arranging the entire Cayman anthem singing event and Sally Ann drove us around Trinidad and Tobago for an excellent tour, even taking Bowen to receive his brown belt at a Purple Dragon Dojo across the island.
John Everitt and Elaine (The Manderish) along with Sister Gloria and Principal Liset made Puerto Rico (a bonus anthem) one of our favourite stops. What an amazing school filled with future leaders.
Finally, a VERY special thank you to Ivivva NYC (Lululemon kids division) , who surprised Capri with an appearance by Broadway star Ginna Claire. Ginna brought Capri a collector's edition program signed by the Broadway cast of Wicked, whose song 'Popular' is the one Capri sang at Carnegie Hall. Wow. Such a lovely thing to do. You really did make a little girl's dream come true.
Angels. All of you, including the ones I haven't mentioned. You know who you are. Thanks.
(PR-Old Town-photo by TE)
And now.....the demons.
Sadly demons exist as well, praying on the poor unfortunate souls of unsuspecting tourists and travellers alike. We have felt your evil. Irrefutable proof indeed. We'd like to thank you for making us smarter very early in the trip. We forgive you. You'll save us tons in the long run.
To the cabbie that lied through his teeth, drove us around the city needlessly and then finally delivered us to our destination. Karma, my friend. ;-)
To the hotel worker that convinced us we needed a taxi when we didn't, and then hitched a free ride, all the while brutally overcharging us in US funds on Christmas Eve as we headed to a service. Shakespeare said it best: "Thy fusty nut with no kernel, thy lump of foul deformity, with all eyes and no sight".
To the street vendor who charged us US $5.00 per pretzel and then sold me a raw chicken souvlaki, making for a rather long and miserable night. I forgive you..... yet still happily dream of the 25 lbs of rotting pretzel dough I hope Santa E. coli-Clause stuffed in your miserable stocking.
Wireless-I hate you.
Itunes-The honeymoon is over. I'm divorcing you for a younger, hotter program.
Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (not to mention the airport). Ball = dropped. HOWEVER, we had a great time and thanks Andrew, our first cabbie! Lovely fellow.
Thank you demons. As they say, education is what you get when you don't get what you want.
I've learned much from our early travels and am looking forward to this next leg, where we will finally get to experience many SOS Children's Villages. I expect our self-absorbed 1st world problems to finally wither and die here. I look forward to it. We leave for Nicaragua tomorrow.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you all.
(St Lucia graffiti below-photo TE)