THE SUN / FUN & “RUM don’t WALK” TOUR 2011 (Barbados/Trinidad/St. Lucia)

Published: Sunday, 18 September 2011 Written by Walter 'WASABI' Marthaler

Opening Remarks


This is a report about the 25th FLYING HOPPERS Tour. Just about 15 years ago, the first tour was held, way back in 1996… One quarter of a century of tours – what an amazing achievement. Basically driven by our CEO, Sir Stefan Leuenberger, who is holding the record with 24 participations!


In this CARIBBEAN TOUR 2011, the following 6 Hoppers were participating who were also taking part in 1996 (in alphabetical order by first names):


Markus (Ruckstuhl), Patrick (Stutz), Reinhard (Fischer), Retus (Gieriet), Stefan (Leuenberger), Walter (Marthaler).


This CARIBBEAN TOUR report starts with my somewhat lengthy travelling from where I live to Barbados, via Switzerland….




Wednesday, August 17th


Swiss Airlines gets me into Kloten on time and therefore I arrive at Horgen (at Lady Shoko’s and Sir Stefan’s abode) fairly early on this day. I have a few obligations to fulfil during that day but am free to participate in the training session in the evening on the “Buchleren” pitch – a first visit to this sports venue by me! There I meet up with some of the Caribbean Tour participants like,  obviously, Sir Stefan. But also Diana, Lene, Silvina and Migi. After the training, some of us had a few beers and some food/snacks at the “Sternen Albisrieden”, a real down-to-earth eatery, which in Switzerland we call “Beiz”. The chaps who were not about to come on tour wished us participants “Bon voyage”!



Thursday, August 18th


Another day went by very quickly and in the evening, after packing, Lady Shoko, Sir Stefan and I enjoyed a very nice meal at the Restaurant Hanegg on the Horgenerberg, overlooking Lake Zurich. What a fabulously interesting contrast to the days ahead in Barbados, where we were about to be overlooking the sea – but we come to that…..


1st DAY ON TOUR -  Friday, August 19th


All of us had to get up quite early on this Friday to make it to Kloten for a flight to London Heathrow with a consequent bus transfer to Gatwick, sitting tightly together due to all those many baggages.  All went hunky dory even though we took BA and not Thai.


At Kloten it was great for me to meet up with a lot of familiar and some new faces. Lana explained to me her “me too!” tactics early on, which seem to work a treat for her in keeping Bruno under strict control. Diana seemed fairly unchanged from previous get togethers, i.e. I could not detect any approaching “Altersmilde” at all in her?! Claudia and Silvina were two very pretty new additions to our female contingent, the latter being not a “Puma” but a “Leonas”, as I learned quickly.


At Gatwick we boarded BA for the flight to Barbados, and Sir Stefan had one heartfelt wish: Not to be seated next to me, because of my strong garlic infused food intake the evening before. Unfortunately for him, he was assigned the middle seat next to Sonia (aisle) and me (window)! Sonia, of Caribbean origin and married to a Scotsman as it turned out, enquired what we two were all about, and we with an air of nonchalance remarked that we were both spies, CIA & FBI respectively. Sonia played along in style, stating that she was a Bond girl and working for MI 5. All went fairly well until Markus showed up. He was judged by the Bond girl to be worth merely the title of “President of Paper Clips”!


After a fairly long flight we finally touched down in Barbados, and in the airport arrival hall Bruno (in his “Out-of-Africa gear”) could not resist to blow his call-to-duty horn. This did not speed up the immigration process, which however progressed relatively smoothly. The same could not be said about the hotel checking-in procedure. We got an early lesson of the meaning “do not panic – we will be ready in 10 minutes”. Interestingly, the first one to try to get his room keys (Stefan) got them last, more than an hour later!


Checking-in done and the day still young, everybody soon met in or near the pool, respectively the pool bar for the welcome drinks. Reinhard was in his element, playing volleyball in the pool with some kids.


In the evening we all decided to visit the weekly highlight (always held on Friday) of the Oistin’s Fish market. What a very interesting scene indeed.  I do hope that some of the many photos taken will be able to reflect the incredible atmosphere of the event, which I simply cannot describe vividly enough.


Late in the evening, some of us were checking out the “Gap” area, very conveniently located close to our hotel. However, we explored only the short version, and we found it to be very quiet that day. So we decided on an early night.


2nd DAY ON TOUR -  Saturday, August 20th


A day without any hockey playing planned and hence ideal to explore the sights on the island. We started with the nearby capital Bridgetown by taking the local bus there. Ernesta whom we met on that bus (the local people are very friendly and helpful) was kind enough to guide us into the centre of the city. We first had to get some shopping done at the department store “Cave Shephard” on Broad Street. Very conveniently, just across the street from this store, there was a sports bar with a balcony overlooking Broad Street. This was an ideal place to sample some more of the local Banks Beer (“Caribbean Lager since 1955”). Soon enough our group on that balcony was spotted by Bruno and Lana who joined us promptly – to the great delight of the bar owner, who immediately adopted Lana as a kind of “new wife”. Bruno got a touch nervous, but everything turned out O.K. when the owner introduced his real wife as we were leaving the bar to head over to the “Waterfront Café” for some food.


Back at the hotel later on, we met up with Patrick Stutz who had just flown in from New York. In the evening we all got together for a very nice meal at two tables of ten each.  I was seated next to “Altersmilde”-lacking Diana and Sir Stefan. The food was very good in my opinion but the fan above our table was sub-optimal, i.e. not in working condition.


After dinner some of us got stuck in a loud Salsa Music playing place just across the street, and I vaguely recall heading back towards the hotel around 3.00 a.m., still leaving behind four other Hoppers…. Tales of swimming in the sea very early on that morning emerged later on. All true.


3rd DAY ON TOUR -  Sunday, August 21st


Two main duties had to be fulfilled on this day. Firstly, a friendly hockey game against the English side “Team Hoff” in the afternoon. This resulted in a surprise reunion of Patrick with an old hockey mate from some time ago.  The game itself looked like going the Hoppers’ way, but in the end a draw resulted (3 : 3).


Secondly, and more importantly, there was the official opening of the HOCKEY TOURNAMENT at the Banks Beer grounds. Banks Beer was once again the official sponsor of this yearly Hockey Event, which was now being held for the 26th time!


Whilst Bettina showed off some dazzling dance moves with the locals (“Boka/Boka”), all the others started get into drinking heavily. Obviously, Banks Beer….


A truly amazing photo-shoot session involving all our not so sober looking faces also took place later on. Hope the pictures will tell the story!


Finally, off we went from the Banks Beer grounds in two buses, expertly organized by Bruno. We were heading for another dinner all together, once again in the Gap area.


During this dinner I was privileged to learn from Patrick first hand the whole story about that car pushing incident (featured on Swiss TV, no less), with consequent Spengler Cup visit – an amazing tale. But for details you will have to ask him yourself.


4th DAY ON TOUR -  Monday, August 22nd


The day on which the 26th TOURNAMENT started in earnest. We had a game set to begin at around 10.00 a.m., but due to missing goal nets the start got delayed a fraction. Once the technicalities were solved (football goal nettings instead of hockey nets!) we could start the game, and we beat the “All Stars”.  We won by the official score of 10 : 4. Patrick Stutz produced most of our goals, but I think the “goals of the day” were scored by Retus (phenomenal back-hand goal) and head coach turned striker Roli respectively!


A most pleasing start to this tournament for The Flying Hoppers, obviously.


In the evening, Diana produced an outstanding performance singing her version of Edith Piaf’s “Je ne regrette rien”. Unfortunately, however, she did not win the competition. Life is not always fair, but Diana was definitely a WINNER among the Flying Hoppers that evening!!


5th DAY ON TOUR -  Tuesday, August 23rd


Very important: Claudia who got injured in the previous day’s game recovered much more quickly than doctor Bruno had expected, to the great relief of all of us, naturally.


Another tournament day – another victory for the Hoppers! We won 3 : 0, but as a defender I am not really sure who scored our goals….  One thing is for certain: Markus did only miss scoring direct hits onto the nearby road traffic!


The rest of the day was pure relaxation, and the Caribbean is certainly an ideal place to relax.


Some hardcore “Jassers” could not resist having a few games in the tropics as well. But perhaps too many Banks Beers made the “Jass accounting” at the end of the last game a bit dubious. Regardless, I’m sure Roli and Marion as well as Patrick Huber and Diana enjoyed their games.


In the evening we went out in smaller groups along the Gap area. Six of us ended up in a restaurant with a fantastic setting and with good quality food and wines. A strange coincidence I recall was the following: without noticing when ordering (since everyone not ordering kept happily chatting away) it so happened that the three pairs sitting opposite each other ordered the same main dish, namely:


Patrick Stutz and Retus: the Dorade

Coen and myself: the Blackened Salmon

Markus and Stefan: the Red Snapper


The real highlight of the evening, for me, were the lively discussions held regarding some more adventure oriented future Flying Hoppers Tours. A kind of favourite emerged: The Havana – Baku – Tehran Tour, though some of us thought that missing out on Tirana would be sad….


Meanwhile, Ruckli got tasked with exploring the possibilities of a tour to India and Sri Lanka, and I was asked to assist, because we expressed some substantially differing views on where such a tour should go in India, bearing in mind places to be visited.  Alternatively, a “short tour” to Vietnam is also being considered.  And, last but not least, I do fancy Retus’ idea of a Flying Hoppers Tour around the world! (“In 18 Days Around the World” or “The Mother of all Jetlag Tours” ??)


It is so very pleasing to be a member of The Flying Hoppers. Our touring future looks extremely bright.


6th DAY ON TOUR -  Wednesday, August 24th


Eventually, we arrived for another morning game at the correct hockey pitch and played against one of the favourite teams in our category, i.e. the local “Maple” side. Our opposition drew first blood and we were down 1 : 0 at half time. Our new formation tactics did work well, however, and everybody gave best efforts. Sometime during the second half, Patrick Stutz scored an excellent goal after a great run. Unfortunately, we lost concentration during a crucial move by the opponents and they scored again, leading to our first defeat. But this was nonetheless a very respectable result. We had qualified for the Semi-Finals.


The rest of the day was once again spent in the already successfully established mode of “rest & relax”, which seems to reflect the lifestyle on this island to a certain degree as well.


In the evening we all went out together and had Apero drinks at the Churrasco Do Brazil Steak place in the Gap area. Thereafter, we split into 3 groups for dinner. Roli, Patrick Stutz and I enjoyed some Italian food, and after the wrong bottle of Malbec, we got a correct one. None of us had even been aware of the fact that SWEET Malbec existed! In our group, Roli &  Patrick were the romantic “twosome” and I was the priest…. draw your own conclusions.


On the way back to the hotel we sampled a few beers at the pubs along the Gap.


7th DAY ON TOUR -  Thursday, August 25th


Thursday was the official tournament rest day with no games being played. This allowed for a late breakfast and some swimming in the morning. Retus emerged fully handicapped due to an injury on his big toe on the left foot. It was becoming very doubtful if he would be able to play the next day.  Over breakfast we also discussed the emerging situation in Trinidad and wondered if “The Flying Morons” would have to become transformed into a rebel force (Libyan style?)  on the next tour stop, i.e. become “The Fighting Morons”?


The highlight of this day was definitely the “Atlantis – a real submarine” dive excursion. I am convinced that for most, quite possibly all, the participating Hoppers it was their first trip in a submarine. Attractive to me were the shipwreck and those two turtles as well as all those really colourful tropical fish.


In the evening a group of five of us set off to look for the restaurant “Aqua”, which apparently had rave reviews on several web-pages, spotted before the trip by both Coen and Stefan. The fact that the phone number of the “Aqua” was not working should have given us some “food for thought”, but we set off in a taxi anyhow – how difficult can it be when you have an exact address for a place?? After quite some driving about and several stops to enquire from locals about the “Aqua”, it finally became clear that the “Aqua” no longer existed, or rather had become the “Tapas”. In fact, the “Aqua” had seized to exist about 2 years earlier, a fact not really reflected in those web-based reviews, obviously. Regardless, in the new “Tapas”, we - by sheer chance - got fantastic seats right near the seafront. Tapas proved indeed to be a very stylish restaurant with quality food.


Coen, Patrick, Roli, Stefan and your scribe enjoyed the food and drinks and had some great chats. Suddenly midnight was upon us, and the four of us started singing “Happy Birthday to you, dear Roli”, a song Roli was about to hear on many an occasion throughout the next day….


8th DAY ON TOUR -  Friday, August 26th  (Roli’s birthday / Patrick departs and Shoko arrives)


The day on which The Flying Hoppers had to play the SEMI-FINAL had arrived. We drove again to the “OVAL” – a world-famous Cricket Ground. – to face a Trinidadian team as opponents. Up to half time, we more or less held our own against a stronger side and were only behind by 3 : 1. Patrick told us at half time that if we were to fall behind substantially, he would have to leave early on for the airport to make sure to not miss his plane to Miami. Hurricane Irene necessitated his return home to New York in a hurry.


After the 4 : 1 being closely followed by our 4 : 2, we could no longer contain the opposition effectively and our opponents eventually became 8 : 2 winners.  We all gave it our best, each and everyone, and the best performances on this day (in my view) were by Stefan, Claudia, Lene and Silvina. I also believe that we all enjoyed the game despite losing.


Back at our Divi Beach Resort Hotel, we did our by now routine short walk to the hotel’s private beach, ordering the Club Sandwiches and drinking Banks Beer at the Beach Café. Lady Shoko had arrived safely and this meant that our total number touring stayed constant, as Patrick had earlier departed.


In the evening we attended a small reception at the hotel and thereafter departed all together for a dinner at the successfully evaluated) TAPAS restaurant, not least to celebrate Roli’s birthday in style.


In the bus on the way to the Tapas, Claudio especially and Raphi (our two young star players who were playing throughout the tournament for the English side “Team Hoff”) told us how absolutely great it was to play for an English team, from a socializing point of view. Apparently a so-called “Boom – Boom” game (involving tennis balls as well as a lot of alcohol intake in order to be fully appreciated?) had been greatly enjoyed by them. Whilst not to be confused with Mr. Berlusconi’s “Bunga Bunga parties”, this “Boom – boom” game seemed, at least to me, have some clear sexual undertones…. Main thing: Our youngsters were in very good hands with these male and female English players !!


Besides a lovely dinner at the Tapas yet again, some gift giving (great gifts – hope photos will reveal all!) to Roli was of course called for, as well as many renditions of that Happy Birthday song …


Roli proved to be a very generous birthday child by paying for all of our drinks – normally a main feature on our bills!!!  THANKS a lot, dear Roli, and wishing you a great year ahead and many to follow.


On the way back to the hotel, Bruno and Lana explained to newly arrived Shoko the attractions of the “me too” concept. Moreover, Lana told us that on one could look-up Bruno??


9th DAY ON TOUR -  Saturday, August 27th


Most of the group went on some apparently very interesting sightseeing excursions. I was not taking part in this, and hence hope that the German version of this account will mention the cave, plantations and villas visited.


Those who stayed behind at the hotel were going to the OVAL Stadium, intending to watch our young star players in “Team Hoff”. However, that game had been rescheduled for an earlier time slot. So instead we watched the FINAL of the category we had played-in. The Maple team which had beaten us earlier in the tournament by 2 : 1 became the winners in this category.


We, Coen, Stefan and your scribe, did not plan to stay at the OVAL for too long and moved on to the Boatyard, a beach place (restaurant/pub) in a suburb of Bridgetown.  A little while later we moved on to the “Café Sol” for some decent coffee, and thereafter met up back at the hotel with all our sightseeing mates.


We then all went to the OVAL to watch the FINAL of the tournament. A truly amazing game of hockey on grass! A riveting final saw the local side win against the Trinidadian team. In my opinion the latter played the better hockey, but simply failed to convert from the many short corner opportunities they created. I am sure none of us will forget the very high quality of hockey we saw being played on that grass pitch!


Once some of us got hungry, we organized transport back to the Gap area, and our group split up into heavy or light meat-eating subgroups at the Churrasco Steak place. A good time was had by all. Even Bruno could relax after some initial “organizational problems”, i.e. getting the different eater groups sorted out.


As the next day would see us leave the island of Barbados, here some additional remarks:


We really could experience some great HOCKEY on this friendly, tropical island. As Barbados is not on the world’s sports radar (other than for Cricket, perhaps), visiting foreign players get an inordinate amount of focus/attention, all in a positive sense.


The Flying Hoppers could watch themselves on the local TV programme!  “Miss Trinidad” (a great looking lady involved in the media coverage – her real name being Rhian Vialva) promised Coen she would let the Hoppers have a copy of the TV footage in due course.


Interestingly (and later on in the sequence of events):  Rhian was not able to meet up with our group during our stay in Trinidad due to the curfew situation. But she had a lengthy phone conversation with Coen when we were about to depart from the Port-of-Spain airport. Hopefully she will “come good” on her promise to supply those interesting media materials!  Ask Coen for details….


10th DAY ON TOUR -  Sunday,  August 28th    (Travel Day)


We all bid farewell to the Divi Resort and made it to the airport “just in time”. However, our departure got delayed quite substantially, due to late arrival of the incoming plane. This gave the whole group in the departure lounge ample chance to sign lots of those attractive “The Flying Hoppers” postcards which had especially been created. Bruno is looking very attractive on those. Once all those cards had been signed, some of us even started a game of Jass….


But at long last we took off and made it to our next destination – TRINIDAD.


The drive from the airport to our hotel showed clearly that Trinidad is much more developed than Barbados. Factory after factory on either side of the highway. Posters of all kinds of brands along the way as well.  I especially liked the one for the Angostura Rum brand (local Trinidadian rum) which read:  “RUM don’t WALK”.


Somewhat unluckily for us: A recently implemented curfew was making plans for eating/drinking anywhere other than in our hotel virtually impossible.  The nightly curfew was from 9.00 p.m., but naturally the eating/drinking places had to let their staff go home in time before the deadline.


So we just stayed in the Marriott Hotel, which made great efforts to accommodate us and our wishes. That first evening we did not stay up late, i.e. some of the Hoppers tried to get some quality sleep time.


11th DAY ON TOUR -  Monday, August 29th    (Lisa’s day as well as a hockey game)


The whole group went together on a sightseeing bus tour around Port-of-Spain and over a mountain range to the Maracas beach.  In Port-of-Spain we saw some really interesting old houses of different styles/backgrounds.


But what will really stick in our common minds is the fact that our tour guide, Lisa, was speaking absolutely non-stop.  Bruno tried to suggest that she should only comment on interesting matters, but she would not take his suggestion to heart and continued most energetically, e.g. giving explanations regarding the symbols on the Trinidadian banknotes - I remember “humming birds” and “Chacalacca”, the latter not to be confused with “Chaguaramas”, the site of the former World War II air base!


Lisa also explained to us about the local cocoa plantations and wondered if Switzerland was importing any high  grade cocoa raw materials from Trinidad, to which Bruno jokingly shouted: “Yes, Coco Chanel!”. We also learned among many, many other topics about the Shakonia flower, which I had mistakenly thought to be Bougainvillia.


Any time Lisa tried to break away from her standing position near Bruno, we redirected her towards him for pleasure and educational purposes…  Even after singing some songs (upon special request by Raphi) Lisa always returned to her favourites on the bus.


By the time we arrived at the Maracas beach, some of us were on “speech-absorbtion overload” and wanted to get out of the bus quickly. But Lisa would not let us out before elaborating in great detail the local food delicacy, “shark and bake”.


During the break at the beach, Silvina managed with a few kind words in Lisa’s ears to bring about a much improved return trip…


Despite the miserable curfew situation, our great organizers managed to arrange a hockey game, the last one on this tour. Our tour guide Lisa (even though she initially thought we had come to Trinidad to play ice-hockey?!) had promised to come and watch our game against the local side “Queens Park Cricket Club”, at the Cricket Ground Oval not far away from our hotel. This must have been due to the good looks of either Bruno, Patrick Huber or Ruckli, rather than due to any great interest in our sport – at least that is what I have to assume….


The traditional Queens Park Cricket Club (established 1891) and its members, some of whom we already had met in Barbados,  put together a nice opposition team for a social game, which was followed by a heavy dose of “RUM don’t WALK” drinking after the game. The game itself saw The Flying Hoppers on form, winning 4 : 2. The stars were Raphi with two goals as well as Marion and Silvina with one goal each.  Unfortunately, Bruno could not play due to knee problems, but Retus had re-appeared and was running around with renewed vigour!


As already alluded to, we started drinking fairly copious quantities of RUM straight after the game. Mixed with Coke, one does not feel the alcohol for some time… The kind members of the QPCC then drove us back to our hotel before that dreaded curfew deadline. In fact, a couple of members in our group drank as much RUM as was needed to be “wasted” for the rest of the day – no names being mentioned here. Whereas the rum-drinking survivors once again were assembling to enjoy a meal in the comfort of the Marriott Hotel, accompanied now by copious quantities of wine….Legend has it that the bottle count in the end was … see below!


12th DAY ON TOUR -  Tuesday, August 30th    (another Travel Day)


A relaxation day as well as another travel day. Such days are normally not very eventful and need few comments. Some of the Hoppers showed “emotional tiredness” in the morning, likely due to that rum and coke drinking session on the one hand, and perhaps also because of the 20 bottles of wine which were rumoured to have been consumed in the hotel – the Flying Hoppers’ way of coping with a curfew?!!


During the morning, together with my good friends Lady Shoko and Sir Stefan, I made a trip to a nearby modern shopping mall (“Trinidad West Mall”). We checked out the local coffee drinking scene by visiting both the “Rituals Coffee House” as well as the “Panini Café”.  Also, Stefan bought an indoor hockey stick at a very reasonable price, and I bought some potato chips for Retus…


Fairly early in the afternoon we all assembled in the lobby for an early departure to the airport. Ruckli desperately wanted to find out what had happened during the previous evening/night, since he had absolutely no mental recollection. RUM RUCKLI RUM!! Interestingly, nobody was either willing or able to help him out. Perhaps this tells a story? A four letter name was mentioned on occasion, but that might have been purely speculative in nature, of course. Anyhow, without having solved Ruckli’s mystery memory blank, we all boarded the BA flight and arrived safely in St. Lucia.


We had a bus transfer right across the whole island to our new home, the boutique hotel “The Ginger Lily” at Rodney Bay. After a fairly smooth check-in (all the rooms in that hotel were now taken up by The Flying Hoppers!), we walked over to the “Big Chef” Steakhouse ( We had yet another very nice dinner with somewhat oversized portions and enough Argentinian wines. As no more hockey was going to be played in the following days, we started to discuss our sightseeing options.


13th DAY ON TOUR – Wednesday, August 31st


Daylight revealed that our new abode was indeed a very pretty boutique type hotel in a nice setting.


Later in the day, a trip to the capital “Castries” as well thereafter to the “Pigeon Point” peninsula confirmed, at least to me, that we had arrived on the most scenically beautiful island of our Caribbean tour.


The highlights of this day in brief order:


In Castries, there is a 100 year old outdoor market for West Indian products and local crafts. There is also an interesting cathedral, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, well worth a visit.


Lastly, we could watch one of those big cruise ships in port at Pointe Seraphine quite leisurely from our lunch spot at the Caribbean Pirates restaurant. During that lunch Diana revealed to us that her brother once did not speak to her for 3 solid months, a fact that some of us could not really understand. Why only 3 months??


The Piegeon Island area later on in the day proved to be a very pleasant and relaxing outing – except for our photographer Reinhard getting into “Paparazzi” problems with a Rastafarian. But Reinhard had no problem taking some great pictures of a chap collecting coconuts on a palmtree. Win some, lose some.  I am certainly looking forward to viewing some splendid photos.


For dinner some of us went to the nearby Wildfire restaurant. Good food and again plenty of liquid intake, to the satisfaction of all involved.  Rumour has it that a hardcore group of five went on to the nearby Casino and – surprisingly?? – lost some money.


14th DAY ON TOUR – Thursday, September 1st


Another very relaxing day on the beautiful island of St. Lucia. All of us went on a Catamaran Tour on the boat “Mango Tango”, which sailed down along the coast all the way to Soufriere. There we got off the boat for a short ride to the Sulphur Springs, Botanical Gardens etc. and a lunch. The whole area around Soufriere is very impressive, as the two PITONS (Le Petit Piton, Le Gros Piton) which are the landmarks of the island are visible all the time.


After lunch we got back onto the Mango Tango and sailed a short while to get to a swimming/ snorkeling place. Thereafter up the coast again, and the crew of the Mango Tango kindly also showed us the fabulous Marigot Bay / Harbour.


Towards the end of this Catamaran Tour, we all danced to the tune “Follow the leader” under the strict instructions and guidance of the female boss on board!  Hopefully, there is some nice video footage of this…


Sadly, the last evening on tour was fast approaching, and we decided to go out for dinner all together. The Charthouse restaurant was chosen, and the food portions once again were on the big/oversized side. The main drawback in this restaurant, however, was the heat, which made most of us sweat quite a bit.


Marion, whilst not eating up her oversized steak, nevertheless enquired about desserts. Retus clearly pointed out to her that if one does not finish the main dish, one should not be allowed to go for pudding thereafter.


We retired for drinks back to the Wildfire place, and some of us called it an early night.


15th DAY ON TOUR -  Friday, September 2nd


Only just four of us (Markus, Reinhard, Roli and your scribe) were crazy enough to decide to go for something special on that very last day.  We four had to get up at 6.00 a.m. to depart by 6.30 a.m.  But the arranged bus did not arrive in time. Roli quickly arranged for a new bus – how totally flexible things can be in the Caribbean!


The new driver was asked to drive us as quickly as possible to the starting point of that “Gros Piton Trail” Climbing Tour. He said that the fastest possible would be about one hour and a half, which in fact he achieved.


As we had to be back at “The Ginger Lily” in time for our common departure for the airport, we urged the guide ladies to make our ascent a speedy affair. This took a heavy toll on Roli, Reinhard and myself. We left Roli behind first, and the 3 of us reached the middle point and took some pictures, which must show us sweating profusely.  I never before saw a human being sweating even through his shoes, but Reinhard managed this feat!  Fairly soon after the halfway point, also Reinhard and your scribe dropped out, and only Ruckli with his “gazelle-speed” like guide went ahead and to the top. For him and his guide, however, this turned into a disappointing “no views” experience, as heavy fog and then a heavy rainfall spoiled it. By the time it started to rain, luckily Roli, Reinhard and I had already returned safely back to the bottom and were inside that tiny bar drinking some beers, to the amazement of our guide Virginie and the old barkeeper lady, both of whom chatted away in “Patois”, which they mentioned had many French words in it. However, I could hardly detect any French expressions at all and asked Virginie “How do you say ‘vacances’ in Patois?”, to which to my surprise she replied: “holidays”?!!


Once Ruckli came back down with his “gazelle”, we gave him some time to refresh himself before setting off for the long ride back to “The Ginger Lily”. In the meantime, Stefan and Shoko had left our group to extend their vacation by flying to Grenada.  The rest of us eventually checked out of “The Ginger Lily” and a bus drove us across the whole island again to the airport where we caught the flight back to London Gatwick.


A smooth transfer from Gatwick to Heathrow and another BA flight brought us safely back to Kloten.


Here we kissed each other good-bye and promised to meet up again on a future FLYING HOPPERS TOUR.  Perhaps that motto on the coats of arms which Lisa had mentioned (featured on the Trinidadian bank notes) also has some relevance for all The Flying Hoppers? It states:




Closing Remarks:


I had asked all the participants to send their personal observations about what represented to them the most memorable highlights on this great Caribbean Tour.


What I got, at the time of writing this report, is the following from Bruno:


Mein sportlicher Höhepunkt war das Finale im Ovale in Bridgetown. Als sozialen Höhepunkt fand ich den Katamaran Ausflug am besten, da alle dabei waren.


Also bis bald aber spätestens zu Ostern.


So long Bruno und Länchen (me too).




Thanks for all the nice memories I am keeping from this trip, made possible by you all!


Your scribe