There is nothing as simple as simply going to the beach in Trinidad. Francois thoughtfully packed a small cooler with some ice and beers and prepared to carry it down to the beach. I myself would have brought nothing seeing as though the beach was merely minutes from the house. As he prepared to haul it onto his shoulder he was stopped.
“What’s that there boy?”
“That’s not enough!”
“It’s ten beers”
“What? That’s only one round! We need a bigger cooler!”
So the beer was transferred to a large cooler, large enough to feed a picnic of 10 people and it has wheels. Extra beer was added, a whole bag of ice, a bottle of rum, a bottle of white wine, a bottle of Vodka and plenty of soda water. Then a crate was added with some snacks and plastic cups.
Now that the bar was tended to we could leave for the beach.
Trinidadians really know how to do the beach and they really know how to “lime.” A lime means to gather in a group to chew the fat and drink. Liming is close to impossible without alcohol and if dancing occurs it becomes a party. I have never witnessed a group of people who take their leisure time so seriously. They treat a lime with the same attention as a business deal. Or perhaps better.
Liming comes from the term “Limers” which goes back to the days of English sailors, so called for the lime they sucked to prevent scurvy. The “Limers” were obliged to stay outside of drinking establishments and the habit of standing around to drink and pass the time became known as liming.
The beach lime is especially serious because preparations need to be made for an entire day. Drinking in the sun is a serious sport and I have witnessed the technique. Simply it requires one to not stop. Mixing sugar with alcohol is discouraged as headaches will ensue and as long as one continues drinking one stays happy. People don’t get aggressive and plentiful food is consumed to aid in the soaking up of beverages. In a bar it is a true fact that beer is cheaper than non-alcoholic drinks.
So why do these islanders drink so much? Could it be because there is little else to do? Could it be that so much time is spent in the company of friends and family in the sun and drinking helps the conversation along? Could it be that this is a rum nation? As we drive toward the beach we always see people drinking on the side of the road. There is no such thing as a drive over 1 hour without a stop for a drink and a lime.
It has been hard to get into training. I tend to consume half as much as everyone else quite honestly because if I didn’t I would fall asleep! Trinidad is the only place in the world where I have taken an insulated coffee mug filled with wine into the cinema. My friend Cassandra has proved a fabulously bad influence. Whereas before I might have sipped a glass of wine at lunch, I am now drinking Vodka sodas at 10.30am. This new friend of mine has taken me down a garden path that I am not entirely resisting. This garden in fun! The beach is different, the people laugh and relax and talk freely. Few people are guarded and the day rolls on in Zen like fashion. Not that a Sunday at the beach ever really stressed me out but the new buzz is pretty happy.
Another thing that has happened here is that I have become addicted to scrabble. Having never grown up with a solitary board game I am now carting my scrabble board everywhere I go and I day dream about the fancy new edition with the revolving lazy Susan stand. I am even playing scrabble on line with friends back home and I feel like a crack addict when we get a power cut and I am cut off from my habit.
So it is a good thing I have a day job or I would turn into a scrabble playing, vodka drinking, expert limer.