In Trinidad, “come over for Tea is a metaphor.” What ever time of day, beer is always served. People drink here for breakfast, for goodness sake.
I was at a wonderful Trini lime the other night. What is particularly cool about our time here is that we rarely socialize with expats or foreigners and are almost always the only non-trinis in the group. We feel this is an honour to be included in their pretty inclusive world. The house, like many of the homes we have been invited to, was quite extraordinary. Perched high atop a mountain and reached by a seemingly never ending steep windy road, it was nestled quietly in the bush. The sounds of wildlife mixed with the gleeful cries of children in the pool and the flap of bats took over from the birds once sunset descended. The view was like peering out through trees and foliage down, down towards a tiny twinkling Port of Spain below. In the wee distance the sea sparkled. It was quite the magical place.
After watching the men wrestle with coals and fire and flap cardboard frantically to get a flame, the meat and fish began to sizzle. We moved to the balcony to eat and look out over the mountain.
We had arrived at 4.30 p.m. and by 8.00pm I glanced around at the empty beer and rum bottles and said in my rather bossy fashion “ hey guys. Don’t forget we have to drive all the way down that hill in the dark! So watch out on the drinking!”
Laughter. And. More Laugher.
“Hey girl. Don’t you know we don’t worry ‘bout all that here? You know we been getting some good practice in for many years so don’t you worry.”
Not only do people never consider the effects of driving drunk, it isn’t even against the law!
Case in point. On the way home from the beach the other week we passed through a road block. They were quite common leading up to the Summit of the Americas, and normally they were primarily to check that the windows were not too tinted.( For some reason dark windows was considered a major threat. Not drunk drivers, men carrying guns…) This time we were asked for our insurance papers and there was a slight kerfuffle when we produced a photo copy rather than the original. Eventually, with the assurance that we would speak to our leasing agent and get the original we were let go and we drove on. But the whole time there was an open beer next to my husband and not a word was said. Apparently a photocopied slip of paper is way worse than a beer while we drive! Since, of course, no one ever drives without beer, but insurance is another matter.
Some good friends of ours are moving to Denver and they are already preparing the adjustments they’ll have to make when out liming.
Looks like they might have to go back to that little something called A Designated Driver.