Tag Archives: port of spain

Drunk Driving? Hilarious.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under observations, Trinidad & Tobago

Obama is Coming.

In 31 days Trinidad and Tobago will be the host of the 5th Summit of the Americas. 34 democratically elected leaders of the Western Hemisphere will gather here in Port of Spain, home of 1 highway and the 12 minute cappuccino, to discuss and exchange ideas about the Americas, the problems, the solutions and to gossip about who is the most handsome leader of the Western world.  5000 people from 33 countries will gather here, and according to the T&T organizing committee, will have a chance to see Trinidad in another light. Hmmmm. The big question, of course is why did Trinidad get this honour and what benefit will there be to this small island through the hosting of this mammoth event?

 

Of course, Trinidad is pulling out all the stops. They are dredging the harbour to accommodate both the large cruise ships coming in as well as Obama’s battleship,his home during the event. They are updating the airport, lining the windows of the Hyatt with bomb proof sticky stuff, pulling people from the military reserves out of their jobs (one of our maintenance men at school is going), training people to march and patrol in boots, hold guns and look scary. The other day, streets were closed and the daily traffic jam brought to a halt for a rehearsal. This country is getting ready. They are closing the port and the airport for the entirety of the event, which means no one ( me!) can return from Tobago on the ferry in time for school. The whole country is getting ready to turn into a peacock and show off their best colours to the world. They will tuck away the unsightly feathers, the crime, the poverty, the massive corruption, and showcase them selves as a country worthy of respect and investment.  Apparently there is some assurance that at no point will any VIPs see anything ugly at all. Routes have been laid out so that no cars will pass by the boarded up facades of the formally magnificent homes around the Savannah.

 

This is a huge undertaking for Trinidad. It takes over 3 years to build an over pass over the highway and here they are dredging the harbour 31 days before the Summit begins. There is much cynicism over the fact that Trinidad is rushing to show off to the world ( and to future investors) long before it fixes its own domestic troubles. Comparing the money spent on this summit to the health care spent on the poor of Trinidad is one bone of contention. The papers are full of criticism for the government and Patrick “Business Man” Manning but I suspect that when the streets are swept and everything is shiny and ready and Obama is actually here, a certain pride will take over this little island and the words of one famous leader will echo through the land.

“Yes We Can.”

4 Comments

Filed under Trinidad & Tobago

Just luvin’ that Carnival feeling

The streets are being swept today and most of the city is back to normal but there is a glow in everyone’s eyes and the memories of Carnival can be felt in the facebook videos, comments and pictures, the smile of a waitress, the front of the paper. Photos are being poured over and everyone is excited to relive the day. So in that merry vein I am posting more photos from yesterday.

img_4475

 

carnival17

 

carnival161

 

carnival9

 

 

The photo below is by my 9 year old, daughter. Good huh?

 

120_0191

 

She loved those costumes!

2 Comments

Filed under Family Stuff, Photography, Trinidad & Tobago

A Carnival lime

It is going to take more than one post to showcase Carnival Tuesday here in Port of Spain. Our day started early; we were downtown, parked and already on a street corner taking photographs by 8am and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Early in the morning, before too much rum has sunk in and too much loud Soca has driven the masses wild, Carnival is still about the beauty of costume, the celebration of dance and freedom. By 3pm (judging by what we saw on TV and the stories we heard) things had turned a funny shade of wild.

Carnival is divided into Mas Bands, and each Band has a different theme ranging from Africa, China, Birds of a Feather and Persia. It was like nothing I have ever experienced before, and while I am still glad that I didn’t play in a band, I am so happy that we had the occasion to see, feel and experience a little of what is Carnival. It is an extraordinary display of frenzied dancing, music so loud your heart thumps along, and all encompassing joy.  People of all shapes, sizes and age put their lives on hold and dance joy into every fibre of their bodies.

 

carnival3

 

carnival1

 

carnival8

 

carnival11

 

carnival15

1 Comment

Filed under Photography, Trinidad & Tobago