Tag Archives: trinidad

Christmas in Bahrain

Well I thought it would be nonexistent, it being a Muslim country and all. But no, no no. There are Christmas trees galore, and tinsel and mince pies, little Santas and singing elfs, shelves stocked with glace cherries and marzipan and enough wrapping paper , garlands and pretty bows to fill a kingdom.

Everyone loves Christmas, even those who do not celebrate it. The season is infectious and each expat school has a Christmas fete, hotels have tree lightings and carol sing-a-longs and every mall is decorated to the nines. Of course this little island is filled with expat families who do celebrate, but they are not the majority.

We took a family vote and it was decided that Christmas day would be better spent at home than away. We have organized a holiday to Oman but will return for Christmas day. My vote was to stay away, in case you wanted to know. I find Christmas a quiet and lonely day without family and friends around but I have been assured that joy will be abounding.

We have had a few Christmases in the expat world. A Ugandan Christmas is quite odd. Obviously in a country as poor as Uganda, tinsel and trees are not high up on the ladder of importance. In fact the buying of presents is far below the buying of shoes. But there still exists the religious and more serious aspect of Christmas that is somber yet pure for its lack of materialism. Occasionally you might see a lonesome scrap of tree or tinsel strung above a shop, but for the most part, outside of expat stores, the shiny and glittery part of Christmas is lacking. The spiritual part is what remains. I was touched when Steve, who worked for us, brought his wife and daughter to visit and they presented us with a box containing cartons of juice. It was a gesture that resonated with all of us and remains today.

A Trini Christmas is like no other. They have their own food, music and customs and they take both the religious and glitzy side very seriously. No one in the world parties like a Trini and what better excuse to “lime” than Christmas? The decorations in the malls were literally stupendous, creative and festooned with colour. Initially I was surprised. What did a tropical island know about Santa and elves? But I was quickly pointed in the right directions and shown what a proper Christmas is all about.

And now Bahrain, where it rings false. There is no spiritual element. No, food drive or toy drive like in Canada. No sense that everybody is doing it. It is a fine excuse for a very rich country to wrap itself up in embellishments. But in our little world it is as it always will be. Chocolate peppermint bark, a few old traditions, a few new, a walk on the beach, Wham’s Last Christmas, hot chocolate in snow man mugs.

But first…. a new discovery. We are going to visit Oman and I will return with stories and photos. In the meantime 3limes will take a short hiatus to recharge, relax and refresh.

Happy holidays to all my readers!

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Filed under Bahrain, Family Stuff, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda

Farewell Uganda

The day has arrived. The past week has been quite wonderful with dinners and breakfasts and coffee breaks spent with good friends. It has been a slow but soulful goodbye and I feel happy and ready to depart. Of course my mind swings back to the last farewell, two years ago, when we said goodbye to Trinidad.

I am absolutely sure that I will come back, I am already day dreaming about a visit next year.

In the mean time it is time to bid this great land farewell.

And 3limes will be taking a short break too. I am boarding a plane for Bahrain today, then a short week later I will hit London for the weekend. Finally on July 3rd we arrive in Montreal! It has been a long two years since we were home and I intend to have a splendid summer both lake side and in la belle ville.

See you later, Uganda, and thank you.

 

 

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Filed under Being brave, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda

Welcome. How on earth did you end up here?

It’s time for another visit to the search engines. Don’t you think? Let’s see how people are finding themselves in the warm and cosy world of 3limes.

ugandan cakes and pastries

Well we all know my opinion of Ugandan cake. My advice to you is to make one yourself or go directly to the Serena and pay a small fortune for a chocolate gateau. That is unless you fancy a cake that might need to be detonated with a small hand grenade before you can vacuum the morsels into your mouth or sniff them through a rolled up 100,000 Shilling note.

road trip stories

Ahhh. I have a few of those. I assume that if you are looking for stories it is because you might be thinking of a trip? My advice to you is this: bring spare tires, choose your company carefully and purchase sling shots. And maybe a pillow for the numb bum that comes from 12 hour drives. Alternatively there are such things as airplanes.

dancing in the rain photography

I had no idea there was such a genre. I have been known to dance in the rain. The first and probably most memorable time was during a summer rain shower at boarding school. It was 1985 and we had just finished our O’ levels. I clearly remember the warm rain, the freedom we felt as we danced at the far end of the rugby pitch in a quiet corner of England. It was us, the pungent grass, our wet warm shoulders and our lives laid out like a quilt ahead. However, the photography you may be referring to might be the happy girls prancing in mud and rain at Trooper’s birthday party last year. Perhaps there should be such a genre, it would be a nostalgic moment for many.

kampala man living beneath

This worries me slightly. What would he be living beneath exactly? I dare to suggest it might be a dead dog? Perhaps a pile of rotting rubbish? Maybe he has actually taken up residence beneath a giant billboard advertising a refreshing beer? He is certainly not living beneath his means.

busiest kfc in the world

This is in Trinidad. Independence square to be exact. Those Trinis do love their fried chicken. Often the hallways of our school reeked of KFC and fries on a Friday lunch time. I have no idea how they stayed so slim and beautiful. Must have been all that dancing. Happy, fried chicken lovers they are.

joy of being a great grandparent

Lovely.  I am very happy for you. But if you feel so much joy why on earth are you resorting to the search engines? Perhaps you have a rascal for a great grandson and need to find the joy, somehow? My dear Grandmother simply loved being a Great Grandparent. She was known to throw fairy tea parties for her great granddaughters in a magical corner of the garden. There was always cake, fairy dust , roses and chocolate buttons. Tons of buttons. Go and find the joy.

thick big but black girlsvideos

Hello sir. Welcome to 3limes. You have come to the wrong place. We have seen lots of thick and big black buts but have no videos, sorry. No off you go. You saucy boy.

uganda a nice country?

Yes, it is. Are you coming here? Perhaps if you are contemplating a move you might consider a more specific question. Such as: Are the roads smooth? Is there a Starbucks?

i miss you rabbit

Ahhh. Sweet. Did you think that by typing that into the search engines he would hear you? This is not a direct line to Rabbit heaven.

little miss

Oh I know a few of those. What are you interested in? Little Miss Princess? Little Miss Trooper? Little Miss Bossy Boots?  There are certain times of the week when we offer special deals on all of the above. Please pop me an email and we can discuss.

little miss bossy

Oh here you are again. Little Miss Bossy was present at breakfast this morning and is currently out on loan to the Ugandan Armed Forces.

pedicure

Yes. We all need one. Are you enquiring whether we offer them here at 3limes? Or perhaps what one is? I can recommend a rather fine fellow here in Kampala. The current flavour of the week is OPI Strawberry Margarita.

macbeth facebook

Does he have a facebook page? Really? I am going to “friend” him right now.

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More from the How did you find me? files.

Street pedicure


This is a common feature of Kampala streets. Men carrying small boxes filled with clippers, scissors, nail polish and a pumice stone are often hailed down by young girls. A small stool is presented, the girl sits down and the man gets to work. It doesn’t take long and is very cheap. Consequently most ladies here have their tootsies painted.  How is this relevant here? I posted a photo of a street pedicure and here it is.

Girl stuck in swamp

Oh people, what are you doing? First it is chickens killing girls and now it is girls stuck in a swamp. The poor girls; whatever did they do to deserve such wishful fantasies? In this case I can only imagine-seeing as though you have ended up at 3limes- that the swamp in question is the place where the rare and elusive shoebill bird is found.  Here the girl would be sitting in a dugout canoe, holding onto the sides for dear life and possibly stuck in the papyrus bushes.  She might have a pair of binoculars slung over neck and she would be wondering what possessed her to come into this swamp to find a bird with a nose like a clog when she could just as easily find the bird at the Entebbe zoo.

Rolling fields of green

Ahhh. Here we are thinking of England again; perhaps Wiltshire or Dorset this time. Not sure how you found me, dear reader, but let me warn you that unless you leave Kampala there will be no rolling fields of green for you. Having said that, any person who types Rolling Fields of Green into  Google is much more my sort of person than you over there typing in Girl Stuck in Swamp. Just saying.

Trinidad and Tobago


You are going to make me wistful now, watch out. Yes you must be very confused. You see I was writing a Trinidad and Tobago blog from July 2008-July 2009. It was a happy time filled with beaches, carnival, soca music, good friends, a great dog and some rum. Since August 2009 3limes has been all about Uganda, so if you were hoping for a glimpse of the Caribbean you won’t find it here, unless you look up and click on the tab that says Trinidad. The posts are still there, as are the memories. But now that you are here why not stick around and find out about this little country called Uganda? I know it was the last thing on your mind when you went looking for T&T but maybe it’s you lucky day!

kids fun house kampala

Are you talking about my house?

“ugandan women”


I am questioning your motives somewhat here. Are you looking to discover the plight of Ugandan women? If so I have discussed that here. If you are looking for something a bit more saucy may I suggest you hop over to a different sort of website.

You have just learned of the death of mr

Now I am dying to know who “mr” is.  And if I just learnt about his death why are you over here checking up on me? Are you a concerned individual? A friend? Or just something else entirely?  Just to set your mind at ease the only Mr I just learnt the death of is Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman and that came as no surprise so I am just fine.

Shoebox kitchen

Oh do you have one too? Very sweet and lots of cooking can happen in there, I must say. I am now in a Villa kitchen so we can’t really be friends anymore. Plus I really thought it was me who coined that phrase. There goes my original thought.

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Filed under Kampala, Photography, Trinidad & Tobago

The Hills are Alive…

I should change the name of 3limes to The Dark Journals. Once again I am writing by candle light in a power cut. In his overly optimistic fashion, the same happy slant that proves him to never be a weather man; he has a tendency to deny rain even when it is pouring on his shoulders, my sweet man thinks power cuts are “good “ for us. They give us a different perspective, shake up our comfort zones. I argue that my comfort zone is plenty shaken, thanks very much and the last thing I need is a life lived by candle light. I laugh when I hark back to the days when candles were an accessory, something to add atmosphere to a room. Now they are essential ingredients for a functioning life.

Trinidad is hopping with near naked girls, the rum is flowing, the Soca is loud, the streets are alive with an energy that is one of a kind. It is Carnival.

Canadians have their chests puffed out with pride, they are tossing red and white flags and scarves in the air and celebrating the Winter Olympics. Small children are dreaming about Bobsleds and Hot Dogs and Moguls, Gold is glinting in the eye of every Canuck.

Meanwhile we have our own celebrations going on.

The Hills are Alive with the Sound of Music here in Kampala. The organization know as KADS ( Kampala Amateur Dramatic Society) is putting on a production of Maria and her singing nuns. This movie just so happens to be one of my favorite things, so off we toddled to audition. By us, of course I mean my daughters. Wednesday after school, there they were, raisons in my bun, on stage singing, smiling, projecting their voices and looking all very thespian. Saturday, after receiving the call backs to return for a second audition, we go back again, but this time we drag handsome husband along for good luck. The Saturday Sessions were far more scary as they took place on the main stage in front of dozens of people. Turns out, there were 70 kids going for 13 parts. ( They were doing a double cast for the children.) It was a ton of fun, great laughs, bravery and back clapping all round, and then we pushed Handsome Husband on to the stage.

“Go on!” We urged. “It’ll be fun. You can be a Soldier!”

Next thing I saw he was up there with his charming accent singing Doe a Deer in French and making the KADS women slightly weak in their knees. Where did this man come from? He had never been on a stage in his life and here he was as comfortable as a Canadian in the snow.

A few hours later I get the call.

“ We wanted to ask, before sending out the emails. We want to select one of your daughters but not the other. Will this be a problem?”

Perhaps some mothers in a misguided attempt to save their children from any disappointment would have politely declined the opportunity. I am of the firm belief that disappointment is a certainty in this life, and it is a fine idea to get used to it early on.

Still, it was hard,

Trooper was to be left out, Princess was in.

And so was the Handsome man I live with. Otherwise known as Admiral Schreiber.

Rain drops and roses….


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Filed under Family Stuff, I have two girls

This time a year ago…

This time a year ago I was walking through the snowy streets of London filled with the expectation of a new life unfolding before me. I had just signed on the dotted line and accepted this post and this life here in Kampala.  It was an exciting and crazy leap but one that I still had months to digest. After a week in London I returned home to Trinidad for the final 6 months of our stay. When it came time to leave Trinidad it was absolutely heart wrenching, both because we were leaving a place and people we had grown to love and because we were jumping into the unknown. And now here we are, we have made the leap, we are surviving and those snowy walks through London, trying to imagine Africa, are but a memory. It is funny when, what once we couldn’t even imagine is now something we live everyday.

I had no idea what it would be, I just held my breath and jumped.

People have ideas about Africa. Some think it will be full of men in skins ready to dance or spin around a village, many can’t even imagine what an African city is like. I was one of those people. It defies the imagination, there is no way to know what an assault it will be, how the poverty will hit you, a little less everyday, but still hit with a pungent punch all the same. The things that were so strange at first slowly start to become normal and in this week, when I am looking back to those days at the job fair, I am trying to remember what the picture in my mind was. Did I even have a picture in my head or was I just hooked on the idea of adventure? Trying something different? Exploring another corner of this world I had never seen?

In two weeks, on Valentine’s Day, in fact, we will celebrate our 6 month anniversary here. I use the word celebrate intentionally, it has been hard but there is a lot to celebrate; what started out as a hand shake in the ballroom of a London hotel has ended up being a life.

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Filed under Family Stuff, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda

Trinidad, Je t’aime.

The Bloggie nomination has sent me spinning into cyber space to check out and discover new blogs. Blogging is a funny business isn’t it? Sort of like a club that all the people not in, don’t get. When I tell people that I have a blog, and surprisingly I don’t tell people that often, I get a funny look. One day a friend of mine explained the prejudice people who are not in the know feel towards blogs and bloggers. There is a feeling that we are a navel gazing, conceited arrogant lot who assume everyone is interested in us. Then once they start to have a read they begin to understand.

I started this blog back in 2008 in Trinidad. I was seeing and experiencing so much over there; I felt if I didn’t get it down, somewhere , I would burst. The result was that I loved and enjoyed Trinidad so much more knowing that I was now looking to write and collect stories, and Trinidad in turn inspired me more than ever. Blogging became an online travel diary of sorts, a place to try and capture what I was seeing with my eyes.

I strove to find a balance between the personal and the quietly observed. I was never going to be the writer that would reveal my whole life, warts, prickly bits, and all.  And I was careful to never use this as a forum for whining or examining my navel too much. Over time I found myself inserting teaching posts, post about my kids and the personal price of upheaving a family and moving across the world twice in 3 years. But the main subject has always been the country where I am living and rereading some of those Trini posts has made me think a lot about that special island.  It is a place of colour, character and culture and the people have Personality with a capital P. It is a shock to all of us how much we really miss Trinidad. I don’t imagine we thought it would get under our skin the way it did after only 2 years. Yet it has and with Carnival only 19 days away I can imagine the spirit and excitement all over Port of Spain. I can sense the frisson and shiver in the air around the Savannah as the stage is erected and all those girls getting ready to don sparkly bikinis and feathers jog past the coconut sellers, getting fit and in shape. I could wax lyrical and get soft and nostalgic, but, no whining allowed. Let me just say three simple words:

Maracas, Doubles, Mango Chow.

I could do with a little Trini spirt over here.

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Filed under Travel, Trinidad & Tobago