Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Greetings from Trinidad

Greetings from the fair island of Trinidad and Tobago. I am currently hanging out just outside of the city of Port of Spain (for those of you who like to look at maps). This city is in the northwest part of the island, which seems quite beautiful.

Anyone who has ever been to LA knows exactly what fun rush hour can be and would feel right at home in Port of Spain. The rush hour traffic here, which seems to last most of the day, is a nightmare. We have been fortunate enough (or someone else planned it better than I could have) and are going in the opposite direction as the crowd during the peak traffic. For cars going with the flow, they can expect to seldom get into 2nd gear let alone past it. This is a right-side driver situation, with a bunch of local hand signals that makes it even more confusing to me; but fortunately I do not have to drive.

Since I am not here on vacation, but to perform some useful function (something that I seem to have a great deal of difficulty with); I am working some pretty long hours. As a consequence, I have seen nothing of the country or even the city (except what I can see here from my hotel). The days have been filled with the airport, the hotel, and the newspaper production facility. I am hoping that this will change before I leave on Saturday, but I am not expecting it to.

The city of Port of Spain appears to be bursting at the seams with new construction, and the hotels are booked solid even this close to the holidays. The people are exceptionally friendly and go out of their way to talk to you and tell you about the country. 

Communication is in English, but enough of the island slang leaks in that you are asking people to repeat things quite often to actually understand what they are saying. They also accept US dollars, but give change in the currency of Trinidad (TT dollars), which can range from 6 to 1, to 8 or 9 to 1 depending on who is doing it. I have not been able to sample local cuisine yet either, as most meals are rushed. For those who long for the familiar, there is everything from Ruby Tuesdays, to Fridays, to KFC to keep the taste buds satisfied. I am hoping to yet sample something more exotic, but again only if time permits. 

I have sampled the weather however, and it has been great. Temperatures get up into the 80's during the day, and only fall into the mid-70's at night; which seems a thousand years from the ice storm I left only Sunday. I am trying to savor it, as I know that the cold is only too close.

Well that's about it for now. Sorry to stick you with a travelogue instead of my usual wit and wisdom, but time and circumstance have not allowed more. Besides, it wasn't really that witty or wise when I was making a real effort at it. Hopefully I will be in better form after I return this weekend and can sit down and spend some time with the writing (but probably not).

Until then, and as Buckaroo Bonzai once said, "no matter where you go ... there you are".


Tim Higgins said...

It occurs to me that those of you who read this posting after seeing these pictures, might assume that I am bending the truth as to what I was able to see and do. Now I am no stranger to telling the truth creatively, but I want to assure you that the pictures included were taken from the walkway at the hotel connecting my building from the main one. With the exception of getting dropped at the wrong hotel at the end of day once, I was never in the city of Port of Spain.

Chad Quigley said...

I wish I could drop in there....looks fantastic.

Tim Higgins said...


As you are all too aware, what looks good from a distance often presents a much different appearance when closer. Some of the squalor that I saw in moving from point A to point B in my trip would make all of Toledo look like an upscale neighborhood.

The people however, were fantastic! I only wish I were better at understanding the language that they considered English. Speech patterns and slang made some of my training classes pretty interesting.