For the past decade, getting to Trinidad required a painful, mind and ass-numbing, exhausting 24-hour trip from Asia back to the Western Hemisphere. But now that I’m living in O Canada, in one easy 5-hour flight, boom! There I am in Piarco, looking at a sign that says HOSEINS ROTI SHOP. I definitely need a roti, and a Carib.
There are some things that are just quintessentially Trini.
It’s the total and complete GREENNESS of the mountains, the trees, the plants everywhere, a sea of lush green that was like a balm for my eyes after four months of hard, cold, dull winter.
It’s the cool morning air at 6am, before the heat rises, when the sun is coming up and the kiskidees start making plenty noise like they vex – ki-ki-KEE-KA-KEE! It’s the rooster crowing somewhere down the road in the village. It’s the sound of rain on a galvanized roof, with the inevitable midday shower.
It’s the flash of a green iguana running across the road, and sight of the old veggie stand down the road which looks exactly the same as it always has for donkey’s years. It’s the man covered in white soap, bathing in the stand pipe, because WASA probably hasn’t pumped to his house.
It’s the smell of fresh Caribbean herbs while cooking – it’s picking chadon beni from the garden and chopping it with pimentos, chive and thyme. It’s the flavors of amazing food, from simple saltfish and Crix to corn soup and doubles, the rich flavor of herbs which are used to season up EVERYTHING and infuse it with deliciousness.
It’s the man who parked his car outside the tuck shop, blocking up traffic, and coming out drinking a Guinness at 8.30 am for the morning commute. (Guinness is Good For You, right?)
It’s the TRAFFIC, good lord the traffic, the millions of cars driving the same tiny roads that were originally built for donkey carts.
It’s the way people say ‘pleasant good mornin’ when they open the door and enter an office.
It’s jiggling your legs when you sit at the table or stand washing the wares in the sink, because mosquitoes are always hiding.
It’s how the radio stations still faithfully and enthusiastically play 80’s music like it’s the hottest thing.
Some things never change! Josie’s on a vacation far away!
For me it was a short trip, but it still gave me a chance to see family and friends and soak up those uniquely Caribbean sights, sounds, and flavours.
Till next time, T&T.