Posted by: danguard | June 11, 2010

Bienvenido a Trinidad! Huh?

Greetings all. I’m sure you’re excited to know that the long-awaited return of my blog is here, and over the next 6 weeks (when I can be bothered) I’ll be writing to you about my experiences out here in Trinidad and Tobago and the Cayman Islands. I’ve got a lot to cover after my first couple of days here so I’ll dive straight in.

I arrived in the early hours of yesterday morning after a epic 27 hour commute, which was exacerbated by a 3 hour delay leaving Miami to Port of Spain. Nothing much happened of note during the journey (I managed to avoid drunken Aussies this time), and I have to say that despite the recently well-publicised dispute of the BA cabin crew and the general lack of public sympathy towards them (including from myself), I have to say that their service was exellent on my flight from Heathrow – I didn’t have to call for a drink once, they just kept topping me up! Much better than their reticent Emirates Airlines equivalents, but then I guess alcohol is culturally frowned upon out there (note to self, don’t visit the United Arab Emirates without hipflask).

Yesterday was spent acclimatising myself with the University of the West Indies St Augustine campus on which I’m staying, getting my computer access set up and arranging meetings for today. It’s the summer so there are few students about unfortunately, and I don’t think I’ll be experiencing much of the nightlife out here, it’s just too risky for an obvious foreigner to walk alone at night. I’ve seen less than half a dozen white people here and in the city since I arrived, so I do rather stick out, though my ‘swarthy’ complexion has so far suggested to two people that I’m Spanish, who I then inadvertantly insulted when I didn’t reply to them in that language after they made such an effort to speak to me in my ‘native’ tongue!

I ventured into Port of Spain, the capital city, today. The transportation system here is crazy. Most public transport is conducted by ‘Maxi Taxis’, essentially a massive fleet of privately-owned minibuses which travel along designated coloured routes, and pick up and drop off passengers at will as they go along. They’re very cheap, around 50p a ride, but you’ve got to be careful when you hail one as the direction in which you hold your thumb out indicates where you would like to go. I therefore held out my thumb upwards as you would when hailing a cab or bus in the uk, for the Maxi driver to get pissed off at me after stopping and finding out I wanted to go in a different direction to the one I’d ‘indicated’! Once you get used to the system though, they’re very useful, and great value.

I met two local contacts today; Christopher Joefield, General-Secretary of the T&T Veterans Association, and Jerome Lee of the Chaguaramas Military Museum (which is built on the site of the old US Air Base from the Second World War). Both were extremely helpful and have put me in contact with a number of other people who I’ll be meeting over the next few days. Not before the epic match tomorrow though between England and the USA! Mr Lee’s suggested to me a few good bars to watch it in, so I’ll report back with what the local vibe is, though he says people here tend to support Brazil or the Argies in the World Cup. I’m still unsure as to whether I should wear my England shirt and make myself stand out even more, though maybe it will put an end to people speaking to me in Spanish! On one final related note, what do you lot back home think of the Dizzee Rascal/James Corden offering? I’ve got to admit, I find it rather catchy; classic chorus hook (I loved the original Tears for Fears version), and the production on that killer synthline and driving beat really gets me pumped up (though the ‘come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough’ line is probably not the image we want to project to the world when the decision as to who will host the world cup in 2018 hangs in the balance). I am confused at one bit though carried across from the original, what exactly are ‘the things I can do without’ in this context? WAGs I presume. A lesson for us all perhaps…

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Responses

  1. Careful where you point that thumb when hailing those mystery vans. Point it up and he may think you want to go to heaven and mow you down.

    Much agree on the “come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough” line, it’s cringe-worthy. Surely at some point somewhere in the process, someone should have taken that out?

    “A lesson for us all perhaps…” I got a real sense of emotion in this line Dan and to be honest, it’s just not on! Historians deal with cold hard facts, not emotion. Sort yourself out lad.

  2. A welcome return of the blog Dan
    but you could have condensed it, perhaps in the form of a haiku

    “Got drunk on the plane
    Met some people
    Will get drunk watching Ingerlund”

  3. Hello Dan

    Is your email up and running?

    We are all well here. We are seeing your mum and Gareth on Monday for lunch in Brecon.

    It’s Saturday at work and Chris Huhne has just announced he’s leaving his wife for his secetary. Why do they always do it on a Saturday!!!

    Got tickets for Wimbledon next Monday – so watch on Sky News and you will see us in the crowd am sure.

    Simon is a dedicated follower of Cycling News now. Ghastly mag…. It has articles like: Leg-shaving, the Dos and Dont’s./….. Honestly our house is becoming like the film Kiss of A SpiderWoman ,.

    Sadly, that’s all the news….

    Trinadad sounds much more exciting.

    Let us know how u are

    sian and simonxxx


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