Archive for January, 2008

January 20, 2008

What a Weekend

Back from the awful long drive from Toco but feel obliged to at least make a token stab at an entry. Once the troops , as it were, were able to assemble we were off for Astrid’s birthday weekend. About 3/4 way into the drive there were grumblings from the passengers indicating that they felt the commute was getting a bit tiresome but a quick stop at Kay’s place solved that problem and soon the terrible trio were back in the car and shortly thereafter in Robin’s house. A few drinks and some conversation and we all turned in. Astrid had billed the event as a Weekend of Drunken Revelry but given it was only the three of us for the first night we were patently unable to muster much in the way of revelry.

The next day there was the requisite trip to the beach complete with the rather bizarre spectacle of Grommit trying to give himself a full body exfoliation in the black sand..thankfully mostly underwater. Other friends came up later and I cobbled together dinner but they had to head back at 10pm when a “family emergency” that turned out to be a hoax popped up.

Today was spent cooking and entertaining a few other friends of Astrid’s that drove to Toco for the day. I have to say everyone I encountered over the weekend was wonderful and being around so many younger people really does have an effect on one’s perception. It is nice to see that cynicism,  fun and a general refusal to behave is still the stock in trade of the younger generation. I have high hopes for the future.

More tomorrow…

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January 18, 2008

Taking a break

I have managed to arrange a getaway this weekend so there will be no blog posting until probably Sunday night. The good news is I will have many more photographs if that is a consolation. Have a good weekend everyone. 

January 17, 2008

South – The Final Frontier

Yesterday was a bit of a wash as far as work went since Anand Ramlogan had to cancel the interview he had called to arrange. The car will apparently be ready “by the weekend” although that is not exactly inspiring me with confidence. I want to get away to Toco and the thought of having to drive the jeep-ette for 2 hours makes my nerves jangle. Speaking of which ( nice segue Vern) I had to drive to South Trinidad last night to attend Bunny’s birthday party at his club.

While normally the prospect of not only passing the lighthouse but also the Caroni River fills me with mortal dread the drive to get there was not too bad. Grommit was meeting friends there so the company made things pass faster and the directions for how to get through the maze of overpasses was quite useful. There was some idle chit chat from Steve that he would meet me there but that never materialized as he called to say he was fasting for a wedding and couldn’t drink. Given he is  not the least bit religious I put it down to the things guys do for women. In any case I made it to Space – La Nouba on time.

Selwyn “Bunny” Persad and Maureen have been wonderful friends for many years. When I was at 95FM we worked together on several promotions and we hit it off immediately. I worked with them on their Raftabout Fete on and off for several years after that and we have always kept in touch as much as possible. In the last couple of years I have been too busy to work with them on things but I was happy for the opportunity to attend Bunny’s party. It was a surprise party and Maureen amazingly pulled it off perfectly. Bunny prides himself on knowing exactly what is going on at all times but apparently didn’t notice the scheming that was happening in his own club. When he entered the champagne room and we all did the requisite “surprise” I was fearful that he might have pulled a gun and mowed us all down…such is the danger of surprise parties.

After the initial shock subsided the champagne started flowing and never stopped. It being South the chosen culinary accompaniment was, of course, curried duck, paratha, channa and potato and stewed chicken. Surprisingly, it went well with the champagne. It was not my usual crowd and I am sure I was the poorest person there as some of the names I was hearing were prominent business names. I understand that some of the kids of these people have been known to drop $20,000 on a single night of partying at the club. Presumably they have drivers to get them home. And while we celebrated in the VIP area upstairs the crowd built quickly on the dance floor below giving us ample opportunity to gander at the beautiful people of South having a whale of a time on a work night. Granted, it was a very young crowd but it was also a school night…as i reminded Grommit around 11:30 when i was ready to leave. Champagne never has much of an effect on me but based on the slightly glazed happy face Grommit was displaying I realized that 15 glasses of bubbly has an effect on him. In retrospect he really was upstairs more than he was downstairs.

As a lovely final gesture we were also presented with Space VVIP cards before we left complete with our pictures on them..and here I was thinking that Bunny’s son was taking a portrait shot of me because I was looking good.


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January 15, 2008

When Friends Meet

It was an interesting day at work and afterwards today. I went to work do an interview with someone from the Schools Soca Monarch competition. It was one of those interviews that you just know will be painful to stretch to 1/2 hour but such is the nature of our programme. Predictably, it was painful and it took all I could muster to stretch it to 26 minutes. After work I was thrilled to head out to meet Reshma at the Crowne Plaza. We haven’t seen each other in about 7 years as she now lives in London and has a big job with BG.  When she arrived it was as if we had never been separated. In our heyday we were as thick as thieves and I often think we are twins separated at birth. She reminded me that we could have had the best looking kids on the planet but I ignored the window of opportunity. In short..she was the Reshma of old. She says she has mellowed but I think I saw several glimmers of the old Reshma. She is still as determined about her life plan and career as ever and it was really great to see someone who knows exactly where they want to be at each stage of their life. I guess five degrees doesn’t hurt. Thinking about it, we would have had great looking kids but we are so selfish neither of us would want to deal with them. I also reminded her that I don’t think Demerol is allowed from day one to nine months but if she wanted I could arrange a FedEx package to London. I will tackle the Aruba chapter tomorrow as it is already largely done. I have never been this late with a writing assignment before…but then again…I have never had so many other things going on. Tomorrow I will deal with Aruba and then head out to a birthday party for my pal Bunny who I haven’t seen in almost a year. Maureen called and said we are to meet for his surprise party at 8:30 in South and then we will head to his new club…Space – La Nouba for the party. God help me. Past the lighthouse again. Bunny’s new club is really quite amazing though and the interior was designed by Brian MacFarlane so I am interested to see it. I was supposed to be the manager but ieTV came in between and that is my true love. I guess I better arrange someone to go with me tomorrow…I hate driving alone. Where the hell did a social life come from? I haven’t had one in years. And good news Jameer says I may have the Mondeo back very soon.img_4234.jpg  

January 15, 2008

Missing the Mondeo

Those of you with too much time on your hands who have been following this blog may have noticed that a week before Xmas I mentioned that my dearest Ford Mondeo aka The Hearse had to check in for some repairs after a  fan sensor broke. With the holidays happening etc. it is now the middle of January and she is still not fixed. Today I was sent on an errand by the garage to go to my pal Jai at Ford to get a head something or the other and the aforementioned sensor. Is it me or should I not have to walk away with some heavy objects after spending $1000 on parts? The sensor looked the size of a matchbox and didn’t seem too complicated to my eyes and the head thingie was a flat thing wrapped in cardboard.The total weight of my thousand dollar purchase must have been about 200 grammes. As I was leaving Jai said I really should change the something belt and the water pump at the same time. Not wishing to feel the pain of spending money again I told him I would check with the mechanic and get back to him. Needless to say the mechanic thought it might be a good idea too and now I have to spend another $2500 . These new parts better weigh something or I will be apoplectic. I know computers and gadgets really well but when it comes to cars my normal reaction is to just keep throwing money at the problem until it goes away.

Other than that I have made some progress on Fodor’s as my young friends were back at University today and with a remarkable lack of Wii-ing and watching America’s Next Top Model I was able to get a fair amount done. Not to say I don’t miss the two crazies they add a weird new dimension to my life and give me a different perspective. I become so wrapped up in my work world and forget what it was like to be at university and watching my pennies yet pursuing as much fun as possible. The late night discussions and liver challenging booze consumption is a bit out of my league now though. One must recognize one’s limitations.


Alvin popped in for dinner this evening so he could avoid the traffic and it was lovely having him here. When you are friends with someone for so long words do not have to be exchanged the company is enough. We had a lovely braised pork tenderloin served on a bed of reduced onions with mashed potatoes with caramelised onions and some buttered peas. Simple but perfect for two hungry friends.

On the subject of booze I was mightily impressed that Iggy was able to belt down 11 shots of Stoli and remain standing…for a while at least.

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January 13, 2008

Wicked in White

Well I actually did it..as you may deduce from my lack of an entry last night, my “vague plan” turned into me actually going to a Carnival fete. The event in question was Wicked in White and after a fair amount of inveigling from O and A I found myself donning a new white Mexx formal shirt with jeans and heading to St. Anthony’s Grounds for the event. This, of course, after Grommit spent no less than an hour attempting to get the correct hair configuration. The venue had no parking that i could see so there were cars parked all the way back to the highway. Fortunately, since the company jeep is small and I have no shame I managed to cadge a spot quite close to the event.  I really don’t see the point of carnival fetes. You go there, pay money, have a few drinks, get pushed around by a crowd and then get back in your vehicle and head home trying to avoid killing yourself in the process. Machel Montano performed though I never really get him. He tends to shout all his songs and is a one trick pony when it comes to stage moves. His trademark hip thrusts grow tired really quickly. Also, if I were his physician I would strongly urge him to wear more supportive underwear because one day things may go horribly wrong. We managed to find Astrid in her hot little Stag Girl costume complete with fireman’s hat and comprising perhaps a smidge more than 6 square inches of fabric. After that it was basically standing around drinking rum and coke and watching Omar sweat like a cornered politician. At some point I got a text message from Alvin saying we should pop into Sky on the way home and informing me that “Britney killed herself”. Naturally I showed everyone the message thinking that it was lucky I had an alibi. As it turns out Little Miss Train Wreck did not kill herself…so I am guilty of large scale gossip mongering. Eventually we got bored and the three of us headed back to the car and after popping into Sky to see Alvie it was time for home. Strangely, I awoke none the worse for wear but resolved that I will not be attending any more fetes this season…well not until the next one. Back to work I go.photo-0002.jpg 

January 11, 2008

The Wrong Foot

Today was one of those days when i really wish i could have stayed in bed all day..for various reasons. I woke up late with a terrible pain in my back and realized it was close to 1pm and I had a 2:15 interview with the Opposition Chief Whip – Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj. I dragged myself out of bed, powerpuffed 3 cigarettes, swigged a cup of coffee, hurled myself into the shower, threw on my clothes and ran..well more limped..out the door. I got to work with just enough time to put on my makeup and then it was in the studio for the interview. I managed to hide my back pain from Mr. Maharaj  but I noted he was staring at my feet quite a bit. After i finished I packed up my stuff and got ready to head out to take Omar on a couple of errands. It was only upon entering the jeep that I noticed i was wearing two unmatched pairs of shoes. Thank heavens my feet don’t show on camera.

I got home, changed my shoes and then got Omar for the great haircut adventure. While he is fond of his carefree hippie image it was becoming a distinct possibility that National Geographic might descend at any moment to explore the world of his hair. So off we went to Sharol to do some tress amputation. It was a fairly painless procedure numbed by Sharol’s usual chatter. I really adore her and she does a mean haircut. After that it was time for me to head back home to nurse my back since I am working through the weekend and have a vague plan to go to the Wicked in White Fete tomorrow. 

My mind is in a strange place lately with uncompleted work, a semblance of a social life and general questions about where I am heading. Perhaps I can try and explain the swirl in greater detail in a future entry.
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January 11, 2008

The Carnival Demon Looms

It has now become an inescapable reality which even the most jaded cannot deny – Carnival is around the corner. It manifests itself in many ways; the sounds of pan being played in the pan yards, Loud soca music blaring from every second car, Omar getting a twinkle in his eyes and Astrid having to attend a million fetes in skimpy clothing dispensing alcoholic beverages to the eager. Already the fetes are piling up with several happening on the same night.People are looking at their already depleted pocketbooks with dismay as they shell out hundreds of dollars for a chance to see and be seen at one ( or more likely dozens) of the more fashionable all-inclusives. People are eagerly awaiting their costumes so they can don 6 inches of lame they paid up to $4000 for months ago. Well, some does not include Omar who, up to this evening was musing about whether he should play with Tribe or Harts – never mind that both are already sold out. I gather I will be making some begging calls to at least one mas camp.

At work today I had two interviews, one with the Minister of Energy Conrad Enill who I have always quite liked. I think I first started liking him when I did my first interview with him in his previous portfolio in the Finance Ministry and we chatted about fiscal policy and the WTO for an hour after the interview was done. Most Ministers are either too self-important to want to chat with journalists off camera or know little about their Ministry and thus want to limit their discussions. Not Enill…he knows his stuff…even if I often disagree with government policy. My other interview was with Wrenwrick Brown ( and which hat did his parents pull that name out of?) of the National Carnival Bands Association. He is an interesting man. He is Secretary of the organization and also a Mas designer himself so it was not surprising his passion was evident. We ended up chatting for quite a while after the interview as well. Like many, including myself, he is concerned that the so-called skimpy mas as exemplified by Harts/Tribe/Island People are taking away the true point of Carnival and also making the festival a Westmoorings event rather than a true people event. The skimpy mas bands are run like businesses and their clientele truly believe less is more – the expected costumes are  bikinis with beads for the women and skimpy trunks with a sash for the men. They give their fans what they want and run laughing to the bank after Carnival. The fact that a costume from this year’s band is indistinguishable from last year’s or the year before is immaterial. They have different names. This year’s bikini is called “Emerald Dreams” and last year’s was called “ Forest Ficus” ..I mean really…they are different. I tend to agree with him. If I am playing in a band..as I have…I want to be part of a theatrical spectacle that makes a statement. I want the crowds to be waiting for my band to appear and to talk about it for the next week. This is why I have only played with Minshall in past years and if I played now it would be with MacFarlane without a question. These are bands that show thought and whose costumes are true reflections of their theme. It is interesting to note that this year MacFarlane..ok..he is a friend…Brian’s band is partnered with the UN as it portrays Earth: Cries of Despair. Wings of Hope. You can see the band by clicking here.

That being said my friends are split into rival camps. Alvin, Binky, Sheppard, Naz and, I assume  Johnny and Amado are MacFarlane sorts while Omar and Astrid seem to think they would die if they had to wear more than a foot of fabric anywhere on their bodies. I suppose as i said in a previous blog – diversity is good.

In good news…and yes there is plenty in this twin island republic…Omar is back in North and it seems I may see my elusive Astrid/Iggy this weekend and possibly even have a drink or 10 of frozen Stoli with her…note to self..buy Sevruga. Amusing news of the year – Grommit wants to fade back to normal colour so he can get dark again on Carnival. Where do I live again? Oh right.

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January 9, 2008

Party Hearty

You just know that the lack of a blog  entry yesterday is a sure sign that either my party failed yesterday and I required hospitalization or it was a great success and I wasn’t able to find time to blog. Thankfully, it was the latter. I left work at about 5pm with the party scheduled for 8pm and nothing cooked. Happily I had Omar available to help but it was still daunting to think I had to do that many things in such a short time and simultaneously clean the condo. As it turned out I am such a tornado in the kitchen that it was safer for Grommit to watch TV in the living room rather than risk losing teeth as I whizzed from stove to cupboard with chop stops in between. He did most of the tidying while I worked and amazingly it was all finished by 7:15pm giving me enough time for a shower and a cigarette break.

The most shocking development of the evening was that the guests all arrived on time. They are wonderful people, make no mistake, but punctuality is not a trait that would generally be ascribed to them. Alvin and Binky arrived last looking very Euro Trash after their recent jaunt  and toting their much celebrated porta-bar along with them. Soon drinks were flowing freely and there was the usual celebratory mood that accompanies a group of assembled friends who have been liquored up before eating a thing.  A quick, and unofficial, poll indicates that the drink of choice was Jack Daniel’s and Coke though I noted with concern that certain individuals were alternating Jack and Coke with Cabernet ..and in at least one case…having both at once.  Eventually the gang noticed there was food available and were soon buffering their stomachs for another round of bacchanalian excess.

The nice thing about a gathering of nine is that it allows for real conversation and interaction. I hate parties where the music is loud and there are so many people it turns into a nodding acknowledgement fest. We were able to eat, drink, enjoy each other’s company and I had a chance to catch up with friends. I must say the majority of the guests were in their twenties ( and lower twenties at that) but there was absolutely no objection when, to pay tribute to Alvin, we played a ton of music he loves by Shirley Bassey ( who shares his birthday), Nana Mouskouri and Maria Callas. We ended up playing drunken rounds of Wii tennis and golf.

A couple of random observations from the evening are called for I think. Apparently Vishaal has a vision problem and thinks people are much further from him than they are thus requiring him to shout everything at 140 decibels. Omar has developed an inexplicable fondness for Mahalia Jackson. Zaid has become addicted to his iPhone and was on my wireless network faster than an Italian politician can mount his secretary. The Kiss Baking company thinks the word fabulous is spelt “fablous”. Who knew?

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January 8, 2008

Desperation Blog

Ok..it is 11:51pm and I found myself doing everything imaginable except blogging. Not, I hasten to add, that the world truly cares about what I write..but it fits nicely into my obsessive personality. At least I got some more Fodor’s work in today. It was Vishaal’s birthday today and Alvin’s tomorrow and nothing was arranged so loopy me went ahead and suggested that everyone pop by my place on Tuesday for a pleasant little evening and I would cook. Keeping in mind my workload…well what should be my workload…this was not the wisest thing to do as I never know when to stop when it comes to cooking. Thankfully Omar popped up from South to help me get a jump on things. Unfortunately, his zeal to assist was somewhat tempered by being under the weather and suddenly realizing he had internet access. In any case I have basically planned what I want to do and did a bit of prep work with the icky bits like boning chicken in advance and marinating it in Yoghurt and spices. Omar was quite decorative on the couch, though, and I enjoy cooking more knowing that someone else is around for moral support. He will be put to good use tomorrow as I have to work in the afternoon which gives me about 3.5 hours to get everything together. The plan, as it stands, is for a simple and eclectic assortment of comestibles. My tentative list includes:

  •  Coconut chicken curry with cinnamon and cardamon.
  • Saffron rice with lightly roasted cashews.
  • Quiche with sun dried tomatoes, spinach and nutmeg ( thinking about glazing it but that might be too OTT)
  • Vern’s Caesar salad…the true recipe for which I will pass on to only my closest confidantes.
  • Mini pitas with a yoghurt, cream cheese and red onion dip ( the jerk flavour will be a surprise).
  • Pasta Arrabbiata with added capers because I love them.
I have no idea about dessert because I am not fond of it ( eating a quart of Haagen Dazs on the couch does not count as dessert ..it is a substitute sexual experience). I assume birthday cake is a dessert..so whoever brings one has taken care of that course. I was contemplating a Thai soup as well…but surely that would be overkill. My usual dessert offering is either creme caramel or creme brulee but given the quiche I might be held accountable for several heart related incidents.
 
Wish me luck. Hmm..I wonder how Grommit would look in a chef’s hat? 100_0627.jpg