Posts tagged ‘Cascade’

August 26, 2011

New Post tomorrow.

The state of emergency here and nightly curfew has me rather pissed off ( though it really hasn’t affected me since I am a homebody) so I haven’t uploaded a post in a few days. Just realized  that it has been a while so I promise I will upload one tomorrow.

I live in Cascade which is a suburb of Port of Spain and is under a strict curfew though as a journalist I have a curfew pass. If anyone is looking for a review of what it is like living under house arrest I can safely say that Cascade is as delightfully boring as ever. I have the weekend off  so I might take the Galaxy Tab ( I am totally in love with it now) on a drive and take some shots  of the  deserted city.

Let’s see what happens. The fact is that my civil rights have been taken away for a crime situation which, while dire, hardly qualifies as an emergency. The majority of law abiding citizens in all the major cities are now under house arrest.

March 18, 2009

Summit wicked this way comes.


The picture above hangs in my friend Robin’s weekend house in Toco which is located in the remote North East of Trinidad. When I first saw it years ago I didn’t think much of it but I have now become inordinately fond of it and look forward to seeing it every now and then.  It is painted by the artist Cromwell in a style that i suppose would be described as primitive but it is, in fact, that wonderfully naive style coupled with the decidedly local subject matter that makes me love it so much. It depicts some of the figures of Trinidad folklore that many, in areas such as Toco, still believe in.

The three figures in the foreground from left to right are LaDiablesse ( the she devil) , Soucouyant ( a sort of succubus who by day takes on the form of an old woman and then sheds her skin at night to do her evil deeds) and finally we have the Lagahoo ( a man who can change into animal form). Even though I said many rural people still believe in and fear these figures i am often surprised to learn that many urban types also believe in them. A perfectly normal educated adult might tell you with concern that he woke up with two small bite marks on his body and he is sure he is being attacked by a soucouyant. Though part of me shudders at the jarring reminder that I am living in the developing world ( which I am 100% certain will still be underdeveloped by 2020 thank you very much) another part of me finds the whole thing too cute for words.

To learn more about the fascinating pantheon of Trinidad folklore characters you  can just use our old friend Google as the link option is not working for me right now.

In other news many of my interviews of late have been with people involved in or concerned about next month’s 5th Summit of the Americas to be held here. While I can still not think of a really good reason for us to be spending about $100 million US to prepare for it other than to feed the already inflated egos of politicians in charge who want to wine and dine 34 hemispheric leaders including President Obama it is still a fact of life here. One thing becoming increasingly clear is that virtually all of the capital will be under lockdown for the 4 days including my area of Cascade/St. Anns which contains both the Prime Ministers monstrosity newly built residence in all its taxpayer dollar lavishness and the Hilton Trinidad which will be host to the 1,000 strong US delegation.

My new plan is to get the hell outta here and head to Toronto for the week that the summit is on and return when I can actually go to the supermarket without being patted down by 6 security officers.

February 21, 2009

King Carnival steps into town.

How was my day you ask? Well, it started with me leaving home for the newsroom to discover that the Queen’s Park Savannah had been turned into a two way roundabout with disastrous effects. The small roundabout that branches off the Savannah into St. Ann’s /Cascade turned into a complete log jam and the police on the scene failed to bring any semblance of order to the 4 lanes of traffic that suddenly converged on each other. The end result was that I was stressed and ended up taking an hour to drive the usual 7 minute stretch to work. Lovely. Every year the revelation that carnival results in a snarl seems to come as a complete surprise to everyone.

Nonetheless I got through the day, read the news and made it back home using the now inexplicably one-way Savannah. The usual signs were there of inconsiderate behaviour and a general lawlessness over and above the usually lawless atmosphere around these parts. Vendors were setting up stalls on the sidewalks forcing pedestrians to walk in the road. Beer companies were plastering private buildings with their bunting without permission ( including ours) and music was blaring for no reason whatsoever from establishments lining the road. This meant we had the usual Carnival combo of ridiculous ( and unnecessary given nothing was happening uptown) noise levels and complete traffic gridlock. 

This brings me to my list for today. I present you with my 10 reasons I love Carnival and 10 reasons I hate carnival.

10 Reasons I love Carnival

1. Mocking tourists is fun for the whole family.

2. Corn soup is everywhere and who doesn’t love corn soup?

3. Traditional Carnival characters like Jab Jab, Burrokeets and Midnight Robber ( they still scare me).

4. Beautiful bands like MacFarlane that give me faith that the spirit of Carnival is not dead.

5. Seeing my friends drunk and happy.

6. Seeing my couple friends fight and break up for the weekend ( it’s a Carnival tradition)

7. Eye candy galore of all shapes and sizes,

8. The satisfaction of seeing that 80% of guys have far worse bodies than me.

9. The chance that I will see David Rudder in concert somewhere.

10. There are so many drunk people around that even ugly people have a chance to get laid..and that has to be a good thing.


10 Reasons I don’t like Carnival.

1. Boring bead bands like Tribe that attract those whose idea of culture is an all-inclusive 2 day fete.

2. Traffic gridlock as the the Police Traffic Branch manages to screw the pooch every year without fail.

3. Machel Montano. Many rave about him I find him ineffably dull shouting his way through every song and doing those dreary waist thrusts.

4. Noise everywhere for no reason whatsoever. Even with nobody around people blare music on the street.

5. Music trucks that seem to think they have the absolute right of way.

6. Lines for everything as thousands of tourists converge on the capital.

7. It is impossible to get in to our out of Cascade because of the busy Savannah.

8. No damned Savannah stage anymore since the effing government decided it wasn’t fancy enough and tore it down before they had a replacement. What is the point of Carnival without The Big Yard?

9. People with better bodies than me wandering about with barely any clothes on. I mean rub it in why don’t you?

10. Your friends go missing for days on end and, because they lost their cellphones while stopping to pee in a bush somewhere you can’t reach them.

February 20, 2009

Trinidad pops the clutch and shifts into Carnival gear


It happens every year but for some reason this year it sneaked up on me. I imagine the financial turmoil currently affecting the world and more specifically the company I work for must have distracted me to some extent but it is now officially Carnival weekend. I can tell it is Carnival time not simply by looking at the calendar but by several other telltale signals. The streets are more congested than usual, there are ramshackle structures popping up all over for beverage sales and hordes of confused looking people in shorts milling about and speaking with Yankee accents.

We normally refer to these odd looking wanderers as either JBCs ( Just Come Backs) or Freshwater Yankees. These are generally locals who migrate for as little as 3 weeks to the USA and return with an American accent they did not previously have. They are, as a group, benign but they can be rather grating on the ear and they make the lines at our local supermarkets just that much longer. The latter can be especially difficult on me as I hate having to linger for unnecessary periods waiting to pay for my herbs and spices.

Over the weekend we will have giant fetes aplenty, Kiddies Carnival and on Sunday we will have Dimanche Gras – a show consisting of all the elements of Carnival that runs from about 8pm to sometime after midnight. After that all semblance of order will break down in the Port of Spain as the traffic lights are turned off and the Savannah, which is normally a huge one-way roundabout will be made two way. Steel pan and music trucks will be parked everywhere and traffic chaos will ensure. At around 4 on Monday morning Carnival will start in earnest as J’ouvert takes over and thousands will march through the streets covered in anything from simple costumes to mud and oil. Noise will be everywhere and it will not stop until Tuesday night at midnight. There will be Monday mas and Tuesday mas and basically given my hatred of crowds and noise my nerves will be frazzled.

Happily, I don’t have to work on Monday or Tuesday so if I can manage to resist my tendency to wander into the office for no reason I can stay largely shielded in Cascade. That being said there are always friends from out of town who will want to use my place as a Port of Spain base so I will still see something of the Carnival experience as people don costumes and slather themselves with sunblock .

In unrelated news I took the Jung/Meyers-Briggs Personality test again and, not surprisingly, I am still an INTJ. This means according to the test I am :

  • moderately expressed introvert
  • distinctively expressed intuitive personality
  • moderately expressed thinking personality
  • distinctively expressed judging personality
  • It goes on to say that this means the following:
    “To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of “definiteness”, of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise — and INTJs can have several — they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don’tknow.

    INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type: INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion “Does it work?” to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.”

    I can’t say I really disagree and it certainly explains why so many people think I am arrogant upon first encountering me. Happily I share this personality type with quiet a few famous folk including  Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Ulysses Grant,  Frideriche Nietsche, Niels Bohr, Peter the Great, Stephen Hawking, John Maynard Keynes, Lise Meitner”, Ayn Rand and Sir Isaac Newton are examples of Rational Masterminds.

    Pity I can’t seem to live up to quite that level of greatness..ah well.

    If you want to take an online version of the test you can go here:  TEST ME

    November 24, 2008

    Back to the dustbowl


    Well after a delayed ( and a long delay at that) return flight on Surname Airways and a ridiculous immigration line in Trinidad I am back on the ground and dealing with all that means. Peter P met me and he let me use his car to get home from his place and since my car is not fully serviced I am still using it. It was weird driving on the “right side” again but I managed at 1:30am when I was supposed to be back at 8:15pm the previous day. Cascade was normal looking until I rounded the curve and saw that the flood damage had affected my area. The security gates are stuck in the open position, all the vegetation was washed away and there were piles of mud everywhere.


    My place is up on a hill so there was no damage in my living space but it was weird having to pass all the damage. I stayed at home on Friday as i had a lot of laundry and cleaning to do and did a quick trip to the grocery but that was the extent of my outings for the day. The mud on the main road has now turned to dust so Cascade feels like the place that the ABCs are normally. The irony is not lost on me.

    I produced and anchored news on Saturday and just produced on Sunday so Giselle could do a perfect job of anchoring. Watching her read after 2 weeks was a great experience as I see how far she has come. I pray the Beeb does not snatch her from us as she is close to a perfect news reader now.


    I still have to research Tobago and also Trinidad as despite living here much of the time there is a lot I have to get right as Fodor’s does not accept poor information and least of all my editors. This should be fun…I imagine my days will be very long between ieTV and Fodor’s for the next little while. Fun? What is that?


    I will say, though, after this many years of doing this I really miss my friends on the ABC  islands including Susan at Bucuti, Ricardo and Monique, Rolando, Anabela and Bobby from the wonderful Pinchos in Aruba, Stephen in Curacao ( what a revelation he was) , Delno Tromp from Bonaire and many great people. I am truly a lucky guy to have crossed paths with such wonderful people and I am hoping to do so again next year. Traveling is a revelation as you realize that we are all very similar and that goodness and generosity of heart transcend national boundaries.Though Susan is now back in Miami I think I miss her the most as we have an intellectual connection and I consider her a friend par excellence…they don’t come along that often …I wish her the best as she pursues her dreams and I hope she knows that.

    Tomorrow I hope to get the hearse back and I will commence my interviews here on Tuesday. Fodor’s T&T will slip in somewhere in between the ABC writing. It will all come together. Having traveled on islands that have no natural drinking water but have managed I am dealing with the fact my condo, on an island full of fresh water,  has no water at,  all with a rather circumspect approach. If I say I am on vacation it all seems amusing and somehow better. Bucket bath anyone?