About Me

Living in the Caribbean is probably like living anywhere else, with the same ups and downs. But it does have its own vibe and flavour and gives me a unique perspective on most things. I'm often sarcastic, mostly funny, always looking for a new adventure. I have not boxed myself into any one category of life. I love a lot of things and dislike a lot more. I write about them all.

Today - A Gift

I had typed a post this morning before class, then got the news that a classmate from my undergrad was killed over the weekend. The entry just did not seem that important.

To those who treat life with such triviality that they can just snuff it out without a thought, how poor you are in spirit and in emotion. There goes someone's son, a brother, a classmate and a friend to countless people. There goes someone who was young and had so much ahead of him. It could have been any of us, that is the truly scary and sickening part of it all.

It is such a sad world we live in where life is nothing but an after-thought. Bless and walk good, Roderick.

Day Off, Night On

Courtesy Caponata. This was very good, by the way.
Friday was my day off. Yes, we all need a break from time to time and I needed one. I was not able to focus on Thursday and I was staying up late and getting nothing done - a clear sign of saturation. So I went into town. The primary purpose was of course, as mentioned before, to get my beauty stuff from Boots. But I cannot see a clothing or shoe store and just walk past. C'mon. I laughed when I saw the flip flops were on the shelves of some of the shops, as I pulled my jacket closer to my body. Flip flops. Clearly to go to a resort somewhere. I eventually got my eyebrows threaded, raided the Boots beauty aisle, getting my Mudd mask in the process and after what was supposed to be a half hour retail adventure, I got on the bus home 3 hours later.

Friday was also date night. I have these "dates" ever so often and they do a great job in reminding me I am a human first, a robot last. After some toning (Boots' tea tree and witch hazel toner for £1.24 or whatever is really the answer! I tell you, go with the cheap stuff anyday!) and my Mudd mask, and some primping, I headed to dinner. In the end, by the way, I thought I looked pretty damn smashing, but I am biased.

Photo courtesy, Caponata. Great wine selection, as well.
Well, dinner was beyond lovely. We dined at Caponata, which offers a very Sicilian menu. I enjoyed my orders a lot. I am so glad that Sainsbury's 2 for £2.70 pasta meals have not ruined my palate. I'm not one of those people who go out to eat and whip out a camera to take photos of the food so I can post it on online. I have done it, but it's not a usual thing. Again, if someone wanted to pay me to do this (hint hint), I would. But take my word for it - it was pretty awesome. I had the almond crusted lamb which was so well done I almost cried. No ready meal here! And the service was stellar. Did not like the live band downstairs so much - they kinda ruined the ambiencefor those dining upstairs. My one small peeve about the place.

The weather though - junk. And I missed my train so had to take the dreaded night bus and again, almost missed my stop. Finally, when I felt my body giving in to the sleep..I am on the bus. lol.
I am 98% (fingers crossed) finished with this nightmare of an assignment and hopefully I can get some sleep and maybe some fresh air tomorrow. Oh...sorry. Today. It's 5.00 am. Joy.

Friday: Let's Talk Beauty (Vanity)

I've not been sleeping well. I go to bed at oh...3am..latest was 5am, and set the alarm to wake me up 6 hours later, so I can start a new day on this assignment, and 3 hours later, I am wide eyed. Not so bushy tailed. Here I am again - 3.5 hours later. Unable to sleep.

This of course means I look like utter rubbish. I have been "self medicating" with shea butter moisturiser to try to put some zap in my skin, and a lot of cold water splashes to minimise the puffiness under my eyes. This does not bode well for the evening where I am supposed to go out and look cute. Back home this would have meant - strong coffee, and a quick facial. You know, when they put you under the steamer and you fall asleep, and then the gentle massage takes you to dreamland, and then they leave the face mask on and go outside to check on other customers for 20 mins and you doze off with a smile on your face. By the time you leave, after your super nap and the relaxation, not to mention exfoliation and super skin crap that you know is probably not much better than the cheap crap you can get in the beauty aisle, you're positively glowing.

Fast forward to me, in fluffy socks, with puffy eyes, with not even enthusiasm to go to the kitchen, much less go outside. But go outside I must. I have been excited about going to good ole Boots all week. That's pretty sad considering all the things I could be excited about. But I'm a girl. I realise I miss being a girl. I went on their website to look for super skin crap to pre-empt a rubbish look this weekend, and realised all the stuff I had been missing. lol. Revlon. Clinique. L'Oreal. And when I saw this, I was super excited. I wanted to run down to Boots right then and there - at 1am.




I have not seen this in forever. This is not a plug for them cause noone pays me to rate their stuff - though they should. But this mask is awesome. I used to use it waaaaay back in the day, when I still wore a school uniform and when school was fun. Actually my mum used to use it, and I used to sneak into her beauty bag and steal some. Then one day she came home and felt like "masking" and the bottle was empty. She was not amused, but my skin was awesome. So when I saw Boots had it, I got so exciiiited. Maybe it can magically transform me from this


It's true. I am not too far off from looking like this today

...to this in...oh...10 hours?


The lovely Gabrielle Union
That would be a 21st century miracle but, I am optimistic. I continued browsing the website, looking at girly stuff. Fun. My fave nail polish is £8 though. That kinda killed the excitement somehow. It's the same way I felt going into the mecca of Trininista aka the M.A.C. store and knowing that £11.50 single eyeshadow was not as important as food. Sigh. How life has changed.

I always remember a man asking me what my favourite brand was and I said without blinking - "M.A.C.". He goes, "Oh you're an Apple groupie." Stupid. lol. Don't you guys know?

Courtesy M.A.C. - Freshwater
Hope everyone has a beautiful Friday. We all deserve to feel pretty and beautiful today. And if I don't get my mask in my local Boots, I am gonna burn the store down.

Smooches.

Reality TV: Funny Married People

Bill and Giuliana Rancic. Oh, the shoes, Giuliana.
I am sitting here, having an egg white omelette, fresh tomatoes and toasted rolls, with a cup of mochaccino, and watching Giuliana & Bill. I don't really watch a lot of tv these days except when I am having a meal and usually there is nothing on. So not a fan of the show but it is funny - funny in the way that as a woman I can feel sorry for poor Bill, the husband. This episode, which I imagine is an old episode, since everything here is late, is where Giuliana realises she is not legally married in the US, having had her wedding in Capri. First she goes to the instant photo mart to get a new passport photo for her new passport and this chick takes a full makeup bag, complete with eyelash curler, and a light box to have the right lighting for her photo. Her passport photo. Does anyone have a really awesome passport photo? They are usually just a step above a mug shot. It was pretty hilarious to see the photographer at this 30min photo place trying to take this generic photo as she did glamour poses, and he keeps telling her the photo has to be head on. Pretty easy, right? Nope. Poor guy.

Then, she needs to legalise her marriage in the US, which could have just been a quick trip to City Hall, a couple minutes in front of a judge and poof. Legal. Oh no...she goes complete bridezilla. The dress, the cake, the grand ballroom at the Four Seasons. Bill wants 2 people - just himself and her, she wants 500. I am still watching it and she is currently cake tasting and I am laughing my head off because I am saying to myself - This guy must really really REALLY love this woman. I love this dude. As a couple they are cute though - they balance each other out. She is a dreamer and he is a pragmatist. Pretty damn funny.

So cute. I need a change desperately.
In reality, nothing exciting. Just assignment work. Feeling pretty dismal and have not been able to shake it. I have a dinner date on Friday - a proper adult dinner - and that's the one ray of hope for the week. I need some high heeled therapy...clearly. I've also been seriously considering a pixie cut. I dunno - I need something. I have not cut my hair that short in well...ever. But it could be cute, I think. Maybe. I love Ginnifer Goodwin's pixie. Am I cute enough to pull it off? Not sure. I would probably need a job to pay for the regular maintenance of said haircut. Black hair needs extra love than other types of hair - love I am incapable of providing, hence the reason I have a dedicated hairdresser back home. Hair maintenance here in London is EXPENSIVE!!! On a student budget, that pixie cut would be a hot mess. lol. But one can dream and hope. I have not been feeling cute at all lately. I need skin products that I cannot find here, a facial, sleep - to erase the bags under my eyes.  My vanity and selfish money making ways are getting the best of me today. Sorry.

Until then, laughing at this silly show before I get back to work on this ridiculous assignment.

Red Circles and Blue Skies

I'm up with the cows, if London has cows. It's going to be a tough few weeks. My cute calendar shows the damage. The days circled in red are DUE DAYS. Due days - when I give birth to an assignment after a very short gestation period as you can see. It's pretty much like the month of November when basically all the Mondays were circled. Happy times I tell you. The little blue face is obviously me. lol.

But I looked at it positively this morning. It's probably much easier to sit indoors with books, when it's cold and gnarly and grey outside, than if I were at home in the sunshine, during Carnival season no less. Can you imagine reading about reputation management when the skies are blue and the parties are everywhere? Impossible. Think about it with me...

This is the view from my porch where on a Sunday morning like this, I would sit and just do nothing, besides maybe watch a bird or two, share some crumbs with them, have my Cheerios and milk in my favourite mug, or wave to the neighbours.




Ahhh...La Vega - where many an afternoon has been spent just lying in the sun, with a beer, listening to loud Indian music from someone's speakerbox and cursing the owner of said speakerbox in my mind.




And of course, the North-East coast




...and Tobago. Beautiful beautiful Tobago, where a sunrise is like a kiss from heaven.




Yeah, it looks much more possible to get work done from this angle. lol.


Photo courtesy Travel Pod
No matter what city it is, that sky would keep me indoors for sure.

My friend LSJ had given me a beautiful oversized mug one Christmas. I loooooove that mug. I miss that mug. But it pretty much sums up life.



No lie...I really love that mug. See? It's blue and got white spots like a sky and everything. I need a sunny sky mug!!!

Dream - I had dreams of getting this Masters done and getting it done here and I am right where I wanna be, albeit not as warm as I wanna be. lol.
Inspire - I know I have inspired others, in one way or another, during the course of my short life and have been inspired by others as well - by the great men and women I call my friends.
Cherish - I cherish every blessing and moment, no matter how heinous, because it means I am alive. And I cherish the people in my life.

Happy Sunday folks. It's back to the pasta and pizza drawer for me this week. No Sunday kitchen sexiness today. Except for the sexy omelette I am going to whip up for breakfast. I tried another type of cheese at Sainsbury's. God help me and my omelette. lol.

Outfoxed

It's so cold. I am bundled up in layers inside, with a glass of port and the neighbour is outside, gardening. GARDENING!!! These people are nuts.

I finished my final exam yesterday - hopefully my final exam for life. Still not in a great place and I still have assignments due, but such is life. I have another random photo, this one from an old Daily Mail. You would never believe London was a metropolitan city based on the critters running around the place.


Photo courtesy The Daily Mail

Oh when I saw this I cracked a smile. I remember when I was seeing a Brit and he first told me about urban foxes, I was like, what? Foxes in the city? Impossible. I thought he was pulling my leg, until my very first visit in 2007, when I was coming home after a night of fun and as I crossed the street, there was Fantastic Mr Fox awaiting me. Not knowing whether this thing was fierce or not, I stopped dead in my tracks, despite the cold breeze. I was fully prepared to freeze, rather than be mauled by Foxy, having never seen or encountered a fox in my life and not knowing if he was a mean bugger. But he was more scared of me, and ran away. I have now grown used to seeing them around - with one regularly sleeping under our wine shed - hopeully not drinking our whites and reds to stay warm - but I never saw them in a train station, which was where this escalator happy fox was captured on camera. Imagine running for your train and in front of you, on the escalator is a fox - going about his business, in the middle of the day, with not a care in the world. It's little things like these that make me smile.

Out of Sorts

Last night, I opened up SPSS, despite feeling really tired. The plan - I would do some revision by way of exercises, for this exam I have tomorrow. Ten minutes later, I was in dreamland and the laptop went into sleep mode. Six hours later, I was awake again. Two hours after that, laptop was off, I was back in bed, having done nothing really. Exhausted. A bit distracted.

It's not been a fabulous week, not only because of stats invading my life, but life invading my life. I just feel a bit out of sorts. It's not anything I want to put out in the cybersphere but I just wish things were different.

Thanks to two ladies for being so sweet - Carol for scouring her local markets for good Caribbean stuff on my behalf, without me even asking. lol. And Happy Anniversary to her and her hilarious hubby.

Shala for offering and promising to bring me a piece of NZ cheddar from Trinidad. If only she could also bring the sun. It's pretty dismal today after nice sunny intervals yesterday and Tuesday.

I took another day off and I am at home. I need to focus on SPSS and I was just too tired to go. Not to mention, the class was a bit pointless over the past couple days so I just decided to spare myself the hassle. Not doing any chores today as I normally would when I am home either. No laundry, no vacuuming, no cooking. When I cooked on Sunday, it was soul food. Comfort food. It's also great therapy for when things are not going as they should. It also makes the folks back home feel better that I am not simply eating a meal out of a plastic box.


Mixed vegetable rice, red beans, stewed chicken, pasta salad and fresh salad.

The rice was really great because I used all fresh veggies, including broccoli and cauliflower, which I first steamed before stir frying them with the carrots, sweet peppers, onions, ginger and garlic, with a dash of parsley and black pepper, before adding the cooked long grain rice. And I really missed having red beans and stewed chicken. I did good.

Pity it's a ready meal kinda day today.

Trininista takes on the World - one issue at a time

I went to Tesco today, as opposed to Sainsbury's to get some rations for the week. There is a full "ethnic" section in my local Tesco, with stuff I don't always find in Sainsbury's. However, my grouse today, and this is not against Tesco at all, but a clear indictment of Trinidad and Tobago's manufacturing industry -

Why are all the Caribbean products from Jamaica?

I was really annoyed by this and this, again, is nothing against Tesco and nothing against Jamaica. In fact, kudos to Jamaica for making their presence felt. I could get their awful tasteless crackers as opposed to a bag of yummy Crix...


Whole wheat Crix trumps the competition in my opinion


...their seasoning which I don't like the taste of, as opposed to a bottle of Mabel's green seasoning; their hard dough bread, which I actually do like but I rarely eat white bread nowadays. I am really disappointed T&T. Really unimpressed. Is it any wonder why people think Trinidad is a town in Jamaica? REALLY?


However, with my care package coming direct from South Trinidad via British Airways and one lovely lady, I now have proper seasoning, my fave soy milk so I was loving the cereal aisle once more and proper cold meds after the Great Flu of 2010 depleted my supply. But had I remembered, I would have asked mums to send me a huge block of New Zealand cheddar cheese. I have tried. I have given it a good shot. I really experimented with it. But...

I hate British cheddar cheese. I really do. I love cheese and though I have my select cheeses I have when sipping on a glass of wine on the weekend, they aren't cheap enough for the every day student life sandwiches, nor yummy enough. But ugh...British cheddar is gross. Every 2 weeks, at my neighbourhood Hi-Lo, I would buy a block of Anchor light cheddar cheese. It's just the best cheese ever. A cheese sandwich here is just not the same. Macaroni pie is not the same. It's probably for the best - a few calories less. But I would kill for a block of NZ cheddar right about now. My first macaroni pie attempt here in London was not too shabby, considering it was a three-cheese pie because using British cheddar alone would have killed it. The Red Leicester topping gave it an awesome colour. The third cheese, if you want to count it, came from the fact that half of the pie was made from a box of Kraft Mac 'n' Cheese - so American sharp cheddar? lol. It's great!


Macaroni pie. Yummers.

Come to think of it, I had cheese issues in Jamaica as well. I always took my cheese with me from home because the idea of cheese in a tin was odd to me. What was odder was the fact that the cheese did not melt. I mean, you put that crap in the oven and unlike regular, normal cheese, this stuff did not really get gooey and stringy under heat. How could I eat that?

And as I am talking about national differences, from product placement to cheese, just a quick note on language as well. A man today told me I did not sound like a Trini. I am not sure which Trini he was comparing me to but I can assure you, my accent is very Trini. This is the thing - we all don't sound the same, buddy. Depending on where you live and your education, your accent is bound to be a bit different. This is not rocket science. All Brits don't sound the same either. My Greek professor pointed this out earlier this week when someone said the word "computer" as "compu-ah". He was a bit flabbergasted in that way he gets flabbergasted. I thought it was hilarious because though not sure how that accent would be classified by location, the omission of the "t" sound here in the land of English, is a great source of amusement for me.

Boh-uhl - bottle
Wha - what
Keh-uhl - kettle
Compu-ah - computer

Hilarious. Jamaicans have swapped the "h" sounds so that where there is an "h", there is no sound, and where there is no "h", there is the sound.

Onda - Honda
Hunder - under

Trinis often use the word "does" where it does not need to be, and they know better but it's part of the dialect.

I does tell him - I tell him
I does do it - I do it

But not all Brits say compu-ah, not all Jamaicans do weird things with the letter "h" and not all Trinis use double verbs. So when this bright and farse man tells me today I do not sound like a Trini, and mind you, he is not a Trini, I had to ask him when was the last time he went to Trinidad. This was in direct contrast to the Bajan lady in the poultry and meat aisle who asked me something about the price of a pack of wings and upon hearing my accent - "You from Trinidad? You would know that accent anywhere, girl".

Silly man.

Black is Beautiful, Vybz Kartel. Orange is for sundresses.

I really loathe statistics. I am being forced to do stats over these 2 weeks - all day, every day, for 2 weeks. Whose squirrel did I run over in a past life? I will not even fake it. I hate statistics. I will not pretend to be a good sport about it. I just hate it.

Now that I have gotten that off my chest, I really wanted to say something briefly about Vybz Kartel. For the non-Caribbean readers, Mr Kartel is a popular dancehall artiste from Jamaica who has recently been in the news, not for his music but for his appearance. Why? Well, he used to look like this - nice, unspoilt, sexy chocolate brown skin...




Now he looks like this -




I mean, the dude was not God's gift to women before, but now he is simply heinous. The phenomenon of bleaching in Jamaica, where black people feel some deep desire to apply bleaching products to their skin to lighten their appearance does not seem to be going away. With the transformation of Vybz Kartel from a healthy looking, not too bad looking chocolate coloured man, to this Frankenstein looking creature, I am really saddened that so many black people turn to such silly measures to try to keep up with European standards of beauty.


Vybz, in his interview on a radio station said he was not trying to distance himself from being a black man, but rather - and this really amused me - it's a "style". He said he put in orthodontic braces not because he needed them but because it was a style, and in the same way, he has been turning orange because it is a fashion statement. Vybz - a fashion statement is a pair of hot jeans, a new piece of bling, maybe some new shoes. Bleach is not a fashion statement. It's just being dotish. He went on to comment that he needed to highlight his numerous tattoos which were hard to see on the skin God blessed him with, so he just had to bleach so the world could see his artwork. Amazing.

The horrible thing about this is that he is a public figure in Jamaica and contrary to what he believes, people emulate him and people like him. So when he does this to himself, for whatever reason, he is simply propagating the belief that light skin, or in this case, nasty looking orange skin, is hip, happening and beautiful. I am even more disturbed that this gentleman is going to bring out his own line of "cake soap" - bleaching soap. So what are you telling young people about being black in this world?

It's the same issues I have with women who live by the frickin' weave. I call them the rebound weavers - women who cannot live without a weave; who jump from weave to weave; whose between-weave periods last less than 12 hours; who feel their beauty is somehow not enhanced when they are not wearing fake hair. Nutters. I have no problem with a black woman who wants to wear a weave or braids or what have you, for a new look, or as Vybz says, as a "fashion statement". Hell, I have two awesome wigs that I bust out when I feel the need to vamp it up. I love my wigs. I paid good money for my wigs.

But when noone can remember what you look like without fake hair sewn on to your head, or you get offended when someone else points out your weave to people who may not know, for example, white people, then I have a serious issue with this. What are you afraid of, or are you so consumed (and confused) by this image of beauty - of long, flowing hair around your shoulders, no matter whose head it came from, that you cannot fathom walking the street with your short natural hair. I remember how annoyed a friend - a male friend - was when I did a weave - seriously un-im-pressed.  Some men really find it unattractive, not to mention a form of false advertising. It can also be the butt of jokes, ridicule and disgust when you wear a weave. And though I have never been in one, let's not mention getting into fights with women - the first thing they go for in any scenario is the hair, so imagine wearing a weave in a catfight, and worse being in a catfight with dozens of onlookers. The shame. lol. These are among the many reasons, why I do not "ride or die" with the whole weave thing. Take me as I come, buddy. A dude told me this week, he does not date women who wear glasses. If that is the best he can come up with, then me and my $4000 glasses will be alright.

But I am really concerned that black people are questioning the beauty that they have. I see so many people running to the Caribbean to lie on a beach all day to darken their skin, while people like Vbyz "is a style" Kartel is destroying his beautiful brown skin with cake soap. And then you have the Naomi Campbells and Hollywood's black fashionistas who encourage little girls to want a weave for that straight haired look - the "good hair" look. This is a whole other argument which I know I had discussed on another forum, and this is all getting me rather pissed off, so I will stop.

And while I like to cast my eye on  a nice red man, this ain't it, Vybz. I would really like to know if there is any woman in her right mind who will now watch this orange, crusty looking Vybz Kartel and want to be seen with him. I am also curious - did he bleach everything????? I know the saying is once you go black, you never go back, but what do they say about once you go orange? I am really not willing to find out.

Trini Forever

Trini [ˈtrɪnɪ]
n pl Trinis
(Social Science / Peoples) Caribbean informal a native or inhabitant of Trinidad; Trinidadian
[a shortened form of Trinidadian]


Yesterday I was talking to a British dude, who told me his parents had retired to Spain because they hated England. No...loathed it. His dad did not associate himself with being British and was all too happy to escape the place. He does not support England's cricket team, even with their recent trouncing of the Aussies, nor does he support their (overrated) football team. He is not a fan of the UK and he does not boast of being English. Now while I am no fan of the weather, which is disgusting at best, to totally disassociate oneself from one's native country is really foreign to me.

Trinidad and Tobago is far from perfect. With rising crime rates and a new breed of ridiculous politicians, I often shake my head at the place. It really saddens me to see how much it has changed from when I was a wee lass. But...I love the place. I love the little mad twin-island republic with all my heart and that will not change any time soon. The RWB runs through my veins. My heart is RWB.

Photo by Donald Michael Chambers
via Getty Images
The spirit of a Trini is contagious. For good or for bad, you cannot really hate a Trini. lol. Some of the most ridiculously amusing people on the planet. God knows they made my daily existence, and the most mundane activities, a unique and fun experience. And being here makes me appreciate so many things that we take for granted back home and which really, in some ways, debunks the longstanding Western constructs of First World and Third World. A lot of the systems here are as bad or worse than the systems back home. God knows, and I can only speak about London, the people here can use some manners. I have met non-Londoners who are awesome and so friendly and warm but goodness...London is another story altogether. I definitely miss the warmth and exuberance of the people back home. Maybe it's the sun because to be brutally honest, the weather here makes me grumpy as well. lol.

And from a country where our PM is not only of Indo-Trinidadian descent but a woman, where we have an Indo-Trini boxing champ, a white swimming champ, and the Prince of Port of Spain, it's a great mix of everybody and everything. Not to mention 33 degree Celsius weather. lol. And better beer and food. Not to mention the best Carnival in the world. Brazilians will say it's Rio, but no Trini will ever agree with that. C'mon.


A small sample of the awesomeness that is Trinidad and Tobago
Top left, and moving clockwise -
Sir VS Naipaul, Nobel Prize winning author;
Richard Thompson, silver medallist, 100m, 2008 Olympic Games;
Dwight Yorke, former Man U and TT striker; 
Janelle 'Penny' Commissiong, first ever black Miss Universe, 1977 - breaking so many barriers of beauty;
Brian Lara, world record holding batsman and one of the best batsmen the cricketing world has ever seen; 
Machel Montano, soca artiste and my fave soca artiste ever (lol) 
Nicki Minaj, rapper - Barbados has Rihanna, we have Nicki.
 
But there are a lot of great things about the UK I imagine. London alone is arguably one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. It's hard to be bored in London. Why anyone born here would not want to be passionate about their country is beyond my understanding. I can only hold on to my own passion - the passion for the RWB.

So no matter where this journey takes me, my heart will always be in the southern Caribbean, and I will always be a Trini. Proud, beautiful and strong.

Soca - the energetic and fantastic music of Trinidad Carnival.
I can see myself in the party.
I am missing the Carnival (sob)

I Hate People Day

I really hate people today. Really. I can go on and on about how insensitive, selfish, daft, etc etc etc some of the people I encounter can be, but then, who has that kinda time? Just brand the day and leave the rest alone. I hate people today.

But I love my soup.

Sainsbury's strikes again. Cooked chicken breast slices, some veggies - precut, and pre-washed. I love UK food shopping. Got a nice piece of pumpkin from the market and some onions and garlic, of course. And Knorr may not be Maggi, but it will just have to do.




Sautee that chicken with some seasoning and some garlic and a frustrated dash of white wine because...it's I Hate People Day and I drink when I cook and get angry and splash wine into my chicken. Makes a nice stock base.




Add my veggies and my Knorr.





Bubble bubble bubble. Stay outta my way or there will be trouble.




Comfort food - to take away all the hurt and vexation.

So, this is what normal people do on the weekend

I had forgotten what normal people do on the weekend - minus books and exams. I had a really nice weekend. A little bit of tv, (window) shopping with the girls, pub gaping, then yesterday, a really lovely afternoon at the Natural History Museum and dinner and drinks with the girls - the latter was really illuminating. lol. I love girl talk over drinks. It's like a life highlight.

And to round it all off, I have taken a page out of the TFL workers book and have gone on strike. I did not set my alarm, and even though, somehow by some black magic, I was awake at the time I needed to be up to get ready for class, I rolled over and went back to sleep. I have reached some sort of saturation point and today was the day to exercise my rights. lol. But why is it when I take a strike day, it suddenly becomes a sick day? Can't a girl enjoy a truant day without a valid excuse cropping up? Ugh. I feel like mess and still need to get on the bus to Sainsbury's to get some stocks for the week. I have a dotish class all week, every day, for the next 2 weeks, from 9 - 5, hence the strike.

Cafe Chino in South Kensington.
Say NO to Cafe Chi-NO. lol
So the dinner yesterday was really out of desperation and an unwillingness to go somewhere else. And as students, one has to look at one's budget hence - Cafe Chino. What.A.Disaster. I am always wary about places that have people hovering like vultures at the front door trying to get customers to come in. If your food is great, your reputation should get customers coming in. But hey, they were cheaper than some of the other places and in Kensington, well...cheap is rare. lol. But wow...I wish I had read reviews before going there. Reviews like - "Better die of starvation than go there!" lol.

The first table we were seated at was jammed against the wall so you literally had to suck your guts and ass in to fit. So we moved. The second table was a complete nightmare - next to the kitchen and it was like the dishwasher had a hatred for utensils cause he kept banging and crashing stuff, much to my annoyance. So we moved back to the tight squeeze table. Then this waiter, clearly underpaid and under-sexed, because he was the most disgusting and surly creature ever - was a complete hospitality nightmare. The food was edible and tolerable, thank God, but then this waiter whose entire body screamed "I do not want to serve you, smile at you, be helpful" informed us that they do not accept card payments. In this day and age? REALLY? So I think, again, out of laziness and partly out of spite, we left our payment of 40 odd pounds in coins. lol. Count that you bastard and look really hard for a tip. Nothing drives me crazier than bad service and this waiter was the poster child for it. Hope he liked the Polish coin we left for him.

The pub, cannot remember the name, was worlds better and besides the blind (obviously) woman who came up to me to tell me I looked like some singer, who I later Googled and realised was a complete and utter aesthetic disaster, the evening was lovely.

Gonna pop some painkillers and head to the store and come back and laze in bed for the rest of the day. Laundry is done. Bathroom facilities cleaned. Hair washed. Just need lunch and maybe some wine to take me to the end of this lovely day.

Life in Flip Flops - An Ode

Photo courtesy CleveMed Blogs
I first want to thank the awesome Karen for choosing my cyber corner as Blog of the Week. I was tickled and though I just mind fart here half the time, nice to know someone likes it.

I had my last exam today. Well, technically I still have another exam after the next 2 weeks of a silly blocked class but at least for now, I can sleep and do normal human things. I am beyond tired. I did not sleep last night. I had this fear of oversleeping. When the body is tired and wants rest and demands it, sometimes even knowing you have something urgent as an exam cannot get your body and mind to respond to stimuli like alarms. I put on 3 alarms on my phone and 2 on my laptop and still felt that a 90 min nap was going to somehow be my undoing. Two classmates were victims of oversleeping this morning, so the possibility was very real. At least in their case, they literally live minutes away from campus. My bus-train-train-train-walk fun was not going to save me from the consequences of oversleeping. But I was good. I finished the exam and then as I sat on the train back, I started crashing. I crashed for a couple hours, woke up, streamed last night's episode of Grey's Anatomy and now I am so hungry I am going to have this evening's second helping of pelau.

There were just a couple photos I wanted to share - nothing earth shattering but I read a lot of things during the week. Sadly most of it is school work, but I do love the odd news story.

First...

Photo courtesy Yahoo News (I think)

The big uproar about the President of the United States wearing flip flops this week, was amusing. Isn't AIDS still a global epidemic? Isn't there a war going on? Don't the American press have anything better to do than report on a man's choice of footwear while he is on vacation? I mean, really - what is the big deal? If he were meeting, I dunno, Vladimir Putin at the White House with a pair of rubber flip flops on his feet, then sure...national emergency. But the dude was on vacation. In Hawaii. I have been on vacation in Hawaii. Guess what? People wear flip flops there. It's a flip flops kinda place. And as my blog name suggests, I cannot hate a man who kicks back in a pair of flip flops.

It reminded me of this British dude I know. We went to the beach one weekend, back home, in the lovely and awesomely hot Trinidad, and he was wearing a pair of green sneakers, or as the Brits call them - trainers. Besides being a hideous shade of green, my main concern - sneakers? On a hot day, on the beach? The sand was pretty hot and I asked him if he wanted to borrow my extra pair of flip flops (when I say life in flip flops, I am not kidding). They were not hot pink or cuddly blue or anything. They were regulation black, standard, boring, unisex flip flops. He insisted he was fine with his green trainers. I insisted in my mind that those things were too hideous for me to be seen in public with him. The truth was, and I learned this after a few minutes of failed coaxing, growing up and living in London, he had never ever EVER worn a pair of flip flops and he sheepishly admitted that he did not know how to walk in them. Flabbergasted I was, lemme tell ya. Never worn flip flops? That is a tragedy too enormous for my poor Caribbean mind to comprehend.

Montego Bay flip flops from Payless
are a staple in my cupboard
I mean, being here this time of year, I can understand the need for boots and closed toed shoes. Everytime I am late and rummaging through my cupboard for a hat or a scarf or some other cold-beating accessory that I may have unceremoniously flung in the corner, I notice my cute purple flip flops - alone, unloved, waiting patiently for warmer weather. Flip flops I beat every weekend back in Trinidad.Wake up Saturday morning, pull on a pair of jeans, a cute tank top and a matching pair of girlie flip flops - head to the mall, the movies, the restaurant. God, I miss that. On the bright side, life in fluffy socks, fluffy slippers and boots means the emphasis on pedicures is not that intense. So Mr Obama, rock those flip flops. My only concern with the photo are those macaroni legs, honey. I love you, but not the legs.

Well, my ode to the flip flop went on longer than I expected so my other mindlessly random photo, I will post tomorrow. Maybe I can do mindlessly random photos every day. It is such a blessing when I can sit in bed, with my laptop, typing a blog post and not feeling harried or guilty because I need to get back to the books. I can write more than 200 words about rubber slippers and how much I love them.

I'm so tired and hungry though. I don't know if I can even make it to the kitchen, I am so exhausted. And to think I wanted to go out tonight. This right here, home in socks and jammies - best night ever.

Trini Foodie Pics

Study break. Diva cooking.

Yesterday we had some cooking therapy as I mentioned I would do before. I was in the mood for a Trini pelau and though I did not do a true ball by ball coverage, while the pot was bubbling, I took a few shots. Yaaay. And the soca was pumpin' via Red 96.7FM as well. Streaming is my salvation.

I will not do a recipe type thing. Shall I remind you of my ineptitude with creating recipes? Again, here is a link to a recipe. I did not even look at this recipe but I trust Trinigourmet makes it the same way I do.

Okay, so the key, in my opinion to a good pelau is the seasoning of the chicken and the stewing of said chicken. Once that is done well, you're about 75% on your way to a good pelau. Stewing involves heating a little bit of oil...I use about a teaspoon or so, and adding brown sugar and allowing it to caramelise in the oil until it starts to turn dark. Do not let the sugar burn or else, it's all over. Do not add your chicken too early either or you will have a sweet meal. There is a precision to this browning of the sugar thing. Here is the pot, with the browning chicken, and the green peas added. This is the foundation of a good 'lau.





My chicken and peas after I added my long grain rice, veggies and seasonings - onions, garlic, green peppers, carrots, pumpkin. I love pumpkin and my cousin does not put pumpkin in the travesty he calls pelau -I can never eat that, for a host of reasons.





I love my Afro-Caribbean store, run by Pakistanis, because I saw coconut water - yes, that is what it was called - in Sainsbury's and left that right there. Coconut water to Caribbean people is the clear stuff you drink from green and yellow coconuts. Coconut milk is the creamy liquid you get from pressing the dried copra of the dry coconut. I was not sure what this crap in the tin was but I left it there. So when I saw Maggi powdered coconut milk powder in my shop, I did not even hesitate.





Add some warm water to that bad boy...I don't like my milk too creamy or rich so I only add about 2 tbps.
You can make it as thick and creamy as you like.




Add that milk to my pot. It is all a bunch of stuff thrown together in a pot that does not look so appealling at first. You let it simmer and steam until the rice is cooked - not too soft and sappy. Get it nice and grainy.





The soy sauce - to add some colour after the milk addition.





The finale - add a coleslaw and a fork, and you're all set.




I make a really good pelau. I think. I make it with a lot of love. I mean the first time I cooked a pelau at home, when my dad and I were left to our own devices as my mum was off shopping in the US, he could not believe it. And to think, during my first university experience, in my first semester, I could barely boil water. Oh how times have changed. Hmmm...just missing a mauby.

English Premiership Angst

Arsenal apparently played Man City tonight. Who cares?
I love football but I made a decision many years ago to stop following League football because it is very easy to let this football thing become your entire life. I have seen how I change during the one month of World Cup football every 4 years - missing work, hiding in the kitchen to watch games, speeding down the highway to get home for a game, BBMing the progress of games while in meetings, cursing at the tv, gnashing of teeth, pulling of hair, crying over losses. So it is no wonder that I just said to myself - international football only. International tournaments specifically. World Cup, Euro Cup, Gold Cup.

This leads me to my the question - is the big screen in this house the only f...g big screen in the entire city of London??? Why is it all these men end up in THIS house when there is some foolish Premiership game on? I mean, I know I am begging a lodging, but really, man - every damn game is the same crap. There must be a pub or someone else's big screen in someone else's house. Trying to study in the midst of this racket is beyond impossible and especially if loser Liverpool, who cannot seem to win a pie contest, seem to be playing. Then it is pure hell.

Not pleased. Not pleased. Not pleased.

I have resorted to online noise generators and currently, I am in the middle of a thunderstorm near the ocean. It started off with just the ocean and I was somewhat calm but then as goals started coming, or not - not sure, don't care - then I became stormy and the night was filled with the sound of thunder and rain, falling in my ocean. Does this football thing ever end? Tell me when so I can have a party that day! A big noisy party!

In other angry student updates, I am done with my current phone network - Three, or 3, or whatever. I have missed countless calls from friends and family because the network is crap. Between yesterday and tonight, 3 (go figure) people either emailed me or told me that they tried calling me to no avail. The phone is right next to me. It has not rung. It's shit. My mother has given up on trying and now only relies on Skype. So, I am now an O2 customer and they better hope and pray I stay a happy O2 customer. And oh look...the first giveaway I spot - tickets to go watch Arsenal. The joy.

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