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.

Say Yes to the Dress. I said No!

HIDEOUS!!!
I went to the mall on a mission - to find a simple evening dress for this party I have to go to next week. I do not want to go to the party for a few reasons - I am tired and predict I will be tired next week too, I don't feel as hot as I should feel for glamming up, etc etc

But I went to the mall with an open mind. I came home with a all-in-one bag crammed with bundles - groceries, cute camisoles, a nice cardigan, but no dress.

I am really aghast at what was on offer.

1. The usual - sequins and shiny shit. I think sequins should be banned! Okay, that might be a bit harsh cause when done right, sequins can be quite stunning. When. Done. Right. What I saw was atrocious. Dresses with what looked like gold spray paint and what looked like they went buck wild with the glue gun and the sequins. I sucked my teeth in annoyance.

2. Jersey. The sales girl pointed me to the "evening dress" section of the store and they had a lot of jersey dresses. God. Jersey is not glam. Jersey is "head to the supermarket/head to the movies/have lunch with the girls". It's not evening! God help me. Accessorised nicely on the mannequin, one dress looked halfway presentable but the mannequin also does not have lumps and bumps like normal women. Jersey is not it!

3. I tried 3 dresses and then noticed that 2 other women tried 2 of the 3 dresses I was trying. They had them in various sizes and in gross quantities. Not cute! Did not know them but I just thought, oh my God...what if they are going to the same party? Reminded me of a story about a VP who was too cheap to buy a really nice dress and bought one of these dime-a-dozen getups for the staff party, only to see the kitchen assistant in the exact same dress. I have never bought a dress locally for this exact reason. I have always had my dresses custom made or I have bought them on my travels. The thought of being a twin at this party was not appealling to me.

I did not buy a dress. I jumped in a taxi and came home. I was not willing to shell out the money for one either especially as I am in the throes of buying a car. I will recycle something in storage. I washed one last week (it smelled musty from being in storage for over 2 years!!) and I am praying to God that this thing still fits me. Add this to the fact that I am going alone to this thing, with people I do not know, I'm just not excited. Can't wait for it to be over.

A swift boot to the...

I've been so busy this week that I have not really had chance to blog. I try to store observations in my brain somewhere so I can come back and write about it, but in all the hustle, I think the observations fall out and get crushed. But there is one observation that repeated itself all this week and it bothers me so much I need to address it.

I live in a tropical country. Granted, the weather lately has been atrocious but it is hurricane/rainy season after all. But I am assaulted daily by women walking through the city like this -

Women's boots
What on earth? Why are women wearing boots here? In the middle of the day, in the heat? One girl came in for coffee yesterday in jeans and knee highs and I did not attempt to NOT stare. I stared and let her know I was staring cause I thought she looked stupid.  I saw yet another in Uggs. Really?? Tourists come from the US and Europe to the Caribbean to wear flip flops and run on the beach barefoot. They walk through the malls in cute sandals - loving the freedom of just waking up and knowing it's warm enough to be foot carefree. And yet...

I love boots. Love. But I won't be wearing boots in Trinidad unless hell freezes over.

I have a busy day today. I won't be looking for boots but instead will be looking for a cocktail dress for the staff Christmas party. It's actually not something I am looking forward to, only cause I am exhausted. Who woulda thunk it? Me - not looking forward to shopping or parties! Scary.

Today was not the Day

Y'all better hope and pray my car gets sorted soon, or this blog will become a daily rant about public transportation.

Oh
My
God
!!!!

It's a nightmare. This afternoon I sat in a taxi that was old, clammy and frowsy smelling. Add the frowsy smelling driver and the frowsy smelling backseat passengers and it was a frowsy experience. Then this driver decided that I was well positioned to listen to him rant about the local drug trade. The trouble was, he needed some mouthwash. I turned my head to the open window and said a silent prayer.

Then tonight, I got the craziest maxi driver ever. Besides wooing me with a fried chicken dinner date (the privilege!!!), he was just totally outlandish. He kept cursing people who did not want to take his maxi, even after I indicated to him that perhaps the people were not ready to go home or not going where he was going. He stopped for one lady and just as she was about to open the door, he drove off, after realising she was "too fat for the small seat" and "she would put [him] in expense when she mash up [his] maxi seat". The poor lady looked so confused as he sped off in a gust of diesel smoke. Then he stopped for a man and again, just as he was about to open the door, he sped off a second time. This time, he said the man was crazy and he did not want "mad people in [his] maxi" cause the man would "probably shoot up the maxi".

It would all be amusing in a very demented way if I were not so tired and annoyed.

As a side note, I ran into a woman I used to work with - one of these old, miserable and farse types who have nothing good to say about anyone or anything. I ground my teeth as she stopped me for a chat and I caught her sizing me up from head to toe, her old, nasty mouth itching to say something - probably about "how fat I got" cause that is always her opening line. I was ready...and waiting. I was waiting with annoyed anticipation to reply with either:

1. Waaay. Who do that weave for you? It's jacked up.
2. Lady, white eyeliner is so 1960. Where you even get that to buy?
3. And it certainly does not match that horrible gold eyeshadow.
4. You wanna go to Pennywise and maybe find a good concealer for the black circles under your eyes?
5. And while you're there, some nail polish remover for the chipped and nashy nail polish.
6. Your husband still with you with you looking like this? He has real belly!

(or all of the above...that was the kinda mood I was in)

Yes. I was waiting. Patiently. But she probably saw the glint in my eye and she said NOTHING. Today was not the day, lady. It was not the day!!

Then, just one more thing. So I am already annoyed that Rituals opens at 6.30am, which is way too late for the early o'clock South-North commuter. I cannot fight the system and I really needed a coffee to stave off sure homicidal urges this morning, so I got to POS at 6am and actually waited for Rituals to open at 6.30. I endured the ole talk from random weird men and the smell of Frederick Street...just for this coffee!

At 6.29.59, I pushed open the door and announced that I was ready to get my caffeine fix. The woman looked at me and said "We not open yet." I asked her if they don't open at 6.30. Her response:

"We not open until we get the doughnuts".

My response:

"I just want coffee."

Her: Well, we have to wait for the doughnuts.
Me (in my mind): What the a... doughnuts have to do with you making me a cup of coffee??

What kinda rubbish this girl was telling me - tired, angry and caffeine deprived? Doughnuts had nothing to do with me. Just grab a cup and start whirring the lil machine and make me a coffee. I had to wait a next 5-8 minutes for her to realise - the doughnuts late! Aye...today was not the day, girl.

These Heels Were Made for Working

So it's been a while since I posted, so I owe you one.

I resumed high heeled life yesterday - aka work. I did not return to the job I had originally (long story) but started somewhere completely new. It's been interesting, but of course, I never blog about work. I can however blog about other things like my new hair and corporate adventures.

Not much to say about my new hair, other than it's a new look and low maintenance. lol. In terms of the corporate adventures, well, I swear on my dog that I sent HR a harmless, work-friendly photo for the intranet announcement of my arrival. However, apparently my photo was "sexy" and I had a "come hither" look about me, which apparently has found an appreciative audience among certain staff members. This was the feedback from two of my friends of the male variety after they and their other male colleagues saw the bulletin. I am innocent I say!

I spent Day 2 out and about at a conference where I not only learnt stuff, but also met people I have not seen since I came back and so there was a lot of kissing and hugging and "oooohing" and "aaaaahing" and catching up. It was nice. I felt loved. I also felt tired. My body is taking its time getting used to the graveyard shift hours. I wake up at 3.30am on the nose and I am heavily caffeine dependent before the day really gets going. Not good.

Other than that, nothing exciting to share. I am car shopping - an urgent purchase. As you all know I loathe public transportation and it's really bad here. I dread each day I have to take a taxi to get somewhere. Besides the general rudeness of some drivers, you also have the smells and antics of the other passengers. Today's award winning odour came from a woman who clearly wore pumps all day and then changed into flip flops this evening. The trouble was, her feet were stink! Really stink!!! The driver had no choice but to switch off the a/c and turn the windows down. Thank God it was a short ride.

This already feels like the longest week ever!

Elated!

It's been a long road - with cold weather, no sleep, homesickness, crusty books. But my results came today and I am graduating with my Masters, with Distinction. And you have all been there through my adventures - scholastic and otherwise so I had to share my happiness with you. I am really thankful to have made it through with my sanity, with great times and awesome people. Thank you for making me smile and keeping me off the brink.

Cheers! I can soooo use a freakin' caipirinha right now!

The Extraordinary Challenges of Weight Loss of a Trini Superstar

I am currently fat-busting around the neighbourhood. I grumpily roll off the bed at 5.30am and go bust a move in my fat busting gear for an hour. While I lose myself in my own little iPod/fat busting universe, there are a few downsides to free exercise, i.e. exercise outside the confines of a gym (this is not to say the gym is paradise either. Remember this?)

1. The dogs - pitbulls, pot hounds and wannabes.
People in Trinidad don't understand the concept of keeping a dog chained or in a kennel especially if they live in unfenced, ungated homes. Thus the intrepid fitness maven has to brave the scowls and growls from four legged fiends every morning. While some people take to walking with a mop handle or other such weapon to beat off the fierce beasts, I would like to think of myself as a bit of a dog whisperer. lol. I just give them the eye, ooze ferocity and they back off. I have not met my canine match just yet (knock wood).

2. The carbon monoxide.
This is a real killer. Though 5.30 may seem early, many people leave for work at that time. I mean, I used to be out the door at 4.45am - no later. This productivity is however, not good for the wily road wanderer, running up and down hills, lungs already bursting and gasping for breath. To be on the brink of asphyxiation and all there is to breathe in is gasoline and diesel fumes - not cool. While there is a park nearby, it is not suited for running under any circumstances. Huge holes under thick grass, and not to mention the mud when it rains...and it's pretty isolated so any attacks by rapists or muggers will certainly go unnoticed at that hour of the morning. I could go in the afternoon but then you risk being hit by a flying football when the guys come out for a sweat, and of course, who's running in the Trini afternoon heat?? So the road warrior marches on.

3. The road predators aka bumsee stalkers.
For the non-Trinis, "bumsee" is Trini slang for ass. I have a nice ass, and I am generally curvylicious and I am happy so many men appreciate this, but it is a real pain to be trying to get your sweat on and the men hone in on you like a heat-seeking missile long before you even get close to them. These are the men who are not awake getting their sweat on, but those waiting for their shuttles or carpools to work at the side of the road. So they have no appreciation of the agony your glutes are feeling as you are pelting up that hill. They are not thinking about their own 6-packs or pectorals. They are just idly waiting for their day to start and suddenly, your "Get Me Bodied" self approaches and they now have something to keep them occupied for 30 seconds. That's when you get "morning princess...the form looking real real good" or "babes, you want a workout partner?" or "I wish I was dem pants, girl". It is super annoying and I adjust my headphones so they know I am not paying attention but you can almost feel the words vibrating off your body, not to mention the eyes as you walk past. Special mention to the male drivers who honk their horns in the most aggravating fashion.

Still, when I get home, all sweaty and tired, have a nice long shower, whip up a protein shake, and relax, there is no better feeling so these are small prices to pay in the long run, I guess. However, I am glad my new office has a gym which I am sure to be patronising once I am all settled.

Out of Storage

The past couple mornings I have been braving the inclement weather and going out on the streets for a workout. Life in heels, flip flops and sneakers!!

With my iPod all loaded up with fat busting tunes, I take on the hills and valleys and pot hounds (mongrels) of both the four-legged and two-legged varieties of the neighbourhood. I must say it is my favourite part of the day. I am a bit sore after months of muscular neglect, but feel better at the end of each punishing uphill run. I just thought I would share this tidbit before bed...4 hours til the next workout and I am excited cause I just loaded some new songs. I get bored so easily...not just with workouts and workout music but I realise, with life. lol. I need to address this. If only it were as simple as downloading new music!

It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas!

West Mall during Christmas time!
As I entered the mall yesterday, I was greeted by Christmas trees and loads of decorations, as well as a parang band and a fat, happy Santa, pandering to what seemed to be millions of people. Yes siree, Christmas is approaching. Oh joy. While I am a close relative of Scrooge and Grinch, I was a bit excited by all the Christmas activity. I admit it. I was certainly excited to be in a mall with a credit card and no fear of what tomorrow may bring. Blessed, I say.


Christmas in Trinidad is a pretty big deal and with the curfew now lifted, Trinis are gearing up for the incessant liming (hanging out Trini style), which includes drinks (lots of drinks), food (lots of food) and friends and family. After one Christmas in London, where I felt like I was at death's door and during which I had the most miserable time ever, I am truly appreciative to be home for the holidays.


And it was Christmas indeed at my favourite store, where I racked up a pretty hefty bill, but left happier - 1. cause retail therapy is awesome, 2. cause my stunning sundress won many accolades, even if the hem was a bit damp cause of rain puddles (but I was not to be thwarted by some rain and the sundress stayed on) 3. cause my store assistant said I looked like 25 (mamaguy* I am sure, but I will take it). Not to mention, since my last visit to this mall, God has seen fit to bless the Southland with...wait for it...a MAC store!!!


*mamaguy - to flatter someone, often deceitfully or exaggeratedly. I love that the definition is also on Dictionary.com.

And nothing has changed in my neighbourhood Hi-Lo. Not only were the meat boys back in action, but the security guard was stalking me throughout my time in the store, and not cause I looked suspicious either. Had he been doing more securing and less gaping, I would have been a happier, less annoyed shopper.


I am ashamed to admit it, but it's been over5 weeks, and I still have not unpacked my suitcases. lol. So because I am back into the high heeled life next week and the high heeled life is a whole different story to the lazy flip flopped life, I cannot be digging around in suitcases when I am running late. So this is on my to-do-list today, among other things - unpack suitcases and generally clear clutter. I am going to be throwing out a lot of things. Clothes from my skinny days will be going to a charity and the rest in the fire. Going to turn on some parang music and get crackin'. Happy Sunday!


*parang - Traditional Christmas music of Trinidad and Tobago. Wikipedia: ...part of the Island's Hispanic heritage that originated from over 400 years ago during Spanish rule. The word is derived from two Spanish words:'Parranda', meaning 'a spree or fête' and 'Parar' meaning 'to stop'. In the past, it was traditional for parang serenaders to pay nocturnal visits to the homes of family and friends, where part of the fun was waking the inhabitants of the household from their beds.


It's funny - the majority of the population cannot even speak Spanish! lol.


Passport to Madness: Another Trini Adventure

Passport problems!
Oh God. Today I braved public transportation yet again to go to the embassy to get my visa renewed. The mere thought of not being able to get on a plane at a moment's notice is maddening to me. But even more maddening is the whole process of getting said visa. Sitting for 2 hours, to then have a 1 minute conversation with the lil visa man is not fun. At least I got said visa and avoided the walk of shame. Lord...the walk of shame. When the lil visa man tells you you get the visa, they give you a little chit and you go pay for your self-addressed courier envelope so they can mail back your passport with your new visa. When the lil visa man thinks you may be trying to exploit the system on your non-immigrant visa and refuses you, there is no walk to the post office desk. Instead you head straight to the exit. If you know anything about Trini people is that they are farse and actually stalk each and every individual in that room to see who gets a visa and who does not get a visa. It's like sport! So when you don't get the little chit, and you're forced to make the "shameful" walk to the exit, there are about 40-50 pairs of eyes on you. Walk of shame!

While I will not complain too much about the system, especially since my passport is still in the clutches of said visa giver-outers, I will muse a bit about the resourcefulness of my Trini people.

Now, having not had to go to the embassy in 10 years and having a major case of forgetfulness, mixed with a generous dose of habit, I slipped my mobile phone into my swanky handbag and was on my way. Take note, I was taking the ferry to the capital, being still car-less, and was travelling solo. The problem with this is that you cannot enter the embassy with a mobile phone. I recognise that this rule has to be strictly enforced with Trinis cause even if you tell them switch off the mobile, chances are 9 out of 10 of them will put it back on to BBM, text, surf and ole talk at maximum volume once inside.  But for me, having the almost criminal cell phone on my person was a serious problem because

1. I had no car to run back to in which to store it until I was done
2. I had no travel companion/significant other/friend to hold said phone while waiting for me on the outside.

I contemplated hiding my phone under a road barrier on the street. It's a cheap phone, but it's also my only source of all my local contacts so God forbid if it rained or some vagrant decided they needed a cheap Nokia, I would be out of contact with everyone.

Highway robbery!
The security officer seeing my dilemma then notified me that I could take my phone to the photo studio and ask them to hold it for me, since the security cannot take any errant phones from rule breakers like myself. So off I ran to said photo studio. Imagine my horror to be told by the bright lady in the place that I had to PAY for them to babysit my phone. $15!!! I was like, wtf!! These people are making a killing in Port of Spain. So I told her thanks but no thanks, and thought to myself "yuh could haul yuh..." and solicited the help of a rotund street vendor, who looked motherly, sympathetic and honest.

"Miss, can you hang on to my phone til I come back?"
"Well, the photo place charging $15, so I will have to charge you $8. You getting a good price, babes".

Motherly, sympathetic my ass! 

*grumble grumble* 

I contemplated the road barrier again, seeing a little corner that could have served as a hiding place, cause I thought this was highway robbery. I was just about ready to disassemble this phone and swallow its components and my SIM card and retrieve them later (lol) to avoid this thuggery! I grudgingly handed over my $8...cutting my eye at her grubby hands in the process. When did people stop being helpful just because they can assist their fellow man? I need to set up a little stall near the embassy and make some easy money - phone sitting, queue booking; give discounts to seniors and babies. Work? Who needs to get a job when you can open a racketeering business near the embassy?

All this just to get a visa to go buy cute clothes and walk through Sephora.

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