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.
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!
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.