March 12, 2014

Passports, Port of Spain & a Pan yard | Trinidad


Part 2 of my Carnival Chronicles series.

I'm not going to bore you with all of the details of my day Friday because it started with a passport renewal appointment at the Dutch Embassy. I don't know why I thought it was a brilliant idea to squeeze this in during my trip, but I did and I regretted it the moment I woke up with a killer hangover and spent an hour navigating the one way streets down town Port of Spain. It also didn't help that my passport photos weren't accepted and I had to get back in the car and find my way to a studio to have new photos done, sans make up and feeling like death. It was quite the adventure, especially since I had no working phone and traffic was crazy thanks to everyone starting their weekends early...


The plus side to this early morning chaos was that I could explore a bit of the city by myself. Port of Spain is an eclectic mix of old and new; colonial buildings standing next to high rise office buildings, hustle and bustle everywhere. It's a unique 'urban Caribbean' atmosphere that I've never experienced before. My favourite area is definitely the Queen's Park Savannah, it's a beautiful, open green space that acts as a perfect point of reference for a clueless tourist like me. It reminded me of a good book I read a while ago called 'The white woman on the green bicycle', where the author recalls Trinidad in the 1950's in vivid detail and talks about the political rallies at the Savannah.

Still no news about my suitcase at this point, even though I spent hours frantically trying to reach someone at LIAT. Late that afternoon, I finally got through to a human being and was put on hold, only to be told that my bag was not one of the selected 8 that were brought over from St.Vincent that day (8 out of 50+ forgotten bags!) I didn't see the point of complaining, but I can imagine they got an earful from the female passengers who weren't as lucky as I was with great housemates whose clothes I could borrow. Depriving a girl of a suitcase on Carnival weekend is just plain mean.They told me it wasn't looking hopeful either, as every flight was fully booked until Sunday.

The highlight of the day was going to a 'pan yard' after dinner with a group of friends. We walked down to the end of a narrow street and followed the sound of 60+ steel pans playing in unison. 


Anyone who's ever heard a steelpan orchestra knows how amazing it is! We sipped on beers, limed and I had my first taste of Trini corn soup :) We were told that this was one of the smaller yards, so next time I'd like to check out the others as well.


As Christina's aunt joined the group, she casually mentioned that she had my suitcase from LIAT. I thought she was joking (especially after the fiasco that afternoon) but it turns out they contacted her when they were delivering the suitcase that evening. I had written down about 5 contacts in Trinidad whom they could call when delivering my suitcase, and she was lucky number 5! As you can imagine, I was both relieved and saddened by the prospect of wearing my own clothes again. I was starting to get used to being styled and dressed for every outing....


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1 comment

  1. loving your posts malou! as a now married with kids girl having never experienced trini carnival, i am loving your perspective. keep it up!

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