I’ve been living in Miami for… jeez, coming up on a decade now! And I like it OK. I’ve become very used to Miami’s ways — not sure if that’s a good thing, sometimes. It probably just means I drive like a total jerk and I’ve learned more incidental Spanish than the average person.
Even though it’s been nine years of living away from home, I still get a real pang for my homeland. Especially on our public holidays. Americans no offense, but y’all need to buck up on the public holiday tip. Here, I’m lucky if I get eight. Trinidad has FOURTEEN. And EVERYBODY gets them. For real, the country is more-or-less shut down today so if you’re in Trinidad, hope you bought all your groceries and party supplies already! (Don’t even get me started on job vacation days. Trinis, allyuh really have it good).
Today is the 45th anniversary of Trinidad and Tobago’s independence, and while I have to work all day in my sad cubicle, my family and friends will be maxin’ and relaxin’ all day, eating good food, and soaking up the sun. Drink a rum for me, Mom and Dad – I miss you!
If you want to know what it’s like to visit T&T, check out this cool video that literally takes you up in a plane and over some of both island’s most beautiful sights.
This video is where I want to be, on the beach, getting my toes in the water. That looks to me like Store Bay in Tobago, where you can get some of the best curry crab and dumpling you ever hope to eat. Oh my, even typing the words curry crab and dumpling made me hungry. Mmmmmm. I could go for one NOW. Or even better — Bake and Shark. OH MY GOD, bake and shark. If you’ve never had it, you have NO idea. It is so, so good.
We eat some really interesting foods in Trinidad and Tobago. Check out this Bizarre Foods documentary that shows some of the strangest. For the record, my father loves pig and chicken feet souse and he once made my then-soon-to-be husband eat it, almost as a test. And yes, I’ve eaten iguana before. It’s not my favorite of the wild meats, but it’s not terrible.
Blog buddy The Bookmann has uploaded some great YouTube vids, including an excellent Trinidad Carnival Tuesday video that shows elements of old-time mas as well as the more familiar bikinis-feathers-n-sequins variety everyone adores. That jab-jab posse looked like my kind of fun. I enjoy the getting-dirty part of Carnival.
I love how The Bookmann captured passing sounds, from the big music trucks to the slowly-moving steelpan bands. In fact, I can’t think of anything more Trini, more celebratory, more spectacular than the sounds of steel. What better way to pay homage to our independence from British rule? It occurs to me that many of my American readers have never experienced pan. It’s a magnificent thing. Being there, in the North Stand during Panorama, is something to feel. Literally. The music literally fills your body. You can’t NOT dance. It’s beyond awesome. Here’s the Trinidad All-Stars performing Soca Warriors during the finals night of Panorama, our national steel pan competition.
American readers — want to hear a more familiar song translated into steel? Click here to hear the Trinidad All-Stars play “I Wanna Love You” by Akon. Can I assume this was performed before the debacle?
Whether you’re in Trinidad and Tobago, or like me — just a Trini living “in foreign” feeling homesick and planning to celebrate in your own way later, Happy Independence Day!