Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thursday last week...

Thursday I actually got up early a little before 930. I came out of my room and I had Potato pies, grapefruit and coffee waiting for me. It was all great. Then I showered and we went out. First I went out to their car dealership so they could make an appointment to get it fixed. After that, Marylin and Jerome took me to a nice souvenir shop where I finally got something for myself to show I have actually been here. I got myself three shirts, my favorite one says “I love my Trini Heritage” haha. The women at the store didn’t show me that one for a while because Im not trini but I eventually saw it and figured it would be funny. Well we eventually left and went back to their house so I can pack up to leave on the ferry. After packing I walked down to a real great roti restaurant. It was the best roti I have ever had. It was amazing and the pepper was nice and hot. It was actually kind of funny because the server actually asked everyone in front of me if they wanted pepper but then didn’t ask me. I had to stop her and ask for it haha. Anyway I walked back and waited for Seion. He came and took me to port and I got on the Ferry. It was a nice ride back to Tobago. I finally watched the video of my recital. I hate watching myself perform most of the time. My recital was about a year ago and it took me this long to watch the whole thing. Haha. I then got off the ferry and Lemon, Georgina and Omari picked me up. Omari looked really happy to see me haha. He said “we have to go to rehearsal” in his American accent as soon as I got in the car haha. I got back and just hung out and relaxed, ate and went to bed. I was still getting back sleep from Carnival.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Last few days...

Well, I lost part of my power cord on the ferry over so I havent been able to blog much. And i am trying to cram tons of things in my last few days here. i will do a review of the last days when i get my computer up but i didnt want anyone to worry about me. I am doing very well and They are sort of sending me off on a party for the last few days so i have not had much free time or much sleep at that. I will be home soon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday....

This morning I got up, had breakfast, showered and off we went to the mall/bank. First to the bank where I turned in my travelers checks so I could pay them for my stay. Then it was off to the mall where I did almost all of my souvenir shopping. Don’t be offend if you didn’t get something, I am only one man and remember, I am currently unemployed. In fact, the first person who finds me a job gets a souvenir!….. no that will never work. Anyway, after that, Jerome and Marylin dropped me off at the Port so I can buy my ferry ticket for Tobago. Then I would find a taxi back to the house. I got in a long line to buy tickets. It was taking forever. I started talking to the man in front of my about half way into the line. I tell him that I just need to buy a ticket for Thursday. He then informed me that I cant buy advanced tickets at the port, I had to find a travel agency. Weird. But went to the Information desk and got a list of all the agents that sell those tickets. Then I had to get there so I stood outside right where I have previously been mobbed by taxi drivers after getting off the boat the last two times. No one was there. The boat wasn’t coming in for two hours. Usually I could get a cab before I even step outside. But nothin. Then I asked a security guard and he told me where to stand so I walked a little over a block down and just waited. This is my I first time doing this by myself. In Chicago its easy because all the cabs say :Taxi: on them. Here ANYONE can be “taxi driver.” So I stand on the corner. After awhile still nothing. Then I try to stand like I have to go somewhere but its too far too walk….. Beep beep. It worked!!! I told him where I need to go. And he said sure and I got in. Sidenot: the cars in Trinidad and Tobago have the freindlest horns. Most just say “wahm?” or “where d scene?” or translated, “Hey whats up my friend?” or sometimes they say “hey need a lift?” You do get the occational “HEY! Why the heck did you stop in the middle of the road?!” (the PG rated version) but most of the time it’s the first two. The driver also picked up three other people on the way. He dropped me off first and I asked how much and he said 5 and that was it. Not so bad. Im alive. In fact im going to do it again tomorrow and go to the mall. Well I got back and called Seion. He said he was on his way to pick me up because he was dropping off the two St. Vincent boys at the airport. So he picked me up and we ended up driving to mall where Seion took us to dinner. We went to a nice Chinese buffet place. It wasn’t bad. The other two had never eaten at a Chinese buffet so Seion and I taught them the tricks of the trade. I think they were impressed both by our eating ability, knowledge and the fact that I can use chop sticks well. It was a great dinner because we bonded a lot and I got to know them better as well as Seion. I actually might go down to St. Vincent’s Panorama and play. I told Big P that it was his turn to teach me the notes. We got a good laugh at that. So we went to the airport, traded emails and such and dropped them off. Good guys. I will definitely keep in touch. Then it was back to the house to rest. I had some more nice conversation with Marylin and Jerome when I got back and then I headed to my room to blog and chat. Now I have to get to bed. I have get up at 9 tomorrow. Marylin said she would knock so I HAVE to get up. It was so nice today she did my laundry and laid it on my bed while I was gone. Anyways off to bed. Long day tomorrow.

Carnival Tuesday;;;

Well I got up a bit late (I’m sure you’re all surprised) and got showered quick, ate lunch and went out to watch Mas with Marylin and Jerome. We walked down toward all the sounds and watched some of the bands go by. The music was so loud, I could feel my intestines moving. It literally took my breath away. Of course I wore my ear plugs. I’m soo glad I brought them. Anyway, we walked down toward the closest park as we watched. The dresses and head pieces and floats were all amazing again. It just seemed like more people were playing Mas and more people had on their costumes. And it all started at 7 this morning. I was actually supposed to go with Marylin and Jerome that morning but I slept through all my alarms and apparently half of Mas. I’m glad they went with out me. I needed sleep. Next Carnival I come to (and yes I said the next one because there will be a next) I will know how to plan out my sleep schedule. I was still recovering from sleep from Wednesday of last week. So we finally arrived at the park. Around noon. It is here that most of the big bands take a break and have food before they go back out on the road. This is where I decided that the next time I come back, I am playing Mas. Thousands of people of all shapes sizes and colors dressed in costumes. So many beautiful women from all over the world dressed in “BUHkinis” as Jerome would say. My neck was a little sore when we got back probably from this stop. (not really just a little joke). But really did enjoying seeing all the different people I didn’t matter ifyou were big, small, young, old, black, white, or purple, everyone was here for the same reason and having a great time. Marylin told me that probably around 100,000 people play Mas. That’s insane. I was part of the rest of them who watch on the side or watch at home on TV. It’s an amazing sight to see and I can’t to see more of it the second time around. Around this time we stopped, I actually realized I was right in front of a fire station. It took me a little while to divert my attention. Actually it took a Engine pulling right in front of me pulling into the station. Haha and im serious. So I got as many pictures of that as I could for my dad. I did find it funny that on the side of the engine it said “Do Not Use Fireworks/Fire Crackers Indoors” in huge print. Maybe that’s just me but it was kind of funny. By the way, I got a ton of pictures and movies during the day but I don’t have much time to put them up but I might eventually make an online photo album for your viewing pleasure later, probably when I get back. So we eventually walked back to the house and relaxed for a little while. I got into some good conversation with Marylin and Jerome about many different subjects. I really enjoyed staying that their place. It was nice. It kind of felt like I was hanging out with grandma and grandpa. (which of course makes me miss home) Especially because Jerome couldn’t hear all the time or would forget things and Marylin would remind him or relay the message similar to my grandparents haha. But luckily, I will be home to see them soon. After they had went to bed. I actually went out to check out the scene down the street and get a late night snack. The streets were almost empty. There were just people taking down their stands and a large amount of people cleaning up the streets. I wanted again to get something new to eat. I passed the gyros, the fried chicken and even the chicken foot soup, and got some corn soup. I have heard it is great. And it was. It was like a chowder and spicy. A great combo. So I walked back just observing the people cleaning and tearing down shop and eventually arrived back at the house. I did some of my email replying and went on to bed. I had to get up early the next day to go to the mall and bank with Marylin and Jerome.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chicken Foot Soup for the Soul

Well heres another short adventure. So after I blogged I went on a mission to get some food. It was around 11 or 12 ish and I hadn’t eaten since about 6 so I was hungry. So I went don’t the main road, Ariapita ave, to check out some vendors. Of course there were a bunch of people in the street drinking and partying. I on the other hand was still recovering and was lookin for food. I had passed vendors I ad recently gone by. There were the Gyro vendors where and I said hello to my friends who sold me some great bake and shark, but I want some thing different. I am trying to experience everything I can before I leave. I also passed by some places that sold fried chicken and hamburgers but have had enough of that so I kept walking. I had gone about 6 or 7 blocks and I saw vendor with some huge pots. It looked like they might have chicken soups or souse (I really don’t know what it is but I know of it.) I walked up and there was a man eating something that smelled really good. I said Ill have what hes having. Then I looked down at the sign. I was right about the chicken soup. But off a little bit. You could say I was off by a few feet. (yea cheesy pun, I couldn’t pass it up) It was chicken foot soup. And of course what did I say. Suuure. Its exactly what it sounds like. Its like chowder. Its creamier and has dumplings, potatoes and carrots in it. There are also chicken feet pointing at you. But hey, when in Rome… It was actually delicious. I just simply ignored the fact that I was sucking the meat off of a chicken foot. As a walked back eating my soup without any hesitation I realized how much this trip has changed me. Two months ago if you said, “Hey Tom, want some chicken foot soup?” I would have said “Thanks but I’ll pass.” This trip has also made me appreciate and realize so many different things. How amazing a nice warm shower is. (or even just having running water). So many things that I take for granted, like wireless internet, fast food restaurants, a vehicle, 3G, a bed and the list goes on. However, I think the most important thing I attained from this trip was the ability to experience another culture to its fullest. It has humbled me to the greatest extent. I feel that US Americans can be so ignorant and just unaware of other cultures. I have learned so much from just meeting people from other cultures and talking to them about their experiences. It has encouraged me to travel much more often and learn about other cultures as best I can. I have always been interested in sociology and I am very curious to find out what the “Social norm” is in other cultures. I feel like most Americans have no clue how everyone else things or what they believe in. I have definitely caught the travel bug and would like to experience other cultures. I feel like the last six weeks have helped me grow wiser and helped me because a better person in many different aspects. I also feel like the ultimate goal in life is and should be to attain as much wisdom as possible and attempted to pass it on to others. And I believe you gain wisdom through experiences, you encounter of course both good and bad and schooling is only a very small part of that. I believe it ultimately the social interactions and situation that you gain most of this wisdom from. I feel that this trip, I have gained priceless wisdom and yes I realized this staring down at Styrofoam cup with chicken feet pointing back. I have never traveled alone and I feel there are great benefits from doing so. I feel like this was the perfect thing for me. I have had so much time to just reflect on the last chunk of my life which have been going by at a stress-fully feverish pace and I haven’t stopped to realized what I gained from that until now. This trip also came at a perfect time in my life. I have just graduated, I just moved back home, I am about to (hopefully) officially begin my lifelong career, and I just got out of a serious 2 ½ year relationship. This is probably the biggest transition point of my life. I guess the transition into “the real world.” Not like MTV’s real world where you watch college aged meat heads get drunk and fight and have intimate relations on television but the reeeaaal world. With bills, rent, car payments, taxes, etc. I know it sounds romantic and I got a bit preachy but I do want to encourage everyone to travel more and record your travels so you can relive them and possibly regain forgotten wisdom. I believe that these types of trips can take you away from the monotony of the ‘real world’ and help you realize what you taking for granted and what you should be thankful for. The thing this trip has most made me realize how important family and friends are and how much most people take them for granted to focus on their occupation, getting through the real world. But I would rather live poor and close with my family and friends than rich and alone any day. (both close with the family and rich would pretty awesome though).

Well anyways, this was supposed to be a very short, funny post but turned philosophical faster than two shakes of a chicken foot (maybe that phrase will catch on). I think it has become my favorite post of the whole trip. I am particularly proud of the title. Seems fitting. Haha. Well thanks for reading/ putting up with my inner monologue-esk babbling but it was bound to happen at some point. I just didn’t know that it would be triggered by chicken foot soup. Oh well. Off to bed for Mas early tomorrow.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Well Sunday I relaxed most of the day Seion said he was going to call me around 5 or so. I think he forgot and I knew J’ouvert was in the morning so I was probably doing that. I hung around the place and took a few naps. I went up and got some bake and shark again from a food vendor. The place I am staying is right by where all the bands and mas passes by. I ended up taking a nap and Seion called me at around 330am, yes 330 in the morning. He said hes comin to pick me up, wear crappy clothes, bye. So I did just that. I put on a white T shirt and some gym shorts. I only brought my phone and a little bit of cash. He picked me up, we parked and then started walking. It was Seion, Big P, Demitri, Akua and Kyshon. When we got out of the car, Seion handed me a bottle of Johnny walker and Kyshon had a bottle of Black and White. I still really didn’t know what I was in store for. I knew there would be drinking (obviously) I knew there would be dancing, and also some paint was involved. We finally ended up by the Savannah where there was a huge flatbed 18 wheel truck full of speakers playing extremely loud soca music. The speakers are stacked about 10 ft high and are on all sides of the truck with a DJ in the middle. There was a huge mob of people around it just dancing and hanging out. Behind that truck was smaller truck with a bunch of people handing out Bottles of paint. Yellow paint because the band (group) we were with were called the Yellow Devils. Makes sense. There was just a huge tub and people in the truck would take old 20 oz bottles, fill them up and hand them out. Oh and behind that truck was the alcohol truck there were about 6 people just handing out beer and alcohol for free. I then realized that a lot of people pay to be a Yellow Devil and you get a wrist band and a T shirt. You also get free drinks and breakfast in the morning. I just looked online right now and its 70 TTD for all that which isn’t bad at all. I wish I would have paid but at the same time I got pretty much the same experience for free. Just no t shirt anyways so what happens is hundreds of people follow this truck dancing and throwing paint and drinking all night. And there a ton of different bands of people so there have to be thousands and thousands of people following the different trucks through the streets. It was interesting to see the different trucks and mobs navigate around each other when the crossed paths just because there were just soooo many bodies, all dancing. Haha. What is also funny is that when the two bands cross people get covered in other bands paint so you when you look at yourself in the mirror in the morning youre like, “how did I get blue paint on my chin?” or “Is that blood?!?! Oh yea…. We passed the Red Devilz.” Oh I forgot to mention that when we parked, Akua gave me this ridiculous safari lookin’ hat. He said it was for the sun but I think it might have mostly been so that can keep in eye on me. Just a guess though. There were long periods of time where I did get separated from my Seion and the small group but as long as I stayed with the mob and the truck I knew I would be fine. I knew we were ending at Mangos, where I ate the first day. I actually ran into other pan players from Trinidad who played in the Buccooneers too. So we did this all through the night even as the sun came up. People still dancing the whole time. I think with all this dancing and pan playing I have lost a bit of weight. I don’t see how I couldn’t have. So its around 9 am and we ended up at Mangos and Seion and all the paying Yellow Devilz went and had breakfast and I walked back to where I am staying. Jerome and Marylin met me outside and we talked about how the night went and how much fun it was. They have been great because before I went out they warned me not to drink too much and not to take to much money because of pick pockets. They really look out for me. So I went in and took a nice shower, and Marylin made me breakfast. It was great I forget what it was called but it is usually eat around Christmas time. It was like a patty of meet and other things in a corn casing. There was ham and fresh papaya as well. Oh and I had some Sorrel as well. Delicious. Then I went into my bedroom and passed out. I wanted to get up around 1 for lunch. That never happened. I ended up sleeping until 5. I think I surprised Jerome and Marylin how much I slept. I wasn’t surprised and I probably could have slept a few more hours. Haha. I got up and hung out for a while. Then I went down to get some food and watch Mas bands pass down the street. Tomorrow is when Mas is at full force but today it was a lot of people dancing behind those huge DJ trucks and some are dressed in the Mas gear. Some of that stuff is crazy what they carry or cart around. Some are as wide as the whole street. I eventually walked back and have been hanging out around the house relax and blogging. Now its time to see what is happening tonight. I know tomorrow is supposed to be along day so I might just get my rest. Anyways, more tomorrow.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Finals and Such...

I again slept on the balcony and woke up to water dripping from the air conditioner above us on my arm. It wasn’t that uncomfortable. I mean it wasn’t a bed but it was way better than the floor. After breakfast I went back to bed for a while until we had to start getting ready. They had told us the maxi was leaving at 11 so I was going to take a shower but I let all the other guys go first, being the kind gentleman I am. This was at around 945ish. Little did I know that people would take 20 minute showers! Ahh. So I was walking around getting my uniform ready and I ran into Lemon. He offered to let me use is shower. Awesome! So I ran down stairs and back upstairs took a 2 minute shower and went back and got ready to leave (with time to spare) I found out my uniform sleeves were literally about 6 inches too long so one of the band moms cut and sowed them. I was down waiting for the maxi. 2 hours later the maxi came. NOT kidding. 2 hours. In the mean time I was able to go up stairs and hang in the room until it did come. Then it took a long while to get to the savannah. Crazy traffic, that’s why the Maxi was late too. Anyway so we started practicing and things were feeling ok. I wasn’t playing my best at first because I still hadn’t gotten used to the pans but by the last 2 run-through I was there. Before I knew it, it was time to change in to our uniform and start pushing the pans. I had found a huge rock to chock my wheel this time because in the Semis I was all over the place. I actually tied my rack to the neighboring racks with rope and my leather belt. Worked like a charm. The performance was a blast! I don’t think the energy was as high over all with whole band compared to semis but it was still a great rush and I felt like we played well. I did notice a camera on me a lot during the middle of the song but I heard that the live feed was down. I want sincerely thank all those who attempted to watch or listen. It is indescribable how good it feels to have all this support from home. Thank you.
So, after we perform we pushed our pans straight back to the school where the trucks were. On my way out I actually so a friend Jennifer Butler who played in NIU Steel before me and she had come down for Carnival. She had found me on Facebook and we have been talking for the last few weeks. We literally only said “Hi!” and I had to go push pans. So we pushed pans back and loaded them on the trucks while eating a bit. Then my and the Vincent boys went back to the Savannah to hear some bands. We were there for a while and saw a lot of good bands. I saw Desperados, Silver Stars, Skiffle Bunch and Phase II. I actually introduced myself to Robert Greenidge as he was walking along the track. I didn’t say much because they were on their way to the stage. I didn’t want to get in the way haha. I the last two bands I saw were Phase II and Silverstars and they Silverstars won last year. Both of there arrangements were really good. I also really like The Despers music as well. Silverstars and Phase II are a lot more flashy and Despers are more about the music I feel. All good in my book.

Anyway, I had been exhausted since we got off the stage and I never knew my feet could hurt this bad. My and Big P hung around until after the results so Seion could give us a ride back to the hotel. We actually missed the reading of the results but we came in 6th place. A really bummer. I really don’t think that it reflects what happened well but that’s the nature of the competition. Its what the judges like. Two Tobagonian bands were higher than us but we had beaten them with different judges 4 days earlier in Tobago. Eh Oh well. The good news is while we were waiting, I had Bake and Shark for the first time. It is pretty much the best thing I have every eaten. Its fried shark in bake which is a great bread, with lettuce, ketchup garlic sauce and hot pepper sauce. So we went back to the hotel and I made my bed on the balcony again and passed out at about 430. The rest of the band was leaving at about 6 so I woke up and took the extra bed after they left and said goodbye. The St Vincent boys are going back home on Wednesday and I am going back to Tobago, on Thursday. We all slept until Seion called my phone at 11. He said he was going to be there in a few minutes so the three of us pack our stuff as fast as we could and then relaxed. He actually didn’t come for another hour and half so we had passed out again haha. It was kind of funny because we didn’t hear him calling our phones again so he had to come up to the room and knock. Still exhausted, we got into Seions van (which is what they call pick-up trucks apparently). He was dropping me off at where I am staying. Apparently Cliff has set me up with these people. Its right in the middle of town. An older couple Jerome and Marilyn. They are friends of Cliff and Jerome said he used to teach Cliff pan back in the day. It’s a very nice place and I have my own room and private bathroom! Yes I know its amazing. And I believe its only going to cost 60 US dollars a night. Definitely very nice. I got in and took a shower. It was the best shower I have taken in 5 weeks. Amazing. Then I got dressed and went down the street to get some food. Because it was around 130. I went to a restaurant named Mangos on the Avenue and had some fish and potatoes. Very tasty, a bit expensive but worth it. I actually met a US American couple from San Deigo and where probably in their 50s or 60s. We talked a while about their travels and where they have lived in the US. It wasn’t their first time in Trinidad for Carnival so they talked about that as well. Then we went our separate ways and I headed back to the place to relax and blog. more later. Feel free to ask questions. I probably left somethings out. haha

The pictures below are of the room I am staying in. and just for a size reference the bed is right next to the closet.

The day before finals...

Well… much to talk about. Lets start where I left off. After I blogged me and Big P (I originally thought it was Big B but I think I may have been mistaken, I still am not certain) went down to the supermarket to get some drinks and stuff. It was about a mile walk not too bad. There ended up being a mall there so we hung out for a while. I actually got some sunglasses. The supermarket was pretty crazy because the lines were so long. They had to have 20 people in them and only 5 of 20 registers were open. However, we actually got lucky because a parent of one of the Buccooneers was paying and she waved us over so we jumped the line. We only had 2 waters and a Gatorade so I didn’t feel too bad. Then went back to the hotel and I napped. We went to the panyard later that night to rehearse the last time before finals. We ended up doing a lot of work. We changed ending a little bit more to clean it up. Seion forgot my pans again. He actually left during rehearsal and got them which was great I was a little nervous because these pans were different. They were rotated a bit and the rack was different as well so I just wanted to get used to them. After a while Seion had to go to his other band the Merrytones because they performed in the small band category. He suggested that the band come and support them. Looking back I don’t know if it was great idea because people ended up getting mad that others left and rehearsal went pretty late when we got back. It was nice to see his other band play though. I was exhausted and hungry along and a group of us hitched a ride back to the school. Practice went on for a while and then we had to move pans to the Savannah at around 3 in the morning. Luckily I had a Lucozade which is a glucose energy drink. Taste really good and is probably horrible for you but oh well, It did the trick. We ended up getting back to the hotel at around 4 after setting up the racks twice on the drag. We were the 2nd band to perform so we set up really close to the stage. So we woke the next morning for breakfast.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Rehearsal in Trinidad... Finals two days away (NOW ONE)

I have internet. Yay! Well yesterday morning I made it to the maxi (because I didn’t go to sleep) and got on the boat. I took a nice nap on the boat. I actually bought some breakfast on the boat (because my brother would kill me if I didn’t at least once) It wasn’t too bad. We got to Trinidad and headed to the hotel. As we get there we find out that there is no water. Yes again, NO Water. It was actually on the news because some construction working busted the pipe and it’s a huge hotel and they have only had water I think 3 days of the last 20 or so (That’s what I heard)Eh oh well. I just wanted to sleep. So I got to the room and passed out. I am in a room with the two St. Vincent guys again, a man named Smokey who plays the big drum, and the guy who plays “tok tok” (Jam block) Tok tok is what it sounds like, “tok…tok…tok…tok…tok…tok” through the whole song. Both are referred to as “Rasta men.” Smokey is named that I believe because he is a smoker. (of probably multiple things) and has a deep very raspy “smoker voice.” All very nice guys. So caught up for sleep breaking for lunch and dinner. After dinner we went to practice at 8. By the way, still no water. We rehearsed a looong time. Seion was supposed to bring my pans but he forgot so I had to share, which was fine. Seion actually changed the ending of the tune to make it more dramatic. I really like it. I recognize it though. It has parts from March Slave and another Calypso he has written before. NIU folks will definitely recognize it. Very nice and a really nice cello part. It was tough because there was a huge fete (party) going on down the block with live music and Seion had to teach parts over that. At about 3:30 in the morning there was a bunch of drama about people being too tired to rehearse and such. I know its 3:30 BUUUT Seion, Ben and Lemon aaaalll warned us to rest during the day because “We will be going very late on Thursday night” I know I did but I’m sure a lot of people that are complaining did not. It was a bit frustrating for me because I was ready to rehearse for another hour and Finals were only TWO DAYS AWAY ahhhh! But we did end rehearsal. It was the first time I’ve ever seen Seion vexed (mad). There was also a lot of drama about Trinis vs Tobagonians whos doing more work whatever. I think its just stupid that we are wasting so much time wining and arguing but I am the new guy and a bit of a minority in this situation. All I know is that I am doing all I can to help and its all I can do. Anyways, so we head back to the hotel and there is finally water yay! But I am too tired to bathe so fall asleep. I actually slept out on the deck in a chair for a long while 5 people in a room and 2 beds. You do the math. And two guys pasted out diagonally on the beds and I didn’t want to wake them. No big deal I got some really good sleep this morning after breakfast. Oh and I finally got to take a shower. (just before all the water was gone again.) I relaxed around the hotel after lunch and now and blogging. We have to go to our final rehearsal at 3 which is in about 15 minutes. SO I had better get going. I will hopefully blog later tonight because I probably wont on Saturday night. I hope you can all find the link for the Live broadcast. If you are confused, email me at

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

THA (Finals in Tobago)

So last night at THA, get to the practice yard from the maxi and wait around for a while because the racks are there but most of the pans are not. Most of us went to get something to eat. I went to a place called Royal Castle and got some BBQ chicken and macaroni pie. Then the pans got there and we set up and played through some parts. The pans were set up as they would be in the performance and today I was in the front row because the person normally there couldn’t be there. So we were playing and people were coming straight up to my pan which did get me flustered a bit but better now than at the real thing. Then we had to push our pans down the road toward the stage. Luckily this time it was not far at all. I heard the band before us finish and it was time to go on. We set up quick and got rolling. As soon as we started, three cameras came right in front of my pan. The adrenaline was flowing as well as my dance moves (hopefully) I really didn’t care I just wanted to play and have fun. Everything was going fine but in the middle of the song something felt off for a moment. I was too busy concentrating on playing and dancing to worry about. The first rule of performing, you are going to mess up, but don’t let it look like you messed up. Anyways we finished and sweat has soaked through my shirt. I thought I got sweaty at NIU steel band concerts. But its 80 degrees and humid out here. Not to mention my dance moves have vastly improved since then. It’s a good workout though. We move our racks out the other side of the stage and it is right across the street from the port, How convenient. Its like they planned it that way. (they did) We had to leave for Trinidad the next night for finals. But there was a stir amongst the band about the mess up. I finally heard that someone got off in the rhythm section bad after a big break and apparently a lot of people in the band looked back while playing. We had a band pow wow and got yelled at pretty good. There had been a lot of bad attitudes within the band for a while during practices in the last week. A lot of people didn’t think we would do well at THA because of the politics and junk. And now because of the negative attitude we just gave it away. So we packed up our pans, most of us got on the maxi, and went back to Buccoo. Lemon asked me to take Omari home and to bed so I did while he stayed to get the results. Omari was running around the lot most of the time there but when hit the maxi, he passed out on some girls shoulder. Luckily the driver lives in Lemons neighborhood so it was a short sleepwalk back home. I think he really has ON/OFF switch. When hes ON, he as off the walls, but when hes OFF its like hes in a coma. Anyway so I got him to bed and started some laundry. I called Lemon to ask if he had anything to wash and he said no and that we had got FIRST PLACE!!!! YAY! So I hung up and did my laundry. Lemon called me when he got back and there was a big party at the Panyard until about 430 in the morning. Taking, dancing, drinking, good times had by all. I think people are really starting to understand the real me. I feel like ive finally come out of my shell and they understand my humor.

So today I got up pretty late. However the last few hours weren’t that great because Omari thinks its hilarious to wake me up with loud music or other means. He didn’t go to school because the late night last night. I did eventually wake up and then got some food (saltfish, tasty) then went to the beach for a swim. I created a new exercise were I tread water with just my arms for like 10 minutes and the stick my legs straight out from my body (Pike position). Im actually feeling it in my upper body now and its nice and relaxing. Anyway, boring I know, I got done and went back for shower and get ready for a meeting at 6. I actually didn’t go until about 615. Oh no im late! Not. I ended up sitting around for an hour then I went to get some dinner and came back. Around 8 then the meeting started about 20 minutes later. We just got our uniform pants for the finals and found out the Maxi comes at 5 tomorrow morning. After that, the guys who go on the slow boat with the pans went to port as well as a handful of helpers (Me). What are we helping with you ask? Why I’ll tell you. We are helping push all the racks on the boat. Doesn’t sound hard right? They’re on wheels, no big deal. Until you have to push them up a wet, obstacle filled, 45 degree incline about a mile long. (not really a mile but had to be 100 meters). I had flashbacks of High School Football pushing the sleds up and down the field. Anyway, it wasn’t too bad. But I was soar from this “awesome new workout” I created. We got up to the top and we organized them. Then suddenly I was like “it smells like a sweaty farm up here?!” Then I turned around and there were about 20 goats caged in the back of a pickup truck just staring at me. Hateful eyes they had, hateful judging eyes.
I did seem like we were the most efficient pan moving crew of all the bands. Then we went back to the car and headed back to Buccoo, dropped some people off and finally got to Lemon’s. So now I am just about done packing. It has been tough because I am staying longer than everyone else. Finals are Saturday and everyone else is coming back Sunday. I am staying in Trinidad until either Wednesday or Thursday to hang with Seion and the gang for CARNIVAL! Exciting. I am packing my back pack to the brim. Hopefully I will have internet at the hotel. Otherwise there are going to be some really long blogs to come.

JUST IN CASE I DON’T HAVE INTERENT. I will post the info for Finals:
My band is the NLCB Buccooneers and we are playing second. The competition starts at 6 Trini Time and we should play between 615 and 7 is my guess. That’s 415 to 5 CST . The link to watch it online is heres the link to the band order I am in the medium band category and they go first.