Saturday, January 30, 2010

day two in Trinidad....

Well today we had to get up at 7 oclock for breakfast and a meeting. Just some scrambled eggs and bacon and toast. Simple, good and cost efficient (free). Then we had a meeting. There have been some not so awesome vibes in the band overall and the meeting was mostly a sort of wake up call to get focused. It actually reminded me about football back in high school, when the coach or coaches would give some constructive and inspirational speeches. We’ll have to see if it did the job. After the meeting, I of course went back to sleep for about an hour nap before I had to shower and get ready for rehearsal. At rehearsal we started with sectionals which was nice because we went over the hard runs and the whole tune. I needed that because I still had to get used to my new pans. At first I really didn’t like how they sounded or were arranged but after cleaning them well, the sound better and I have gotten used to the layout of the notes pretty well. Oh! And the Vibes were really good, so the talks must have worked. We rehearsed from about 1130 till around 7 or 8. Yea I know, long day but much needed and much accomplished. The only bad thing about where we are practicing there is no water or food near by. luckily Lemon supplied us with both. There was reeaaal good food brought in for our lunch break. At the end of practice we were all exhausted and ready to get home. I knew my feet were killing me. We got back to the hotel and were all ready to shower, lime and go to bed. However, one big problem. No water. Yes let me say that again, NO WATER. Yea I didn’t even ask any follow up questions. I have grown to expect the unexpected. Anyway, So we ate some food that was provided for us again and people hung out. I went over to the pharmacy to get something to drink and I was craving some chocolate. I was grabbed 3 candy bars that I had never seen or heard of before (Nuggle, X Bar, and Bonaza) and I an Arizona Iced Tea. I wanted to spend less than 20 TT. I figured the Iced tea would be cheap like in the states. NOPE. It was 15 TT when a pepsi is 5. I was pretty surprised so of course I went for the Pepsi. Now I am just sitting in my room watching TV and blogging before I go to bed. I should probably get to sleep. Tomorrow is a loooong day. Rehearsal starts at 11 along with a long day of moving pans over and over again. Tomorrow is Semi finals. We are the last band in our section. I am very excited. Goodnight for now. More tomorrow hopefully.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Long day and Trinidad

Thursday was a pretty interesting day. I got up around 9 to help Big B at 10. I had put some laundry in the night before so I could hang it to dry in the morning. Unfortunately it was raining pretty hard so I just grabbed an umbrella and went down the panyard. It was raining on and off as we practiced. Then I got some chicken roti for lunch. At this time it wasn’t raining and the weather was looking very hopeful so I went back to Lemon’s to hang my laundry. Just as I finished Lemon pulled in to take me and the two players from St Vincent to the tailor to get measured for our Finals uniforms. This was all the way in Scarborough. I met the tailor and I told him my name and he, like many other people, said “Tom, Tom the pipers son?” I usually tell them that, my father wasn’t a piper. As we left he told me to say hello to Jerry. I had no idea what he meant or if he even said Jerry so I asked the guys in the car and they reminded me of Tom and Jerry to Cartoon. We started driving back and guess what? It started raining. We got back and my clothes on the line were soaked of course but luckily Lemon drove me to a laundry mat to have them dried. Now this is actually more of a Dry cleaners because you leave your close there and come pick them up later instead of doing it yourself. Oh how I miss having a drier. It cost me 15 TT just for one load to dry. But I needed it because we were leaving in the morning. So I went back to the Panyard to help out Big B some more until I left to go get my dry clothes at 5. I actually found out that Lemon was just going to pick them up on his way home so I hung out with Omari for a while. He was pretty Bonkers today. I blame it on the rain. He had soooo much energy. When the rain stopped I actually took him on a walk and we went over to Brandons place where Maggie and Kinga are as well. We actually mostly hung out with Kinga because she was home. Lemon later drove by and picked up Omari to take him to his mothers. And me and Kinga hung out some more. Just talked about a bunch of different subjects life, music, whatever. She is a very easy going person and easy to talk to. Anyway it was getting late and I had to get on in Maxi Taxi at 5 in the morning tomorrow to head to port. I went back to Kirths, showered, packed and he drove me to the panyard. A Maxi Taxi is a small bus that is a Taxi and Kirth had ordered two to take people to the port. We boarded and it was very nice inside and out. This is the biggest boat I have ever been on. It had two levels with a food line on the bottom and a bar on the top. We found our seats and I passed out for the 2 ½ hour ride. I woke up to see us driving along the coast of Trinidad before we pulled in. We got off the boat and I was immediately mobbed by Taxi drives and one crazy man because of how Caucasian I am. Eeeeven though I was in a group of people all wearing Buccooneers Steel Orchestra Shirts. Eh oh well. I need to work on my tan. So we got on two Maxis and drove to the hotel. I am rooming with the two guys from St Vincent (Big B and Dmitri) and Kasel who is a bass pan player. The room isn’t too bad I didn’t bring any shampoo or soap because we are only here for a couple of days and I could use hotel soap… Bad idea. All they had were three thin bars of soap. Ended up getting some body wash/shampoo at the Pharmacy next door. I was starving so I asked if we were getting food together or not to a few people. I could really understand a clear answer but it seemed like they were saying that its on our own downstairs. Downstairs there were a few eating places like Dominos and Burger King to name a couple. I went and got a some BK because I wanted to compare how it was to that in the States. Everythings pretty much the same except there was like thousand island on my double cheese burger. Tasted good. So I went back upstairs to take a nap and just as I was laying down I find out that we were getting lunch supplied for us…… grrr. Anyway I went down and got a very small plate and a drink. I then went up to the room and passed out until we they gave us dinner. After we hung out, I went to the store, and skyped my brother Chris until we had to go to rehearsal. We rehearse at a near by school because it is safe for our pans. Seion came after we had started and brought MY pans. I set them up and started getting used to them. There rotated a bit different, sound a bit different and the rack itself is a bit different but I can definitely be comfortable with them by Sunday. We ended rehearsal, hopped in the Maxi and went back to the hotel. Luckily there is wireless internet. Its time for bed though I have to get up early for a meeting tomorrow. night

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Long day, long blog....

Well, today I got up and dressed and met my Nanya so week can go on our walk to Turtle Beach. Oh and I completely miss heard her name when she said it and her name is Kinga. I know what you are thinking… “How could I have messed that up soo bad.” Well you would have too. In Polish, its not as far off as it looks….give me a break. So, we went on our way at around 11 o’clock. It was overcast for the first time since Ive been here and did rain on and off all day. But when it rains here, its not like Illinois where it rains sideways and hurts and is really cold and has lightning and thunder. It’s a shower. Its like you are running through a sprinkler because it is still very light out. And some times it was just a slight mist. So I offered to whip out the ol’ thumb and try my luck at hitchhiking up there because it is a long way but Kinga said she would like to walk. Sooo I didn’t want to look like a wimp so I walked too. Haha just kidding I really actually enjoy walking so I can see everything and exercise. It was a very good day for this walk. Last time the Sun was beating down on my and it was slightly cooler and the company made the walk even more pleasant. So it was a pretty long walk and of course we traded life stories talking about our occupations, to how she met Maggie and so on. We finally arrived at the beach and the waves were very rough which is unusual for Turtle beach but it was still very nice. There were a group of men pulling in a fishing net. Not like a dinky one. But a huge one that had to be hundreds of yards long. Apparently they had some tuna in there. As we were walking along the beach a man who wasn’t very right in the head started following and talking to us. He mumbled a lot and tended to be in my bubble. He walked and talked very close to me. Being the gentle man I am I made sure I stood in between Kinga and this Crazy. Then we tried to lose him but instead he just tried to sell us very small coconuts. He then proceeded to shake them very close to my head so I knew they was liquid inside. Other locals then started yelling at him which bought us time to get away. We started to head back after stopping to see a person who sold hand mad jewelry and a man who made leather sandals by hand. Pretty nice stuff. I didn’t get any but I might go back. So we headed back and stopped at Pizza Boys to eat and pick up a Pizza for Brandon and Maggie. The Pizza was ok, I’ve definitely had better but Im not too particular. This was nice because we got to sit down and talk even more. Trading life stories takes a while. Kinga’s English is very good but of course there were some slight communication difficulties. Around this time I got a call from Seion asking me to teach the new three cello player from St. Vincent the cello part. I have a feeling he wanted me to do it as soon as I could but I called the man and we worked out a meeting time at 6.Then we started heading back to Buccoo and we hung out at her place, relaxed and talked some more. Then I headed down to the panyard to meet with the player from St. Vincent, Big B. We worked out some parts for about 2 or 3 hours and I didn’t mind because I know how good it would have been if someone had done that for me. Plus I get too learn my part even better. For some reason we didn’t rehearse which I found very frustrating because that’s two days we wasted and didn’t rehearse. But, its not my place. It was raining on and off still and not everyone was there. But I didn’t really feeling like sitting around so I went back to Lemon’s house and got some food on the way back. That jokester guy that I was joking with on Monday actually saw me walking and gave me a ride down the road. I’m definitely feeling more myself now.
After a little bit I got bored so I started walking back to the panyard because I had a feeling they were loading up pan racks to take to the port. Of course I was right and just on time. They had three trucks and they just strap these racks to the them and Drive them down to Scarborough which is about a 15 min drive without traffic. Now keep in mind its still raining out. For the first couple of trips I didn’t go with and I just help load the trucks when they were at the Panyard. But then I figured hey why not and got on the last load. Now these trucks were long pick ups kind of but the 3 sides of the back can fold down to make it a flat bed. So here I am in the middle of a bass pan rack, with pans in them, on the back of a truck while its raining out. Sorry Mom and Dad. Not to mention they are going down some roads at 100 kilometers per hour. Eh you only life once. It wasn’t really what I expected but hey, you only live once. I came here to get the full experience…..And I’m getting it. So, we get there and unload, which at this point its starts pouring. Then we get back in the truck, luckily I got to go in the Cab this time. Its probably equally safe because there is a total of 4 people in there its just a lot drier. Seat belts, haha. There first time I tried to put one of those on Omari laughed at me. I have still warn them at times but this time I couldn’t because there were 4 people in a 2 person cab. Anyways, we got back and I hung out for a while and then Lemon and I came back to his place and crashed. Tomorrow I must get up pretty early because I am helping Big B learn more music at 10 and I have to do laundry tomorrow because I leave for Trinidad Friday morning. Better get to bed. Night.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Today was a pretty short and simple day, I went out to get some food down at New Edition, where the other pan yard was, at around 5 oclock for “lunch?” so I got some fish, beans, rice and noodles, pretty good. Then I was walking back to Kirths house when I passed Brandons driveway. I decided to stop in and say hello. This is also where Maggie and Nanya are staying. Of course Brandon greets me very nicely and offers me a beer before I can even say Hi back. Maggie and Brandon were doing some work around there place so I sat and talked with Nanya again. She was happy because she finally got her luggage which was lost in the airports. She didnt have it for a week and shes only staying for two. Anyway we actually ended up talking and watching Friends. The strange thing is that she looks exactly like Courtney Cox. Spitting image, I am not kidding. She looks more like her than Johnny Russler looks like Sammy Hagar. She said she got that a lot and its actually one of her favorite shows. It got to be about 7ish and as we were watching, Maggie puts a plate in my lap. Fish noodles and salad. I ate as much as my body would let me. I didn’t want to insult. But it was very good as well. It came to 8 oclock, which is when rehearsal is supposed to start, so I went back to the house to get ready and go. Kirth was there with Omari and I waited around for awhile and then Kirth and I went to rehearsal. Off subject: Kirths nickname is Lemon. I don’t know why but it is. I asked him and he just said it was a pretty sweet name and smiled. I think its because he is such a relaxed guy, He is a very laid back, pleasant guy. I think its because he limes so hard, he lemons. But that’s just a theory. Anyway, back to the story. Rehearsal wasn’t a rehearsal at all. It was a meeting about how we are getting to Trinidad and back. So the management team of the band met and talked about that while everyone else sat around and talked for 3 hours. Everyone watched the video I had on my phone and we looked at the judges sheets from last night. We found out we are ranked 4th overall right now and 2nd in Tobago. The Judges sheets were weird because the scores were pretty good but there was barely any constructive feedback. So we all eventually went home and I Skyped my parents and blogged a bit. But now I should be getting to because I have to get up tomorrow. Maggie is leaving with Nanya next week for Poland so Nanya suggested we hang out tomorrow and let Maggie and Brandon hang out for while before she leaves. I think I have to get up at 9. Night.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Prelims and such...

Monday I woke up pretty late because of how late last night was. But I got up about 130 and then I wanted to get out and get food before Omari came home. I didn’t have the energy for Omari. I know that sounds horrible but the kid is like the energizer bunny. Sometimes he just runs around for fun. Anyway, so I got showered and dressed quick and went over for some grillers and had some grilled lamb. Great as everything is. Then I went back to relax and hang out with Omari a little bit he was working on a new kite of course and wanted to show me how it sounds. Then I went down to the panyard for the early rehearsal a little after 4. It was supposed to start at 4 but they actually got yelled at because no one was ready to start until 530. Either way they eventually started playing. It actually isn’t bad not playing because I get a chance to just listen to the whole band. It’s a great sound and I really like what Seion wrote. I also took some really good video. Oh I forgot to mention that they gave out the band t shirt (they call t shirts jerseys). Its an XL, its like a dress. I think Seion gave them the size before I came up. I tried to exchange it but they only have XLs left or bigger. Eh oh well. If I tuck it in it doesn’t look too bad. I do kind of feel like I’m wearing MC Hammer pans as a shirt but its ok. So rehearsal got done and I went back to Kirths to change and relax before going back to the panyard. Kirth called me as I was leaving to grab a camera from his place. He wanted to Skype a friend from Canada why the band played. So grabbed it and went down to the panyard to install it. So I ended up having to set up the PC outside so he could use the camera. Then it was time to warm up for prelims. There was a crowd that started forming and they had put up a tent for the judges and a fence for the crowd. Great vibes in the air and then they played for the Judges. It was awesome. I cant wait to play. They sounded reeaaal good, there were flag girls and the crowd was huge. I had someone video record it with my Iphone from one side and I did the other with my camera.
Then there was the after party after we put away all the pans and the crowd dispersed. Lots of dancing and drinking. I actually am starting to act more like my usual self around everyone. There was a man that is known to be a jokester and he kind of poked fun at me and we traded a little bit in front of anyone and I really earned his respect and made everyone laugh. Then I had my first experience with “wining.” Which is dancing for all those that are unfamiliar. I’m not going to hide it but the drinks had been flowing so I was slightly inebriated but I was talking to Seion and Akua and there was a girl dancing behind me. And of course, they told me to wine with this girl (Michelle who was one of the Trini players). And knowing me, of course I did and everyone started screamin because no one expected it haha. And when I say everyone I mean like almost the whole band and friends. Haha but it was really funny and I feel even more comfortable with everyone. I started dancing more later and I actually did some goofy thing and landed on my ankle wrong and sprained my ankle a bit haha. Don’t worry Mom, Im ok. After a while I went back to the trini’s guest house and hung out there for a while and then I went back to Kirths and slept. Now I am just taking it easy today, and am about to go get some food.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday...

Saturday night rehearsal was pretty long but Seion and a couple of the Trini players weren’t their because they had a prelim the next day I believe for the Merrytones and they had to finish their tune and then play the next day. Im really glad I didn’t go to this rehearsal on time because it was a mostly teaching people who didn’t know the part that Seion taught in the morning. Anyway so we got back at a pretty reasonable hour. Then I woke up and went down to the panyard for a cello sectional at 12 and we went through the tune. Luckily someone wasn’t there so I was able to play though the stuff. Now I finally have all the parts. And they are correct. Then we took a “5 minute break”… an hour later I realized we weren’t going to play anymore so I went to get food and went back to Kirths. I felt like going for a swim so I packed up my back pack and went to Mt. Irving for a little bit. Just relaxed in the water for a while and then I went to grab my towel and I saw something move right by my foot. It was a crab. And not like a “aww look at that cute little crab.” It was more like a “Holy crap! That thing is as big as my hand.” So I quickly averted the situation and did the next sensible thing I could do….reach for my phone to take a picture. Unfortunately, while I was doing that, the crab got away. Did I mention that he was the same color as the sand so that made avoiding him harder as well. So I dried off, counted my toes, gathered my things (making sure there were no crabs in them) and walked back. I took a nap before night rehearsal. I was on my way out to go to rehearsal and Kirth asked me if he wanted to go for a drive down to Scarborough to pick up Georgina and I said sure because I knew I wasn’t going to playing much because prelims were the next day. And Seion and the other players weren’t coming back to for a few hours. Seion still had to teaching us the introduction to the tune. Then I got back to rehearsal and we learned the new music. You can tell Seion was teaching all day because his voice was almost gone. The piece is finally done…..for now. He will most likely change it before Finals at least once. That rehearsal went until about 330 in the morning and I Kirth and I didn’t get back until almost 5. I went with him to drop off Seion at his place and check on the Trini players at the house they are staying at. I was exhausted so as soon as I got back a passed out.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Few days blogged into one...

Wow the last two days have been pretty busy. After I blogged last, I went to go get food at Chinese restaurant down the street and and I realized that Chinese food is pretty much the same wherever you go. After that I hung out for a while before practice Thursday. That was a normal practice, not too late but I still passed out before blogging. Friday, I woke up and went down the road and got some food. As I was eating, Kirth called me and said he was going to pick me up in 10 minutes to go to the grocery store and run some errands. I got in the shower quick and 45 min later he arrived to pick me up. I am slowly getting used to this life still but I don’t think I could live in it my whole life haha. So we went to the bank which took forever, not Kirths fault and then we went to get meet the players from Trinidad coming off the boat. He had to make sure they had transportation back to buccoo from Scarborough. That was nice to see because Scarborough is the capital city of Tobago and pretty busy especially right by the docks. There was a cruise ship in the bay and tons of shops and people. Then we went back and we didn’t have time to get to the grocery store. Then I went down to practice after a short nap. Seion wasn’t going to be there until today so we rehearsed a lot. We actually rehearsed until about 330 in the morning. Then fed us some food, fish boil, which was the same thing that Kirth made me my first night. It was great I didn’t get back to the room until 4 am and then I had to be up for a 10 am rehearsal. Well I thought I did, it turns out I didn’t understand what the 10 am rehearsal was for. Language barrier. It turns out it was for a small group, one or two from each section, who will learn the new part from Seion and then teach it to everyone else. I, of course, didn’t find this out until I had gotten there and everyone else got there which was around 1045. I figured I would stay and learn the piece. I have been getting very frustrated because the parts I didn’t learn from Seion I was getting taught by the other cello players. And there have been numerous accounts where they have taught me the wrong part so I have to unlearn and relearn. Kind of a pain in the butt. I figured I’ll stay so I can directly learn from Seion and KNOW I am correct. I ended up learning the parts faster than anyone else. I am really getting used to rote learning. Also, Seion taught us the ending and I could hear the chord progression he had written easily and people were impressed. Thanks Dr. Klonoski and Dr. Maki… haha. So that ended just around two and I got some food on the way back to Kirths. I also forgot to mention that I was not playing for Prelims on Friday I believe. I didn’t really think I was but I wanted to prepare like I was just in case. But the reason is because there are four 4 pan cellos and 5 players right now. They are making two more for next week and I am the 5 player who came. It makes perfect sense that I shouldn’t play. That came as kind of a relief just because I didn’t have to stress as much about the tune. But now I pretty much have the tune. Anyway, I took a MUCH needed nap and woke up to blog. Rehearsal actually started at 6 but Kirth said it was ok if I came a little later because I wouldn’t really have a pan and I want the 4 that are playing to get used to the pans they are playing on. Now I am going to get in the shower and get some food as I go down to rehearsal. Tonight should be another long night. More later or in the morning.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

another relaxing day...

Well again yesterday I went to bed before blogging because I was supposed to get up early. Yesterday was a pretty easy day again, I got up and watched some TV. Then I wanted to shower but the water was gone. Not like oh no we have no hot water. More like oh no we have no WATER. Luckily enough to brush my teeth and stuff but definitely not enough for a shower. Eh anyway I was hungry so I went down the street to get some roti and eat it back here. Unfortunately I forgot ask for it hot so I had to find some hot sauce but it was pretty good either way. Then there was still no water so I decided to go for a swim at Mt. Irving. I was leaving just as Omari was coming in from school. He wanted to fly his kite so we went our separate ways after hanging out for a few minutes. I walked to the beach and just as I was setting my stuff down I saw Maggie, the girl from Poland who is living with Brandon. And she was with her friend Nanya (keep in mind a lot of these names I don’t know if I am spelling right but that’s how they sound.) Nanya is a friend from Poland and she is up here for two weeks. She was exploring the shoreline while me and Maggie swam and talked. She actually invited me to go snorkling this morning with her Brandon and Nanya but they had to cancel. That’s why I had to go to be early. Anyway, the water is great, very clear and warm. Then we got out and were all talking, then Maggie had to go back and work so I Nanya and I talked for a while, got to know her and then I walked her back because it was really close to Kirth’s house.
So I went back to the house looking forward to a shower and still there was no water, so I waited a little bit and after about an hour it turned on and I showered up before rehearsal. I went down to rehearsal to get some food and some practice in. I was getting a bit frustrated because I wasn’t getting the last bit of parts or I was told the wrong thing. So I decided to ask Seion for the music just to double check my notes and so I know all the knows FOR SURE. I want to know the music better than everyone, bc this is my only chance at this. I’ve said this before so its obviously been running through my head a lot. Also, at rehearsal we have worked on the new stuff a lot, and that is the stuff I have down cold. So we only run the parts I need a few times so it makes it harder to pick up.
After rehearsal, we hung out and hand some beers and talked. Then I went back with Kirth and we stopped for some food on the way. We relaxed and had some rum and coke and watched part of a movie. He went to bed and I watched it all of course. All these movies I haven’t seen before. Then I went to bed to get up early for snorkeling but I got a text saying they weren’t so I slept in. haha. Now I am about to go get some food. More later.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

relaxing day...

So yesterday I was tired and went to bed before blogging. I was woken up by my call from Kirth saying he and his work partner were going to pick me up to go to the bank in 10 minutes. So I got ready quick and we went. I had to turn in more travelers checks for more TT (Trinidad and Tobago dollars) the bank was at the mall so afterwards we hung out a bit and walked around. I actually go lunch there and they got ice cream. I had Gyro. Slightly different but still really good. The mall is your typical looking mall just a lot smaller than American ones. So we went back and I hung out at the house and watched some TV until Omari came home. He wanted to show me the new kite he made so we went down the park. It was just down the street and it was kind of humorous to see there were a bunch of kites that got stuck in the power lines. Either way, another one of his friends was down their flying a kite named Marcus. Omari’s kite flew really well. He is one of the more conservative kite fliers. Marcus likes doesn’t mind flying right by the power lines. Also Omari was helping Marcus fix his kite because hes good at it and he had Marcus hold his. Marcus gave the kite a lot slack and Omari didn’t want him to do that. So there was a bit of a shouting match that went out but his kite had to be out about 300 feet or more. It flew well. Then I remember the only down side to kites. Reeling them in. I know this because Omari asked me to reel his in for him while he fed me the line. Lot of work especially because the spool was so thin. Then we went back

We hung out for a while and then got ready for rehearsal. On the way down I had some Shir’s Finger Lickin chicken, and it was really good. Rehearsal went fine Im really getting the parts now. It is funny because I do feel comfortable with most everyone but im still not myself. In my old band at school I was known as the jokester and I was pretty loud. Here I am definitely not know like that but oh well, in due time. I came home and skyped with my dad for about an hour and then went to bed. Not a very eventful day but I good one none the less.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One week is already gone....

Well today was a pretty eventful day. Sabrina, the German girl from Sunday school I met, had invited me to come to meet her and her mom and moms friend at the Turtle beach. So I figured I would go. I had not been there yet so of course I said yes. Turtle beach is where in the summer time huuuge sea turtles come and lay their eggs at night. Unfortunately I would be missing that this year but maybe ill be back someday. The turtles are about 6 feet long, maybe bigger. It was a beautiful day out (like usual) so I figured I would walk to this beach. I looked at a satellite map online before I left so I knew how to get there and just went. So I past a Mt. Irving beach where I usually go swimming and about 10-15 minutes and I’m feelin’ good. Great pace. The map I looked at was great. It gave me landmarks like big buildings so could keep track of where I was. Oddly enough, these maps don’t tell you how many stinkin hills there are! 3 hours later…. Just kidding. But seriously about 45 minutes into my walk I get to a strip mall where there are many different shops. I went in and bought a drink because I was getting a bit tired and really thirsty, It was about 85 degrees in the shade and in the middle of the day. Noooow I get why they call it Mt. Irving. On my walk up to this point I did see a lot of little lizards running around, ya know, getting out of the sun. Oh, and I also met a nice elderly Finish couple. Anyway, I kept on truckin’. After about 20 minutes and 4 more hills, I got to Turtle beach. There I met up with Sabrina, her mom and moms friend, all from Germany. They were sitting in the shade relaxing. Right on turtle beach is a hotel like place were there are 3 levels and a bunch of rooms. I don’t think anyone was under the age of 73 besides the four of us. Well we talked for a while about lots of things. They gave me some food and drink it was good. Ovaltine cookies? Pretty good, must be German. They also taught me a card game. It was called Lobos 77. I read the directions, which means I looked at the pictures (all in German) and we started to play. It was a math and strategy game,. Each player has a 5 cards and ever turn you have to put one down. Most of the cards are number cards and some are action cards like, reverse or put down two. Anyway, you add up the numbers but if the total adds up to a multiple of 11 or goes over 77 you lose. Thanks all im going to explain about the game on the blog but if you want I can explain more later.
Sabrina and group were staying with a friend Mary Ann who is from Germany but she has lived here for 19 years. So they came down for a vacation. Nice people, very welcoming and friendly. They had a private taxi coming to pick them up at 5 and they offered me a ride. I of course accepted because I didn’t feel like scaling Mt. Irvine again, and it would be cheaper than hitchhiking. Yes, hitchhiking. It is very much legal here and I am definitely going to try it out one day. Sorry Mom. Ill be careful.
It turns out they are staying very close to Kirths house and they were actually going to go eat at Grillers, which is about half way between. They refused money from me to pay for the cab (I fought pretty hard) and then they even tried to buy my food but I said no. But I did let them buy me a Carib, when they “offered” which means when ordered me one without me knowing. So I had some food and good conversation, some of which was me listening to German I didn’t understand, but I’m kind of used to that. Haha. So we finished and went our separate ways. I actually went back in to get a water after I walked them out. There I met a middle-aged couple from Boston who was on their 3rd trip to Tobago. Nice people. Then walked back to the house. There I came in to Omari showing me his kite that he just made. It was pretty impressive, especially for an 8 year old. Then Kirth was going to get something for him and Omari to eat (and me if I hadn’t already) down the street. But I offered to go get it and pay for it because he has done soo much for me and bought me so many meals. So me and Omari walked down to Shirl’s Finger Lickin’ and geez did it smell “finger lickin’” I was stuffed and my mouth was watering. They mostly sell fried chicken here and that’s what we got. I definitely have to eat there soon. But Omari definitely has a lot of energy, always bouncing around everywhere. Oooh and I am amazed at how well is American English is getting. I will say something and he will just echo me exactly how I say it. I usually double take because it doesn’t make sense in conversation and then I realize, do I really sound like that. I do. We go back and he and Kirth ate and then did some reading homework. I got ready and went to rehearsal. I really feel even more comfortable. I really have all the knew stuff down well. So well that band members are asking me for the notes they might have forgotten. I still have small bits to get in the first part of the song but that shouldn’t take long. After rehearsal, I hung out with a group of guys in their late teens. I am really starting to get used to and understand the Tobagian dialect now and can finally partake in conversation. Also I showed them my IPhone and they really got a kick out of it. They recorded a video of ya know, boys being boys. Goofing around. But they are all nice. And say hi when the see me. Kirth and I then hitched a ride home, each had a glass of Jamaican Rum and Cranberry juice and were going to go to bed. But instead I got hooked on the movie 27 dresses and stayed up. I almost left that part out but I don’t care. I liked it, it was amusing. Don’t judge. I liked the Notebook too. (mostly because of Rachel McAdams). Time for bed, more tomorrow.

Monday, January 18, 2010

my first Sunday School...

Well today was a bit of a more relaxed day. Got up and put my clothes in the washing machine and went down to New Edition to have some food. This is my first time dealing with a clothes line.. we shall see. New Edition place is on the way to my panyard. But it is a restaurant, bar, club and Panyard as well. It is a single pan band that practices there. That is the traditional style where each player has one pan around their neck and they carry it down the street. They had the prelims tomorrow so there were a few people practicing as I was eating. I had some great BBQ chicken, rice, noodles, potato salad and a rum and coke to wash it down. Some players that are in my band, the Buccooneers, are also in this band. People are starting to recognize me a lot when I am walking down the street. Everyone likes to say hello. Anyhow, I decided to walk back to the house and relax for a while and then go to the beach. I went over to the beach by Mt. Irving what I tried to take a different way and go for a run. I actually went down a small street where there were lots of veery big house. Ya know, ones with a service entrance. I could see much but I new the houses were big and the dogs sounded big too. Made me run a little faster. Well, I made it to the beach and swam for a while. Its very nice, the waters warm, and relaxing. Men were fishing as I was leaving and one actually caught a pelican (by accident) but it was kind of funny to see him reeling it in. Don’t worry I don’t think it was badly hurt. I walked back and showered and got ready for Sunday School.

I really didn’t know what to expect to night. I have seen youtube videos of a small band of the Buccooneers playing to a pretty big crowd. I figured, we’ll see. So I walked down passed the panyard and there were all these new stands set up for food, T-shirts, hats and jewelry. And there were a lot of tourists. Turns out Buccoo is the place to be on Sunday. There were also a few small groups of shady lookin people who actually tried to sell me drugs but it wasn’t a big deal. I also realized that I looked like a tourist, I guess there’s no getting around that. When most people find out why I’m here they treat me more like a local. They usually give me the nod of approval. But first are very surprised I play pan. Anyways the band started at 9 and they were really good. Kirth plays with them and it was nice to finally see him play because as the Captain of the big band he doesn’t play. They played for 3 hours straight. The music ranged from calypsos to classical to American pop. They even played Hotel California. There were about 10 players in the band with 3 tenors, a double second, a cello, a bass, drumset and a few percussion players. Great balance. There I met a two girls from New York who were here for the weekend and we talked awhile about how its great here and why they were here. I think they were the first Americans I’ve met here except for the one woman in the band with me. But she actually lives here now. But they were also my and It was nice to see that people are finding out about Tobago and how nice it is from America. Anyway, You meet a lot of people at these things because the band is actually in an outdoor bar. I saw Neills again and he introduced me to his crew who were all also from England. He was pretty drunk and kept saying that he really like me haha. Its not the first time I've been hit on by a gay man, probably wont be the last. haha funny stuff. But his crew were all pleasant and we talked for a while. Then I helped the band tear down when they were done and then I bought Kirth a beer and we all hung out.

Then I saw a girl, tourist, who was getting danced on by two local creeper guys, I saw the look of “Help” in her eyes so I kind of swooped in to get her out of that mess. She was very appreciative. I found out she is German here with a few family and family friends, one who lives here. But we talked for long while and danced a bit. Her English was pretty good. There were a few times she couldn’t find the words but hey, My German sucks. I know about 5 German words; No, wonderful and some lyrics to a Rammstein song (Rammstein is a heavy metal German band) Don’t judge had a metal phase, a loooong time ago. Anyway I eventually went back to the house and fell asleep. There were still a lot of people dance but I was exhausted. I didn’t even stay up to blog last night. Well off to explore.