Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
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
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
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
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.
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
Thursday, January 21, 2010
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
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
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
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.