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Monthly Archives: November 2008

Travelling Miles


I have become ill-equipped at taking public transport in Trinidad. In Tobago, everytime you jump into a taxi, you are so not prepared for what exorbitant price they are going to call to take you to a spot on the island. It is almost instant haggling. In Trinidad, to take a taxi, well that is another story. No actually it is this story.

With my car still located on the Renault lot because they don’t have a spare thermostat to fix it, and no courtesy car to give me, I am forced to travel home. (I still shudder at the thought of traveling home). The instances of “mopping a drop” will occur but I like to be independent, so I will only do these things if absolutely necessary. On Wednesday and Thursday last week, I was forced to (gulp) travel to work.

This task involved me leaving home much earlier than usual, as I now had a ten minute walk to the main road in order to flag down a taxi. I won’t say that my experiences on both mornings left me traumatized but I just knew I couldn’t do this another day.

The strange thing about my fear is that I have no problem using public transport in the US, UK or Continental Europe. These transportations systems are efficient (to some extent) and provide you with many alternatives so that one is never left stranded.  I love a London bus, the Tube (a bit claustrophobic) but nice, the Autobahn in Germany (sigh…memories) always on time. I could go on but in each instance, I am able to concentrate on other things other than transportation.

Taxiing in the Caribbean? Well that is an adventure. One never knows if the taxi drivers will actually be in the mood to work on any given morning or whether they will drive really fast, super slow or  if the car will smell like wet dog. It is truly a “luck of the draw” with taxi drivers and their vessels of torture. What is one to do?

DAY ONE

On Wednesday morning November 18th 2008, I left my home at 6:12pm and proceeded to walk to the main road for my first occasion of traveling from my apartment. I am accustomed to driving to and from West Trinidad, taking a taxi or even walking in my neighborhood hasn’t been something I have done at all. Well I do walk to the nearby Supermarket (4 minutes away) but that is only if I am too lazy to open my gate on a morning to drive to it. Anyway I digress…..

As soon as I left my apartment I called my friend Clint to talk just so that I have a clear distraction from what seemed to me to be a long walk through unfamiliar territory. That plan worked well, in no time I was on the Main Road. What greeted me was what seemed like hordes of people waiting on the main road for transport just like me (gulp) and that not many were passing by.

Then I saw it. An old brownish-white (I’m not good to colors) Cressida with just a driver, no passengers in it.  Seeing that I did not feel to be bunched up with anyone in a car on my first morning, I hailed him , got in and told him that for the price of TT$100 I would be commandeering the vehicle to carry me to the office (no other passengers allowed). In hindsight, I should’ve offered him much less but at the time I thought that by that evening I would’ve had my vehicle back, so that would be a sunk cost.

Little did I know that for that price I would have to endure his discourse on the state of the economy, health care, the flooding situation and then finally a long discussion on the “End of Days”. There was no radio or air condition in the car (jeez I sure know how to pick them).

Info received from Taxi Ride:

·          Did you know that we are living in the last days?

·          Did you know that according to Revelations 13 that the USA is the beast that is rising up to destroy us?

·          Were you also aware that Obama may be the Antichrist based on the fact that he rose to power in a period where the world is suffering?

·          Since the world is suffering, and Obama promises to fix it and if he does it will be a clear indication that Jesus is coming soon?

·          Did you know that he drove really slow so that he could torment longer with all this information?  Did you know that I rolled my eyes so much during the discourse that I had a headache after I left the car?

Serves me right for trying to be too “bourgeois” to travel with others.

DAY 2: CAR-LESS AGAIN

Got to the main road a bit later than yesterday and found more cars than the day before. Too bad they were all passing filled with passengers. After a ten minute wait (Clint is on the phone all this time as some old man trying to make small talk with me and I’m not having it.), I get into a car.  All the windows are up so I assumed that the air-condition was in use. How wrong was I? It started to get real hot and so I turn down the window.

Driver: Brudder man yuh didn’t meet the windows up?

Me: Yes but the car getting hot.

Driver: Well dem windows in the back does give trouble so yuh better hope it could go back up.

Me: And when u was going to tell me this?

Driver: Ah tell yuh now

Me: you putting on the air condition?

Driver: You willing to pay extra?

Me: Obviously it will only be blowing on me? Otherwise everybody else have to pay.

DRIVER LAUGHS!!!!  He puts on the air condition

Driver: I like you….yuh handle meh good dey.

I chuckle to myself unaware of what he really meant there. I was just happy that the car was now cool. (Yesterday’s car had no radio, no air condition unit and I had to slam the door really hard to close it.)

I must admit. Not bad experiences really but while driving in this car, I began to notice small things about people who wait for taxis.

1.       They are indiscriminate. They will go with anyone just to get home

2.       They give weird signals as to where the want to go. I saw a boy on the main road pointing down with his finger at the car and the driver passed him even though we had space. What does this mean?

3.       They carry huge loads with them that they prefer to go in the seat with them instead of in the trunk.

4.       The women try not to move or sweat, so that they look fresh for the office.

5.       They stare at you. As if they are angry for you being in the car while they are outside.

6.       They try to talk to you. Well some of them.

The woman next to me in the backseat kept looking in my direction as if she wanted to talk to me. Seeing her becoming more agitated, I pulled out my Ipod and placed the headphones in my ear so that she will know that I didn’t want to be disturbed. Did it stop her? Oh Hell No……

Woman: Umm excuse mister……you does be on tv?

Me: (slight blush) Umm not really. I was on a tv show once

Woman: Ah know dat…. I know your face look real familiar. You does be on Gayelle?

Me: (rolling my eyes again). Yeah I used to be on Gayelle but that was last year

Woman: Oh ho, so you is frens with Reagan?

Me: yeah kinda.

Woman: Tell him Cynthia real like him. Oh God he does make me laugh. You not as funny as him but he does do some chupidness dey boy

Me: Yeah (nervous laugh) he does.

A strange silent pause fills the car so I put back in my headphones… She touches me again.

Cynthia: So what you does do?

Me: Nothing much. A little ting here and there

Cynthia: No ah mean where yuh working? I working in the Off Track Betting Place right up the road here (WE ARE IN ST. JAMES AT THIS POINT)

Me: Oh I am a messenger for an advertising agency.

Cynthia: Really? Yuh does dress nice. Yuh looking real important.

Me: well that is how they want me to dress

Cynthia: Yuh must let Reagan hook yuh up with a good job man. You can’t be working so hard when you could be on tv. Ent that right driver?

Driver: If de boy like he job leave him alone.

Cynthia: Steups…wha u know……Man..yuh passing meh stop.

Driver: How I supposed to know where u dropping out? We sleep together last night?

Cynthia: Buh ay ay you only fass. Anyway, nice meeting you Reagan friend. Ah know where you does take yuh car from so I go wait for you tomorrow and we go talk more. Ok

Me: (smiling nervously) Ok Cynthia. Take Care and have good day

Cynthia: Oh gosh yuh nice and have manners too. Ah go see yuh tomorrow darling.

She leaves the car and I wave to her smiling but saying through my teeth… “Oh God a mad woman like meh

The driver bursts out laughing as we drive off and tells me that he liked how I “handled” her (I now understood what he meant before).

I got to work and settled in after feeling hot and sweaty from the walk there. I organized with a co-worker to “mop a drop” for Friday morning and on Friday evening I rented a car for the week.

To date, the part for my car still hasn’t arrived but this car rental thing is very expensive and one never knows who or what has been in these cars and what has been done in them.

Here are some pics of the car the Car Rental place wanted me to drive use for the week. They chose a Nissan Wingroad (ugh..a horrible car plus it is a station wagon) for me that smelt like a gym locker room and had no upholstery in the trunk area. I also found empty beer bottles with the spare tire. It was promptly returned and I was given a new car.

So I pray for the return of my car and its possible sale over the next 3 to four months as it is “milking” me dry and at this rate it I don’t think it will be going to university. (Hope you got the car/child reference)

Nov'08Misc 009 Nov'08Misc 003Nov'08Misc 011

There are few things that make me uneasy and being dependent on others (especially taxi drivers) is the main one. So please add me to your prayer list and if you can, say a small one for my car and its speedy return to me in good working order.

It’s all I ask.


 
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Posted by on November 27, 2008 in Travel, Uncategorized

 

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SAVE ME!!!


This is a short entry because I am too tired to write more.

 

Between all the related work stress and just being me, I try not to have any drama in my life, but there is one thing that seems to demand my attention and it always ends up costing me more than I am willing to part with.

 

When people ask me if I have any dependents/children (they ask this because they assume I am rolling in money and have no obligations), I always answer that I have four dependents:

They are:

1.       Mom

2.       Dad

3.   Two Sisters

 

My mom and one of my sisters are not that high maintenance at all and I don’t mind their requests but the other two seem to think they are entitled to what little funds I possess. Recently one sister wrote on my Facebook Wall: “Hello, how are you doing?” . I read this and immediately knew that she wanted something.  So my response to her was “What yuh want?”. She said that she was just saying hello and that I shouldn’t assume she has an ulterior motive. Ten days later the request for financing came. Sigh….. My Dad…well….his belief is that after his heavy investment in me while growing up that he should be able to collect dividends on a regular basis. No other sibling receives such demands. Sigh Family…..

 

Overall, I have learnt to budget for these dependents but there is another dependent that apparently is hurt that I don’t mention them and as a result these days has been seeking to be the number one reason I have for entry into bankruptcy. So here is my fifth dependent and my most expensive one:

 

MY CAR: My Renault Megane

(NOTE: NEVER NEVER EVER EVER BUY A RENAULT MEGANE!!!!!!!)

 

The dealership has been bought over by another company, Lifestyle Motors, and with it the Service Department has become more efficient and there I no longer have to wait two weeks for an appointment. Good News eh?

 

Not really good news at all, because since my return form New York, my back brake pads needed changing and then the car sometimes prevents me from driving off so I have to manually reset the gears in order to drive. It is a NIGHTMARE. The latter problem still hasn’t been fixed but they have charged me nicely for the visits.

 

Then came yesterday.

 

I was driving home after work and singing to myself as I normally do when I started to hear noises coming from the front of the car. These noises got louder and then I heard a loud beep.

 

The beep lit up my dash board with the message : ENGINE OVERHEATING – STOP

 

As I was near to home I did not stop but started to drive slower so as not to cause too much damage. The beeping got louder and my frustration mounted.

 

I had taken this car to the dealership two weeks earlier so what was the problem now!!!!

 

I parked the car in the road overnight and got up at 5am and drove it slowly to the dealership this morning. I arrived at the dealership at 5:45am. Of course no one was there but I was happy that the car did not overheat while driving it.

 

The dealership opened at 7am and as I walked into the Service Department, I was greeted by the Service Manager:

 ——

  Service Manager: But ay ay, you in here AGAIN? You have nothing else to do?

  The song “Precious Jesus” was playing in my head. Then it stopped abruptly as i heard her statement.

  Me: Lady before I stab you here and get arrested on an assault charge, why don’t you just tell me good morning and book my car in.

 ——

SILENCE….….She stood there staring at me for what seemed like an hour……No expression at all.

 

She then turned to one of her people and told him to “take care” of me.

 

I really don’t care if she was upset but that was not the greeting I needed that morning.

I told him my list of problems and he promised to call by day’s end. Why do I feel as if I will be using public transportation to my apartment this evening? Hmm

 

To sell this car would mean a serious loss to me and therefore I may have to request a financial bailout plan like many US banks.

 

Colleagues have suggested that I either have the car stolen or just light it afire in an effort to get rid of it. I don’t even laugh at these jokes anymore. Firstly, no one steals a Renault, they wouldn’t know what to do with it. Plus most people don’t even know how to start the car.  Burning it is not even an option as there will be minimal damage and that will be easily repairable.

 

You see why I am stuck?

 

I love the car. I really do but it is sending me to the poor house with underwear only…..

 

Ok that’s it. Just needed to vent.

 

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2008 in Emotions, Travel

 

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Speechless


I am speechless……………………

————————

Janet Jackson
cancels missed shows

Nov. 5, 2008, 6:52
PM EST

LOS
ANGELES (AP) — Janet Jackson won’t
be rockin’ any rescheduled tour dates.

The
42-year-old singer is not choreographing any makeup dates for the seven Rock
Witchu tour performances that were initially postponed because of her illness
"due to conflicts in the singer’s schedule," said a statement released by tour
organizer Live Nation on Tuesday.

The
canceled stops, originally scheduled Sept. 29 to Oct. 13, include: Montreal; Boston; Philadelphia; Greensboro,
N.C.; Fort
Lauderdale, Fla.; Uncasville, Conn.; and
Syracuse, N.Y.

Jackson‘s publicist
previously said she had been suffering from migraine-associated vertigo, which
led to her canceling the string of shows. She was being treated for the illness,
which is characterized by dizziness, imbalance and other symptoms.

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2008 in Uncategorized