Thursday, February 14, 2013

Avocado (re)loaded.


Avocados are a food I don't like. Not really. I'll eat them if they're on my plate and morphed into the rest of the meal in a way that makes it impossible for me to separate them. And I'll eat guacamole - happily, actually. But no, I just don't really like them. I'm not a friend of them. Therefore, what happened last Sunday was a huge surprise for me. 

Béa had found a recipe online for a breakfast meal that includes avocados. I was like meh... But I still decided I'd prepare it, because she likes avocados and I figured it wouldn't hurt to try them in this new way. And boy am I glad I did, because turns out I liked that breakfast! The fact that we ate it when it was even later than lunchtime makes no matter. 

Believe me, nobody was more surprised than me when my face didn't turn into a scowl after the first bite. Okay, maybe my mom was. But aside from her, nobody. 

Here's what we made: 

Avocado Bacon and Eggs 

Right, you caught me. Of course, the real reason I said 'yes' to making this breakfast was the fact that there's bacon involved. But don't you judge me, wouldn't you do the same? Exactly. 

I cut up bacon into medium/small pieces and fried it until it was crispy and really pretty. Then I halved the avocado and took out the seed. Stone? Pit? Whatever it's called, I took it out. Then I had to make the holes in the avocado halves bigger to the egg and bacon would fit and not spill out over the edges. So Béa got a little pre-breakfast avocado sandwich. She was definitely not mad at me for that. The next step was to put the egg in the avocado, which almost worked. I had to get it back out and make more space in the avocado, but it worked on second try. Then I put the bacon in and popped the concoction into the mini-oven in the kitchen. I left in there for 15 minutes at top-and-bottom heat. Then another 10 minutes. Then another 5 minutes at only bottom heat. That little machine is really hard to manage, let me tell you. But the result still came out great - and surprisingly yummy! 

At this point, are you wondering if there's going to be a picture? Yes? Really? You should know by now that there has to be a picture (if not twenty) because it's me and I take pictures of almost everything I do/see/play with/walk past. 

The first three pictures alone are worth eating avocados for, I really like them.

Luckily, we had been to El Bistro a few days before. That's a lucky thing, because El Bistro, owned by a German guy, sells real bread. Real bread! Like, the kind I used to buy in Europe and haven't eaten since I left Austria last July. We went there for lunch last week and got a loaf, so we used the last few slices for this meal. That made it really delicious. It wouldn't have been half as good on white bread or arepa, I'm sure of it. 

Top that with a little salt and pepper (black, not Trini) and you're set.

Now, I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm really into turning my photos into little collages lately. I found a great site where I can arrange and re-arrange my pictures in all sorts of crazy ways and it's already turned into an addiction. An intervention won't be necessary, though. Because it's pretty. 

Already preparing the photos and collages for the pre-Carnival post. 

Did you think I'd forgotten about that one? 

Never! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blue Dolphin Martini Bar


The apartment - Béa's, that is - had changed a bit when I came back a little over week ago. For the better, which was hard, because it's always been a really cool place. But it's now a little more colourful, it looks more like a home than just a place. That's because Béa got posters [I apologize. I am an idiot. They're not posters, they're actually real paintings. I don't know why I keep calling them posters. Sorry.] and other wall decorations on her recent trips and hung them all over the living room and kitchen area. She's really making it her own, it's great to see. Makes me really happy for her! 

One of those adornments is a sign that says Blue Dolphin Bar & Grill and underneath there's a picture of lady sitting in a Martini glass with dolphins jumping around here and it announces that Martinis are served 'here'. So what's a girl to do? Right. Serve Martinis. 

We went and invited our neighbour Carolyn and her friend Indira for a Saturday Night Martini Session and then we all went to Éxito to buy glasses, a shaker and alcohol as well as fruit to make juice. We didn't want regular Martinis, but fruity ones. Because that's how we roll. 

Now, in the last post I mentioned how resourceful we are when it comes to improvising in situations where plan A doesn't work out and here we did it again. But first, let me show you our stacked bar: 


From left to right: citrus vodka, pineapple juice, piña colada rum mix, strawberry juice, passion fruit juice and vermouth.

And these are the hurdles we encountered on the way to our Martini party and the way we ultra-super-improvised ourselves out of the troubles and into party mode: Éxito does not sell Martini glasses. Are we just going to use regular glasses? No. Are we going to cancel Martini night? Hell no! What do we do? We buy pretty little kind-of-martini-glass-shaped ice cream bowls! There are also no cocktail shakers anywhere in sight. Do we change the plan and just go back to plain rum and coke? No. Do we postpone the party until such time as we can find a shaker? Hell no! What do we do? We get a kid's Spiderman bottle, because it works just as well. We're good, right? Be honest, you're definitely totally impressed right now. And jealous, too. I know it. 


The coolest shaker you have ever seen, the shaker's lid being used as a measuring cup for the shots, the first strawberry and passion fruit Martini being poured into the not-an-ice-cream-bowl-glass.


Yum, that's all I'm going to say about this picture. Yum.

We had a lot of fun there, trying out different fruit combinations and mixing awesome drinks, chatting about all sorts of things and taking pictures of everything. What was the coolest for me, personally, was the musical background, though. We were listening to Soca. Pure soca. 

I've been working on downloading all my favourite songs from a list of this year's Soca releases from islandmix.com and I played some of my favourite songs to Béa and the great thing is that she liked them too! I half expected her not to, because she isn't often really into the stuff I listen to via headphones, but she really likes Soca. And so do Carolyn and Indira. So that was awesome for me, because I got to party with my friends to the sounds of Super Blue, Bunji Garlin, Kes, Super Jigga TC, Patrice Roberts, Shal Marshal and so many others... man, that was great. Carolyn even said that we should open a real bar and serve Martinis and play Soca and that people here would love it. Mmm... maybe someday! 

And the Martinis were delicious, honest and without exaggeration, so we're going to have to repeat this. There's enough alcohol left in the freezer for at least two more of these fun events in a small circle. 

For now, though, I'm already back in work-mode after this weekend, so no more partying - at least until the weekend. And then we'll see what happens. But my headphones still fill my ears with Soca whenever I don't have to concentrate on work. 

Yay! 

Friday, February 8, 2013

FANTASTIC FRIDAY ...kinda.


I just mentioned that I'm blue because it's Fantastic Friday and I'm not in Trinidad, right? Yes, poor poor me... BUT I'm also not the kind of person that will just sit and be sad for the longest while and not do anything about it, right? We've talked about this before (OK, I've talked about it before and you didn't really say anything because you never comment, you lazy bum.) and I usually allow myself a moment or little while of panic or sadness or whatever, depending on the situation, and then I get back up and react. So here's my reaction to not getting to lime and go to any fetes and all that fun stuff with my friends in Trinidad: RUM! 



Of course, this song is waaay exaggerated, we won't even drink half a bottle of rum, probably. But it's fun in this context so please don't judge me for posting a piece of music that justifies exaggerated consumption of alcohol, because you know I don't really stand for it. Doh beat up nah, it all good...

So now back to our own little FANTASTIC FRIDAY ISA + BÉA STYLE!

Because this part is true, we are drinking rum now. It's past 3PM as I write this, but because I'm always honest I will tell you that yes, it was earlier than this when we started. 2.17PM to be exact. But - and this is the key information - it was 5PM somewhere. And that's all that matters, right? 

Béa is done with work for today, I am done working off today's To Do list, we have no more chores or work or anything to do this afternoon or evening, so we can relax now with a clean conscience. What's ahead: an afternoon and evening of our favourite TV series on our respective laptops, rum+lime+coke and maíz tostado. And later probably a little 9gag, just because it's funny - and funnier with a little rum. 

Am I lying to you? Am I making this up so you don't think I can't have fun without seeing Soca Monarch or wining at a fete tonight? Nope, I'm not. Because yes, I can. Also, of course I (as well as Béa) can have fun without alcohol, but right now we felt like it. 

Here's a few pictures (partly to show that I'm telling true and partly to show off our awesome improvisation and bartending skills, because we're real pros). 


This shows the improv skills. Bottlecap came apart because it was all in the freezer for too long? Just get the corkscrew - DONE!


Ice, lime juice and Ron Zacapa - nice.


Preparating perfection.


We don't need spoons to stir our drinks - we use The Force.

On this note, I'd love to just publish this blog entry so you can see the latest story update of my life and maybe have a glass of rum and lime and coke of your own and toast to all our health and to friends and to Carnival... but I can't. I can't leave you just so, I need to share more good music with you. 

And not just because I want to share this with you, but also because I'm listening to Soca right now and I can't stop moving despite the fact that I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop - both of them are learning what 'wining' means right now! Bounce all over - seriously... need to calm down now, or let go and really start bouncing all over the apartment! I have so much energy right now, it's unbelievable!! So, that's why I'm sharing the next song, to make sure you're also bouncing and ready for the road. 

And to let you know that de cow now waking up. 



I'll be sure to include more songs in the actual post about the pre-Carnival fete-ing in Trinidad, which is coming super soon. I swear! 

For now: Prost! 

50 Shades of Blue


No, this is not about sex. Sorry. 

This is about the sea. The Caribbean Sea, to be more specific. I fly over it regularly and it fascinates me every time. It is so much prettier than any other sea/ocean I have personal and direct experience with... 3.5 hours of flight just fly by (sorry for this pun) like nothing when you have the Caribbean to watch from your window. 

The last two times I flew, from Port of Spain to Fort Lauderdale on January 31st and from Fort Lauderdale to Cartagena on February 3rd, I took some pictures so I could share my fascination with you. 

This first collage is from pictures I took while flying over the Bahamas. 


Doesn't this look just like a postcard? I know if it was one, I'd definitely buy and send it. 

I love being in the sea, being next to it, even just hearing it. But being above it is also on the list of things I enjoy with regards to the sea. There's just so much to observe and marvel at. 

And during that first flight from POS to FLL, I also saw something else. Something I'd never seen before. When we were getting closer to the Florida peninsula, the clouds became more dense and after a while we were just flying over a grey carpet instead of a blue swimming pool. It was then that I noticed something interesting. Unfortunately, it took me a while to summon the guts to bring out my camera and take a picture, because we were already in descent and you know how you're not supposed to use any electronic devices anymore once the seatbelt sign is back on and you're approaching the airport... Well, I did it anyways, but a little late. 

What I'd seen was that the shadow of the airplane on the top layer of clouds had what looked like a rainbow halo. Like that rainbow-coloured halo you can sometimes see around the moon and the sun, you know? It looked like there was another plane below ours, made of grey smoke and flying inside a soap bubble. 

Interestingly, as we got lower and lower and thus closer to the ground and the clouds, the halo didn't become bigger, as I would have expected. It became smaller, so in the picture I'm about to show you you'll see the halo only around the centre of the plane, when before it had engulfed the whole thing. 


I heightened the contrast a little so you'd see it better, because the camera's picture isn't 100% true to what you really see - at least not with my camera. But aside from that minimal change I left the picture untouched and this is now exactly what I saw from my plane window.

Isn't that crazy? Can anyone explain that to me? What exactly was I seeing from my window, what exactly are we seeing in this picture? Let me know if you know! 

Now, about the shades of blue. You might be inclined to say that there were only so many different hues in the pictures above, because they were taken over the Bahamas and in an area with over 700 islands, obviously there's a lot of colour change in the sea as the bottom is higher and lower in different places. But the thing about the Caribbean is that there's islands and cayos everywhere, if not in the same number as in the Bahamas or other island nations. 

So the next collage shows two pictures that I took on the flight from FLL to CTG, just a little ways south of Cuba and Jamaica. 


Not as intensely multicoloured as the one above, but amazing nonetheless.

What I showed you until now were about 30 shades of blue. So there's still 20 missing, right? Because I did promise you 50. Just like that dude with the book. 

Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, the next shades of blue come from the fact that I feel blue right now. Not extremely, just a little. Well, more than a little, but still not extremely. Why? Because I wish I was still in Trinidad. 

Not that I'm not happy to be in Colombia. I still love this country, but it's not the same anymore. It's great to be with Béa again, because we've only been talking on Skype for the past few months and now we're back together and planning (and doing) all sorts of mischief. Having friends, and especially friends like her, is a wonderful thing and I'm so lucky to have so many people in my life who make me happy. But... but... Trinidad, I miss you. 

I felt like it wasn't the right time to leave and seeing how many things went not quite wrong but very weirdly during my trip from there back here, well, I guess I should have stayed. Now, I have to wait until I can go back, which will hopefully be by the end of March. Maybe even mid-March. We'll see. And I'll hope. 

But, ...boy! The things I'm missing! It's still good that I'm not there for Carnival, because I have a lot to do and if I was there and partying nonstop then I'd be too tired to get anything done. But, oh boy, what I wouldn't give to be able to beam myself over there and join my friends for a fete or five... you get my drift. 

I'm not going to end this post on such a negative note, though. I don't want to! And I'm sure you don't want me to either. So the last shade of blue is a really special one, not just any kind of blue, but SUPER BLUE!!! 

Today is actually Fantastic Friday in Trinidad, so to celebrate that - even though I'm not there - I'm giving you this video to watch of Super Blue performing his incredibly upbeat and happy and energetic and amazing song Fantastic Friday. 



De bouncin start!!! 

Well, de bouncin will continue soon. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Waterloo, a site of deep faith.


That day my surfers and I went to the markets in Tunapuna and Arima, we also went to Waterloo to visit the Temple in the Sea. I love that place, I really do. It's so peaceful and so beautiful and it's really special, too. The whole story/history behind it is really unique, or at least to me it is, because I've never heard of anything like it. 

I'd been to the temple before, but I'd never gone there by public transport, which is a bit of a trip. First, from City Gate in Port of Spain you take an Arima maxi out to the Curepe intersection. There, you switch to a Chaguanas maxi and go all the way down to Chaguanas. I make it say like it's oh so far in the South, but it's really located pretty centrally on the island. For me, this was the first time I'd ever taken a Chag-maxi. What's more, I didn't even know that green ones existed. All maxis have a thick and a thin line painted on their sides, parallel to each other. Inside Port of Spain they're yellow, the ones that go east towards Arima are red. These ones are green. But the journey continues (as all journeys always do) and after getting to Chaguanas you take a taxi out to Saint Mary's and, because that's still not enough, you take another taxi to the temple. And then it's the same spiel to get back to Port of Spain, plus the taxi from City Gate to Saint James, to home. 5 cars! Long way, right? 

But so worth it! The Temple in the Sea is, as I've said before, a wonderful place. Siewdass Sadhu, an indentured labourer from India, built a Hindu temple for his community in Waterloo in 1947, but because he built it on privately owned land, it was destroyed and he was fined and sent to prison. That didn't make him let go of his dream, though, and when he got out of prison he decided that he'd built the temple again - in the sea. Literally. By hand and all on his own he built a causeway out into the waters of the gulf and then the temple itself. And it's still there today, in all its beauty. You can read the details of the story, if you want, I'm going to switch to pictures now, because I want you to see why I like the place so much. It's one of my favourite places on the island for a reason.

Om.



Out there, far behind the boat, there's Port of Spain. All tiny and still.

When statues get really old or break, they're put into the sea as offerings. To rest.

A tiny little house by the road.

I'm already looking forward to the next time I'll go there. I hope it's soon.

Cos that would mean being back in Trinidad soon. 

Hollywood Intermezzo.


I left Trinidad :(
I am currently not in Trinidad :(
I miss Trinidad :( 

The plan was always to stay there for 2,5 months and then go back to Colombia and see what happens. Do I stay in Colombia? Do I go back to Trinidad? Do I go somewhere new? Well, right now the plan is to go back Trinidad as soon as it's possible again, but I don't have a date for that yet. Not even an exact idea. Only an approximate one, which is March/April. Not sure. We'll see. But right now I wish I could go straight back, I really do. I'm looking forward to certain things in Colombia, especially seeing Béa, but... hm... Trinidad... 

I'm in Hollywood right now. The Florida one, the one I always go through when I have a layover in the US. I'm even in "my" hostel. I stayed at my friend Robert's place for two nights, but he's going on a trip and left for Thailand this afternoon, so now I'm here for my last night before I fly on to Cartagena tomorrow morning. How nice of him to let me stay at his house right before traveling, right? I don't think I'd host someone right before a trip, because it'd probably be too stressful for me with the packing and organizing and all of that. But he's not like that so I got to stay with him for two nights which was great. And now I'm also having a great time at the hostel, because I met a very nice girl after I checked in, who I've been hanging out with all afternoon. It's always fun to meet other travelers, be it CouchSurfers or dorm-mates at hostels. And this one is both, though she's staying in the next room, not mine. Lucky me, again, to (almost) always bump into people I get on really well with. 

So, yeah, Hollywood. This gives me the time to write a bit this evening (it's evening now), because before leaving Trinidad I was way too busy for anything and I wouldn't have written in a way that would have let you enjoy reading, what with all the stress. But I'm hoping it'll get better in Colombia. I'll still have loads to do, I do have a few projects going on at the moment, but at least I won't be running around trying to cram all my friends (who I am going to miss so badly, who I already miss so badly) into a tight schedule so I can see everyone before going away. This is really all I wanted to tell you in this post, that I'm sorry I didn't continue the TT posts after announcing all the Carneval action. In Colombia, it'll be work/projects only. Lots of time for telling stories. 

For real this time.