Thursday, June 26, 2014

This Is The Life I Need.

We arrived at the beach, parked the car, put our things down. 

I stepped out of my clothes, stacked everything on a bench, told Batisane see you later. 

I have to go right now. 

I walked down to the water.

I made contact, carefully, toes only. 

Slowly, I walked in. 

The waves came crashing in, a little ways out a lone fisherboat crossed the bay. 

I stood in the shallow water for a while, letting the sea greet me with the most powerful hugs she knows to give. Waves, that almost knock you down. But just almost. 

Further and further in I went, until I was past the waves' breaking point. 

Out there, it was calm, tranquil, serene. 

The water was the perfect temperature. Not cold, but also not warm. Exactly the temperature it was supposed to be: refreshing but at the same time so soft. 

So soft. 

I was too far out to stand then, so I swam instead of walking further.

Then, I just floated. 

It was so quiet. 

There was only me in the water, nobody else. And a pelican, swooshing and sailing above me. Just the two of us. 

I just floated. 

The sun was making its way over the hillside to the East of the bay, the sky was growing lighter and the surface of the sea more brilliant by the second. Still no sound at all, aside from the wind around me and my heartbeat inside. 

Floating. Weightless. Painless. Free. 

One thought. 

This Is The Life I Need. 

Nothing else. 

Nothing else. 

Nothing else. 

I want that again. I want that every day.
I can't have that every day, and it's okay. 
I am doing great and I will continue to do great, making my way forward. 
Enjoying life, enjoying my friends, trying my hardest to succeed. 
But a tiny part of me will always be waiting for the moment I go back. 

Nothing else. 

King of the Road

Wednesday, 11.25PM --- "I'm coming over in a bit, yes?" - "OK." 

Thursday, 00.11AM --- "We should go to the beach tomorrow, really early." - "Suuuure." 

Thursday, 04.06AM --- "You up? Let's go!" - "Fnghh..."

This is an almost accurate account of the conversation that happened last night between my neighbour and myself via Whatsapp, actual conversation, and a yawn-ey phone call after three and a half hours of sort-of-sleep. See, he's moving tomorrow so we decided let's chat a bit before we don't see each other for a while. So we sat together, me crochet-ing and him trying on my new hand-made hat and bikini top (yes, really), talking about his new place and cell phones and Africa stereotypes. He was borrowing another neighbour's car at the time, because of the move, and told me how he likes to get up really, really early and drive up to the beach to enjoy the morning there. Of course, my immediate reaction was that I wanted to do that too. He said, let's go tomorrow. I did not believe that was actually going to happen. 

But it did. By 4.18AM we were hauling our stuff into the car (and I have no idea why I'm using such a heavyweight verb when I'm really just talking about a camera and a book and towels/sheets) and a few minutes later we were on the road. 

What's the best thing about a spontaneous beach trip with your neighbour? He doesn't like driving and asks you to drive aaaaall the way from Curepe to Maracas and then on to Blanchisseuse, the Marianna river and then aaaaall the way back! Why is that the best thing? Because I do love to drive. And I definitely don't get to do it enough. 

I was definitely happier than I look in this picture.

So off we went, along the Eastern Main Road, over Lady Young, around Queen's Park Savannah, through Maraval and then across the Northern Range to Maracas Bay, with a little stop at everyone's favourite lookout. 

When you drive at 4.30AM you don't have to worry about traffic, about other cars, about anything. You just cruise and enjoy the ride, to the fullest! It was special, because I've been to that beach and the areas beyond it so many times, but I'd never driven myself before this morning. For the first time, then, I got to navigate my way through the mountains, drive in and out of clouds, at whatever speed feels right and comfortable, without having to pay any mind to anybody else at all - king of the road, 100%

Curvy roads, silver coastlines and silly faces. 

From there we drove the little stretch that was left to Maracas Beach, parked the car (all alone in that big parking lot) and went immediately onto the soft sand. Batisane, that's my neighbour, wrapped himself in the sheets he had brought along (for to not to be bitten by the sandflies) and relaxed, while I went straight into the water. Beautiful!!!

Also, I was wearing my new bikini I just finished making all by myself and it withstood the hard crashing waves perfectly - no spillage, no loose threads, all nice. 

After a while - some swimming, some reading, a little rain, a lot of sunshine, some walking around - we went on eastwards, because B had never been that way and was all surprised: "The road continues in that direction?" and "What is a Blanchisseuse?" 

The view at Blanchisseuse, the Marianna River and where the river meets the sea. 

It was close to 10AM when we got back to Maracas to have some beach style breakfast and start making our way back to Curepe. I was still very much enjoying the drive - this time, however, I was driving in silence: 

Somebody was a little tired.

I'm about to post a second entry with an actual picture from Maracas Beach itself, because I kind of want to put that apart from this. This here is about how cool it is to do super-spontaneous-early-morning-coastal-drives all the way from home to where the road ends (literally) and back again. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Subway sells WHAT?!

I'm currently in St. Vincent.
Yes, I'm not working right now, I'm on a little vacation. 
Take a moment to freak out, then breathe, then come back and go on reading. 

What I want to tell you about first is the crazynutsinsane thing I saw at Subway two days ago, Monday, the day I arrived. Yes, I've been here for two days already and I'm not blogging until now. Don't freak out again, just keep reading. 

So, Subway. I was in Kingstown with my new friend Carl and he was hungry, therefore we stopped at Subway so he could get some food. I wasn't hungry but I wish I had been, because my mind was blown out of orbit when I saw their menu.

I'd never seen this before!! 

Subway, they sell subs, right? Sandwiches. That's why they're called what they're called. Well, not in St. Vincent. Apparently, also not in some other countries, as I was informed after sharing my shock and disbelief with Kevonne, who is in Canada at the moment. 

The first shock was bearable. Carl asked the girl behind the counter if they had wraps and then they talked about which kinds they had while I lifted my jaw back into its normal position. 

Their carnival is at the end of this month, not like the Trinidadian one and so many others.

Shock number two, however, still hasn't worn off. 


In St. Vincent. 


I can't believe this even though I saw it with my own two eyes... 



Yes, pizza. You read right. I saw right and heard right and even smelled right. They really sell pizza: small personal ones and you choose the toppings and everything as if it were a sub. But it's not a sub. It's a pizza. Pizza! My brain is melting like the cheese on top of one of them... nghrgh...

The whole world is upside down, I don't know what to believe anymore!

And apparently those pizzas are also really good. All I can confirm is that they look good and I probably won't have one before I leave and then in Trinidad there are no pizzas at Subway (food is less confusing there...) and in Austria, as far as I know, there's not even Subway. 

But hey, once (if ever) I'm over the shock, then I'll have learned something new again! 

Steak pizza, extra cheese.

And whenever I come back to St. Vincent, I'll have one of these. 

That much is certain.

Because, yum! 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Holy Addiction

There's this place here in Trinidad: Mount St. Benedict, it's called. It's a monastery/abbey and was founded in 1912, which makes it the oldest in the whole region (meaning the Caribbean). At least, that's what their website says. It sounds a little weird to me, what with everything I know about Caribbean and Latin American history suggesting otherwise. Maybe they mean the oldest-still-functioning-the-way-it-did-originally Benedictine monastery, that sounds like it's possible. But whether or not they're really the oldest, it's a nice enough place to visit. 

This is called a cross.

And visit it, I did. A few weeks ago, on May 13th. With two friends from university, Avidesh and Scott, who decided I had to see the most beautiful monastery in the whole wide world (overcompensation in the description because one of them, Avidesh, had just been to Austria and was trying to overcome the feeling of inadequacy that permeates every architectural structure in the Caribbean when you've laid eyes upon places like ... umm ... anything historical in and around Vienna). I mean, nothing against Trinidad, or anywhere else, but, you know... you know. 

Avidesh, me, Scott.

So back to the Mount. 

We went up one early afternoon during a work break so they could "show off" how pretty the abbey is and the mountain in general (dried up and brown, because it was the dry season) and the view from up there (smoke everywhere due to numerous bush fires, because it was the dry season). Wow, it really sounds like I didn't like it up there. But I swear I did. I'm just emphasizing all the minus points on the off chance that one of the guys reads this and gets really annoyed - cue devilish laugh. 

Seriously, though, it's very pretty up there. Here, see for yourself: 

The abbey/monastery.

The gorgeous mountains up there - and in the rainy season it's lush and green and just ALIVE!

The abbey church.

Recently celebrated 100 years!

Non-religious people come up to the Mount for two reasons. Number one being the view. That's also the reason the boys took me up, so I could see aaaaaaaaall of Trinidad. Well, almost. You really do see very far and it looks pretty cool, I just can't show you all of it because, as we all know, I'm not the best photographer out there. Here are two attempts: 

Trees, houses, smoke. The view from the Northern Range between March and May. 

A faraway close-up of the University of the West Indies.

Reason number two non-religious people visit the monastery is also the reason I am writing this blog entry for you right now and as you can tell from the title of the post this is very serious. Because addictions are serious, they're no joking matter. Of course, you know what an addiction is. But what is a holy addiction? 

A holy addiction is when the monks who live up in the monastery have various monk-activities and one of them is to produce yoghurt and you try it that one time you go up there with your friends and ever since then you've had at least four large tubs of yoghurt per week and it's really the only thing you want to eat, for any meal, ever, and that one time you went into the supermarket and they were out of your favourite flavour you nearly cried. That's a holy addiction. 

 This is the small one. There are 1-5 of the large ones in my fridge at. All. Times. 

Mmm, creamy...

This yoghurt has now replaced almost every other item in my regular diet: yoghurt for breakfast, yoghurt for lunch, yoghurt as a little snack in between. It's nuts! No, wait, it's not. It's still yoghurt. It's crazy, though. Very much so.

My recommendation for anyone who wants to try it (don't worry, as I said you can get it in supermarkets as well, like HiLo and TruValu, not just in the monastery itself) is to PROCEED WITH THE UTMOST CAUTION and get the vanilla one and the almond one, as those are my personal favourites. There are a bunch of fruit flavours, too, but I tried the strawberry and it was the most fake-and-toxic-looking-pink I have ever seen in a yoghurt cup so I decided to switch back to flavours that don't require any kind of colouring to make people believe the taste. Of course, I can't vouch for any other flavours, I don't even know what they look like, because I now only ever buy those two. But they're heavenly. Just in case, let somebody know that you've tried the yoghurt and let them know how often and how much you're eating. That way, they can plan an intervention for you if necessary. Remember, they love you, they want the best for you. And you won't see it that way once you've tried the yoghurt, but it is not the best for you. A balanced diet is.

So, I'm addicted to yoghurt. And because monks make it, it's a holy addiction instead of a normal one. It's a serious addiction, too, because every time somebody suggests something else for food the response is a I-don't-wanna tantrum that would make any two-year-old get out their little pens and papers to take notes, because there's so much to learn and improve. Aside from that, thus far there haven't been any real repercussions in terms of health, what with eating mainly yoghurt all the time and hardly anything else. That's no problem, though, because even though I just said that a balanced diet is better than eating yoghurt all the time, obviously, that concerns you and not me. Obviously, I am the exception to the rule. Obviously, I can and will continue to eat as much yoghurt as I want. No need whatsoever for interventions or anything of the sort. 

But, hey, even if. 

Still better than drugs or gambling! 

Monday, June 9, 2014