Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Before and During - transformation at Trini pace

This post should be about new beginnings. It should be full of before and after photos of all the work done. This post should be a high five to Trinidad and the services available here. It should be praise and perfection and a boat transformed.
But then it shouldn’t really at all. If we had hauled the boat out and set tasks and jobs and saw them all completed within the timeframe both allocated by us and promised by contractors, then there would be something wrong in the universe. A proverbial flying pig alert. It never happens. Ever. Not even for us, even though I spoke local slang and smiled a lot but was firm in my position on dates. And pricing.
Nothing ever happens for the price you originally agreed on either. There are extras. More hours needed.
I could blame the weather. Ah, Trinidad in the fall. Every day it is still and baking hot. Oppressive in it’s radiation. And then the skies open and it pours. But not before huge ominous clouds take over and blacken any chance of work being completed.
We listen to the weather forcast. They say there is a tropical wave coming through. Its hot, then it’s dark and then it pours. A lot. They say “today will be a beautiful day!” Its hot, then it’s dark and then it pours. A lot. They say it will be partly cloudy with thunder showers in the evening. Guess what? Its hot, then it’s dark and then it pours. A lot.
I could blame culture. The easy going, laid back, soon comeishness of the place. First thing tomorrow is 11am or the following day altogether. Lunchtime is at noon – but if it’s 11:30, its almost lunchtime, so…. (even if you showed up at 11?!) Don’t now expect anyone back on duty before 2. They might come before, but then that is because they are “really trying for you”.
I could blame us – that would be a novel idea – we had a few jobs in mind. They have mushroomed, bloomed, and grown into a chaotic knotted mess of idea porn. My mind swims. We could do this?! Add this?! Well if we do this, then that opens up this to do something new…. And so on.
What I could do is drop blame and settle in. Difficult though it is, living in a construction zone where its as likely to find sawdust as sugar in your tea, where there is never a surface to sit or a spot of countertop to set a bowl or plate. Nevermind though – no fridge, so not much cooking going on.
I have become reacquainted with the dangers of fast food. It is dangerous as you will get to like it briefly, indulge and then within a couple of weeks, the thought of it will make you cringe. And you will barf just a bit in your throat. Ewwww. I don’t think I will ever look at a KFC the same again. There must be more of them per square mile here than any other single business. Day and night, the town is literally painted red, (with the face of an old bespeckled white haired, white goatee'd American guy).

All of the above ranting aside though, there is something I like about Trinidad. The people are vibrant, bold, confident. There are stores and services and resources unheard of anywhere between here and St Martin. Our little quaint Leeward and Windward islands have nothing on this place for modern amenities.
But alas, we are worlds away from the ocean that laps insistently at the boatyard concrete wall, some metres away. We don’t smell that unmistakable scent of the sea or feel the fresh salty breeze. We are cut off, segregated, kept from the place we love, with all it’s promises of new horizons.
Our boat work is at the 'before and during' stages. We are land-locked for now and our sense of freedom is bruised. I feel wounded. Beat lightly around the ears with a heavy but blunt object. It is the feeling of being trapped. Like cotton wool, like the mud that supports us on our clunky stilts. It’s all stagnant and still.
And so we will plod along, and the before and after shots will definitely follow, on their own time. We will look at photos of the turquoise waters that lie just outside our grasp for now, and smile. Wipe the fiberglass from the corners of our eyes, we will look forward to Shiloh transformed and ready to roll once more.
For now, I need to find some fast food.

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