Paul and Gayle are taking a year from their roles in Picton and Belleville and will be teaching at the Maple Leaf International School in Trinidad. We will use this blog to record some of our edventures!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

A Cut Below...

If you haven't read Paul's entry "A Cut Above", I would highly recommend it before you read my perspective on the hair cut.

With little wings developing on his collar line, Paul was desperate for a hair cut before starting back to school on Tuesday. With really today as the only option, I dropped Paul off at this little barber shop literally a 4 minute walk from our place. That was at 3:45 pm. I got home, surfed the net, watched some news, had a snack. You know, the usual things after a hard day at work. 5:30 hit and I was starting to worry. Perhaps the barber shop was closed again and Paul ended up walking to the plaza to get his hair cut. He was desperate because his hair was SO long ;). Possible, but almost 2 hours for that to happen?

At 6:00, I was trying to reason out what had happened. Although everyone we've met has told us that our neighbourhood is safe, maybe they were lying. I envisioned Paul being mugged for his $20, beat up, or run over by a car. The latter is truly the most likely as we sometimes still look left when we should be looking right for oncoming traffic. Ok, one of us still does that her name is not Paul. At 6:30, I was planning a funeral and heading back to Ontario. At 6:45, three hours from the drop off and in the dark of night, I was shakily looking up a fellow Canadian's number to see how I should contact the police and report a murder when in walked Paul with a nice little new hair cut!!! A huge sigh of relief flooded over me.

Holy cow - it literally took 3 hours to get a hair cut. So much for the 5 minute buzz in Picton.

A Cut Above

Like many other things in Picton, when you go for a hair cut, it's generally uneventful. When you go to John's there's probably 1 or 2 people ahead of you and you are in the chair in about ten minutes. When you go to Mark, you rarely have to wait AND Mark takes pride in having you out the door in 5 minutes --"no time at all". If fact, I once arrived at the door at 5:01 and, although he was locking the door, Mark put me in the chair and I was back in the car at 5:04. I am not kidding! You know where this is going, right? There is a little barber shop on the way to the local "Starlite" plaza. I've passed it many times and it looked good enough from the outside. On Wednesday, I decided to walk down to get a trim to be ready for school. Lights were on, but nobody home. Thursday is Frisbee night and I didn't really want to leave it to the weekend. So Wednesday was the best option. FAIL. Thursday it is. I was thinking that I could get a cut around 3:45, remember, haircuts take 5 minutes in my world, and be home in time to get Gayle and go play Frisbee for 5:30. I opened the door to find the place busy. One barber using clippers...promising. Simple math, there were 8 people (1 girl, 1 baby and 2 women), so it looked like maybe 4 people in front of me, I should be home in 45 minutes. The television above the mirror was blaring some awful noise. The chairs were all full, except for one in the middle of a family. I stood by the door not wanting to get between mom and her 1..2..3..4 cubs. She said, "it's ok" and pointed. I sat down...and began to learn. I looked at the TV. Planet of the Apes was just starting. The DVD player was hooked up to a stereo and it playing at a significant volume. People were talking. Kids on both sides of me looking at and playing with magazines. With the noise and the accents I was lucky to understand a quarter of what was being said. I picked up a week-old newspaper and began to read it. This barber was meticulously cutting, trimming, shaving the head of 10 year old. Much more detail that I am used to. As I watched, 2 customers left. Excellent. So that leaves 2 kids, then me. Should be ok, I will stick it out. One of the women leaves and returns with bags from the nearby grocery stores. She offers the barber a beer, he accepts. The mom takes one too. A couple of other guys come in and find chairs. I flipped through the pages of the newspaper and found the Sudoku. Damn, no pen. Second kid takes the chair. It won't take long to cut this little guy, I thought to myself. As I watched, I soon learned that everyone gets the full treatment. No short cuts. I watched a little of the movie while quietly interacting with the 3 year old beside me who is very interested my arm hair. I looked at my watch. 4:35. SHIT. Frisbee is going to be a stretch at this rate. The three year old gets into the chair and is quite thrilled about his opportunity to look as good as his big brothers. I'm next. Just minutes now...The movie is not holding my attention well. The three year old is done and I start to shift closer to the edge of my seat, as I am next. WRONG. The other woman, who I have convinced myself, is just hanging out, gets in the chair. Dammit. I can't leave now. Too late for Frisbee. I'm fully invested. Turns out, I was fully invested for her 45 minutes and another 20 for the next guy. Then ME! Sometime during all of this, Planet of the Apes ended and someone put on Hercules. I got a great haircut and walked home in the dark. I arrived at 6:45. Haircuts do not take 5 minutes.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Saturday River Walk

Today started off at 7:15 am by loading our bikes into our "new" (2003 Toyota Yaris silver cruising machine). As you can imagine, there isn't a ton of room in the silver bullet for 2 bikes so Paul had the brilliant idea to remove the back seats and turn our car into a "truck". Our bikes fit beautifully, but too bad for the Trini hitch hikers.

Down the road in Carnage (pronounce with a French accent), we watched cigar boats competing in the annual Great Race, a boat race from Trinidad to Tobago. After the wave of boats passed, we jumped on our bikes and headed for some quiet riding on the roads in Chaguaramas. We had been told of this "tough" ride up to an old WW2 American military base and decided that at 8:30 am, we were fresh enough to handle it. For those from the County, imagine 20+ Finger Board hills and you've got this ride. Of course we both tanked it (at probably 2km/hr) and then enjoyed the 3 minute ride back down, white knuckling the brakes all the way.

After a re-energizing slushy, we found a short hike up a river bed to a really cool 30' high rock gorge. The pictures don't do it justice but it was beautiful and fun to trek up through the rocks and water.

Lucky for us we did this Saturday morning because from 1 to 4 pm, it poured rain. The nice thing about this rainy season thing is that it stays warm and you don't ever have to worry about hypothermia!
Click here if you can't see the pictures.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Pictures from Edith Falls

Click here if you can't see the pictures.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Behind the Wheel

A message to all Trinis in the Northwest Moorings area: "Stay Off The Sidewalks". Ok, we finally took the plunge and got our first driving experiences in. If you've never driven on the other side, you should try it. Keep your head on a swivel and always talk through your plan with your navigator. The roads are narrow, very windy and the traffic is fast. We went for gas and to put some air in the tyres. The gas station is right on the corner of a brand new intersection and it was chaotic. I paused for a split second when entering the intersection and was promptly cut off by a vehicle turning in front of me. Luckily there was a fender bender involving a couple of other cars which allowed me some free road out of the station. Gayle is now getting very good behind the wheel as well. The key is to drive "aggressive but defensive". Our little silver 2003 Toyota Yaris is just like driving a go-cart. I think there are bigger lawn tractors with more horse power in Canada. BTW for those who are interested regular unleaded is $1.50TT per litre, which is about $0.30 Canadian.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Out For A Walk

Today was a "get to know your surroundings" day. We did this without a car - which most of you will know is very much our style -- and we learned is not the style of most Trinis. (and we learned why!)

This area is only partially pedestrian friendly. Sidewalks end suddenly, crosswalks are scarce in some places.  Oh, and cars drive on the other side of the road -- some of them very fast! We've learned that walking to the mall, while it is only 1.5 km away, should probably be a rare occurrence! (Picture us walking down the median of a 4 lane road, laugh a little then shake your head -- We did!)

The good thing is that we do have a car and it should be insured and on the road by Tuesday.  Now we just have to learn to drive all over again!

Maple Leaf International School from the parking lot Our building. We're in 103.Just in case you thought we were going to a scary place, this is a store in the mall we visited today!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Welcome to Trini...

Greetings from Trinidad!

One house sold, one storage unit packed, one red eye flight and we've made it. Sounds simple!

After being picked up from the airport by our new school, we met our lovely landlady and got a tour of our new digs. Later in the afternoon (after a recovery nap), a co-worker scooped us up and took us to navigate the roads and get us set up with a cell phone and some groceries. Food is more expensive ($3.50 for a dozen eggs and $6 for a small box of cereal) but the sweet juicy mangoes compensate.

We just experienced our first "rainy season" rain storm, which lasted 8 minutes, just long enough to take a picture. I'm sure that novelty will soon wear off.
Magnus and Paul at the Airport
The view from our front door over the our pool area!