Soon, I mean within hours, after our arrival we learned about the rainy season. Rain came every day, and lots of it. Our first hike was in Chaguaramas, and we got dumped on. For the first three months we were here it rained every single time we went out there. It is just a 15 minute drive away, two valleys over.
We didn't let the rain slow us down. The air is always warm, so we didn't need to get out of the rain (as is our normal Canadian response). Gayle wore a rain coat once. She sweated so much, she took it off. Being wet from the rain was a better plan.
Rain brought its challenges on the Frisbee pitch because the King George park doesn't drain well and grass cutting on the Savannah is a rare occurrence. I routinely dove for discs and made some spectacular catches and some impressive water and mud slides! Playing in foot tall grass on the Savannah was fun, too.
Trinidad has only two seasons, although, they are loosely defined depending on your information source. Generally everyone agrees that January - June are dry and July - December are wet. Or so... Depending on the year...
Our experience is not quite that simple. We had rain through March and even a little in April. Not nearly as much as October, and November produced much less rain that we'd anticipated. Now it's May and we are in the middle of the dry season. Any rain that does come is an event and even causes people to talk about the weather.
The early part of the dry season brings some loss of leaves and some beautiful flowers to the trees. Now we are seeing what were lush green mountainsides turn varying shades of brown. The forest trials look and sound like autumn because of the fallen leaves an branches.
Rivers are running well below capacity. Low water levels in the reservoirs has led officials to rotating water outages. We are down to 22 hours a day of water flowing in the mains. Most of us have water tanks (the school has 4, 1000 gallon beasts) so we don't notice any difference.
We do, however, notice the abundance of fires and the smoke that they cause. Fires are burning every day now. Some are full on forest fires, others are just grass or fallen leaves. Most are in the mountains, but we've seen a few burning ditches along the sides of the road. We even hashed our way through two recent burns last weekend. The smoke is so thick some days that it comes inside our apartment. Oh yes, and there is the obvious continuous haze over the city and my burning eyes.
Since moving here, we have observed that we, Canadians, are very in-tune with the weather and our environment. Trinis, however, rarely if ever talk about changes in weather. The rain, fires and smoke, while inconvenient are part of life and don't seem to upset anyone too much. Once in a while I hear or see a fire truck. That makes me feel a little better. I hope the water at the station was running before they left.