Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Malling Around

After sleeping like a baby, I finally woke up to regroup and look at and around Danielle's home. There were getting work done on the roof, so things outside and in were slightly shuffled around, but I found it to be a charming 1-story. With open windows and a gate around the house. Luckily, no A/C (as I hate being excessively cold and energy guzzling). The community they live in, Maloney, is planned, with lots of fenced up houses on gridded roads. And every house is a different color.
Trinidad doesn't work in the state:town:street manner as in the US. Instead, you have your community, which is a chunk of land with a lot of houses. Then you have your area/region, which best was described of as a county. No states. Am I right?
We were slow to start for the day (mostly because of my inability to wake up during vacations), but when we did, we all made for their car. And I had an allergy attack. Not like any attack I had had in a while! As soon as I'd gone outside, my eyes were soaked with tears and I was unable to open them. And my nose was dribbling. What's going on?! Apparently the excessive dust from the drought and construction was a bit too much for my adjusting body. So we made our way to the pharmacy in a nearby mall - Trincity - for eyedrops. Danielle and I spent our day there.
Again, I was bewildered. Was I really in the US?? A big mall? Full of clothing shops?? It looked just like the malls I went to when I was growing up. Really?? Yes. Malls are that way.
But, it WAS an educational experience.
For starters, Trini women clearly have bigger booties than standard while suburban girl in the states. At last, I had found my people!! Booty brethren! In fact, looking around (and with Danielle's constant reminders), I came to admit that I ain't got nothing on these girls with it cam to junk in my trunk. I was merely a tourist in booties. And though they may have half of their population to be of African descent, and the other half is Indian (which meant that there was this interesting feeling like I was in Delhi sometimes), their models are all white skinny girls. I really don't understand the reasoning for that (or is there any?). Even so, the outfits were cute...
Which brought about lesson #2: T&T is expensive and pricey!! Sure, it's 1 USD to 6 TTD, but when doing the math while we shopped, I was shocked that their goods were as expensive - though actually even more - as NYC stuffs!! I wouldn't be stocking up on anything while in T&T. Danielle reminded me: Don't you recall me going nuts shopping in NYC? It's not that I like shopping at all; it's just a lot cheaper. Considering the majority of goods were imports, my shocked waned a bit.
I was able to dance around to the music in the shops there. Instead of people staring at me like a freak (as happens in the US), people giggled and smiled at me. I like the response to my spontaneous dancing here much better.
Lesson #3 was that MOST of the stuffs I was seeing in the stores were American. The clothes, the knick knacks, the food! I was still debating in my head; I was actually abroad, or was I in another US state/territory? The lines were blurring, and my shock was consistent the whole trip. Twix, anyone?
Lesson #4: Toolum, the sweet thing they have, tastes TERRIBLE.
So we shopped and talked and walked a lot. Big mall. We got some roti at the mall for my tasting enjoyment. I love rotis. Curried shrimp with spinach and potatoes, in a greasy, fluffy, MASSIVE dough bottom. Wrapped like a bloated baby in swaddling cloth. We joked about how impossible it would be to finish it off, but we ended up cleaning our plates guiltily. More walking was to be had. So we walked some more. And chilled up outside, in the incredible heat. Dry, sunny heat. I thought to myself, I will get sunburned at least once this week.
We ended the evening with a grocery run. Danielle's 2 baby cousins (0kay, 10 and 8, but oh so young) in tow. This was when the fun began! What is THAT vegetable? What is THAT?! Chicken feet in bags? Oh yes. And then, I saw the most perplexing display: Linseed and Seamoss/Channa/Peanut Punch?? What the hell?! Danielle and the group looks at me like I was a cave girl. Duh, yeah, creamy goodness. I was disturbed.
So, of course, I picked up some bottles to try.
A porter brought out the groceries for us.
And that is when I fell in love.
Not with the porter, but with the punches. HOW HAD THIS NEVER HAPPENED TO ME BEFORE?! The channa (aka chickpea) milky juice went down in a sweet, savory gulp. I was being told it was a healthy drink. Seamoss tasted like a dolche de leche in a bottle, to drink. My goodness.
I drank the rest of the channa during dinner, and then fell fast asleep.

Another note: Danielle's ever-changing accent. She talks to me like a girl from New York. She talks to the people in the shops like she's from Trinidad, diplomatically. She talks to her mom and family with a super thick accent. It was like a wave of accent for her, always in between accents or switching with such speed that I sometimes was unsure if the person talking was her or not.

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