Our friend was overjoyed with her conference and the brief site-seeing she got to do around Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago's capital. She studies the writings of Derek Walcott who also attended the conference. The city moved her so much that our friend sent this quote of Walcott's, reflecting on Port of Spain. It reminds me of why I loved the place so much.
". . . so racially various that the cultures of the world--the Asiatic, the Mediterranean, the European, the African--would be represented in it, its humane variety more exciting than Joyce's Dublin. Its citizens would intermarry as they chose, from instinct, not tradition, until their children find it increasingly futile to trace that genealogy . . . This is Port of Spain to me, a city ideal in its commercial and human proportions, where a citizen is a walker and not a pedestrian, and this is how Athens may have been before it became a cultural echo. "I relish in hearing of Americans having a great experience in Trinidad. Last November, we met a U.S. diplomat-type who had just spent six weeks in Trinidad and you know what she said? "I loved it there. I am Trini to de Bone, and all of that." If you want to witness a true melting pot, take the time to visit Trinidad.
While living in Trinidad, there wasn't much mention of Barbados by Trinis, however, there was a clear animosity towards Jamaica...dat place ent safe, guhl...too too much crime gwan on der. Well, we come to Barbados in September, with a love for Trinidad in our hearts and what do we hear? Trinidad has so much killins der, it ent safe, dahlin'! I doh go der, ya know! Does every place have to have another place they fear or feel superior over?
All I know is that we loved Trinidad and want to go back there while we live so close. The children were too small to remember the feeling of all those cultures mixing and living and blending together. Frankly, that is not a phenomenon they are seeing here in Barbados, but my thoughts on that may have to come in another post.
I'm not going to lie, since coming to Barbados, where the living is easy, folks are friendly and every last beach is divine, we have fallen for the place. There's a lot to like here in Barbados, but there's a lot to appreciate about Trinidad and Tobago. Let's put it this way, Trinidad is so much more than Carnival.
Image of coconut vendor in Port of Spain is from tuchodi's Flickr account.