Charlotte Street

We went off to Port-of-Spain market yesterday. The one on Charlotte Street. It’s a long, narrow, straight road in the city, close to the financial district. We went looking for movies.

The Caribbean, we’ve discovered, is rife with movies. Good quality ones too. We enjoyed watching them during our time in Barbados. You buy them in the market. We’d heard Trini was the same for films, so we went off to Trini’s Saturday market. Parked up in a little car park on the side of Charlotte Street. A big, graffitied sign on the back wall of the car park announced, ‘Number one rule: No peeing.’ Jack turned off the engine to our fantastically shitty rental car, got out of the car, scuttled around his opened door… and what was the first thing he did?

‘J, did you not read the sign?’ We pointed up to the graffiti on the wall.

I’ve never seen anyone stop peeing so quickly. Door closed. Then we walked out into the midday sun.

I can’t not like Trinidad. Yes, it’s busier than all the other islands. But this also gives it its advantage. For example, on any other island we would expect to be approached while walking through the market. It’s to be expected. Tourism is such an important economic facet. It just kind of sucks – especially when you’re not going to buy anything. Tight-arses alert! We’re tourists of course but, at the same time, we’re long-term ones. Our contribution to the local economy is steady. Ok, the tight-arses alarm is ringing!

I was expecting the same hustle yesterday. Squared my shoulders – it’s never nice to disappoint. And then…. there was nothing. Nobody even bothered looking at us. It was awesome. We got on with it, walking and looking around. We stopped and bought a bag of chennet; a lychee-type fruit that grows on trees. These are pine-green coloured and thick-skinned. You buy chennet in bunches still attached to their stalks. We became addicted to them in Grenada during hurricane season.

Delph used to have a habit of accidentally swallowing the stone – and these are not cherry stones. Like half-a-peach-sized and perfectly round. About a week after she swallowed one in Grenada, Jack had to spend a day taking apart our one functioning toilet to unblock the pump. Then about a week later, despite us telling her not to swallow them, she did the exact same thing. Down it tumbled into her gut.

Jack’s reaction could have been seen as extreme. But then, he did have to spend the whole day fixing the toilet – and it was boiling hot in Grenada. I remember him looking like a slicked-down seal. ‘She has to go in the bucket this time!’ he insisted.

She did as well, the little trooper. And yep, my job was to inspect the bucket products to qualify when she could return to normal toilet habits. Took about four days for that stone to pass. It felt like finding a nugget of chennet gold – and Delph was so happy to return to her old toilet habits, her stone-swallowing habits ceased at this point. Amazing what buckets can do πŸ™‚

So, after we got our movies, our chennet bunch and had a wander round, we returned back to our car. In the opposite corner of the car park, a man was squared up to a wall-encrusted tree.

‘See!’ Jack announced happily. ‘He didn’t see the sign either.’


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