Two Steps Forward

You know things are bad when your mother gets in touch. Specifically concerned about your ‘doom and gloom’ tone. ‘Hanula,’ she writes, ‘it sounds like things can’t get any worse. Are you sure you don’t want to come home?’

Well. It’s after 9pm and I’m writing this, sweating. We gave up school at lunch. Drank a lot of water instead. Spent the usual tenner in the Zanzibar so we could be cool inside the restaurant while Lu worked with her maths and physics tutor, Joe. Small thankful things.

So, why the doom and gloom? Our air-con pump gave up the ghost this week. We’d only turned on Quest’s own air-con unit a week ago – after three years of cruising in the Caribbean. Maybe it’s not surprising. I mean, we’d never changed, nor serviced the air-con pump in its twelve-year lifetime. Still, it worked fine until it broke. And we’d just serviced the actual air-con units. There’s no time left to order a new pump and wait for its delivery from the States. We’ve been in Trinidad five weeks today. Our schedule is set: to head for the next island north; Grenada, early next week.

Still, I’m feeling a little in mourning. I can’t seem to shake it. With the air-con, I was looking forward to the odd, cool afternoon. When it rains outside and it’s hot and sweaty inside Quest with all the hatches closed. We’d turn the cool air on and enjoy. Or we could use it to stretch out our Caribbean school day by a couple of hours. Ok, ok! This could be my bad teacher karma. After all, we’ve got to acclimatise.

It’s funny – I never normally minded the heat. I grew up in hot weather, in Maryland summers. Since moving to the UK, I’ve been proud of my ability to get used to high temperatures – more than the average Brit anyway. This must be more than that then. I think it’s acceptance of what we’re doing. Of where we are. My last dash of homesickness. A cold, wet, Welsh winter. Ahhhh.

But you just can’t stay on Questie in the middle of the day. Not here. No wind. Trini sun. Your innards boil. So we drove into town. We went to Charlotte Street for more cheap and surprisingly good quality movies. We watch a lot of movies on anchor on our vinyl tablecloth-turned projector screen. Then we headed to nearby Henry Street to get material for Superb Sails. We’ve paid them to make us bedsheets before we leave. Boat mattresses are usually wonky shapes and bespoke bedsheets are a Trini speciality. Except that with all these extra boats in Trinidad at the moment – boat insurers finally respecting hurricane latitude statistics – Superb Sails are having a bumper crop. To help, we went and got the material for them.

From rush-hour Port of Spain, crawling back along the Audrey Jeffers highway, eventually the car came towards West Mall. West Mall? Ok. There is just something supremely calming about this place – easy to park, civilised, Trini friendly. And yes, air-con. I’m seeking it out like an addict. Ironic air-con is doling out the sweats.

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