The IATA airport code for Port of Spain, Trinidad has always made me chuckle. I am pretty sure that a big part of why I wanted to take this trip is be able to say that I’ve flown into the POS airport. The airport itself isn’t a PoS; it actually is a pretty nice facility with free WiFi and pretty decent fried chicken so not too much to complain about there. The city of Port of Spain, on the other hand, was not all that impressive to me.
I was a bit confused about where the hotel I wanted to stay in was at so I took my cab to the wrong destination. That was bad in that it meant walking around for an extra hour or so trying to find where I was going. It was good because it gave me a chance to see some of the city that I probably would not have otherwise visited. I’m not really sure that is a good thing, but at least now I know a bit more about the area around the Savannah. I saw the national museum – pretty good collection of local artwork – and I happened upon a church that was pretty, but otherwise the area was pretty run down.
I won’t go so far as to call the area slums. They weren’t that bad, but they were pretty close. Every storefront was covered in bars or wood panels. There were plenty of stray animals roaming the streets and plenty of folks sleeping in them. Not a pretty scene. I finally found my way to a hotel where I was able to buy some extortionately priced internet access and find my actual hotel. The Par-May-La’s Inn was just fine, especially for the price. Their internet wasn’t working, which sucked, but the woman working the desk was very friendly and helpful. The cab she arranged for me to get to the airport in the morning was right on time.
But there was NOTHING going on in Port of Spain on a Sunday. I wandered as far as I felt safe doing and really couldn’t find anything. I ended up in a sports bar (Trotters) to have a couple beers and a snack. And later I was back in the same bar to watch the Super Bowl (great game, I thought). I met some new friends at the bar. One was a German who has been living in Trinidad for a few years. Another was a guy from San Diego who was in month 11 of his random trek around the world, picking up contract work from his employer as he went to pay for the trip (yes, I’m a bit jealous). And then there was the Phoenician who was a regular visitor to Trinidad. All in all a fun group to hang out and watch the game with.
I had considered trying to find one of the pre-Carnival parties to hear some steel drum music and celebrate a bit. There was supposedly one near my hotel but I didn’t really feel comfortable walking the half mile to try to find it. And the news this morning was filled with a story about a guy getting killed buy some jealous guys for hitting on a girl at a similar party the night before. I think that my inability to find the party might have been a blessing in disguise.
Oh, and apparently I managed to bring the financial meltdown with me on the trip. The bank and investment company responsible for 40%+ of the nation’s GDP announced on Sunday that they were insolvent and the government is taking them over. Awesome.
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