Testing

This is a test of blogger’s email interface. I’m
trying to upload today’s blog entry via email, rather
than via the blogger web portal. Yadda yadda.

Greetings from sunny Trinidad. This really is a
terrifically beautiful country. A Sri Lankan
girlfriend once remarked, pon her first visit to Tamil
Nadu in India, that Tamil Nadu was like heaven, what
Sri Lanka would be without its wars and other issues.

Well, one can argue the same relationship between
Trinidad and Guyana. The two nations are of pretty
much the same ethnic mixture, histories and gene
pools. But Trinidad is, in many ways, everything
Guyana could have or should have been. This is, I
believe, largely due to Trinidad’s comparative wealth.
The nation is an oil producer, after all, which is
not surprising given its proximity to Venezuela.

The facilities are of Western quality, the people more
or less well educated, and media penetration is much
greater than in some other parts of the Caribbean,
including Guyana.

My arrival here was a bit shaky. After 3 hours of
sleep the night before, a great deal of stress, low
air pressure, and two glasses of cheap wine, I
actually fainted on the plane. Kind of scary, really.
Luckily, I had my headphones on at the time, and when
I came to, the same song was playing, so I know I
wasn’t out for very long. Scared the flight
attendants wacky, though.

And of course, I had to survive on another night of 3
hours sleep as we attempted to fly to Tobago Saturday

morning. This plan was thwarted by an overzealous air
carrier, so instead we spent the day frolicking on the
beaches of Trinidad. It was at this point, I believe,
that I full realized the magnitude of my involvement
here: it seems that Tuesday, in addition to my
scientific presentation at the CSA conference, I will
be giving a speech at an official event for India
Arrival Day, to be attended by some serious
dignitaries, including various politicians and
ambassadors. How much you want to bet I say something
embarrassing?

This is pretty much guaranteed, as I was referenced in
a speech given by the very charming president of the
National Council for Indian Culture last night:
“Professor Deonandan will be our guest speaker Tuesday
night. I’m told he is a powerful speaker and an
expert on matters of Indian indentureship.” I did a
classic spit take. Now, I’m a fairly competent public
speaker, but “powerful” is not a word I’d use to
describe myself. Moreover, I’m definitely not an
expert on Indian indentureship.

But that’s okay. One of the great joys of being a
fiction writer is that you can talk in general terms
about almost anything and sound almost smart about it.

Seriously, though, this is a great honour afforded me
by this nation, and I will do by best not to embarrass
or disappoint my hosts. India Arrival Day is actually
very sober business with some political meaning here,
and I find it all quite fascinating to be a part of
it.