A Shimmy In Trini

Damn! This is my second attempt at this post. The previous version was deleted when the power went out. Trust me, it was much better written 😉

About 2 hours ago, I was unceremoniously thrown from my chair in my hotel room, as an earthquake registering 6 on the Richter scale struck Trinidad. Items fell from my shelves, and power and phone lines went down, as the world shook for 15-20 seconds. I quickly gathered my phone, wallet, water and a bag of bananas and began the hour long hike into downtown Port of Spain. I neglected to bring my passport, though, which might be buried under the rubble of the hotel by now!

As I left, I noticed that the hotel was indeed still intact, but all the staff were huddled outside pointing to stress areas on the building and shouting unintelligibly. Thanks for checking on your guests, fellas.

Despite the earthquake, Trinidad has been great. Sadly, I’ve not had time to call all the people I’d intended to. A full schedule and a nasty head cold will do that to you.

Last night I met a cab driver who, I swear, was my age. Seems he’s actually SIXTY years old! Either he is remarkably well preserved, or I am ageing much faster than I intended. No comment on which option is the more likely.

Also, this week I met up with my old friend, dramatist extraordinaire Paloma Mohamed (pictured here). I first met Paloma 6 years ago when we were both winners of the Guyana Prize, along with David Dabydeen. Today, a collage of photos of “famous” Guyanese artists hangs in the showroom below me, remarkably featuring the images of, among many others, Paloma, myself and the great Eddy Grant. (They are missing Shakira Caine and Dave Baksh, of course.)

When I tapped Paloma on the shoulder, she spun around and exclaimed, “Ray?! Oh my God, we’ve both put on weight!”

At least Paloma has an excuse: she just had a baby. What’s my excuse?