Week 1

January 4 - 10, 2004

Getting settled, Panyard, Mt. St. Benedict, Pan fete

I've spent the first few days getting settled in, buying groceries, dealing with the humidty, and trying to make new friends.

Here are a few pictures of some the things I've seen so far:

1) The view from my living room window. The white structure up on Mt. St. Benedict there is a monastery. The mountain range is called the Northern Range, and is actually the northeastern terminus of the Andes (Trinidad is seven miles off the Venezuelan coast, and was once connected to the South American continent). In those mountains live 430 species of exotic birds, the fer de lance (an extremely poisonous snake), and feral monkeys.

 

2) A look down the Eastern Main Road in St. Augustine. The building on the left is my apartment building, and on the right, behind the Stag billboard, is the Exodus panyard. My apartment building, incidentally, is owned by Jack Warner, the vice president of FIFA (the international regulating authority of soccer, organizers of the World Cup).

 

3) The Exodus panyard, in the afternoon prior to the first rehearsal for the 2004 Panorama. Only the low end of the band is on display, the smaller, higher pans will be hung on the racks in the foreground later, and the engine room will set up between the two rows of racks. The more horizontal barrels on the left side of the bass section are "nine bass" (six barrels on the ground, and three barrels suspended in the air).

4) I hiked up the mountain to the monastery, and this was the view of the Trinidadian plains (facing roughly southwest) from about 2/3 of the way up. Around the bend to the right is Port of Spain (out of view). Just to the left of the palm trees and just below the horizon line is the Caribbean Sea (barely distinguishable in this photo). As you scan to the left, you see all the little suburbs blurring together along the Eastern Main Road, and, beyond them, sugar plantations. In the center of the photo, and towards the left, are the towns of St. Augustine and Tunapuna. On the far left side is the Piarco Airport complex (looks like a whitish strip in the photo), and just above it on the horizon is San Fernando Hill. Once a sacred pilgrimage destination for Venezuelan natives, the hill has been heavily quarried, giving it a slightly stair-stepped look from this angle (also difficult to see in this photo). To the right of San Fernando Hill, right on the horizon line, is the city of San Fernando, the hub of Trinidad's oil industry.

5) On the way up, I shot this photo of the hillside dotted with small houses, some of them mere shacks. They have a great view, but darned if I can see how they get in and out of there.

6) At the January 9 Pan Fete at the Port of Spain cricket grounds. Here, Phase II Pan Groove was one of four bands that performed.

7) Four revelers at the pan fete, including two bandmates of mine, Aiko (second from left) and Kenneth (on right), both making the Exodus sign. The other ladies with them are supporters of another band.

CONTINUE TO WEEK 2