Week 4

January 25 - 31, 2004

Panyard (prelims), Maracas Beach, Food

I did get to the beach this week (pictures below), but business before pleasure, as they always say...

This is preliminaries week in the panyard, so there are numerous changes going on. In the first three weeks of practice, we rehearsed with each section of the orchestra occupying their own space (all the tenors together, all the double seconds together, and so forth). But starting this week, all of the sections are intermixed, which means each player can hear what the other sections are doing much better. In a sense, the orchestra becomes numerous small bands sharing a common rhythm section (engine room).

1A,B) Another change is that the engine room now sets up on the high trailer, shown below being wheeled by hand out of the cage into the parting sea of pan racks in the yard. Fully loaded, this trailer holds two drumsets, all the percussion, and eight or nine pan players. When the command in rehearsal is given to "jump up" on a play through (meaning turn it loose, don't hold back), this trailer bounces and rocks all over the place!

engine room rack 1

2) This is the tenor section leader, Kurt, enjoying one of Trinidad's most popular foods (note the bag) before rehearsal. Kurt plays in the National Steel Orchestra of Trinidad, a prestigious and coveted position here, and is, indeed, a fine panman.

3) This picture is for those of you that teased me about laying in the sun on the beach for two months. Yeah, right. I picked the coolest, wettest day of my stay so far to go to Trinidad's most popular beach, Maracas Beach. But it was nice with clouds, too. Maracas is a horseshoe-shaped bay, making for rough waters (good for bodysurfing, but sometimes harboring sharks or barracudas). More spectacular than the water or sand, though, is the Northern Mountain Range that wraps around the cove. I live just on the other side of these mountains, which are covered with dense, tropical rain forest. The road to get here from Port of Spain is narrow, winding, steep, and incredibly scenic.

(Thanks to the rugby player from New Jersey who was kind enough to take this photo for me!)

4) Except for the beach area itself, the mountains rise right out of the water. You can see a full 360-degree panorama of this beach in the Realplayer movie I made HERE.


5) This is popo (what we know of as papaya).



6) This is roti, Trinidad's most popular fast food, from Charlie's Roti Shop in Tunapuna (best place in town, according to locals). Basically, roti is a curried mixture of potatoes and meat wrapped in fried bread (like a burrito). Beef and chicken are common, but this one has goat meat. It also has the usual fixin's: mango and peppers. It was delicious, and it cleared my sinuses.