The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

Posts from the “Caribbean” Category

The Grapefruit

Posted on February 14, 2012

*Written on January 6th, 2012 in Charlotteville, Tobago* These four old Americans have been discussing grapefruit for thirty straight minutes – I shit you not. Every time I think they’ve exhausted the subject, someone pipes up with a tidbit about citrus more disinteresting than the last: “At our local grocery you can get five ripe beauties for two dollars!”, the others become wide-eyed in disbelief. One bitter old man adds in the most matter-of-fact way I’ve ever heard someone discuss fruit: “Now, listen here, I used to have such a hankering for grapefruit, but the quality just isn’t the same anymore. It just isn’t the same”, as his wife and friends solemnly nod in agreement. When they finally move on from grapefruit, they turn…

Letting Go

Posted on January 23, 2012

I met a guy named Clarence Joseph in Charlotteville, Tobago, around lunch-time in early January. He owned a ‘fish n’ chips’ shack right off of the main road, left of the bus stop that I became so acquainted with every other dusk, right behind the village gas station that had ‘please do not urinate on this wall’ artfully painted on its back side. Even though Clarence’s fish n’ chips were a dollar more expensive than everyone else’s and a few more steps away from the beach, I routinely returned because he’s the only one in Charlotteville who added tons of garlic and ginger and other spices that make my mouth water. Clarence was amicable from the start. He was a man of short stature…

Tobago

Posted on January 17, 2012

My friend Peter sticks a squirming starfish in my face. Such a weird/cool starfish!

Rush sells overpriced coconuts and bananas on the beach of an isolated lagoon called Pirate’s Bay. He always has a fire going, which I appreciated because there’s nothing better than the smoky smell of wood burning.

Kingfish

The Kingfish eventually finds its way home to a ceramic plate, cradled by fried chips and coleslaw.

Back to DC, back to ‘real life’ if you will, is always a disconcerting adjustment. You think: “Why am I sitting here doing problem sets when there are 148,940,000 square kilometers of earth’s varied terrain to explore??”. That’s not even including the surface area of the oceans and other naturally-occurring watery constructions, which amount for seventy percent of the globe’s total surface!! In stark opposition to the hallowed cliche ‘it’s a small world’, it’s not at all small. It’s very large in fact.

Buccoo and the People I Met There

Posted on January 13, 2012

I’m going to be annoyingly pedantic and call myself a humanist. I consider human nature to be more of a mystery than distant galaxies, quantum mechanics, and why people ever thought rattails were a good idea. I’m constantly astounded by human actions and inactions, achievements and shortcomings; always wondering the motive behind it all; what developments took place to make a person who he or she is today. From my comprehensively inadequate observations I’ve learned four things: 1) Things are never what they seem. 2) People are the way they are for a reason. 3) The world is full of good people. 4) While the world is full of good people, people are also inherently, unbelievably complex. Any oversimplification applied to our nature would…

Trinidad & Tobago and the Nature of Wanderlust

Posted on January 9, 2012

I meet John at a bus stop, the kind that has peeling paint, graffiti sloppily covering all three walls, and a shaky rusty tin roof that any decent-sized wind could rip off in a moment’s notice. Waves of heat curl off of the road, exhaust spits out of trucks and cars passing by, and the sun is so blinding it feels like exposing bare skin for two seconds would leave you with a painful and permanent burn. I sit on a cement block inside awaiting my ride. I ask John if he knows when the next bus will be. These conditions aren’t so ideal for an albino like me. It turns out he’s heading to the same place, Scarborough, but via route taxi. We begin to talk. People in this…

Isle X in Images

Posted on January 6, 2012

Kitty.  Rain hits faster than you can say “Oh shit, I forgot my umbrella”. I have eaten exclusively fish n’ chips for the past five days. It’s too good. So light. So fresh. They use ginger and peppers and I don’t know what else. Eat well, live well. Flying fish are the oddest creatures on earth. Why did only they achieve the capability to fly? Then again, if all sea creatures were as highly evolved, the ocean would be a terrifying place.

Neptune

Posted on January 6, 2012

I find myself in a different village, on a different beach overlooking a different sea. Everyone still knows each other though – it’s a tiny island where naturally friendly people interact daily. The name of my new proprietor is Neptune. His eyes are bluer than the sea in which the Roman god lives. I immediately notice his accent is different than the others, longer and crisper. “Have you spent time in the UK?”, I ask. He nods. I ask him why he left. “Because the sea isn’t meant to be gray”, he says. He lives alone and drives a silver Beemer. His favorite pastime is gambling with his friends on the beach or sitting on a bench in the middle of town, greeting people he knows.…

Shirley

Posted on January 3, 2012

I step out of Dagger’s crumbling Nissan and find myself in the hills overlooking a beach-side village. A local woman runs a guesthouse from her basement; even though she’s has the cheapest accommodation in town, she doesn’t get too much business because this is the local’s territory and the typical tourists who frequent Isle Y don’t like to be far away from the beach or far away from other white people. I walk down a few steps and see that the house is being overtaken by palm trees and other tropical foliage. Chickens and roosters survey the hillside scavenging for scraps. A gap in the trees allows a stunning panorama of the bay. Her name is Shirley and she and her quaint digs are my…

Dagger

Posted on December 31, 2011

I step off the ferry and find myself in a dusty port town. I’m now on Isle Y, a smaller sister island that is known for world-class diving and sand that feels like flour. I have no definite agenda; all I want to do is snorkel. People assure me I’m in the right place. I arrange a ride for myself because I decide I want to go to the other end of the island, the one that is presumably emptier. Cruise ships arrive to this port town and demented old white people who have the “latest technology” in fanny packs decide to roam around a bit to “experience the nation”, until they decide it’s too dirty or foreign or a small blister forms on…

2011: 12 Lessons in 12 Months

Posted on December 28, 2011

I had little expectations for 2011. I always felt that some of my peers were a little too uptight with everything. Furiously scribbling down resolutions that – let’s be real – won’t get checked off the list, worried about job-hunting, boyfriend/girlfriend-catching, school-excelling, and place-going is a lot of pressure to put on oneself, especially when factors out of their control are involved. So I decided to go with it. That was my goal. To not be completely subject to the moody whims of life, but to accept them with an open mind and the thought that perhaps there is purpose behind the seemingly-random events that we like to label as ‘all of a sudden’. I feel like I did what I needed to do…