Sunday, June 21, 2009

Going “down de islands” is Trini slang for renting a beach house on one of the small islands off the coast of Trinidad. It’s a common weekend thing. My students talk about it all the time and when I asked Enrique how often he went down de islands, he said, “Not so often, just every Sunday.” We had tried to plan it a few times, but the islands have remained elusive for almost the whole year. Fortunately, some of our more savvy friends, Mark and Rebeka, hooked us up. We left Friday morning to take full advantage of our 3-day weekend with all necessary supplies and hopped in Spider’s boat to cross the ocean, past Centipede island (where they grow as big as my arm, apparently!), until we reached Gaspare. The house was blue, cozy, and full of sun decorations, bunk beds, and magazines from 2005: all we’d need. Mark and Rebeka’s friends, Natalie, Enrique, and Andrea joined us in relaxing for the weekend. We swam, snorkeled, laid out in the sun, read, napped in the hammocks, and went for a few hikes. The landscape of the island was a volcanic desert, completely different than Trinidad. We played cards until things got rowdy and the table broke; Spoons with rum is a different game entirely. The national ability to party and relax with equal skill and dedication is quite impressive.
These ants are huge. As big as my fingernails.

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