With all that is going on the political arena in Trinidad and Tobago, the Trinidad Express took the time to use its precious mind-swaying front-page to highlight a suspected personality flaw in the country’s top, home-grown, international Soca superstar, Machel Montano. Maybe it was because his alleged bad attitude took place at a town school fete is the reason it was given grossly exaggerated importance or some other ulterior or political motive – I don’t know. I doubt the newspaper is being paid off by some Big Men with shares and money to distract the public from the real issues that are, and have always been plaguing the nation for some time – greed, dishonesty and wife-beating abilities of our elected and selected politicians. Maybe the newspaper is trying to tell the public that the thing we saw around the dark clouds was not a silver lining but the main ingredient in an orange juice shipment.
When I read the headline article I was sadly disappointed and enraged that the sound system was not up to professional standards. Also, that the reaction by the superstar, which seems to be a rejection of sloppiness, should now engage and enrage the normally weak minds of editors, journalists and other rum-oriented citizens via the front-page is unfortunate and even tragic. That Mr. Montano might be throwing temper tantrums all over the place for some very good reasons and a couple bad ones is not new, news or close to headline news. However, the discovery of a decomposing body which might be that of the missing Caribbean Airlines director is depressing and frightful thus should be fitting as a the main headline and a lifesaver given the need to alert unsuspecting visitors merrily flocking our shores for Carnival.
We are a country whose minds are shaped by our manipulative headlines and the chronic ignorance and bias of participants of talk shows rather than our ability to analyze anything beyond the superficial and emotional surface. If citizens of the land of the Humming Bird, corbeau and rotting corpses could see beyond their biases, hate and fear we would not have elected Team Manning and certainly not even give birth to, much less voted for Team Kamla and her band of smart men and thieves.
More than just beer
Despite beer being brewed to perfection in Trinidad and Tobago at Carib Brewery in Champs Fleurs for decades, it only becomes real beer when served at the right temperature with peppered channa and that essential ingredient called our near perfect women. Some say if the Carib and Stag girls were discontinued, men would stop drinking beer and turn to meditation.
For countless years tourism, and in a few cases, a tourist, has taken a beating in Trinidad and Tobago. Because of poor marketing, poor work ethics, and career criminals we are constantly in treadmill mode in our attempts to woo visitors to our version of paradise. To get tourists to come to Trinidad and Tobago we would have to change our international image by highlighting our efficient policing efforts, preserve old buildings, ensure poison-free rivers and beaches, keep cobeauxs and crayfish alive and of course, highlight our diversely beautiful women using beer and blogs.
Like Crix, doubles, and commissions of inquiries, Carib and Stag have become true icons of our country but Carib and Stag have leaped to the head of the line with their marketing girls. There probably is a high turnover of these girls as shelf life can be short but the effect remains constant despite frequent changes.
The pictures that appeared on this blog were taken from the Carib Brewery website and Facebook pages.
Two facts about Carib and Stag in Trinidad and Tobago:
- On May 16th 1950 Carib beer was first brewed
- On Carnival Friday 1973 Stag beer was first brewed “in a 275ml A-line amber bottle. In the following year, its packaging moved to a 6 inch, 250ml green bottle”
Stag Beer Girls
Trinidad Carnival 2012 - A Carnival Cup
I don’t have much time for blogging these days because I am very busy with house repairs and hard-to-avoid cousins vacationing in Trinidad. However, those who keep track of mayarobeach.com must have noticed two Trinidad Carnival 2012 photo albums. Taking photographs during Carnival Monday and Tuesday has always been fun and difficult with the biggest challenges being thick crowds, midday sun and the price of beer. Because of a reduction in my Carnival inspiration this year and being followed by irritating cousins, I took less photos. Nevertheless, here are the links to the two Trinidad Carnival 2012 photo albums. One is iPad friendly and one is not.
I suppose it is only the well trained observer who can see how much Carnival has changed over the years.
Digicel Girl - Trinidad and Tobago 2011
The Digicel Girls are as popular in Trinidad and Tobago, or even more popular than their island-wide coverage and superior ability to hold a call instead of dropping it like the other provider does so well. With Digicel being a sponsor of the West Indies Cricket team, the Trinidad and Tobago Digicel Girls make appearances at all the internationally televised matches featuring the West Indies and are now the only reason to look at a cricket match featuring the West Indies.
I took some photos of the Digicel Girls during the Carnival season using a point-and-shoot camera I grabbed from a nearby person just to preserve an important part of our local culture. I had to set the camera on voyeur-mode to take these photos so as not to be restrained earlier.
The video below was made with the point-and-shoot camera and it is a clip lasting a few seconds repeated over and over and over just to irritate.
Coca-Cola Bottle - the shape that men prefer
There is something about the sight of the glass Coca-Cola bottle which makes men even more thirsty. Some say it’s the well-proportioned curves which drive the male brain into a state of fondness while others say it’s because many find pint-sized does matter.
Coca-Cola Girl - Trinidad and Tobago
Coca-Cola, the real thing plus the undisputed king of fizz and froth, also comes in the “massive” or 20 ounce bottle which is popular because it seems to never end despite countless sips and gulps. Unfortunately, to real cola men, the massive doesn’t have the same attraction as the curvy glass bottle and I think it’s for biological reasons. The problem with the initial massive-shaped bottle design was that it easily slipped if the hand was greasy from KFC, curry drippings or even excess doubles oil. This defect did not escape the Coco-Cola bottle engineers and after many years of intense research, came up with the patented Grip which to the non-bottle engineer seems to be just some mindless studs placed like an afterthought at the grippable portion of the bottle. The Coca-Cola marketing department claimed via several full-page ads that these studs afforded a better grip even to the novice guzzler with greasy hands.
Coca-Cola is the real thing and despite some other cola being sold at TT$2.00 in an attempt to gain more market share of the lucrative sugar water industry, Coke will survive because it is the shape, not the sugar, that shaped our minds.
Trinidad Carnival 2011 - Getting Ready
Trinidad Carnival 2011 Photos - click here!!!
It seems that the country is getting ready for Carnival 2011 with many taking advantage of the 20% off sale on books at RIK while others are flying out with precious foreign exchange to have a foreign holiday that is used to create an impression they have wealth in the minds of all those they could tell. Our beaches and bars are already flocked with real visitors, returning foreign-accent Trinis and disgruntled public servants. The climax of Trinidad Carnival is mas on the streets of mainly Port of Spain on Carnival Monday and Tuesday with the foreplay being the various competitions and fetes starting weeks before the actual event. When anybody ask me what I will be doing for Carnival this year, I say backing up. I will spend some time backing up my hard drives which is the curse of the digital torrent age. As for photographs, I say “hopefully” as the motivation is getting less and less every year but I will be in Port of Spain on Tuesday. However, I did include some never-before-seen photos for Carnival 2010 at mayarobeach.com in a new album. Click here to see.
Pleasure Unleashed at $1,000 a pop in Trinidad and Tobago
The old saying was “Carnival is colour and colour is Kodak” but all that has changed. Now, the new saying in Trinidad and Tobago is “Carnival is pleasure and pleasure is expensive.” Yes, pleasure has a price and sometimes it’s $1,000 per person in Maraval. To be fair, it is an all inclusive event meaning it’s all you can eat, all you can drink and all you can wine between the hours of 2 and 9. But the question is how much can one man or woman eat, drink and wine without getting sick or creating a bad impression in the minds of the ones who did not get too drunk to forget. Yesterday was the first time I had the opportunity to actually see expensive Carnival fete tickets so I had to take a photo and blog for the world to see. At these prices I was expecting the tickets to be the size of on iPad but unfortunately they were regulation size tickets or even smaller, probably in an attempt so as to maximize profits. I wonder if fete promoters pay taxes or if the police will be waiting for those fete-intoxicated drivers? On the positive side, these fetes do bring in foreign exchange as these two tickets were bought with a foreign credit card by a foreigner as I am sure many tickets to Carnival fetes were.
The mood of a country
The culture of a country is not only found in the country’s song, dance and shark and bake but also in the full-page ads in the newspapers. In studying the culture of a country most anthropologists and space aliens listen to the drums but miss the real beat drummed out by ad agencies via full-page ads. Some say the newspaper headlines tell the story of a country but as this task of headline creation is usually given to the accountant or janitor at most daily newspapers, headlines can be misleading. Since the cost of one full-page color ad is almost equal to or more than the yearly salary of many workers and public servants in Trinidad and Tobago, it must never be taken lightly. These ads sometimes show, in a subtle way, who are the real power brokers in a country thus who are pulling the strings.
Since there is much to learn from full-page ads this blog decided to take some photos of some of these ads appearing in the daily newspapers over the last few days to document the Carnival season for 2011 and by extension, the mindset of our happy country.
Bikini and Beads
The Bands for this year Carnival are returning to the Savannah causing happiness in some who were previously unhappy. This move back is seen as so important that the theme for Carnival 2K11 is “Back to D’ Savannah” aka “Forget Manning.” The National Carnival Commission, which is the body responsible for organizing Carnival celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago, has a budget of TT$130 million of which TT$45 million is for prizes. The Soca Monach and Chutney Soca Monarch competitions carries the biggest prizes with a first prize of TT$2 million each. These huge prizes caused a reinvigorated Machel Montano to not only enter the Soca Monarch competition after a long absence, but to also to declare on February 4th to a group of adoring fans that included Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, he will lose 20 pounds for the Competition so that he can fly off the stage easier. No doubt, Machel will be on the extremely effective and easy to follow diet by Timothy Ferriss which guarantees followers will lose at least 20 pounds in four weeks without breaking a sweat or eating a chicken roti.
More Bikini and Beads
The first prize for Band of the Year is however only TT$1 million which might have something to do with the alleged huge profits band leaders make selling Mas Players bikinis and beads that are used to entertain locally while generating employment overseas. Minister of Arts and Culture and former US Marine, Winston “Gypsy” Peters, has threatened band leaders, and by extension all mas players, with a 1,000 to 2,000 percent increase in taxes on readymade costumes in an effort to create local, glue-gun jobs and show band leaders who is boss.
Around the Savanna
After years of procrastination, I finally went to The Savannah early one Sunday morning to take photos of the area as my Pentax K-7 begged to be used. I managed to get the typical tourist shots plus some that were not in my mind before. The aim was to take advantage of what some photographers call the Golden Hour – the period just after sunrise and just before sunset. Non-photographers call that period the Jogging Hour but the majority of Joggers with shorts came later than the sunshine. On that Sunday, the sun, like a teenager, struggled to wake up but the light was interesting enough for me. On Carnival Monday and Tuesday the Golden Hour will be earlier but should still make for interesting photographs. Click here for my photos.
For those who are interested, I extracted some interesting information from Wikipedia and the NALIS website about the Queen’s Park Savannah which is included below.
“Port of Spain‘s largest open space—and the world’s largest traffic roundabouts—is the Queen’s Park Savannah, known colloquially simply as “the Savannah”. It occupies about 260 acres (1.1 km2)  of level land, and the distance around the perimeter is about 2.2 mi (3.5 km)” – Wikipedia
“In 1817 the parcel of land known as Paradise Estate was sold by the heirs of Madame Peschier to the governing body of the day, the Cabildo, for 6,000 Pounds Sterling as a recreation ground for the citizens of Port of Spain. Seven years later, the Cabildo transferred Paradise Estate for 10,363 Pounds Sterling to the Colonial Government and what is now known as the Queen’s Park Savannah was laid out” – NALIS
“In 1882 the Queen’s Park ordinance was passed to regulate the use of the Savannah. Historical accounts mention that besides cricket and horse racing, athletics, football, hockey, polo and until 1936, golf were played in the Savannah.” – NALIS
Hubert Volney, a former colourful character and local judge turned Minister of Justice, is trying to save himself and his community from death by noise by objecting in court to the annual WASA Carnival Wet Fete. According to the Trinidad Express this morning, Mr. Volney’s objection is based on the level of noise which emanates from speaker boxes during the fete. It should be noted that speaker boxes are not the only boxes that make plenty noise around Carnival time but it is the speaker box noise which the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) polices and which Volney is objecting.
It is possible the magistrate might rule that no variations to the law will apply so the fete promoters will have to blast their music quietly or not at all. The problem with low-noise fetes is after the first hour or so no partygoer will be able to wine properly due to alcohol induced deafness.
No objection to fete
Like Volney, I also don’t like noise from fetes I am not attending especially when the music is loud but no good. Most people who don’t go to fetes don’t realize that the better fetes are really orgies where people have either very tight fitting or little clothes on. Because of this, fetes are fun and an avenue for the almost acceptable display of the human primal behaviour in public. When the magistrate considers the application for the fete the magistrate must remember that a fete is where a group of people become happy, deaf, tight and horny at the expense of the happiness and sometimes hornyness of others.
I don’t go to Maracas often enough and after many false starts during the last twelve months, I finally went in January. The shark and bake was drooling-good as always and the prices now seem stable and as affordable as KFC. I will say this again, do not kill a shark and bake with too many extras as you will miss the whole point of the dish.
I took a few photos of the beach but decided that there were only ten I cared to share. It was a hazy day with only a few people on the beach so early on a Sunday morning close to Carnival. This meant bikinis were in short supply as they were still asleep in their owner’s draws. This was my first outing where I tried my Sigma 28–300mm F3.5-6.3 DL lens. It’s an ok lens that won’t break the bank or reveal too much bikini detail when stretched to 300mm. The Sigma is a finicky auto-focus lens which is nice to walk around with by the beach or possibly even on Carnival days. I haven’t had the time to use the Sigma too much but when I do (I used it on Carnival Monday) I will post photos for inspection, if not admiration. Click for Maracas Bay photos.
I think these girls go well with the music – not too laid-back like the video before and not too wild, like the video in my mind. These girls look even better at 480p.
It is that time of the year again where I hope to get some Carnival photos and not get arrested by the Water Police for using a hose. People complain that every year Carnival is the same but yet every year it is different. I was never in Port of Spain on a Carnival Monday or Tuesday and asked myself what year is this. And yes, there will be some level of skin showing, which will aggravate those who are moral and virtuous in their own minds but its fun to aggravate people like that as they choose to live among humans but fail to appreciate them. As far as the music for 2010 is concerned, I am now enjoying last year’s music so maybe next year I will know if this year’s music is any good.
If I don’t get any Carnival photos for any reason this year then this YouTube is it.
I don’t think the money TSTT is spending to stage the Beyoncé Concert is exorbitant or unnecessary as it will bring more exposure and happiness to Trinidad and Tobago than the two useless summits held in the country last year along with the vindictive property tax. If Government Ministers are to be believed, the summits cost around a billion local dollars and caused nearly 99.99% of the World’s population to yawn almost in sync. Yet, when the Anya Ayoung-Chee sex-tape hit the Internet, Google was flooded with interest in Trinidad and Tobago, and genuine interest, not a corn soup level of interest. Some say the sex-tape was a fiasco but given the spate of suicide bombings and attempted terrorist attacks on the productive people of the world, I would say a sex-tape is a wonderful breath of fresh air for our country. But, I digress.
If staging the Beyoncé concert will take away sales from those who sell things for Carnival then it will show how weak Carnival really is among locals. It’s always better to know a weakness than to pretend it doesn’t exist. Beyoncé is World Class and world-known, and for a country the size of Trinidad and Tobago to stage a Beyoncé concert says more about our abilities as a country than holding useless Summits to entertain the top dummies from various countries. We have to stop pretending that world leaders are important and start recognizing the greater influences entertainers have on the world.
Despite the increase property tax, I am in favor of Beyoncé since she has a pretty face, great legs, wicked dancing ability and great personality. These characteristics are appreciated much more than the ability to lie to the public or to wrongly say one is stronger than a lion. To pretend that Beyoncé hasn’t done more for world hope and happiness than all the politicians in Trinidad and Tobago combined, is to continue to live in the delusion that we as a nation are as World Class as Beyoncé Giselle Knowles.
The Chinese say out of crisis comes opportunity and that is why Trinidad and Tobago is the land of opportunistic people, not only the Chinese. Last week the Prime Minister said no more fetes in national sporting complexes probably because of the high cost of repairing The National Flagpole but the very next day Ministers were meeting to solve the perennial problem of nowhere to wine.
But a crisis isn’t always created for the opportunity to look good but sometimes to create the opportunity to fast track a tender award to those contractors who can charge several flagpoles more just by saying yes they can deliver in Chinese time. Even if the taxpayers will have to borrow to finance these fast tracked schemes, it will happen. The reason for cost overruns in many Government contracts might be due to a change in design by mysterious forces and soil, resulting in a nice crisis midway through the project giving the contractor the opportunity to buy those two extra S-Class Mercedes along with that high-rise apartment his girlfriend always demanded for her sex-tape grade services. Only with this well planned, sudden design change will Mr. Contractor be able to spring for that industrial grade 10-speed blender his wife had her eye on for years. The opportunities taxpayers subsidize.
The traffic “crisis” is another opportunity to give those “fast” contractors the chance to overbid just to help the population, waiting in traffic, to get from A to B without using a shoulder. The crime “crisis” can, or has provided “security supply companies” with the opportunity to deliver crime suppression supplies urgently at top dollar so the public and select suppliers would be impressed how serious the authorities are about alleviating their suffering. Besides, the crime “crisis” now employs both non-criminals and criminals thus making crime more organized and an all encompassing industry. The health care system will continue to fall apart once there is money to be made from people, who have no private practice or Government contracts, suffering in hospital corridors. The urgent need to impress foreign “leaders” is now causing the fast tracking of many things cultural including the cutting of the bush along the highway. The next new “crisis” will be water as the population is running out of tires and foam mattresses to drag and burn.
Out of crisis comes opportunity and if done properly, there will be no Commission of Enquiry.