Carnival time in Tobago

Trip Start Nov 27, 2007
Trip End Feb 14, 2008

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Flag of Trinidad and Tobago  ,
Sunday, January 6, 2008

After the New Years parties, Trinidad and Tobago begin to prepare for Carnival. Literally months of practice and preperation for a few nights of wild partying and non-stop action. We finished the geophysical part of our survey in the Second week of January. The divers came in and did about three days of diving on the area to video tape the ground type and bring up samples of the sand and rock. As soon as we were finished with our survey, the bosses called from their office to tell us that they accidently put the pipeline right through the future swimming pool at the new plantations hotel. oops. Guess they can't buy the land that they wanted, so they're going to have to change the direction at which the pipeline exits the shoreline as to not disturb the swimming pool! This is like, a fundamental thing that you want to do BEFORE investing millions on a geophysical survey. Anyway, so we're back at square one. Our new survey area even LARGER than our original survey. I can only sit and be frusterated for so long. Eventually I have to just realize that I'm in paradise and find happiness in the fact that I'm not one of the lawyers who will have to sort out this mess when it comes time for the contracting company to get paid for the extra survey.

During some of the weather days I took the opportunity to visit Ft. King George on the hill above Scarborough. Tyler and I also got the chance to see the "Our Boys Steel Pan Orchestra" a collection of about 30 players playing all types of steel pans from high pitched lead soprano pans to the lowest 9-drum bass pans. It was interesting to see how the bands ran their rehearsal. It felt alot like some of the marching band rehearsals I've been a part of. The director seemed very cool and the music was absolutely awesome. If you have some time to search online look up the annual PANORAMA festival on google. it's the steel pan orchestra competition held every year in Trinidad and Tobago. It Starts in mid-January and ends during Carnival.

One night after Dinner with everyone (including 3 client representatives, ugh!) one of our sonar operators decided for some reason that he really badly wanted to go into Scarborough to go drinking. Nobody wanted to go with him so he proclaimed that he was going by himself and he would take a taxi home. (NOW! I'm not judging peoples character by their skin, but Tyler and I have played the "first one to see a white person wins" game in Downtown Scarborough, we usually end up tying) Scarborough is not the best place to be alone at night by yourself drunk without someone else. Anyway, this guys is a grown man and can take care of himself. So we didn't worry about him. That is, until he didn't show up the next morning. We looked all over Scarborough for him. The bar, the Police station, The Hospital, the drunk-tank, the survey boat, and various ditches and ravines between said locations. People seemed nice enough in helping us try to find him. When I would ask a local if they had seen him, they would pause and think for a good while before saying "I don't think so." or " I really don't remember seeing him." I felt like retorting, " He's a 6'3", bald, white guy, with tattoos and a large beard, in Scarborough, either you've seen him or you haven't" To no avail, he could not be found. When we got back to the house I looked for him in the pool and on the golf course for the rest of the evening:-). When he didn't show up by nightfall, I started to get worried. The police contacted us about 22 hours after he disappeard and said that they had finally found him. He was ok, and I never did ask him where he went or what he did. I probably don't want to know. The fact is, he didn't get fired. This made me feel really good about my job because if running off and being AWOL for an entire day can't get you kicked off the job, then I have nothing to worry about.

On the 14th and 15th of January Peter Martin got to come off of the Count Turk for some shore leave. He wanted to see some of the island interior on his day off so Tyler and I took him on a long adventure around the island. We had originally planned on going up to a place called Argyle falls. But along the way, we got distracted. First by all the neat little bays and fishing villages along the North side of the island. We didn't stop at ALL of them but just about. They we spent some time on a strange hiking trail and ended up going on an hour long hike in the Tobagonian Rain forest. While hiking out we ran into a couple from the UK who were living on a sailboat in Pirates bay at the time. They turned out to be civil engineers so we struck up some good converstaion rather quickly. We gave them a ride to the Northern tip of the island where they were anchored and they took us aboard for the afternoon. It was so relaxing! I would love to do that kind of lifestyle some time but I think that I would have to do it in a crusing boat rather than a sailboat, I'm honestly not a very good sailor. The coolest part about their situation was the fact that there was no fee to anchor your boat at 90% of the bays and cays in the Caribbean, so it's really inexpensive to live once you've bought the boat. We enjoyed the company until it got dark and they headed back home on the very windy road back to our house. Along the way we got an excellent light show from a swarm of fireflies in a field next to the road. We pulled over and watched them for a good 10 minutes or so. Their light-without-heat technology is almost as fasinating as the amazing visual effects that appear when you have a field full of them. I had seen fireflies before in Mexico, but that was just one here and another over there. This was HUNDREDS of fireflies all over. It was definately something that has to be experienced. Words don't do it justice. A perfect end to the day.

February 1
The job continues into February, we are all starting to get short with each other and I feel like this is an episode of the Real World. I could have made a mint if I had set up cameras all over this house to tape the digression of peoples politeness toward each other. We got a weather window around the first of the month and were able to finish the geophysical side of the survey. Unfortunately the divers found live coral on almost all of the sites where they want to do drilling so that means they'll have to look for a new place to bring the pipeline on shore. Our job is not extended any more because we have surveyed the whole south half of the island!
As I was putting the final touches on my map for the second time, I got a phone call that would rock my world again. This time there had been a fight on the Count Turk (offshore boat) and two of the guys got thrown off (the job, not literally). Peter Martin and I would be working on the big boat until they could find replacements. This was about the worst news I think I could hear at the time. Peter and I packed up our things and rode out to the boat. Why does this job never seem to stop?

February 3
Well, it seems like someone is listening to what I have to say..... We took the Turk out to the survey site and when we were about 100m from the start of our first line, our generator blew and we had to go back to the dock. The generator was fixed but by that time the weather had kicked up and we went on weather down time for Carnival. Whoever worked that one out, thankyou....

So, Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago, if you don't know, wikipedia it. It's like nothing else on earth. I haven't seen this many people on a three day benders since the last time I got 72hrs shore leave in South Louisiana. Carnival starts on the Sunday before ash Wednesday. the children have their parade usually on sunday, then the party really gets kickin with the adults. On Monday at three in the AM,  J'ouvert begins and the streets fill with partiers and revellers. The party heats up until everyone covers themselves in mud and body paint and starts parading in the street.
The typical thing to do during carnival is to join a band. A band consists of one or two large semi trucks with speakers stacked floor to celing, bumping the loudest SoCa Music you can imagine, behind that is a group of 25-200 revellers in their feathers, t-shirts, short shorts or whatever costume the bands come up with. some bands are themed, others just follow the carnival theme. Behind that is a van, filled with coolers holding all kinds of beautiful rum drinks and water for the revellers. On Monday and Tuesday, people parade around the city in these "bands" and they drink and party all day long. The party goes from one end of the city to the other, and then goes back to the park and starts over the next day. It is said that the carnival activities rival those in Rio and top the festivals in New Oreleans.

After Carnival, we flew over to Barbados to wait for the rest of the surveyors and boats to arrive.
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