Straight To De Soul

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Don't Miss The Boat

When you live on St.Kitts, it is fundamental to keep track of what day of the week it is because every Wednesday new supplies of everything the island needs comes in by barge. All day long, everybody rushes to the store to get stocked up on the fresh stuff. Somehow I keep missing Wednesday and thus have been without fresh milk for a while. Thank the lord that there is an apparent bottomless supply of cans of Carnation evaporated milk. Unlike most people, I am quite fond of evaporated milk as it reminds me of my grandmother, who always used Carnation evaporated milk in her coffee. Fresh milk was hard to come by after the war, so evaporated milk was the next best thing if one wanted milk in one's coffee. I am planning on getting to the store in time next week . Just in case I miss the boat again, I have already stocked up on my supply of Carnation evaporated milk.

Yours Truly,

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Birdie, Birdie, Birding

Birding on the island and mainland until today consisted for me in the general assessment of

"Are these LBF's (little brown #*@^%*?!!) or LBP's (little brown peeps)?"

Now after my first official shorebird birding session at the salt ponds (the island hot spots for shorebirds) I have names for the LBPs. Looking through a US $1500 spotting scope, I saw splendid examples of the common moorhen, snowy egret, green-winged teals, white-checked pintails, greater and lesser yellow legs, and the fabulous ruddy turnstone. Here are the specifics for the birdies when looking at them in the field.

I loved the red beak of the moorhen against her black coat, her shiny green legs with a dash of red at the garter line. The snowy egret was like any other egret, but behold, it has a black beak and black legs in contrast to other egrets, which have yellow legs. The green-winged teal sports a fabulous green eye shadow that reminded me of a grand drag queen. The white-checked pintail has a sassy red dash on the side of his beak, and the ruddy turnstone sports a brown necklace around its neck.

There is more bird watching on the horizon for me. The visiting American guru of birdwatching, Mr. R. will be with us for 2 more months and as he told me during the "shorebirding"

" I 'll go watch birds any day of the week. Just give a hollor. "

Yours Truly,

Vagina Monologues - Live Long and Prosper

Eve Ensler's confessional play of women of all ages celebrating, exploring, discussing, and living their vaginas was performed in front of a sold out house (500 people) on Saturday night in Basseterre, St.Kitts, West Indies. Nine fabulous women, Bernette Antonio, Carla James Astaphan, Unique Brown, Mary Jo Cannon, Toni Frederick, Debbie Goode, Kisha Norford, Denysee Richards, and Vanessa Walls) directed by Delfin Agustin Ilao, Stage Design Nancy King, gave their thundering voices, backed up by a good set of laveliers, and their bottomless passion to a great play.

I have seen the play performed before in good old Fairbanks, Alaska. The cast was terrific, playing their hearts out, and local people came in droves, despite the bone-chilling temperature outside, hovering around -35 F. Last night in St. Kitts, people came out in droves, too, but temperatures were instead a bone-warming 80+F. However, hot or cold, it is not the temperature outside that matters because it is always sizzling hot at performance of the Vagina Monologues.

Just like last time, the performed monologues made me think, made me laugh, and made me sad and angry, too. But when I looked around the audience, my sadness and anger vanished because I saw women celebrating women's texts, women's confessions, and women's truths about their uniqueness, their strength, and their vulnerability. It is in that communal experience where there is a strong future for new generation of self-empowered women.

So I say let's continue to kick some ass!

Yours Truly,

Piggin' out at Turtle Beach

The Pig on the beach is known to all as Wilbur. He is a 300 pound castrated black pig. Although he looks like he has brown hair, Wilbur is a true black pig that roots, eats, and lives on Turtle Beach. He is very friendly and loves having his picture taken, well-knowing that he is a celebrity. Wilbur likes to take showers; however, he does not have anything like opposable thumbs, so he is utterly dependent on humans, small or tall, to help him out. When Wilbur is thirsty or wants to take a quick refreshing shower, he will wait at the shower station for some visitor or local to come by, and operate the shower or faucet for him. It is a sight to behold. Happy people watching a happy pig taking a shower. Bliss all around! Makes you wonder whether with more bathing pigs and people to help them out, the world could be a happier place.

Yours Truly,

Thursday, February 23, 2006

What's Your GO ?

Do you need to take the bus? Do you want to ride on Love Sponge, Fabulous, Street Freak, Baggy, Flexible, Shabba, Rough Times, Western, Big Up, Bambo, Galaxie, Street Glow, Fighting Cock I and II, Ali, Mr. Humble, Petrol, Never Trust A Friend, McGyver, Hot Bit, Dash, Super Doc, On the Watch, Cogop, Big Blue, Uncle Millie, Simply Lite, Patches, Easy One, and so many more? On St. Kitts, you can find your personalized "GO," the term Kittitans use for bus company.

You may ask why there are so many buses on the island. There are about 30,000 people on the island, and not every Kittitian has a car. The lil' old bus business makes sure that everybody old, young, affluent or not, can get to work, to shops, or visit other island villages. GOs are a sound island business opportunity for the Kittitian entrepreneur. Yes, these minibuses are all individually owned.

Average fare between points around the island is 2 EC. The bus stops and picks you up where you need it. Just flag a bus down, hop on, and pay the fare. It might get tight in those buses, though, because they get full pretty fast and are not larger than your average minivan; however, as I have experienced before in Nairobi, you can fit a heck of a lot of people in a small vehicle.

Yours Truly,

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Who's Afraid of the BIG BAD BEER BELLY ?

No one on St.Kitts as far as I can make out, because it is hidden below the water line, thanks to the widespread custom of visiting tourists and expatriates to consume their Carib, Stag, or Heineken beer, while standing in the pool or in the ocean.

PS: A case of Heineken is currently 25 EC at RAMS, my local grocery store (2.67 EC = $1US).

Yours Truly,

Monday, February 20, 2006

A Random Story of Bobbin' Bob's Palm Tree

My screened-in patio is a local attraction point for Frigate's Bay's smallest remaining reptiles, the anole and Green Desert Lizard.

Many of these creatures come inside the house, too, giving it a quick survey to see what's up with my small abode. My favorite anole is a fella I call Bobbin' Bob, a reddish anole that lives a somewhat stressfull life on the little palm tree on my patio.

Bobbin' Bob is special as he has no tail. Nomen est omen, Bobbin' Bob bobs daily on his branch, mostly coinciding with the approach or presence of other anoles, who try to come up on his little palm tree. Bobbin' Bob does not believe in sharing, and he totally stresses out as indicated by his dark red-brown colour. After a minute of violent bobbing, he chases the other anole off the tree and out of the patio.

I don't know what else Bobbin' Bob does during the day when he is not totally wigging out on his palm tree, but he must be taking care of business elsewere. Tail or no tail, Bobbin' Bob is one good looking (albeit slightly stressed) tiny anole, ready to take on the world one bob at a time.

Yours Truly,

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Life Imitates Imagination

Last week, while still sickly, I was going to go on the boat trip to Statia - a small Dutch island about 20 miles away from St.Kitts.

However, the universe, in cahoots with the old Kittitian Immigration Service, decided that I was not to go on this trip by keeping my passport to complete my immigration paperwork. So I spent the larger part of Sunday working hard (yes, I mean hard) on my lectures for muscle and skin tissue (lecture material soon to be found on its own website). Around 4 pm, I decided to go on my daily walk to Timothy Beach for the purpose of relaxation and ocean feet cleansing. While at the beach, I noted that the sea was pretty rough and wondered how that would fare out on the little ferry boat.

In my imagination, I saw big waves crashing into the boat and giving it a good toss. The passengers on my imagined boat looked ill and probably were puking their guts out, while holding onto the flimsy railing so as to avoid prematurely leaving the boat. Despite the rough weather, my fantasy played out safely, and everybody made it back to St.Kitts.

Later that night, I did run into my fellow colleagues who made the trip:

    "Oh, it was lovely to go there. We had the wind at our back and made good speed [1.5 hours one way trip]. On the way back the wind and waves were in our face. A lot of passengers were puking their guts out."


Yours Truly,

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Expatriate Livin' De Life On De Island

Get ready for weekly contemplations and reportage of newsworthy items from the Leeward Island home base, St. Christopherus (a.k.a. St. Kitts).

Yours Truly,