Sunday, August 31, 2014

Kay's Talking Trini

     Unfortunately, Atalanta’s demand for repairs has been keeping us onboard for much of our time in Trinidad – especially poor Richard who is well acquainted with lots of mechanics.  When possible, I have been exploring a bit of the island and trying to learn about it from a local perspective.  I still remember 15-year-old Jason being annoyed that we looked like “dumb-ass tourists” while traveling in Spain. I strive not to engage in ethnocentric behaviors frequently attributed to American tourists. . . I like the differences in our cultures!  
Not a look we plan to replicate!

  So, here are a few impressions, observations and understandings of those cultural differences:

• Africans and East Indians are almost equally represented in TT’s population.
• Of the 295 ATM machines on the island, only about 10% are working at any one time - the waiting lines are really, really long.
• Depending on the time of day, a shopping trip could be a 20-minute drive or 2 hours stuck in traffic. Driving is on the left, hire a “maxi-taxi” instead of a “cab”, and appreciate the price of gas at the pump -  $4.00TT/liter or $ 2.38 USD/gallon.
• You have to eat a double.

• There is a Trindadian dialect and yuh know yuh met a real Trini when:

yuh have a hammock in every room of yuh house
yuh put bat-trees (batteries) in the torch (flashlight)
yuh mudduh and fadduh raise yuh with broughtupsy
roti tastes good but “buss-up-shut” is bettuh
yuh good friend is yuh paliwal
de bone taste jus as good as de meat
yuh don’t say “three” or “thing” . . . yuh say “tree” and “ting”
yuh think steak is a waste of good meat, better to cut it up and make stew
yuh always ax, “Buh whey de gravy?”
yuh wear washie kongs, not sneakers
yuh point with your lips
yuh say "whappenin" even at a funeral
yuh on time when yuh get dey, and yuh leavin when yuh ready to go
yuh have at least one relative living in England, Canada or the US . . .

 . . . and those Trini’s with relatives living abroad might require translation from North American English to Trini:

NAE: Would you care for hors d’oeuvres?
TnT: Wah is dis lil piece ah ting yuh trying tah give meh?

NAE: Here kitty, kitty. Get down from the roof.
TnT: Eh yuh ole dutty cyat, come orf de bleddy galvanize before ah stone yuh tail!

NAE: Aren't your pants a bit too short?
TnT: Yuh expekin ah flood or wha?

NAE: Sir, please don't throw my luggage around like that.
TnT: Buh wha trouble is dis? Boy, stop flingin meh grip so.

NAE: Don’t worry about it.
TnT: Doh hot yuh head.

NAE: Lord, we have lost electricity again.
TnT: Jeezanages, current gorn again.

NAE: I love you.
TnT: Ah rell check fuh yuh, yuh know.


  1. Wot dis u saying mon leving dis place me also !! So tree bowts limin in Scotland dat boom box outtann mash it up! J&D