Sunday, August 24, 2008

Does anybody have a number for Noah?

Where was Noah yesterday? Hopefully working hard away at the New Ark, probably up in the deep country collecting some agouti, lappe and manicou, he sure as heck should have been. Yesterday was an able reminder of why I no longer go on country jaunts. Yesterday made me aware that mayhap the hurricane supplies should be attended to sooner than later. Yesterday underlined all those blogs written in the last year about the mob mentality of Trinis and the rampant stupidity that takes over at the first sign of anything out of the ordinary. And, most of all, yesterday was a stark reminder that we have far to go in this country, and really, no matter how prepared you are for a disaster, a little more never hurt.

Now don’t think I was involved in anything big and scary, quite the contrary. Yesterday started off pretty much the way all Saturday’s do around Casa Coffeewallah. Dog standing on human’s head in a stirring plea to go walkies, at 6:00 am; human grumpily shoving dog off which a growl to come back in an hour. Dog, pawing, whining and then yipping, guess who “forgot” to take him out last night before beddies because it was raining. Guess who then had to climb out of the oh so comfortable cotton sheets. Once going, the household chores could not wait, and my usual riding partner had gone off to the dentist for an exciting morning of oral care, no excuse to abandon ship, so the Wallah set to; until rescued by said friend who’d had her appointment cancelled. Ah hah! The usual Saturday jaunt to parts known and otherwise.

We got off to a good start, the plan, the Mode Alive shop in Curepe, then maybe some sorties into the surrounding geography. Charms, Louise to my Thelma, her daughter P. who is going off to school shortly and I climbed into the red machine and headed up the highway. No wind blowing in your hair and that crap, you know how hard it is to flat iron my hair; plus when you drive with the windows down all kind of dust settles on your upholstery and mine is dark cream! So air-condition blowing, the radio on, we heading east, sure the sky was overcast but it’s rainy season for goodness sakes, that happens six months out of the year. If you waited for it not to rain, you’d stay home and not come out for weeks at a time. Kind of like Little House on the Prairie when the Wisconsin snows happened.

I must say, the sortie into the “new” Mode Alive was very fruitful, lots of lovely house things if you’re so inclined, I don’t like to dust so not for me thanks. Charms born and bred in “town” so every time we head out east is a novelty for her. She made her first trip to Little Store. P. was in heaven, all this stuff she’d never seen before, we had a ball. I got to play tourist guide having lived out east almost my whole life. We were having some good fun, never mind the clouds were getting bigger, darker and more ominous. Is just rain right. It was close to lunchtime, where to, Wings of course. Some of the best curry and friendliest service staff and here’s where I segue a little. If you’ve never been, Wings is an establishment in the back of Tunapuna that serves some excellent curry, all of you know that I’m not a fan of curry but on occasion a good one is much appreciated. The prices there are really fab too, the cost of lunch for three which included two paratha’s, chicken, shrimp, duck, mango, potato and my dhal and rice? A whopping $100 dollars, where in town are you getting that? Nowhere, the two shrinking Chicken Cesar salads in Adam’s cost $110 with half the work involved.

Right. Here’s where the real “fun” started. While in Wings since we decided to eat in, the rain started to fall. Hard. Pounding the roof, concrete drain, beating in through the open windows, big, big, cold droplets, almost like hail. The lightening was stark, bright slashes of yellow with that metallic smell you get and the thunder was overheard, hmm, maybe we would stay put until the rain eased off. It rained, and rained and stormed. For over an hour, we and the people who kept coming; Wings food is that good, waited out the rain. Which didn’t stop, the skies had opened up and by golly it was storming good and proper.

Eventually when the lightening eased off P. and I with the one umbrella made a dash for the car parked on a side street. Those Tunapuna back roads are extremely narrow; people tend to park indiscriminately to cause as much inconvenience as possible. Well, who send us. The road was flooding, yellow, muddy water pouring off the pavements, a veritable stream in the street. Feet wet, hair wet, sunglasses flying, Richard Thompson had nothing on us as we made a sprint for the car. The towel in the car got a work out!

Picking up Charms outside Wings was the first challenge. You see, everybody decided they wanted to go, at the same time, never mind who had the right of way, who was going where. Fortunately I can drive, we got out with only some difficulty except, the exit to the Highway from Pasea Main Road was flooding, water covering your muffler. Not my car. Turning in the UTT compound we came across what was going to be an afternoon of that lack of road manners and good sense mentioned earlier. Right, some maneuvering and we were back on Pasea Main Road heading for Monte Grande. Remember, narrow streets, people making one, two, three lanes in a space that could barely accommodate one. Blocking the way even when we had right of way and they had no place to go. You get the picture. The back of St. Augustine was awash, literally. People’s yards were turned into rapids, water gushing from every drain, canal and the river. Dark, murky water filled with debris that was strewn all over the road, all that water and no way for it to run off.

I’ve seen floods in my time, Granny’s house on the Main Road used to flood in the later days due to the building up the hill but boy, this was something. This was an afternoon of rain and the flooding was surreal. We went by UWI, flooding, made it to the Eastern Main Road, flooding heavily at the underpass by the High School. Traffic everywhere with the aforementioned stupidity. Turning up, going through the back of St. Augustine north, by UWI school, a flood plain with junk in the road, navigating past Hugh Wooding Law School, people trying to avoid the pitfalls, fallen trees and swirling flood waters at every turn. Finally making it through Curepe and St. Joseph to get back on to the Highway, the river swollen, angry, rushing through the channel barely containing it. In all of this the rain was still falling, the skies bleak with roiling charcoal clouds. My little trip down memory lane; these after all, would have been the stomping grounds of my dissolute youth, more in the nightmare category. We kept thinking, what if it got worse. I had visions of Kevin Costner in Waterworld going, “dry land is a myth, I know, I’ve been there and it doesn’t exist”.

It was appalling. We wondered aloud what would have happened had there really been some serious weather as opposed to a system as we heard later on the news. There was flash flooding in some low-lying areas. The seriousness of all of this cannot be underlined enough; the evidence is all around us, look at what happened in the States and China. When will we learn and start implementing all those policies I know are lying around in some public servant’s office? How serious is serious? Yesterday was my reminder of how bad it can get when it rains and I don’t need another one. When are you gits going to stop dumping stuff in the waterways, when are you going to stop indiscriminately building on the hillsides in the water sheds? Where are the water channels, constructive building and development of causeways, storm drains etc? Oh, I forgot, it’s in a speech somewhere, we don’t actually have to DO anything. When are we the public going to stand up and say this is not good enough of course modifying our own behaviour to be less selfish and nasty? I regret that I didn’t have a camera to show you just how bad it was, maybe then you would believe me.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not holding out much hope that Noah will be coming around anytime soon. Who knows, maybe the Big Guy has left it up to us to help ourselves this time. Think about it.


Wuzdescene said...

hmmmmm .... heard about yesterday's rain dramas from a friend who was in it (like you)... saw it on da news too ... WOW .... terrible!

Coffeewallah said...

Girl, almost thought we'd have to sleep out east!

Angie said...

the strong winds last night really got me scared (sunday night)