July 1, 2010

liming with doubles trini style

Just got back from a business trip to Port of Spain in Trinidad.  My Trinidadian colleagues warned me about the crime rate and the kidnapping risk, insisting that a company security guard pick me up at the airport, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  What I found instead was a warm, hospitable and diverse society - and a humidity level so high that my hair started to curl the moment I stepped off the plane.   

To a person, the "Trinis", as they call themselves, were incredibly charming and warm.  Every person I passed offered a smile and a "good morning" or "good afternoon", often stopping for a brief chat.  Living as I do in a large North American city, this is definitely not something I am used to, and at first I was wary.  But very soon it became clear that this wasn't about targeting the tourist and it wasn't long before I was reciprocating enthusiastically and making friends with the hotel staff.  

Unfortunately I didn't have much time for "liming", the Trinidadian pastime of hanging about, drinking beer and contemplating the mysteries of life (a most worthwhile pursuit), but did manage to squeeze in a brief introduction to some serious street food.

The Trini "double" is street food at its best - two (i.e., double!) bara (fried bread) filled with curried channa (chick peas), chutney and of course the ubiquitous Trini hot sauce.  Traditionally eaten at breakfast, it's so popular you can pretty much get it 24/7 at various stalls around town.  It's no wonder the locals claim that "God is a Trini"!

While my inclination to operate on "Trini time" and to spend time liming with strangers on the street has already begun to fade mere hours after disembarking, the memory of the doubles lingers and I am determined to find some decent ones in my own city.   With the Trini population in T.O. that shouldn't be too hard and, who knows, maybe I'll have a proper lime while I'm at it!