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poll
Where are you going next?

 Africa86 votes
76.11%
 South America3 votes
2.65%
 Europe3 votes
2.65%
 Eastern Asia5 votes
4.42%
 Carribean9 votes
7.96%
 Safeway5 votes
4.42%
 Australia2 votes
1.77%
total votes: 113
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WheresCherie.COM Quote
"I don't think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that still remains." -- Anne Frank

122--The Caribbean: The American Way
@ CherieSpotting     Mar 05 2003 - 16:28 PST
cherie writes: “Are you American?” a local asked me.
“Yes.” I responded.
“Can you take a look at this?”
“Sure” I replied before I knew what “this” was.
“This” was in fact an Oldsmobile. An American car. According to him, since both the car and I were made in the same country, I should be able to repair it, right?

The broken Oldsmobile was stranded on the side of the road with its hood open. A bunch of men hunkered around it and shook their heads in pity for the dead car. The rusty old auto’s engine was shamelessly bared for all to see. It looked like a patient still lying on the operating table after an unsuccessful operation.

“Can you look at her?” one of the men asked me in Spanish. Little did he know that Greg (who was standing right next to me) was a mechanic in the army for four years. I was flattered that he thought I (a woman!) might know something about cars. (It turns out he didn’t ask Greg because he thought Greg was a local. Most people make the mistake of thinking Greg is my “local tour guide,” instead of my boyfriend.)

I wanted to be helpful, so I did what I’ve seen other men do when they try to repair an old clunker. I picked up a screw driver, and then screwed up my face (to make it look like I was concentrating on something important.) Then I twisted a few things and banged around a lot. Of course, I added a few deep sighs for dramatic effect. Finally I emerged and wiped the beaded sweat from my brow so I could obtain the characteristic mechanic’s-black-forehead-smudge.

“Well” I declared. “This car is only living up to half of its name.”
Confused, the men just stared at me with the blank expression of a Santeria doll. They weren’t waiting for my joke’s punch-line; they just didn’t understand English.

“This car is indeed ‘Old’,” I continued “but it sure ain’t “mobile.” I was just horsing-around (which is actually the more common mode of transportation.) For the record, my Oldsmobile joke didn’t translate well into Spanish. I couldn’t make them laugh, and I couldn’t make the car go.

Besides not fixing cars, Greg and I entertained ourselves in a variety of ways. We watched people take their pets for walks, which isn’t so interesting if the pet is a typical cat or dog. But since in the Caribbean the pet is often a goat or pig, it’s quite hysterical to see the owners taking the farm animals for their morning strolls.

Greg and I also danced in the street to the rhythms of local musicians until they packed up their instruments and headed for home. Then we made friends with the town butcher. The meat seller’s “job” is to sit in his store daily until he sells a leg of pork which hangs in the open air from a stereotypical meat hook. If the pork leg sells, he closes up his shop (sometimes at 9:00 in the morning, sometimes at 6:00 at night) it all depends on what time the customer arrives!

Click on each picture to see it full size.

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If I'm American, I should be able to fix this Oldsmobile, right?

If I'm American, I should be able to fix this Oldsmobile, right?

What else do you need besides the three Ss?  Sun, shade and sea.

What else do you need besides the three Ss? Sun, shade and sea.

The sea mesmerized Tom and Mike.

The sea mesmerized Tom and Mike.

Excuse me, does anyone know an electrician?

Excuse me, does anyone know an electrician?

A typical sight, a man takes his pet goat for an early morning walk.

A typical sight, a man takes his pet goat for an early morning walk.

Wall leaning...evidently a popular occupation.

Wall leaning...evidently a popular occupation.

Women sewing in the park.

Women sewing in the park.

The sewing ladies enchanted with their image on my digital camera. *Photo by Tom.

The sewing ladies enchanted with their image on my digital camera. *Photo by Tom.

An old bell tower.

An old bell tower.

Greg having a chat with a local.

Greg having a chat with a local.

Cherie, Greg, Mike and Tom.

Cherie, Greg, Mike and Tom.

Her home, or her prison?

Her home, or her prison?

Still flirting.

Still flirting.

These colors would never fly in Irvine, California.

These colors would never fly in Irvine, California.

The island's most popular mode of transportation.

The island's most popular mode of transportation.

Greg gives the kid some advice.

Greg gives the kid some advice.

The view from the park in Trinidad.

The view from the park in Trinidad.

Young girl.

Young girl.

Kids these days....

Kids these days....

Scary doll in the Temple of Santaria.

Scary doll in the Temple of Santaria.

The Temple of Santaria.

The Temple of Santaria.

Getting a shoe shine.

Getting a shoe shine.

This guy must have a "thing" for straw.

This guy must have a "thing" for straw.

Funky art.

Funky art.

Cool cars.

Cool cars.

Charming dolls.

Charming dolls.

Traditional sounds float through the streets.

Traditional sounds float through the streets.

The craft market.

The craft market.

Even the statues aren't fed well.

Even the statues aren't fed well.

Greg has a new best friend.

Greg has a new best friend.

Cobble-stones may be charming, but they sure are a lot of work.

Cobble-stones may be charming, but they sure are a lot of work.

That's one tough old broad!

That's one tough old broad!

Can you see what that guy is taking home in his basket?

Can you see what that guy is taking home in his basket?

It's a live pig!  *Photo by Tom.

It's a live pig! *Photo by Tom.

Watching the masters play.  *Photo by Tom.

Watching the masters play. *Photo by Tom.

Playing my favorite game--chess.

Playing my favorite game--chess.

Men here take their chess seriously.

Men here take their chess seriously.

The butcher shop.

The butcher shop.

The butcher.

The butcher.

A photograph of me taking a picture of the meat seller. 
*Photo by Tom.

A photograph of me taking a picture of the meat seller. *Photo by Tom.

Good thing we have a boat to sleep on.  Some of the hostals seem downright dangerous.

Good thing we have a boat to sleep on. Some of the hostals seem downright dangerous.

21st century cowboys?

21st century cowboys?

Colorful characters and colorful houses line the streets of Trinidad.

Colorful characters and colorful houses line the streets of Trinidad.

Pedals are more convenient than kick-stands.

Pedals are more convenient than kick-stands.

Cherie taking a ride.

Cherie taking a ride.

If I returned to this exact spot 3 hours later, the horse, the man, and the bike would all be in the same locations.

If I returned to this exact spot 3 hours later, the horse, the man, and the bike would all be in the same locations.

Santaria doll.

Santaria doll.

Bucanero...a delicious and popular beer.

Bucanero...a delicious and popular beer.

Where the Masters play chess.

Where the Masters play chess.

Cherie dreams of being a chess Grand Master one day.  *Photo by Tom.

Cherie dreams of being a chess Grand Master one day. *Photo by Tom.

It's amazing that the English language allows both of these vessels to be called a "boat."  *Photo by Mike.

It's amazing that the English language allows both of these vessels to be called a "boat." *Photo by Mike.