We’ve been having a mix of frustration and satisfaction here in Trinidad. The satisfaction has come from very good, competent workmanship on the jobs we have had scheduled (unlike Grenada Marine last year where next to nothing got done properly if at all). The guys here turn up on time, stick to their quotes and get the job done. We’ve had the lot too - from refrigeration to electronics to wood work. The inside fridge and the freezer are going like new! Where we had thought they may need replacing. We ordered a few cabinets from Lagoon to replace a few damaged ones and a new cupboard for our side that we had never had. The guys installing them are also redoing the South African repair from when the wave smashed our bulkhead south of Madagascar.

The frustrations have come from government departments – of course, I hear you say. We spent 6 hours at customs to get the cabinets cleared for us to take. I cannot begin to explain the pathetic work ethic, lack of organisation and communication that went on. I was on the inside trying to get paperwork through while Pete (who wasn’t allowed in as he was in shorts – big dress code thing!) Waited outside in the heat with the driver and truck for the whole time.

I managed to keep my cool – just. Otherwise I would probably still be there while someone went go-slow to “show me”. I already experienced that for an hour because the guy made a mistake and didn’t like the fact that he got corrected on it. Not by me. Even so we still had to clear again once we got the package back to Chaguaramas! But that part went smoothly, thank God. The box looked like a big coffin – there were a few customs people I would cheerfully have put in it.

The next frustrating event was the US Embassy. We arrived early, but you can’t arrive more than 15 minutes early and cannot wait in the security zone. So we sat in a gutter around the corner outside an office block where there was some shade. Then, having stood in the queue, I got in and was told that you cannot take a cell phone in but you can’t leave it with security either but there is a photo place around the corner that will hold them for you for $US15. So Pete had to grab my phone and his and zoom off round the corner so we didn’t lose our place. No one thought to tell us this when we were in the queue and it was not on their web site. Anyway it finally all got done, finger prints, interview etc and the visas have arrived.

So – we still haven’t been tourists yet. To and from West mall to get money to pay people and the odd bit of grocery shopping is all. The Marinas here are quite sociable and various activities go on like BBQ at the Roti Hut on Thursdays, jam sessions at Peak’s and Power Boats, Texas chain dominoes, yoga, to name a few.  The marinas have a variety of restaurants between them and also little supermarkets and chandleries, so very good really.

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