Jan. 5, 2013

Jan. 4

Very clean here in Trinidad. Found out today I don’t need a visa for Venezuela (I called the Embassy here in Port of Spain). Hot weather, humid with showers for a little while most days.

Occasionally, my Couchsurfing host is a person who has problems. I stayed with someone lately who is very depressed and joyless. Nothing I can do but just be there.

Have to be tough-skinned to travel. Many people are xenophobic or have been taught to hate certain groups of people. I often face harassment. Usually, it’s just little things: a young man sitting behind me as I’m online at Pizza Boys who is flinging water on me now and then; rude remarks on the street. When I travel out alone in the dark, like on Jan. 16 when I have to leave in the early am to catch the ferry to Venezuela, I will arm myself somehow. Women face these problems everywhere; it’s not just travellers.

Was online for four or five hours yesterday. I walk down here to Rituals Coffee, buy a coffee and pastry, and then I walk next door to Pizza Boys, where the internet connection is stronger. Very nice.

The most popular dance music here in T&T is Soca. I’m listening to it on a local radio station through my earphones here at Pizza Boys.

All the TV stations Tricia and I watch at her house are from the US with occasional BBC news.

Carnival is huge here; T&T has the biggest Carnival celebration in the English-speaking Caribbean. Tricia “plays” in one of the Carnival “bands” every year. This has nothing to do with playing music: a band is a big group (thousands_ of people who march together in costume.

Watched an episode of My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding yesterday, and I’m aware of how much I was raised like a Gypsy. I had a stay-at-home mom, and I was raised to be the same. Dad was the head of the household (this is a very bad thing that continues in Gypsy culture with some men abusing it and deciding things like who their daughters will marry). Mom chose my clothes throughout my teens, and my bedroom was never my private space–Mom had access and control over the space.

To be conservative is non-Gypsy to the family of Luanne and Pat Baby who live in a caravan (trailer) in Douglasville, Georgia. They are Romanichal (English Gypsies). In this episode, Priscilla, who is 14-years-old, has a Hallowe’en, husband-finding party.

I think the real challenge to Gypsies today is to get back out on the road. They have become very sedentary, and this is not being a Gypsy to me. On the other hand, I love being an educated, sophisticated, experienced, independent woman with total freedom to expressive and be myself. I wouldn’t give this up for anything; nor would I give up my Gypsy life of travelling all the time.

I am a writer. I used to be an artist and musician/singer/song writer. I do what I want; I don’t work for anybody; I have a good education; I have my own money; and no one tells me what to do.

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PINK

I watched a great “Behind The Music” TV show yesterday featuring Pink, the young singer/songwriter. It was her life-story. It made me love her. Here are some of her thoughts, song lines/themes, and song titles and other excerpts from the show:

Destroyed by love; fearless; intensely intimate writing. Edge and attitude. Insecure: need someone special to say “I love you.”

“What do I have to say (in a song)?” Nothing? Then, just have fun. Upon receiving music industry award for “Lady Marmalade,” Pink said: “Thank you for believing we made good whores!”

Catharsis through writing; not numbing it down. Look fear in the face. Heartbreak is a bitch.

“So What?” I don’t need you. Pink and Carey Hart: Friends. lovers, husband/wife, Soulmates. Pink: “Carey and I might not see each other for ten years, but put the two of us in a room together, and someone’s gonna get pregnant.”

“Raise your glass.” They WORK ON marriage: learning how to fight in a peaceful way. “The passion and pain are gonna keep you/us alive, someday.” All the shit a person goes through is necessary, useful.

“Go where the joy is!”

“Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. It’s annoying.” She felt she was going to be the music industry asshole (very outspoken and “rude”) a lot of the time. “Blow me (one last kiss).”

I love and seek out female role models like Pink. Women who are bold, brave and un-self-consciously outspoken. The fact that Pink has found True Love is absolutely, devastatingly (in a good way) SO ENCOURAGING to me!

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I fell in love again today. Good! It’s with a guy on TV (highly unusual for me since he’s so inaccessible). He is Austin Stevens (blond, thin, not muscular, and medium-height [like the guy in my recent dream]), a snake-loving biologist on Animal Planet. He’s so enthusiastic about the natural world and the wild creatures who live there. And he’s physically cute, too.

Austin lives in South Africa (or somewhere in Africa; accent sounds like So. Africa to me). This gives me a reason to go there: meet Austin Stevens. He’s even close to my age! That’s different.

(Later, I discovered Austin married his second wife in 2007; she’s 34 years younger than him. Austin’s like me: young at heart. We attract and are attracted to younger lovers/partners.)

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Jan. 5

I am starting to be my true self (not my fake self) in public. I guess for some of us, this act of self-assertion takes time and confidence. I felt I had a lot to learn (and a lot to unlearn) before I could trust myself to relax and be REAL in public (“public” means every situation when I’m not totally alone). Knowing myself–the key to everything–is proceeding rapidly now that “Faux Moi” is receding from view.

I’ve been in Trinidad for six days; it feels long enough, and yet I’m just getting comfortable here. The longer I’m here the more friendly the people seem. It’s actually just that I’m adapting to Port of Spain, and people respond to this by being more open to me.

Talk about travelling broadening one’s perspective… A family just came in here to Pizza Boys (where I come everyday to drink coffee from Rituals, next door, and get online). The father and young sons are in their bathrobes. I thought, “How cute is that? They are having Saturday morning fun, being casual.” Mom was in a Middle Eastern-looking long dress. OH! They’re Muslims and the boys and dad are in typical Muslim tunics!

Tricia and I watch TV in the mornings before we go out to our respective places, during the late afternoons, and all evening. “How I Met Your Mother,” “Big Bang Theory,” and TV news, star-info shows, etc. It’s fun and different for me.

This morning on some news-info show, a man from India was commenting on the recent rape-murder of a young, female, Delhi, med student by a group of Indian men. He made some astute comments. Educating women is not enough by itself, he said, because many educated women continue to “parrot” the views of the men around them. And he stated the obvious fact that men must be taught how to treat women.

My Port of Spain friends have told me about Saucy Pow, a notably ugly (so I’ve heard) and very “OUT” transvestite who performs on the streets of PoS. Apparently, he is not hassled in public. I am told that gays are able to be fairly open in Trinidad; at the same time, I was told that young, working-class, T&T boys who adore reggae music have become homophobic in imitation of their Jamaican idols.

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Yes, I am like Sheldon on Big Bang Theory. Asperger Syndrome and proud of it! We are totally into order (not so much into cleanliness, but, yes, they do go together). We LOVE order; chaos makes life so complicated, and it doesn’t have to be that way. My whole minimalistic lifestyle (small, school-type backpack with only a few things in it: this is all I own in the world) is based on the feeling, the idea, the theory that LESS IS MORE. It’s that way for me; it’s probably obsessive-compulsive “disORDER.” I can live with that.

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