Jan. 8, 2013

Jan. 6

What everyone wants from me (from others) is “unconditional positive regard” (i.e., love, or at least friendliness or kindness). Of course, some people want more; they want devotion, adoration, and all those things that satisfy their too big (or too small) egos.

I have to remember to give myself the same positive regard…unconditionally.

Loud, wonderful, high-voiced frogs sing all night long here in Maraval. They sound like the Cokee frogs on Hawaii’s Big Island. The toads have deep, loud voices, but none live near Tricia’s house.

Among all the Caribbean Islanders, Tricia tells me, Trinis are known for taking good care of their pets.

Tricia’s two, crowded, messy rooms (and a bathroom) are big enough for both of us because Tricia knows how to share a little space. She maintains her sense of privacy and seems to feel no need to act or respond to someone else in the rooms. People in some cultures learn how to be “alone” when they are among other people. It’s very educational, plus she has a great shower: strong jets, and hot water.

Tricia took me to a Pan Yard, a place where a bunch of musicians play steel pan drums. The steel band we heard is sponsored by BP, the oil company behind the huge Louisiana oil spill a few years ago. This band is called Renegades. They’ll perform at Carnival, competing against other steel bands; it’s called Panorama.

I am (or seem) aloof. It’s OK; I’m just focused on my own interests. When I’m done with this focused effort (which is my true work), I am friendly and sociable.


I am actually loosening up, lightening up, and becoming flexible in my attitudes and responses to others.

I am not imitating others as much as I used to when I was largely operating in the dark, when I didn’t know myself. My adoptive parents were wise people, but they did have some attitudes, beliefs, and gaps in their knowledge that I had to overcome. It took years to make this change so that I felt confident enough to let go and not be afraid something stupid that I didn’t even feel would come out of my mouth.

Now, I know that we women especially have to learn to develop our own views and to express them with confidence. We can’t look to others (especially not to men) for approval and acceptance. We women are capable of original thought that’s very different from men’s thoughts; we women are capable of sensitive emotional responses that many men don’t even recognize. I am becoming more expressive and more able to have fun socially thanks to increased self-confidence.

Being socially adept is over-rated. It means acting in accordance with a script written by others, and often those others are in positions of authority simply because they are greedy or excessively ambitious or aggressive to the point of wanting power over other people (and over all the world’s creatures and the natural environment).

Men have to give up their positions of privilege and entitlement. Women have been beaten and terrorized and shamed into submission for way too long.

Jan. 8

Took 6:30 am ferry (3 hours; $25 US ) from Trinidad to Scarborough, Tobago yesterday. Rougher than usual trip and “everyone” (including me) was sick. They provide barf bags.

Then, I took the bus from Scarborough ($1.50 US; 1 1/2 hours) up to this little town (4,000 pop.) in the NE of the island, Charlotteville. It’s one of the most wonderful places I’ve ever been. Extraordinarily beautiful, little fishing village, all locals (90% grew up here), very few tourists (most from Europe), peaceful in the extreme.

Staying with Althea Perkins (I stayed with her sister Allison, “Sunny,” in Kingston). She’s a well-educated, 46-year-old woman with a local fisherman boyfriend, Rankin. She’s lived here for 4 1/2 years. Wonderful.

I’m sleeping out on the porch right on the harbor. Waves lapping up all night. (They were going to have Rankin sleep outside and me share the bed with Althea; I said I’d love to sleep outside.) It’s a very simple little second-story apartment. two rooms and a bath.

Fifty or sixty boats in Charlotteville harbor. About twenty are yachts. They come and go; it’s free for yachts to tie up in this little port. There’s a fish market right off the beach where local fishermen, like Rankin, clean their fish. They sell them to people here in town or to people who come up from Scarborough. All their fishing poles are made of bamboo which grows like crazy all over the place.

Lots of pirate lore in Charlotteville and all over Tobago.


Jan. 9

Took the early bus back to Scarborough. Neil Philip was late meeting me at the KFC “in the heart of Scarborough.” Seems to be the local meeting place. It’s right across from the ferry building. Neil finally arrived. He’s a chef at the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort, and he specializes in desserts and gourmet food.

I am enjoying an afternoon up here in the hills outside the city with Dusko Bajin, a Serbian friend of Neil’s, who is visiting for a few months. We’re both online and watching BET (the Black Entertainment Television from the US). Dusko is telling me all about Serbia, and now I want to go there.


Saw a TV show about Mo Yan, the Chinese novelist who recently won a Nobel Prize. Here are some notes I took from his words during the show:

flaunting my poverty

begtging–used to be a huge disgrace

find my own literary kingdom

my own insecurity

forbidden subjects tackled

real social conflicts

arrogance of the official class


using his childhood poverty to his advantage

story-telling since he was a child

he’d make the story his own by adding to the characters slightly

no one can make me say anything I don’t want to say


I’m sharing my room here at Neil’s house with a young-ish Norweigian couple, Torunn and Stig. They have the king-sized bed, and I’m on a mattress on the floor. They’re on a fifteen month trip around the world. Stig’s a long-time world traveller; Torunn’s a relatively new traveller.


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