January 23, 2006

Crown Point Attitude
Crown Point, Trinidad and Tobago

After seven nights in Tobago, Andy and I are getting anxious to see another part of the island—curious if the personalities of the locals in Crown Point are indicative of the rest of the population.

Crown Point Thug

It's hard not to make sweeping generalizations when it comes to the men of Crown Point. I found most to be difficult, jaded, and aggressive (either in demeanor or with the persistent in-your-face pushing of their warez). Rose complained that the women were particularly unfriendly towards her, receiving the stink eye from them, or no eye contact at all. Other women I spoke with warned that the simple act of acknowledging a local man could lead to steady harassment for the remainder of their time in town.

The manager of the only nightclub in Crown Point shared his opinion with me about one of the biggest problems that perpetuates the attitude of local men. It seems that Tobago is a convenient destination for a few specific countries to the northeast (and across the Atlantic)—countries where encounters with men of African decent are perceived as uncommon. Combine the infatuation of a tropical island with rum, music, and the persist attention/unknown flavor of a local "land shark" (as he put it), and you've got the recipe for Crown Point. AIDS is beginning to become a problem here.

I do love many of the ladies who run the small stores and eateries in the area though. It's a delight when you get a little Caribbean grandmother to interact with—they're so fun! I've also found that even though folks here won't initiate a conversation (in fact they're often surprised when you do greet them), those that I chose to do so with are friendly and receptive.

Some of the local nuances of the language can also make communicating fun or challenging, depending on your perspective. If you can get past the thick accent some folks have, you'll notice small words like:

  • lime/liming: to hang out. "Where you limin' tonight?"
  • chiller: a refrigerator. "What do you have to drink in the chiller?" and
  • okaaay & alllright: overwhelming used by locals on both islands to acknowledge a greeting or respond to a question. "Good morning! …alllright."

I'm looking forward to visiting another part of Tobago, most likely the small town of Charlotteville in the northeastern part of the island. Andy and I hear that this is one of the main places in Tobago where ships come to anchor—perhaps one will be heading south.

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