City Gyal: A stroll through Port of Spain

I like walking through the city after dark when the respectable citizens lock up their businesses and leave their jobs to go home and the notorious and otherwise entertaining characters emerge. People watching is one of my favourite things in the world to do. You’ll learn more than you will in any education institution. I felt like Jodi Foster’s character in “The Brave One.” I really love Trinidad.

I’m going to walk you all through the journey of my city stroll.

8:20 – Walk from the beautiful Savannah down Dondonald Street, careful to avoid roaches on the pavement. Nasty bitches.

8:23 – I hear music blaring behind me on the street and assume it’s a car but this band of bicycle riding teens pulled a fast one on me. There was one of them with a huge speaker attached to the back of the bicycle blaring Jamaican dancehall music. I laughed loudly and shook my head while thanking God that the music was so loud they couldn’t hear me. Don’t want to take any chances.

8:25 – Walk past the strip club. Yes, there is a strip club sitting betwixt businesses and schools. Only in the city. The man asks me if I want to come in, I steups and keep walking. In my mind: I’m not a stripper you shit face.

8:30 – Walk past 3 guys talking and laughing on the other side of the street. One shouts, “Goodnight nice girl. I would give you anything you want, anything, a Benz, a X5, a big house on the hill, tell me what you want!”I laugh with my eyes but keep walking.

8:32 – Slow my pace to walk behind two women with outrageous weaves who chatter and laugh loudly. They’re talking about installing kill switches in their cars while I examine their hair. I imagine them at the hairdresser getting it done and then leaving thinking they’re the flyest people on the planet. I imagine the other people in the beauty parlour endorsing this fallacy.

8:35 – Listen to a vagrant ask a man behind me for money. Always money, not food. Never food. I see the hard and cracked soles of his feet in my mind and wonder what they were like years ago.

8:40 – There is a man sitting opposite the casino in a Police Service t-shirt diligently polishing his shoes with a toothbrush and shoe polish. *shhh – shhh – shhh – scoup polish – shhh – shhh – shhh*

8:43 – I look into the car park of a building and see fully costumed dancers saying prayers before their rehearsals. Two more steps: Tassa Drums. Hearing Tassa Drums always makes me feel like doing an African dance ritual.

8:45 – Jehovah’s Witnesses. Too busy thinking about African dances and didn’t see them in time to cross the street. Smile politely and take the booklet. It reads, ‘Would you like to know the truth? Does God care about us? How can I find happiness in my life? In my mind: Pay attention Alicia, damn.

8:49 – There are six old men avidly debating politics in the Square. Go home and take your pressure pills na pops.

8:52 – Stop dead in my tracks to avoid a roach touching my feet. Step into the street and inadvertently step on another roach emerging from the sewer. *CRUNCH* Deep breath to stop my skin from crawling. I drag my feet for two more steps to ensure the yellow gunk is removed from the sole of my flip flops. Why the fuck are there so many roaches?!

8:55 – Look into the showcase of one of my favourite stores from across the street and examine their layout marking things I approve of.

8:56 – Look into the showcase of the store I hate and scowl. Any merchandiser who sells low quality goods at a high quality price deserves it.

9:00 – Heart of the city. Pass the nuts and newspaper vendors. Boldly cross the street and imagine myself being hit by a car if I was in another country. I am admittedly a wayward pedestrian.

9:02 – More Jamaican music blaring. This time from a pirate selling CDs at the side of the street. I sometimes forget that I am in Trinidad and not Jamaica.

9: 05 – In a maxi (the equivalent of a small bus in Trinidad). The man next to me is holding a box of food. I imagine what’s inside. You don’t want to know.

9:07 – Maxi stops and a girl with her hair in an afro ponytail sits in front of me. I imagine that they’ll honk if I squeeze them. Briefly wonder what she would do if I did. Flashback of that viral video of the white war vet beating that black guy on the bus. Worse yet, ‘Soulja Girl’ going crazy on grandma in ATL. No thank you.

9:10 – Honking pom poms gets out the maxi and flashes me her pink and white striped underwear as she bends to pay the driver. Sigh and look away.

9:12 – Close my eyes and savour the smells from the various Chinese Restaurants lingering in the air. I love Asian cuisine.

9:13 – Fantasies of Asian food come to a screeching halt with the maxi as the driver almost hits a man crossing on the green light.  They curse each other out. Life goes on.

9:14: A car is overturned into a ditch at the side of the street. The driver smokes a cigarette and talks softly into his phone holding a beer. Wonder what happened?! The woman behind me promptly calls someone to relay the news. All Trini people are natural reporters.

9:15 – Another passenger gets out and flashes me her ass crack as she pays the driver. Switch seats or keep your eyes to the window woman!

9:16 – Thankfully, I arrive at my stop. The driver speeds and has no regard for road safety regulations. I am also thankful that my outfit prevents underwear or ass crack flashing of any kind. Goodbye asshole, try not to kill the other passengers.

9:17 – Home. Flip Flops thrown aside, hair down, glass of milk. Possibilities are endless.

Your stripping, roach crushing street walker,


Image via cartoonstock.com

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