In the jungle, welcome to the jungle / Watch it bring you to your (Tri)knees, (Tri)knees
This past week and a half I have: engaged in an activity with the name of a fruit (lime), walked on a surface which responded to my touch, been rained on in a rainforest and eaten a predator.
To recap: To lime in Trinidad is to socialise or even just hang out/chill out with friends. Or if you want to get really deep:
“Liming is, in other words, an activity not subjected to a formal set of rules. Its value to the participants is entirely contingent on the shared meaning that can be established spontaneously. A typical lime begins when two or several acquaintances (neighbours, colleagues, relatives or simply friends) meet more or less by chance; in the street, at the grocer’s, outside somebody’s home, or in the rumshop. For it is impossible to lime alone: liming is inherently a social activity; it is constituted by the (minimally) dyadic relationship and cannot be reduced to the individual agent. A second necessary condition for a lime is the presence of an ambience of relaxation and leisure. Both (or all) limers should relax physically (recline in chairs, lean against walls etc.) in a manner enabling them to converse at their ease. Thirdly, the situation should assume an air of openness: a lime is in principle open to others who might want to join. Liming is, in other words, a social and public activity.
The term liming is nowadays used locally for almost any kind of unspecified leisure activity; in this analysis, I opt to restrict it conceptually to the kind of contexts outlined. Groups of people meeting in each others’ living-rooms are therefore not true limers unless the context allows for the intrusion of gatecrashers.”
I limed on a beach, and I limed under a tent in a yard. I limed hither and thither.
While at the beach, I also ate a shark sandwich. This legendary lunch consists of a shark filet, in a fried bread bun, with a multitude of creative toppings inspired by the diverse heritage of Trinidad, with its Indian, African, Chinese and European fusion. There’s mango in there, cumin, the Trini version of cilantro, hot pepper…everything under the sun that somehow comes together to create the most delectable sandwich you’ll ever find. At present I am considering how I can export the secrets of the Bake and Shark to the Bahamas, where I will make it with some other white fish (because shark is protected in the Bahamas, thankfully) and within weeks, bank my first million dollars.
On my way to the Bake and Shark shack, another pleasant surprise awaited. Surrounding the beach, blanketing the ground, are plants that respond to your touch. If you ever had a venus fly trap plant as a “pet” as a kid, you will know what I am talking about. Fly traps they weren’t, but some kind of super-sensitive fern. Place your foot near them and they curl up instantly. Nothing like a responsive plant to keep my rapt attention in a car parking area next to a stunning beach.
Fast forward to this past weekend, and I found myself in the jungle, grabbing hold of giant vines to stop myself slipping down a steep rainforest path that had turned into a slide after a heavy downpour. Around us were giant airplants, tropical flowers, vines and ferns amidst the dense web of tree roots and trunks. We were en route to the Double River Waterfall in Brasso Seco, on the Northern Range with a local hiking group from the University of the West Indies. Looking forward to plenty more of this kind of activity while I am in Trinidad (and hopefully see some of the island’s armadillos, ocelots, monkeys, snakes and iguanas along the way….)
Meanwhile, back at the office, I am continuing to discover the challenges of doing data collection and analysis in the Caribbean. Primary among them being that there is none. Well ok, there is some, but in comparison to other parts of the world, it is hard to come by: often either uncollected or belatedly released, and in a format that is often cumbersome to manipulate according to your needs. ECLAC has been pushing initiatives to enhance the data collection capacity of the region, and increasingly I think this should be one of the top priorities of policy makers who are genuinely interested in addressing the region’s problems.
P.S. You see what I did up there with the title of the blog? Name of popular song that talks about the jungle and knees….I went to the jungle…with some trinis…. Tri-knee…Trini…geddit? …..sigh.