Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Helpful Tips......

for when you visit T & T for the first time

tips

On the Road

There are hardly any road signs about, but don't worry, you cannot be lost, you are HERE..........

Should you think that you are lost, don't ask a native. No self respecting Trini will ever admit that he does not know the way either. You will always get directions, no matter what or where to.

We drive on the left side of the road (or ought to)- However, on a three lane highway, most cars drive and don't move from the overtaking lane (which is the right lane in Trinidad and Tobago- Some cars drive in the middle lane and the left lane, the slow lane is clear....

If you want to get to a shop or a coconut vendor on the other side of the road, just cross straight over, right in front of the oncoming traffic - everyone does it and understands that move - no need to turn on your indicator either- the cars behind you are supposed to keep their distance to make allowance for unsuspecting moves (this also means that you have to be prepared for the event that the car in front of you does the same)

It is quite normal that the driver in front of you stops to chat with the driver of a stopped car from the oncoming traffic- they may discuss how their weekend went, what food they ate, how their grandmother is doing..... and, in case of taxi drivers, they may make "change" while you bite your nails.

Taxis usually have the letter "H" in front of their license plate (P stands for private car- H for Hire (taxi), T for truck, R for Rental car). Taxis stop at anytime, anywhere. When their passengers say "I take it right here, driver", it means RIGHT HERE! The taxi comes to an immediate halt. And you are at fault for not keeping your distance, should you rear-end the taxi. To complicate matters: many private car owners drive their P cars for hire (taxis), so you won't know by just looking at the license plate what kind of car is in front of you. You could probably discern a Private car that operates as a taxi by the creative stuff they have decorated their cars with: dolls hanging from the mirror, cushions behind the glass of the back window, adorned with hand crocheted covers, extra stripes on the car, the car painted as if it had an accident, with "spilt" paint spots, break lights that flash like a Christmas tree etc etc.

Stopping for red lights is for sissies (and white people). Any real Trini will make it his ambition to run through a red light, if it is already red or if it is still red. A few years ago it used to be "running the orange light", but that is no real challenge to any motorized Trini. So, my advice to you is: practice this manoeuvre at home before coming here, you will fit in faster and get respect from the locals.

When you happen to go to Maracas beach, you must drink a lot of our Trini rum with coconut water before heading home. The best way to drive home is to dismantle your brakes. This makes for the most thrilling drive of your life, as you can admire the 300 feet drops to your right along the coast line while you swoosh along. Many Trinis engage in this great activity. Last one is a chicken.

When you drive "in town", you will find many Trinis crossing the road in front of your car on foot nilly willy. Should you make any indication that you would like to proceed, they will come to a dead stop in front of your car and challenge you "Bounce meh nah". It is a matter of who has the better nerves, you or the pedestrian; usually the pedestrian wins. He has been trained from small by his parents.

You do NOT have the right away, EVER if the driver of the other car does not look at you while crossing in front of you from a side street or from your left or right side, (it is called giving you a "bard drive"). This is a great trick, because if he looks at you, he will acknowledge that he saw you and he then would have to stop. But, if you see that he does not seem to see you, you will have to give way in order to avoid a collision. Again, this is a manoeuvre to test how good your nerves and your reflexes are. My tip is that you try to spot the intention of the other driver before he pretends not to see you. You now proceed and avert your face (while stealthily looking out of the corners of your eyes to see what he is doing) and drive in front of him. This is a great game which will take away some of the boredom of driving.

Time

"Anytime is Trinidad Time". And you better believe that. Jus' now means : in a few minutes, in a few hours, in a few days or in a few years or never. If you are supposed to be picked up by a Trini friend to go somewhere, best thing is to add about an hour and a half to the prearranged time. Don't sit there in all your fancy clothes, ready to go. You'll only make yourself stressed out. Have a few drinks, take a long bath, dance some calypso .......... don't sit there watching the clock. If you miss the plane, well there is always tomorrow and another plane, not so ?

Go back up