Monday, August 10, 2009

The Hair Cut

Today I had my hair cut. This is not just your prosaic visit to the neighbourhood beauty salon. No, I had it cut at Bloater’s!
I haven’t had a hair cut for 2 months, and after 8 weeks of relentless sun and sea salt it had grown into a thick, curly, wild horror show of many colours and lengths. What to do? I didn’t want to cut it myself. By this time I could only make it worse. I didn’t trust any of the many so-called beauty shops around. A barber called Bloater was recommended. Did I want to have my hair cut by a Dominican barber called Bloater? Scary.
Last week I went by his barber shop just to check it out. I actually got the nerve up to go in. There were five chairs; each had a child in it getting his head shaved. On the long bench along the wall were some 6 or 7 men and boys waiting their turn. This was not encouraging. I found Mr. Bloater, a gentle giant of a man, and asked him if he had experience with this kind of hair, and did he think he could trim it. “Have no fear”, was his reply. I left.
But today, when I got up, I just couldn’t stand it any longer. It was hot, heavy and, sweaty. I was ready to face a barber shop full of black barbers and black men!!! I went to Bloater’s and sat on the bench, to wait my turn.
Mr. Bloater wrapped me in his big stripped cape, wound toilet paper around my throat and hefted his electric razor in my direction. He buzzed around my ears and at the back of my neck, then skillfully mowed over the top layer of the hair on top of my head, thankfully, not next to the scalp. My sun bleached hair began to fall and mingle with the jet black hair on the floor. He sculpted the hair rather than ‘cut’ it. No scissors were used until the end for the finishing touches. It took half an hour. He dusted me off, got out a mirror to show me the back and I was thrilled with the result. I felt clean, airy, and greatly relieved. All this for only 12EC (eastern Caribbean dollars: $6.00 Canadian).
So the next question is should I colour it or not? It is quite white. Mr. Bloater says yes. Tomorrow.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Tid Bits

Posted by Picasa
When the birds are high above the ocean, the fish are deep, when they are flying low to the water, the fish are at the surface.

Some nice phrases commonly heard:

"Hey boy, it's a long time I doesn't cast eyes on you."
"Hey man, why you doesn't hail me?"
"I doesn't study that" = I forgot

In common everyday speech, the verb is often at the end of the sentence, as in: "Where he is?" "Home, I'm going." "Weed I smoked last night."

When something is said that the listener doesn't like or believe, for example if a child is rude, the listener reacts, saying, "What is dat I am hearing in my ear?" The first time someone said this to me I fell on the floor laughing. I couldn't believe what I was hearing in my ear!!!

A folk saying: Don't hang your hat where you can't reach it.

Walking back to Glanvillia from Portsmouth I cross the Indian River bridge and immediately feel I have walked into another time zone.

I have learned today that some fishermen steal other fishermen's fishpots. I am saddened and dismayed to hear that there is no honour among the fisherfolk.

I have also learned that people really do believe that the Haitians cast black voodoo spells and curses. It seems that some Haitian children put spells on their teachers so they get good marks. How do we know this? Because there is no other way the Haitian children could get good marks. To me, this is racism in its pure form. Bravo to the teachers who give marks as they are earned.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Setting the Fishpots

Although fishing is an important part of the economy, there are few full time fishermen. Most go fishing only several days a week and farm the rest of the time. They trawl with a line, use fishpots (big wire cages),seine nets. Dolphin fish, King fish, snapper, tuna and bonito, balaou and flying fish usually make up the catch. You know when a boat returns to shore with its catch when you hear the fisherman blow on a conch shell. They tell me that some even blow a special tattoo to tell what kind of fish they have. You grab your pail or bag and run to the shore. Seven EC (eastern caribbean dollars, about $3.50 Canadian)will get you 3 pounds of wonderful, small tuna or red snapper.

Sono set his pots with crab and papaya. Barely balancing the pots on the bow, we headed out to pick up his brother, Phillip from the dock at Clifton. Then, after much discussion between Phillip and Sono, a suitable spot, not too far out to sea, was determined, and the fishpots were tossed over board. He'll go back in 24 to 36 hours to raise them. The fish haven't been biting well these days (something about the wrong phase of the moon for fish),so he doesn't expect a big catch.

Laundry Day

Guyva and Lynthia stopped by to tell me they were going to the river to do some laundry and to ask if I would like to go. Of course I would like to go, so off we went, stopping at the shop to buy some washing powder and bleach. We carried the pails and bags of laundry for about 1/2 a mile to the Picard River. What a delight to find a cool, shaded, bubbling, shallow, fast running river. It's shaded banks and rocky, verdant shore, clear, cool, and fresh, reminded me of home. It also rained off and on while the sun continued to shine.

The walk home was somewhat different! I hadn't calculated in the weight of the laundry, heavy now because it was wet. The day had advanced, so now it was also HOT. It was well worth it, and I will go back to the Picard just to sit in it's sheltered pools of refreshing sweet water.