Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's On The Road!

Who says that while traveling for work "On the Road" you can not enjoy traditional Holidays?!  Christmas in Trinidad was a success so I would not expect New Years to be any different.  All crew members met in the lobby for some much needed R&R involoving a little ethanol - very appropriate don't you think!? 

The crew:  Afshin (chief), Matt, Me, Idoko and Ken

The beer was enjoyed by all in the hotel lobby which overlooked the night skyline of the Gulf of Paria.  The ships lights made it appear like Christmas was occuring in the ocean - very pretty.  The beverage of choice was the local Caribbean brew - Carib.  Not too bad - although to me every beer (cheap or expense) tastes the same.
The shot to the lef to the left of the beer is a Margarita shot provided by the bartender at no charge.  Very delicious - couldn't taste the alcohol at all which can be dangerous.  Luckily I only partook in one :-)  After relaxing at the hotel bar for a couple hours, we lite off a fountain firecracker in the parking lot.  It lasted all of about 30 seconds - if that - but still a nice way to say Happy New Year in Trinidad. 

I miss everyone back home and wish you a WONDERFUL new year!!!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas In Trinidad

Christmas 2009 was the first Christmas I have been away from the ones I love.  Luckily technological advancement has made it possible to keep in touch and make it feel as though you are there!  Today I finally was able to pick up the package my parents sent me with gifts and they were able to witness via Skype.  They gave me practically all food...half healthy snacks and half chocolate.  I keep telling them I am working out and trying to eat right yet they send me mounds of chocolate.  It's not easy only having a little at a time to a sugar queen such as myself.  I think my crew will be getting some chocolatey treats this week :-) 

On Christmas Day I was able to hang out with my friend and co-worker Fanon and his family in Trinidad.  He was visiting for the week from Chicago and showed me around.  I was able to try some traditional Trinidad food which was amazing!  My favorite thing was this juice concoction called Sorrel ("Saw-rel") which is made from a flower (shown below).

This juice is seasonal around the Holidays and everyone makes it just a little bit different.

 Fanon's cousins, Aunt, Uncle, Dad and Grandma and me.  They were very hospitable and made me feel very welcome on Christmas.  Thank you!

More crew members arrived in Trinidad the week of Christmas so we decided to go back to Maracas Beach because they HAD to have the Bake and Shark; plus I wanted to have it again as well!!!!

Looks like an ordinary fish sandwich but close your eyes and take a bite - a whole different taste!

Now let's see what New Year's brings - I am sensing hours of work at the refinery :-) 

Merry Christmas everyone and a Wonderful New Year!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Old Dubbs Road

The refinery has many roads so you can get around with names that help you recognize what area you might be in such as Hydroprocessing Lane or Tank Farm Road.  My office which is located in a freight-like looking container (luckily it is air conditioned) is located on a classic road name...see picture below!

I have not found the New Dubbs Road yet!

There is not really too much, actually let me rephrase...there is nothing to do around the hotel that is within walking distance.  I either need to be driven around by the Chief on the job or take a taxi (which ends up being ridiculously expensive).  Luckily my Chief is really nice and ends up running errands if I need to go somplace as well which enables me to get to the gym, although not as often as I would like.  We do go out to explore various restaraunts in the area.  While driving around we ended up behind a car that has a fun bumper warning for the car behind him.

I guess you become a worse driver when you drive on the left hand side of the road with a left hand side (vs. right side) steering location.  Stay clear!  That kept me laughing for a while.

Weather since I arrived has been 80-90F and end up missing the occasional 2-10 minute rain shower.  This weekend was the exception.  It rained most of the day on Sunday but was still humid and higher temperatures.  Good day to get work accomplished without tempation of nice weather. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Maracas Beach...Shark and Bake!

This past weekend Afshin, my chief, and I went to the well known Maracus beach.  Joe, a local refinery manager, took us since we really do not have good maps of the area.  Apparently Sunday is a big "let's go to the beach" day but the beach was suprisingly not packed. 

Ever since I arrived in Trinidad everyone, and I literally mean everyone, I have met told me that I must try Shark and Bake at Maracas Beach.  I really was hoping that it would be the Great White I was eating but sadly is a smaller and still in the shark family.  It's prepared like a fish sandwich but the Bake is the bread which is delicious!  We ate at Richard's Bake and Shark hut - I recommend this one!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

First Day on the Job

Driving to the refinery was quite an adventure.  The adventure was not the fact that they drive on the opposite side of the road it was that they are worse than US drivers in so many ways!  All of a sudden the car in front of you will stop and someone will either get in or out of the car; if a sign says stop - they dont really and they try to squeeze through the tightest places on a regular basis. 

Most of my first day today was spend at safety training.  Workers at the refinery are quite nice; everyone introduces themself and offers to help if we need anything.

As promised here are more pictures from my hotel...

View out of my window to the North (I think)

View of the barges right outside my window in the bay
Up close and personal

Close up of the refinery I can see from my window - looks cool at night.  Haven't taken a good night shot yet.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Arrival into Trinidad

Local time is 1:40 am here in Trinidad which is 2 hours ahead of CST.  Travel experience went smooth for the most part.  Luckily I was in an exit row which allowed for a somewhat 1st class experience of leg room.  Will Ferrell showed me the Christmas spirit in the movie Elf and the movie from Miami to Trinidad was Disney's Up.  Needless to say I did not watch much because I was catching up on the little amount of sleep I have received in the last few days in preparation for travel.

As I mentioned the travel experience went FAIRLY smooth....until I reached Trinidad airport and went to retrieve my bags in baggage claim.  I was able to find all but one of my bags.  The one bag that did not make the flight was my safety bag which contains all my work gear.  American Airlines says it will be delivered to my hotel tomorrow afternoon/evening....we shall see!

I arrived at the hotel around 12:30am.   I am located in the new wing.  Since I do not know what the old wing looks like I can not compare but the new wing is nice.  I can not tell because my window is fogged up but I think I may have a view of the Gulf of Paria - I'll confirm in the morning. 

The view of the bed looks very inviting at the moment.  Time to sleep - early day tomorrow.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


As I start my many journey's traveling for work, I invite you to accompany me around the world.  No matter where I am, you will be right next to me.  As often as I can, this blog will be updated with pictures and stories.  Feel free to comment as often as you'd like since it will help connect me with home.  Until next time...