Thursday, January 28, 2010

Being a Girl on the Road

Engineering has always been a male dominated field but women are slowly making themselves more prominent.  Therefore I have always been told to be prepared that you will not be taken seriously and/or not respected as much since you are a woman.  I received the same speech from my superiors before heading out on the Road for work and in some cultures this way of life is absolutely true. 

Luckily my first training assignment it is absolutely the opposite.  Everyone working at the refinery from contract workers to fellow process engineers to management always wants to make sure that I am learning and enjoying myself; AND when I advise them of a method to complete an activity they take me serious and follow through with what I recommended. 

We were inspecting the reactors of the unit one afternoon which requires us to climb inside a confined space to look around as well as decend down a wire ladder to the bottom.  This is something I have never done before but super excited.  One of the contract engineers climbed out after fixing the ladder for us and advised that since this is my first time inside of this vessel not to go into the largest one.  At the moment I was not thinking and agreed since there were two more that looked exactly the same but smaller.  He was looking out for me I suppose....

After a few minutes I started thinking..."Wait a minute, eventually I will become Chief (head advisor for an assignment) and maybe I will be the only one on site OR I would be in an all female crew."  I need to be able to climb in and out of all sorts of vessels that vary in size.  I hooked the fall arrestor onto my harness and down I went.  It was a piece of cake!

Into the manway I go

Climbing on the ladder (bottom probably ~7-8 meters down) and the ladder is flat against the side which gives no space for your feet.  It's not your typical walk in the park - you do get exercise!

Out of the manway I come

Mission Complete!

As Promised...Fete Pictures!

As I explained a couple of weeks ago what a Fete was I now have pictures of the gang at a fete called "Soca on 'D' Avenue".  Now Soca refers to the type of music that is played there - don't ask me how to describe it; y'all will have to google it or come visit :)  A fun time was had by all and we shall be attending another one this weekend although I think it will be my last until Carinval because they wear you out and the cost does add up! 

Local band playing steel drums and musical instruments.

Idoko, Ricardo and I (before we starting sweating to the beat)

Idoko & I dancing (non-traditional Trinidad style...moreso mix of latin and ballroom)

Idoko, me and Ricardo gettin' low Trinidad style - although I wasn't wearing a belt so I didn't get too low because I did not want to end up with a plumbers crack (sorry if you are a plumber but it's so true!)

Eating what is called Doubles.  It's some yummy tortilla filled goodness.  Maybe Fanon could shed some light :-)

Soca performer Denise Belfon - showing ya a little Trinidad action.  Teaching the audience difference ways to Wine (aka dance Trini style)

The whole gang (Jeremy, Matt, Jason, Idoko, me)

I have Fete Fever :-)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fete What,,?!?!

It's been a while since I have updated.  It has been busy at work therefore nothing has really happened all too exciting to share.  Although tonight....

Tonight I went to an all inclusive fete.  A fete is pretty much a concert with a variety of performers.  All Trinidad music sounds the same to me so it did not matter who was playing.  It lasted from 4pm to midnight.  All inclusive means that the drinks and food are included for the entire 8 hours.  Unfortunately my camera died, I forgot to charge it, and my friend forgot his...therefore no pictures.  I will attend another so stay tuned.  Thus, imagine an outdoor courtyard filled with tents and a stage.  Several tents have food and there is a bar on every corner as well as in the middle serving top shelf liqour.  Several other stands are on the perimeter with specialty drinks such as cocktails made with Absolute Vodka, Baileys, Jose Cuervo shots table, etc. 

The style of dancing that takes place in Trinidad is called Wineing (not sure if I spelled that correctly); it is similar to griniding in the US but classier!  There are no strings attached meaning it's just a dance and not to be offended if someone starts to dance with you - unlike the US where you know the guy up on you wants some!  I danced with the group I came with so it was nice to have familar faces to wine with :-)  Many commented that I am the first White girl that can dance Trinidad style.  I proved White girls can dance!!

On that note my ears are still ringing from the loud awesomeness and I am feeling the 8 hour dance party.  Worn out but totally worth it!  Can not wait until the next one and I promise pictures!!