….Say what! you gotto be kidding me! Are we really in 2015. I stared with shocked amazement at my passport, is this really saying what it reads, let me consult the calendar. There begun the excitement of my Vacation to the land of the Hummingbird, the twin Island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. I had a very busy weekend, so the packing for the vacation began on the evening prior to us leaving for our little vacation. I asked my husband to put out whatever he wanted to take so that I can pack it in the suitcase (he had an engagement that evening and I a meeting during the day). so there I was packing in the pieces for our week vacation, fold..roll..pack..fold..roll..pack, finally I put in the toiletries, then took a tired but satisfied look at the case. My hand piece was completed as well, so I moved them to a corner, thinking yes, so proud of myself all packed and ready. Slippers? check, sandals? check, flats to travel with, check? got my sunglasses, camera is charging….everything seem to be in order.
OK, now time to get the documents in order as we had to leave pretty early, and I was trying to avoid last hassle, you know how confused we can get early morning. I took out our passports and the printed ticket, then decided to check my passport data page (yes i like looking at my photo on my official documents) and reading the fine prints now and then. Reading the fine prints and suddenly….
OH THE HORROR…..
no, no, no, this can’t be right, my eyes are tired and playing tricks on me, I had a long day, let me read this again. The information did not change….Yes we were in July and Yes it was 2015. Even though I questioned myself three times to ensure that I had the date, month and year correct. And yes my passport expired the previous week. I think in my tired state, my blood managed to drain and re drain from my face. I had a 8am flight, with a three hour prior check in, the drive to the airport is roughly 45 mins with very light traffic….
WHY ME Oh Lord WHY ME
Shaggy’s song “Why me, O Lord, Why me” started resonating in my head, what lesson am I suppose to be learning here now, you are probably thinking didn’t you check your passport before, the answer is no. Your next question is probably why not? because in my mind I had more time on my passport. But, when you bought your ticket… my husband bought the tickets and he didn’t need the passport just needed the correct order and spelling of my name. But….well regardless of the but and why questions, the deal was done, it was minutes to 10pm and I had a 8am flight with a week old expired passport and all government building start working at 8am.
THINK Alexi THINK
If there is one thing I can pride myself in is that i’m pretty good at dealing with high pressured issues and decision making (even though my blood pressure may not appreciate this particular talent). I immediately called one of my bff, as I know she was in a similar situation and received an emergency travel document (though her case was a little different as she was travelling for work) but hey, who knows, right now going to the passport office is the only option. Ring…ring….ring…. ring…voicemail. Try again…same thing…. third try….same thing. So I tried my other bff, her response was do you want me to see what I can find out, I said yes please she ok, ill call you back. She returned the call shortly after, unfortunately we didn’t get the information we were looking for but she was so sweet and provided that support, we decided that the passport office is definitely the way to go cause they certainly will not let me out of the country with an expired travel document. I contacted another friend who knew someone that worked at the passport office to find out what the possibility was for me getting an emergency document, she advised that I go with my documents and ticket and explain my situation to the officers, and try my luck. Lord Help Me. Note, my other friend phone is still ringing out and going to voicemail. I went online, checked out the documents and so on before I make the other call…to my hubby…
“Hey babe, I got something to tell you, but don’t get upset” Ok what happen? “we got an issue, my passport expired last week” You lie? “nope i’m serious” ….Alexi ….and seriously I cant remember what else he said, let’s just say the rest of the very short conversation did not go down too well. In this union, let’s just say I cope better dealing with high pressured decision making situation. I’m very practical I think…OK here is the issue, no how do we get pass this issue to move to the next level, what’s the game plan. I’ve learned a long time ago that its ok to fume, but we gotto choose our battles, some are just cases where the sooner we figure out a solution, the better. This was one of those situations.
Guyana Passport Office Experience
Well first off, I don’t know why every single day from Monday to Friday a very long line and crowd can be seen outside the passport office, seriously ever working day of the year.If you wana get out by 10 am, you better be there between 4:30-5:30 am (yes AM as in early morning). So I woke up, at 4:30 after having very little not so sound sleep, got myself ready and drove to the passport office, which got me there at 5:30. There were a number of persons in front of me (naturally about 20 or 30), I said my prayers and took my space in the line. There was a very interesting preacher with an “interesting theory” who had a captive audience, as nobody wanted to move and loose their space in the line. While in the line my friend called, now returning my call from the previous night, so I explained my situation and she was now trying to think what it was that she needed when she was in the same situation, so she can advice me (then I said how come you now seeing the call, her response “girl you know me, I tek knock out and didn’t hear the phone, now seeing the missed calls) As per norm she was very positive and promised to check in with me to see how things were progressing.
My Bffs my forever cheerleadng squad- love these ladies.
At 6:30 the place was opened and persons started filing in, the officer with over dress codes and checked documents. I explained my situation, and the answer was when you get in speak to the officer inside. I told my hubby to go ahead and catch the flight without me as it made no sense that both of us had to change our tickets. Plus I would be better able to focus, if I don’t have him in my ears and eyeballing me in this situation. So my sole focus was to get my document and proceed.
I took my place in line then was told that I needed to change my form because some information was missing from the print (Lord, please, perseverance, patience, please) so I went, got the new forms, and had to get it endorsed (Bless those taxi drivers, they knew all the right people and took me where I needed to be) on the way I also needed new passport photos, which I also got at 6:30am (Photographer came out, pulling a shirt over his torso, looked at me and commented “baby you look more tired than me”. I laughed, and responded, that is probably true, as I had noticed bags under my eyes that morning. He took my photo, I paid him and chit chatted a bit, about business traffic during the early morning hour.
Taxi man was waiting on me outside and took me to my next destination then back to the passport office, where I had to go and rejoin the line, apparently I had lost my space and there were now about 15-20 persons in front of me, I felt like crying, but again I calmed myself as there were about 200 persons behind me and at least I was in the main building (bright side of things).
Finally I went from one counter to the next, and now I was inside (final stage), I explained my situation and the officer was very polite, she advised that when she is finished processing my documents I’ll need to go talk to the second in command and explain my situation and then a decision will be made based on his consideration. I was told that such a document I was seeking could take as long as a passport (3-4 days- heck I only got one week for this vacay). (I’m thinking What! then why is it called an emergency travel document then)
Second in Command (A VERY VERY KIND SOUL)
I went through to see the Second in Command and had to wait a bit as someone was with him at the time, I prayed. It was my turn, I went it pleasantries exchanged, documents handed over for inspection, then I explained my situation, he looked at me with kind fatherly eyes, then said, what time is your flight? I told him, then explained I was hoping to catch a later flight but that is dependent on the time I get out of there as I still had to deal with changing the ticket. He then said ok I don’t want you to miss your vacation with your husband, and don’t worry your husband will calm down when he sees you again. He proceeded to write instructions on a paper, told me I needed two passport photo which I had fresh off the press, thanks to the taxi driver and his hook ups) and I also needed a revenue stamp (which I did not have). The kind officer, took one off his desk and showed me what it should like, he then said I am going to give you this for your document, go back outside to the officer and give her your details, while they are processing your document, you need to go and buy back my stamp (this was about (8:30- 9am) round the corner by the Post Office.(i’m thinking, this is it? oh thank you Lord)
So Relieved! I then asked, so do you get alot of these cases often, without missing a beat or looking up he responded…mmmhmm. Me “ok”. I thank him for his kindness and proceed with the instructions and to buy back his stamp. That conversation and situation could have taken a whole different route
So BIG SHOUT OUT TO THE GUYANA IMMIGRATION AUTHORITY- PASSPORT OFFICE< YOU GUYS ROCK!!!!
Needless to say I received my inter-caribbean travel document that same day, during the waiting period I thought the officer had forgotten about me, but she came out saw me and said “babes I ain’t forget yuh, I gon call yuh jus now right”. I was out of there by 10 am, went straight to the airline and paid the penalty to change the time of flight, which too, was not too bad, more pleasant surprises, as there is a same day travel time change policy.
My brother and his wife drove me to the airport, I hopped on the late afternoon flight and was in Trinidad 45 mins later.
Piarco International Airport- tired with accomplished goal.
Whew! WHAT A DAY! and a half.
More from the vacation diary, it had just begun, so you know this has gotto be an exciting one.
Oh Lord why me! until next time 😉
Even though Barahar or Barahara is actually a place in India (more than one place as a matter of fact). I would to introduce to you the fruit with the same name- Artocarpus lakoocha aka Barahar or Barahara.
Image 1: Barahara/Barahar
I like to consider my self a tropical girl with a pretty diverse knowledge of the tropical fruits around me. Seriously, I’ve lived in Guyana all my life (well almost all) so i’ll correct that to read most of my life, I have never heard of, much more seen a Barahar or Barahara. I went to the Bourda Market which is pretty much in the heart of the city of Georgetown last Friday to get some greens (that’s how we say vegetables, normally we don’t say I’m going to get some vegetables, its more like I going an buy some greens). So while there I walked around and while I was making a purchase, I turned around and there behind was this very elusive Barahar!. Naturally the explorer in me directed my steps closer and I asked the “uncle” what kind of fruit was that? His response was to announce with great pride “BARAHAR!
My follow up questions was, “Is grown locally right?” he responded “yes” then I said so where does this grow? (as there are fruits that are to specific areas) He said “everywhere”. Well can’t be everywhere cause i’m pretty mobile and I have not seen it, so I guess its everywhere that I’ve never been to.
Image 2: Recognize the orange looking fruit between the Mami apple and the tangerines. (Bourda market fruit stall)
It looks lumpy and funny shaped, kinda like a Noni, yet it resembles a monkey apple, the outside looks and feels somewhat suede-ish with a sandy/sandpaper twist. It is described as green when unripe and yellow when ripe.
Image 3& 4 -views of the Barahar
When opened it is ornagish looking. The texture is similar to monkey apple, its smoother though causing people to compare it to a kowah (jackfruit). It does have its unique scent, but as not strong as Jackfruit.
Image 5: Opened fruit see the seeds and compartmentalize flesh of the fruit.
It is SOUR! or maybe I should be a little more diplomatic and said it has a high acid content. I’m currently fasting (the Baha’i Fast 2-20th March, where we eat and drink before sunrise and eat and drink after sunset) and having a Barahar after dinner is not the smartest thing to do. Though if you add some sugar it should be good to go. I excitedly stopped by my parents on my way home to show them my rare find. I was like ” have you seen this before? my parents had completely different reactions. My dad was like oh Barahara, he then reached out for one. My mom on the other hand said “girl! you like try all sort of strange things”. My next question to her was would you like to taste? she said “na me ain’t know bout it, me ain’t trying it! So my little cousin and nieces and nephews tried it in small portions, I saw my little cousin eating away so I said, you like it? how does it taste. Her response was ” I got the cold so I eating it”. I didn’t quite understand her answer but I said ok. When I opened one this evening and tasted it then I understood why she said what she did, it is fully packed with vitamin C.
See the seeds
The seeds are white and looks similar to other fruits in the same line up. I am sure if we did some further research we will find that this is some power fruit, healing all sorts of things. What strange fruit have come up on recently.
Happy international women’s day!! So Celebrate your womanhood and let those who may cross your path know that we are God’s gift to the world. I’m currently writing this piece from an airport, where the trade winds are caressing my hair and the sun is being so nice and mild. I wrote a blog about 2-3 years back to mark this day and it is just as relevant now as it was then. Therefore I’ll be re blogging most of it. However I want to say that it should not take one special day in a year for us to be recognize,or treated well. We are literally the cradle of civilization without us, civilization cannot move forward. Unfortunately the plight of women in our society is far from ideal where the basic human rights of many of our sisters are denied. The right to freedom, much more freedom of expression, the right to education, where in some countries it is seen as a crime to both male and female. Let us all take a step back and examine how we are contributing to uplifting the status of women. If we are not contributing to the upliftment of women, what can we do to im Continue reading
Of course I can’t wrap up this piece of Mashramani celebration in Guyana, and not share the story of the revelers with you, as they basically epitomizes the spirit of the celebration. These guys can either make or break the band. In the Indigenous band, the revelers represented the colourful macaw, which is a bird that is much integrated into the culture of the Indigenous peoples of Guyana, and what colour it was.
Mohawks and Crowns!
Another amazing shot by Fidal Bassier
See the colours representative of the Macaw, which guy does not want to rock a super cool mohawk (Photo: Fidal Bassier)
In the next photos I will introduce the work of another local photographer, this photographer is a hobby events photographer, who has a regular job in the day and does photography in her spare time, I now present the work of Ms Amanda Richards.
Amanda captured the revelers before they hit the road, all fresh out the dressing room. (Photo: Amanda Richards)
Some of the Ladies strike a pose (Amanda Richards Photo)
Beauties in their crowns …Another Amanda Richards Photo
🙂 selfie before we hit the road or as we say “one fuh de road” (credit: Amanda Richards)
Photo: Amanda Richards
Getting ready to take off! (Photo: Alexi La)
Look at People!!!! ( Photo: Alexi La)
OK folks, so there you have it, the Indigenous band that represented (and won) the Ministry of Amerindian affairs in the 45th Republic Celebration of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana!
If you are thinking hmmm maybe I should consider visiting next year, then start planning, there is a party every night leading up to this event.
..And I called it in my previous blog when I said this band was a boss in that parade, and naturally they cam out on top and won in their category. In the parade, each band not only parades as part of the celebration but there is a competition that is entered based on the size of the band. The categories are small, (below 50 I think) medium ( above the small limit to 100) and large (100 plus). This band was part of the medium category and they were required to have certain number of pieces in their band. As promised I will now share the King and Queen’s costumes, which represented various aspect of Indigenous life/ culture. The overarching theme of the Celebration was One People, One Culture, One Celebration. Therefore every band had to reflect some aspect of this theme.
THE QUEEN (Cock-of- the- Rock)
This Costume represented the very colourful tropical bird the Cock-of-the-rock, this bird is found in the highlands of Guyana, its it one of those birds that bird watchers visiting Guyana would love to get a glimpse of, it is a bird whose bright feathers are used by the Indigenous peoples. (Photo Credit: Alexi La)
The Queen in action. (Photo: Alexi La)
Now the King Costume was not something you encounter everyday (well except if you live where there is a lot of jungle, it is also something you don’t want to encounter everyday). The King’s costume is the ‘Bushmaster” (Lachesis muta), it is considered the largest of all pit vipers and the longest venomous snake in the western hemisphere. No need to wonder why it is called the master of the bush.
The costume represents the ” realistic fantasy of the snake” with the colourful rays being the vibes of the snake.
Photo credit: Fidal Bassier
Full costume on display, full vibes on (Photo: Alexi La)
There we go. the head of the snake on full display getting ready to strike!
Hope you enjoyed these two, next ….revelers!
Really, I do think that there were forty-five parties to hit in a row to mark the 45th anniversary of Guyana attaining its Republican status and joining the commonwealth of Nations. No its not our Independence celebration, but let’s face it (my opinion) it is celebrated more than our Independence is. So why is this? you are probably thinking, ok so what’s the difference, and those of you who would have learned about it in primary school now boxing your brains to differentiate the exact reason.
Well on 23rd February 1970, Guyana was able to have its own head of state (albeit ceremonial), as prior to this, we were ruled by the British Monarchy (Queen Elizabeth II). In 1966 when Guyana gained its Independence, there was an agreement in the Guyana Independence Act of 1966, where the Ceremonial head of state of Guyana would be the Monarch (of Course the Queen cant be all over at once, so there was an appointed Governor-General in country as her representative.), while a Prime Minister was granted to rule the country. This went on until a few years later, the Constitution of 1970 came into being. Although in 1966 after gaining Independence we had our national symbols such as flag, pledge, anthem, flower, animal etc), the complete transition did not take full effect until 1970, when we were allowed to choose our own “ceremonial President”, while the powers were still vested in the Prime Minister. And so the late Mr Arthur Chung became Guyana’s first President (note I did not say executive as the powers were still vested in the Prime Minister, that situation changed ten years later however). It took a lot of hard work for this process to come to fruition and after such ‘hard work’, naturally a celebration is in order.
Hence the Birth of Mashramani (the most colourful celebration in Guyana where everyone comes on the street and celebrate either in a band or as a spectator on the road), or rather I should say Mashir-I-mehi, the original Arawak word meaning a celebration after hard cooperative work. This is a tradition that was practiced by the Indigenous peoples of Guyana for centuries. After they would have worked hard in hunting or cutting a field to plant their food, they would come together, cook, eat, drink, dance and celebrate their accomplishment, not as an individual but as a community. Unity in hard work.
Hence I want to dedicate this first Mash piece to the Indigenous Band that Mash up de place (pun intended) on 23rd Feb, 2015. P.s they were totally awesome, loved it! Am I being a little bias? maybe, but after seeing the beauty of this contingent you would be too.
I am going to be sharing photos from a super talented photographer friend of mine, Fidal Bassier of 55 Photography, and also some from my personal collection.
The band hit the road under the theme ‘Celebrating life, celebrating our culture”, this band saw a Piai Man and Medicine Woman leading the contingent, followed by the Music truck, then the King of the Band which was a ‘Bushmaster snake” the Queen of the Band, a Cock- of the rock bird and colourfully clad revelers representing the beautiful Macaw completed the band.
Let’s start with the Piai Man & Medicine Woman
Medicine woman of the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs Mash Band- Photo Credit: Fidal Bassier, designer of costume: Trevor Alfred
Photo 2: Another Fidal Bassier Photo showing both Piai Man and medicine woman.
Photo 4: Leading the band – Photo: Alexi La
Photo 5: Back view of the beautifully created head dress- Photo: Alexi La.
Photo 6: Working those costumes man- Photo Credit: Alexi La
Are you beginning to see why I think this band was totally awesome and mash up de place. Seriously, there were so many parties to mark this occasion that I lost count. There are also a number of organized annual events to mark this celebration which highlights the rich cultural heritage of Guyana, which I will touch at another time.
Come back again I got more for you as Guyana celebrates its 45th Anniversary as a Republic.
First off I’m no relationship expert, but I live in a world where none of us can escape the warm embrace or claws of a relationship. You ever listen to a song and be like yeah, yeah, I know what you mean, I totally hear you and what you singing about? or think how songs influence our relationships and our relationship experiences influence songs. This afternoon I was driving and turned on the radio and heard Taylor Swift crooning about some boy’s face when she saw it she knew it was her next mistake, lawd Taylor if you know you gonna break up with he sooner or later , why? why?. Is this some sort of romantic masochism? I don’t know. But what I do know is that it got me thinking about the musical phases of a relationship. Think about it, when you are in different phases, certain music and artist appeals to you and make you get all up in that phase.
The Courtship Phase (in person)
Oh there is no other who makes you think that your smile is brighter than the colgate advertisement and your eyes make the stars pale in comparison, and your hair oh your hair falls so perfectly without you trying, like Bruno Mars. Bruno Mars is in my opinion one of the kings of the courtship phase. Ok at this moment I can’t think of another, so he gets the crown, he is the king of the courtship phase of this generation. Clearly Bruno Mars has not had much interaction with a girl whose hair don’t fall so perfect without her trying. The Good Lord knows that if I (and many like me don’t try) he would definitely be singing another song. Or he really would be meaning the phrase, when I see your face, there not a thing that I would change, cause you’re amazing just the way you are (with your hair in another direction and all, rather than falling perfectly), but with a little effort like some moisturizer, a comb, and a brush, my hair is purrrfect :). Regardless though, we gotto admit that when we hear that song we kinda think, hmmm I wish I was that girl he was singing to, he seem so kind and considerate and we go off into our fantasy world of daydreaming. ‘Just the way you are’ is one of those songs that any girl can relate to (there is a line or two in there for everyone except for the hair part ) and when she hears it she feels good about herself and her self confidence is taken to another level, beautiful and on top of the world (even if her laugh sounds like sponge Bob). Who Cares. This song evokes feelings of youth, ,freedom, happiness, and carefree in love/like with this amazing person who mas all your teenage fantasies of relationship comes true. That is why this song takes the cake for the Courtship Phase. I know you are thinking let me go you tube it and see if I get the same feeling she talking ’bout. I’ll make it easy for you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjhCEhWiKXk
The Long Distance Courtship Phase
Without a doubt Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat “Lucky” http://youtu.be/LQCY2zL0Jr8 is it. If you’ve ever been in a long distance relationship or on a long trip away from your significant other or ‘your we are courting and maybe its going somewhere’ partner, you’ll totally relate to this song. It talks about your relationship and the struggles you face in being apart and the efforts that are being made, because this must be it. It will be a sweet reunion, because of the tenderness of the budding relationship and the romantic rendezvous that will unite you…eventually. It also reminds me of back in the days (well I’ve read about it) when couples would be apart because of the various wars going on and the way the couples would commit to each other , the thing that the other would cling to until the next meeting (not talking abut the chastity belt or the keys that’s just nasty and brutal in my opinion). Anyway this song is the ultimate long distance courtship song.
The “Oh My Gosh I’m in Love” Phase
This is when it hits you like a ton of bricks, or in my part of the world we would say like a dry coconut that suppose to knock some sense in you, but instead, “boat done gon a falls…” and you have your great revelation, and you suddenly get more radiant than the sun. This is the one you are meant to be with, you belong to them and they belong to you and only divine intervention can keep you apart (oh young love). You know why you’ll relate to this song, cause its chill, no pressure, yet its putting your feelings out there, its telling you hey its ok, “its our God forsaken right to be loved” this could be it this could be faith talking talking to us, lets not complicate things, just give me a chance cause I already realize I in love with you, so… its a funny, quirky, chill song that makes you happy when you hear it, its like yay I’m free the world is my oyster go check out “I’m yours” http://youtu.be/Yy0AmZu3xLg
The In Love Phase
Again I know that there are tons of older artists who can easily be plugged into these phases but I’m sticking to artists of this generation. Seriously, there is no body who does in love like the Legend. The one and only John Legend. From the first notes of the Piano, you know its gonna be a song that will consume all your attention, you close your eyes, block out the world, put your hands over your heart and sway to the beat ….every time you hear it. He goes on to tell you that even though you sometimes tell him off (hmm cuss him out, said with the cover of a cough) he recognizes that no one is perfect, but he wants you with all your egdes (both hair and attitude) and perfect imperfection. WHY? because you both varying shades of crazy. Your crazy got him caught up, so now he dizzy and feel likes he is drowning and he likes it. Isn’t this how you feel when you are in love? I mean you do things that you wouldn’t otherwise do, you feel like you’re walking on clouds, the sun is brighter, sky is bluer, (could be climate change), the birds are singing more beautiful and all is well in the land of love. This is the reason why you can relate to, and reacts to John Legend’s song the way you do. Its fantasy and reality at the same time. He is telling you look, you make me feel so good, I can’t really explain, and I know you crazy, and I’m crazy too, so lets accept that we both coocoo, put all of that in one bag and see where this takes us. None of us perfect but we’re in love…. and folks that is why this was my wedding song cause its realistic fantasy. Go get back in that mood http://youtu.be/Mk7-GRWq7wA
…yes relationships and their musical phases, cant get it all in one blog post though, come back next time for part two, until next time would love to hear from you and your musical beats
Hello my regular readers,
I’ve created a spin off blog alexiala.wordpress.com aka the guyanese adventurer which dedicated to my travels exploring my homeland Guyana (ensure that you check it out) and like. But I also wanted you to share in this experience so here goes..
Seriously! I’ve travelled to many places, and seen many people all over the place. In my homeland Guyana, I’ve interacted with all the Indigenous nations/tribes at all levels, and I tell you, there ain’t no welcome like a Wai-Wai welcome. Upon arrival in Masakenari, (Masa-ken-yar- for those who missed the opening blog you can go check out Place of the Mosquito on alexilarose.wordpress.com) we were warmly greeted by the people and did the hugs and hand shakes (yes the handshakes, we are very British in this regard,our pre- independence legacy). After the formalities were exchanged, we were offered a drink to cool off, and had the opportunity to put our bags down. I did a little more than that, as I was still hot from the walk, I exchanged my sneakers for slippers (yes my feet can now breathe easy). After we caught ourselves ( recovered a bit from…
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