My dear Soaked in Soca-Fans! Pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage and rock back. Today is your lucky day. Miss Rose will spare you anything Corona-related.
Before we get started, please note: If you are looking for a wild Zoom-party-recommendation today, I’m not your girl. The last and only time I attempted to take part in an online party (which was - as expected - Soaked in Soca`s Timeout), I caught Dengue fever a few days before while quietly enjoying this (by then still drama-free) quarantine. It was CLEARLY yet another wrong decision to follow the rules of society, and I am officially done following them.
So, while I successfully recovered and now try to continue enjoying the Caribbean sun on my balcony, the current insanely invading quarantine-digitalization is causing me issues: Is it just me or do you also get these random video calls from people who you usually speak to once in a light-year? Can you not ask first if I am busy taking an important YouTube-tutorial, trying out a new banana bread recipe, or if I am busy knitting a new skirt for my grandma?
Anyways, it happened. I got a video call from my Trinidadian friend Jerod, which of course made me very happy (in case Jerod reads this), and I actually picked up the phone. As I started to admire his forcefully growing afro, he told me how depressed he was that he couldn’t make it to the river today, since he got caught up at his “bredrin`s” house, drinking rum and playing PlayStation. We really have problems here in the Caribbean. While I was trying to relate to his issue, he continued to tell me how he actually took a break from relaxing this week and went into the office for a day (a prominent Trinidadian radio station). He and his team are planning an Instagram-live with his boss, Iwer George (the owner of the radio station). Jerod also organizes boat rides on Iwer`s own boats in Trinidad, which, by the way, you should know in order to understand my story. When Jerod mentioned Iwer George, I instantly had to think back to my last memory of Iwer a few months back in Germany, which left me at “YUH CANT BE FORREAL, MR. WATERLORD NEIL IWER.” Bear with me, you will find out why if you continue reading.
As Jerod was speaking to me, I had to literally keep myself from laughing out loud. I was in nostalgic thoughts back at the Caribbean festival Bonnfire, which took place in Bonn/Germany and which Iwer graciously attended. What made me laugh was not only the thought of the well-respected yet ancient Waterlord during an Instagram-live, but I also remembered how Iwer mingled with the crowd during the Bonnfire-festival, and everybody was jumping up with him. As the opportunist I am, I recorded an epic video of myself taking a wine on Iwer to his song Take Ah Bathe. It was hilarious, at least so I felt. Since I didn’t want to make Iwer feel used, I figured I should at least give him the respect of a short chat afterwards, which was the moment when we realized that we both knew Jerod. I instantly forwarded my epic video clip to Jerod (and all my other WhatsApp-contacts except mom & dad), and I had a new friend called Neil Iwer George.
The real, "YUH CANT BE FORREAL"-moment caught me the next day after the Bonnfire-festival, when an old friend (who had also attended the festival) called me up to tell me that Iwer George is on his way to my home town Cologne – which is a short train ride away from Bonn - and he needed me to show up ASAP to play the tour guide. Apparently my friend had convinced Iwer to leave the small town he was staying in to take a trip to the big city of Cologne, which has a population as big as Trinidad. I must admit that it was not necessarily a dream come true to be liming with a man more than twice my age, but I knew I would have felt bad not showing a foreign islander around in my hood. Plus it was Iwer George, so I took it as an opportunity to give my home town some well-deserved publicity and I followed my friends lead.
We ended up taking Iwer to Cologne`s beautiful Old Town, which is right by the Rhine river. The scenery is truly amazing. Taking a stroll along the water, with boats and cruises passing by, a few cyclers enjoying the warm weather on their bicycles, while to your other side you have the picturesque front of the typical colorful tall houses of the Old Town, definitely makes you forget about your worries. Today, many of the old houses are used as cafes, art galleries, ice cream shops, and all kinds of restaurants.
When the boys decided they wanted a drink (about 4 minutes after our arrival), I made sure to pick the closest table to the river outside of the restaurant we chose, so Iwer could enjoy the scenery as much as I did. Our table was in a breezy open space, right between the river and the pedestrian stretch next to the tall colorful houses, one of which was our restaurant.
“Yuh have fry rice?”, was the second thing Iwer asked the Polish waiter, who spoke neither German nor English fluently, right after ordering a Johnny and Coke. It amazed me how a well-travelled man like Iwer did neither order German beer, nor any type of German dish, but he ordered a Chinese-Trinidadian fast-food dish, seriously believing that it would be on the menu. I assisted in screening the purely German menu for “fry rice,” and I actually found something comparable, which Iwer agreed to order. He was happy with that, and as if he was in a Chinese Takeaway in Port of Spain, he made sure to order the food to TAKEAWAY. He would later eat it on the train, but that’s beside the point. If anyone sees Iwer, please ask if he can recommend German “fry rice”, not knowing the answer has been causing me sleepless nights.
Since I am proudly from the Rhineland, I also made sure to tell Iwer the full history of the Rhine river, where it comes from, where it flows to, how high it currently is, and how often we get flooding in Cologne. Important details to know when travelling to Cologne. However, I couldn’t help but notice that Iwer was more interested in the Asian tourist groups passing by, and he also wasn’t so happy with the table I carefully picked out for him. He said he would prefer to sit away from the river.
“WHY”, I seriously wondered? Why would you not like this table with such a beautiful river view? I couldn’t help but ask Iwer directly, and there I got my YUH CANT BE FORREAL answer from the Waterlord:
“GIRL AH DOH WANT TO SEE WATA! I IS A ISLAND MAN, AH DOES SEE WATA EVERY SINGLE DAY, IS ONLY WATA WATA WATA I DOES SEE EVERYWHERE, EVERY DAY! AH HAVE MEH OWN BOATS IN TRINIDAD, IS WATA RIGHT THROUGH I DOES BE SEEING, WATA RIGHT THROUGH, TRUST MEH AH DOH CARE BOUT NO WATA, IS PEOPLE AH WANT TO SEE, NO WATA!”
There was that awkward moment when I realised the Waterlord had caught water trauma - LOL. Please, get the man away from the “wata.” But after it all people, before we judge a man, we must first need to walk a mile in his shoes, is what they say, ent?
Enjoyed this read, fellow quarantiners? Stay tuned for my next episode!