Thursday, 7 July 2011

Charlotte Street, Port- of- Spain

Street Fact: Panties should be bought on Charlotte Street because they are the same panties that you can find in Wonderful World and are MUCH cheaper!

Charlotte Street is located in Port- of- Spain and resembles Chinatown where you can find bargains on just about everything. The street is frequented by many Trinidadians and is known throughout the country. Being born and raised in Sangre Grande, I've never really had a reason to venture to Charlotte Street because I don't really like going to Port- of- Spain unless I have to and I can usually get good bargains in Grande. Now that I am working, I've had to come to the capital more often and I've been feeling like Dora the Explorer; I want to see everything that Port- of- Spain has to offer so, whenever I get the opportunity, I explore. Well, an opportunity presented itself last week.

The date was Thursday 30th June, 2011, the time was 4:15PM and something smelled REALLY bad. A friend had called me earlier, told me that she was going to buy something on Charlotte Street and asked if I wanted to come because she knew that I wanted to explore Port- of- Spain. I jumped at the opportunity and hurried over to Charlotte Street. My first thought was, "This is different!" then, the stench came. It smelled liked rotten cabbage mingled with perspiration with a dash of that smell you get after rain falls on an already dirty with a hint of car exhaust. People were screaming at me, asking if I wanted to buy vegetables, fruits or both since they were of good quality and BIG. There was a lot of foot traffic which greatly annoyed me because people kept on bouncing me and 'steupsing' as though it was my fault. I didn't say anything because they looked as though they could cause me grievous, bodily harm with one look. Aside from fruit stalls, there were pavement stores where the owners peddled their high-end panties and brassieres with gusto, boldly stopping a woman, carrying a lot of bags and asking her if she was looking for a D-cup to hold her breasts. Uhm, really? I finally made it to the store on the corner of Charlotte and Prince Street, elated that I would escape the horror of life on Charlotte Street for a few minutes.

On entering the store, I realised that I hadn't escaped the horror. The store didn't have a name and looked as though they took a shipping container from the wharf and placed it in the middle of Charlotte Street. Clothes were hung in every nook and cranny while the customers perused the store looking for the best bargain. One customer grabbed my attention IMMEDIATELY; she was dressed in a short, yellow pant suit, yellow sandals, big, golden earrings, a jet black hair piece with golden ends to rival those worn by the drag queens on Ru Paul's Drag Race and to top it all off, a humongous, unrecognizable tattoo on her upper thigh. She seemed to be competing in Charlotte's Street Next Top Model: Season 3- The Ghettolicious, Cosquellicious Cycle. She was loud and kept on conversing with her friend who was in the dressing room, trying on a dress in an attempt to look, "F***ing HAWT!" as Ghetto Big Bird so subtly put it. I stood to the corner, trying not to make eye contact and draw Big Bird's attention towards me because I really wasn't in the mood and I was scared. I was snapped out of my reverie when Big Bird started cursing no, CUSSING! The conversation sort of went like this:

Big Bird: "Wha' the f*** boy? This fat c*** laughing at me inno! Ey! EY! EY! You doh kno' who is me inno, I go beat her fat mother's c***, yuh fat f***!"

All this time, she was sort of jumping on the spot like those boxers getting ready to fight and looking at the chubby, salesgirl in the corner who was wearing a look of amazement, incredulity and terror on her face. Sadly, Big Bird continued saying, "Ey AISHA, lewwe go nah, lewwe f***in' GO nah boy! This bitch lookin' for me beat she c*** and ah go do it inno! She doh know who the f*** she dealin' with. Only watchin' me and laughing like a c***." My heart started to beat faster because Big Bird looked as though she was about to throw a tantrum and beat everyone in the store while she pelted clothes hangers through the door. Thankfully, Aisha came out of the dressing room and said, "Who is tha' givin' yuh trouble gyul? Yuh wa' beat she or wha'? Jus' tell meh and ah dey with yuh!" Big Bird responds, "Nah, she eh worth my f***in' time. Lewwe GO!" Big Bird and Aisha stormed out the store, shaking their horse hair as though they couldn't believe what had just happened. I was confused and it wasn't until the store manager asked, "What just happened?" that I started laughing. I affirmed my earlier thought that life was indeed different on Charlotte Street because everyone just went back working as though what just happened was an everyday occurrence. I was relieved that this would be the last store that my friend was going to visit because I was scared and wanted to go home.

All in all, it was quite an interesting, eye opening experience to see how life is in another part of your country. When I updated my FB status saying that life was different on Charlotte Street, one friend told me that I should go to George Street. So, who knows? I just might end up on George Street and see enough to do another blog post. Until the next one!