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That T&T Feeling


Sheldon Waithe

February 16, 2024

Don’t try to capture it, for it cannot be bottled. Describing it will only leave you frustrated because the words do not exist to encapsulate what you mean . . . it must be felt. It is the combination of its environment, personality, and cultures that provide that ‘sweet’ T&T feeling.

It’s the stresses of the working day already being alleviated by the proximity to the lush green Queen’s Park Savannah on one side and the Emperor Valley Zoo on the other. Suddenly a 12-foot tall Moko Jumbie holds up traffic as he uses the pedestrian crossing. Every person present thinks the same thing as they break into a smile “Only in T&T.”

It’s the unexplainable that makes perfect sense, the knowledge that something that is uniquely Trinbagonian will make your day, every day. And it’s never the same thing because the myriad of offerings in this land are endless.

The simplicity of beginning each day with several compulsory ‘good mornings’ delivered with a smile; the reminder that however fast-paced society becomes, neighbourliness remains a cornerstone of the society, that where other nations have 6 degrees of separation, T&T has 2 and is all the better for it. Where everyone knows your name, including all the nicknames.

It’s looking forward to the daily habit of lining up mid-morning for doubles or pies where it’s not just the deliciousness that’s the attraction but the conversation that is an integral part of the process. Topical, debate or jest, talk is everywhere in T&T. Strangers converse as lifelong friends because there is an ease to the language with eventual common ground. Food is indeed the great common dominator, regardless of origin because each dish has a dash of Trini ‘Sweet Hand’. It tastes too good to be mere sustenance, providing a type of bliss that is an integral part of the feeling.

The sounds in the distance, birds that blend into the background noise but maintain their soothing effect, the cooling wind blowing through the trees or parrots squawking loudly on their daily commute. These things are not taken for granted but they form part of the feeling without trying too hard.

The sounds closer to home, uncontrolled laughter coming from deep within, partially from the body partially from the soul, because feelings and expressions are deep. The great expression that is our music - steelpan, calypso, soca, chutney – bouncing on the airwaves emanating from cars, bars and homes, keeping the rhythm of the nation and dictating the mood. It’s a ‘niceness’ carried along on a tune and it always brings a smile. Reminding all of Carnival, which itself is built from all the aspects of T&T culture or perhaps it’s the other way around!

A dip in the salt (sea) or the freshness of a river bath, it’s incomparable. It could be the serenity of Store Bay or the expanse of Maracas, it’s the magic of the water and the knowledge albeit subliminal, that this is your country.

A country that swells with patriotic pride at its global achievements in business, entertainment, sport and culture, that also welcomes the world to its shores and wants to share everything that contributes to that T&T feeling because its sweetness is unlimited. Just like the Moko Jumbie crossing the road, it is not to be questioned, simply accepted. “Only in T&T”.

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