Tag Archives: tobago

On nomadism

I wrote this, elsewhere, three months ago:

I am a stranger. I am estranged. I am a person without a country, without people, without kin.

I rely more often on the kindness of strangers than the loyalty of friends. I watch those I love and loved and lost create lives in which I play no part. I am apart.

This, I think, describes the primary challenge of a Caribbean expat (exile?), genus young, gifted and alone.

It is the very definition of an existential crisis.

The last time I went to Tobago, and upon checking in to Toucan Inn & Bonkers, I proffered a Trinidadian drivers’ license [accepted nowhere in Manhattan as a form of ID], a UK credit card and a US address.

My tax lawyers disagree as to my country of residence, a question I dither over every time I am confronted with the question on immigration forms.

Trying to renew my passport, I am stymied because I don’t know anyone here who fits the criteria for a “recommender” [sic]: has known me for three years, is not a close relative, is an “accomplished professional.”

Need to renew my US visa – easier to do that in the UK than in Trinidad, where I will be asked to demonstrate my “strong ties” to the country [the better to prove I am not a potential illegal immigrant]. Which I can’t prove I have – no Trinidadian bank account, no property in my name, job based overseas.

So it go.

Expat Guilt

I’ve been grappling with the reality of moving back to Trinidad, and of giving up everything I’ve built up over the past six years.

My employers are unimpressed, and are making me offers no sane career minded individuals ought to refuse. And at the other end, the Trinidadian end, the powers that be seem to be hell bent on making me regret this decision.

So this quote from Adam Andrews, blogging over at D Blue Pill, seems particularly relevant:

It becomes difficult to find the balance between caring about a nation and preserving the self. I question my motivation, should I be concerned with what my country should do for me, or should I be concerned with what I can do for my country? [From “Split Me In Two“]

Exactly. I’m going back because I care about my country, and what I can do to contribute. So why are [certain unnamed and deeply hostile bureaucrats] making this so damned difficult?

I’ve been preparing myself for this, and I can’t say that I haven’t experienced this kind of small-minded ineptitude before.

But the reality is still bitter. And disenchanting.

Thoughts on .tt

Why are .tt domains so expensive?

According to the breakdown over at ttnic, theliminghouse.tt would cost USD $500 upront, and then an additional USD $500 every five years, from the third year after registration.

And that’s if it were registered from a local (i.e. Trinbagonian) address; applications from a foreign address would cost twice that. Ouch.

None of the limers here have that kind of cash to splash out on a domain name (though donations are welcome…), but Matthew “WordPress” Mullenweg does – and he’s now the proud owner of ma.tt.

Mr Mullenweg blogged about his .tt acquisition, and some of his observations are worth highlighting.

Like the “90s-era” design of the ttnic site.

And the fact that

…to register a domain in Trinidad/Tobago you have to do an international wire to their bank, they don’t accept credit cards…

Or this little tidbit:

So about two weeks ago I went to the bank, wired the money to their foreign account and then… didn’t hear anything for a week. At first I wondered if I had been scammed 419-style, but then I got an email from their admin that everything was set up.

I’m sorry, but that is just – ghetto.

It is not even remotely acceptable that setting up a domain should require a trek to one’s bank, particularly when one is already having to cough up several hundred dollars. And having to wait a week for confirmation? Really?

This is a fine point, given the crimedrugsfailinginfrastructurepoliticalgimmickryetc with which Trinbagonians already have to contend.

It is also indicative of how much work there is to be done before T&T can truly call itself developed.

The road is long.