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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More Island People Feedback...

Dear Saucy,

I am a long time reader of your blog, but this is my first time commenting. I must say, it is becoming quite a tedious process reading all these negative feedbacks about Island People Mas. This is my second time playing with IP, I played with them in 2007, which would probably be considered their worst year. I was given a bra that was way too small for me, waited 3 hours to pick up my costume, not to mention had my goodie bag thrown over a fence at me.

When I decided to play with them again this year was just for the sheer love of the costume. I honestly prepared myself for the worst, and was presently surprise when things were not as bad as I expected. I went to get my costume on Friday, the lines were long, but expected since I am not the only foreigner in the country. I paid that day and left as I had other things to do, went back on Saturday evening and was in an out within 30 minutes. Mine and my girlfriend's bra was way to big which they gladly switched mines, my girlfriend was not so lucky to get her size, they gladly switched her entire costume and gave her a refund.

Monday on the road we had a great time, I requested a fish meal and was given pelau with which I am pretty sure was cooked with meat and had a piece of fish thrown on it, but was too drunk to notice.

Tuesday was my birthday, so needless to say I was drunk for most of the day, Hennessy is my drink of choice and in the afternoon when the band ran out, I saw some guys on the side of the road with a bottle and they (in true trini carnival spirit) gladly filled my cup. My only major complaint Tuesday was the rain but should I too jump on the bandwagon and blame IP for that as well.I say all this to say, carnival and playing mas is a time to escape from all of life's everyday problems, like paying bills, crime, the economy and those of us in the North, the winter.

I have been playing mas for over 10 years. I played when there were no all-inclusive bands, when we had to walk with our canteen of rum, or buy beers on the side of the road. Go to Royal Castle for lunch or have a friend bring pelau in the trunk of their car. When we had to use the portable toilets or stoop behind a car or a wall with your friends blocking you to pee. Granted the cost of a costume today is much more than we paid years ago, but no band is perfect, not even Tribe, if you read Jumbie's blog. We really should not depend on a band to make or break our carnival experience, it's only 2 days and we wait all year for it.

I personally, will play with IP again, if they have a costume I love, and I am sure there are many people, just waiting with bated breath to jump with them again.

For those who posted negative reviews, or were just unhappy with the IP experience, you know what Saucy says religiously, "there are many other bands out there."

Thank you Saucy for bringing carnival to those of us who are not in Trinidad. Kudos to you on your up to the minute coverage on the band launchings, then going to the camps and getting individual pics, we cannot thank you enough for what you do.

Thank you for your time.

Carnival Faces

Gems and face/body painting were a big hit this Carnival season when it came to makeup .

I even saw many ladies even copying the one eyed look that was done for TRIBE's launch and website .

It was also refreshing to see that the guys got into primping for Carnival as well with body painting and even face paint.

While some makeup looks were outstanding, subtly complimentary or creative others were quite unique, to say the least!

Carnival faces 2009............




The entire album of Carnival Faces can be seen HERE.

Review of John's Place as advertised on The Best of Trinidad and Tobago.com Website

Hi Saucy,

I am a 2 year daily reader of your blog and I wanted to take a moment to bring something to your attention that you/may not want to bring to the attention of your blog readers.

I don’t remember exactly when but in late October or maybe November 2008 I was still on the prowl for TownSide accommodations for my Ck29 visit and you posted something on The Best of Trinidad and Tobago at www.bestoftrinidadandtobago.com with available options. I moved quickly on that and scrutinized the listing and came to the realization that almost all the listings were being managed/rented out by one person: Freddy Le Mort of Fred Connection Ltd.

My best friend and I booked accommodations thru Fred for a guesthouse called John's Place. Given it's proximity to the Savannah we felt it would make a good location for pick-up by friends, etc. However, we were a bit dubious about the location since we were not familiar with it and we had some doubts about Belmont. So because we were unable to physically scope out the location or to find someone in Trinidad who could swing by and scope it out for us before booking it we called up Fred and discussed our concerns as two single women and he assured us that the Best of Trinidad and Tobago only provided access to accommodations in safe areas and that we could be assured that it was a nice place in a nice location. We made the booking and were obligated (due to Carnival time rules) to rent for 7 nights (although we really needed 5 nights). We paid a grand total of $1190 US for a one room w ensuite shower.

What went wrong:
Accommodations: For some strange reason my girl and I felt nonplussed when we checked in to discover that we had one bed in the room assigned to us. We somehow were expecting two beds since we booked and paid for accommodations for 2 people. But we figured what the hay we would make the best of it.

Noise/Loiterers: Although, there were no bars/rum shops situated on the street we were at, that is on Norfolk Street at the corner of Shellbourne Lane, there was a constant stream of loiterers at this corner throughout the entire night, every night. There was constant cussing and old noise. As a light sleeper this was a problem for me. On de second day the owner/(supposed manager) of the guest house made an appearance and I mentioned this to him as a problem and he said yes he knows that some young fellas hang out at the corner. I just thought to myself why advertise the location as a ( ) if it really is not (false advertising).

Poor Management/Non existent Customer Svc: I have stayed in various guesthouses in the North East area of Trinidad before w/o prior incidence or complaint before but this guesthouse owner (John) was in a class by himself...He complained to me about his other guests, how he did not like two of the ladies staying in one of the rooms, how he was never going to rent to people with teenagers again since the teenagers were playing ball in the living room, how people were dirty and he was not renting to a mish mosh of people again and only a group to avoid problems, how the garbage truck was not running, and all other types of things. On one occasion I asked if I emptied the trash under the kitchen sink where should I place the garbage he told me to put it outside by de corner. I thought to myself that that was his job. At prior establishments we had daily trash removal from our room and the owner came and put out all the general household trash as well. I was a bit surprised. Other guests in the house were not happy with this either. Fortunately, we did not have to use the shared bathroom but for some of the guests who did they felt he should have come in to clean up that bathroom on a periodic basis. Let's just say that CUSTOMER SVC was non-existent.

Theft and Vandalism: My primary reason for writing to you is not for defamation or blasphemy (LOL) but this. We were subject to theft and vandalism at John's Place (situated at 56 Norfolk Street...and by the way the sign outside this guesthouse does not say John's Place but Ber Dina's Place). After a successful/happy jump up in TRIBE we returned on the night of Carnival Tuesday 2/24/09 to find that our car (which was parked in front at the owner's direction and assurance that it was safe to do so) had been vandalized with the front bumper, license plate and indicator lights gone. Needless to say that experience has clouded our ability to say that Carnival was great because it's all we could remember and we had to shell out $8000 TT to get it fixed over the course of the next week (because it was a friend's car that had been borrowed). Despite, fete, jouvert and band exhaustion we had to hurriedly pack up, go to the nearby Police Station, file a report, then go downtown to the main precinct to get fingerprinting/pictures done on the car and then make our way up Trincity by family instead of remaining at John's Place to risk the entire car being stolen not to mention being uncomfortable and unsafe had we stayed for the duration of our booking (because we were booked till Th 2/26/09). In addition, the next day while going through our rapidly packed bags and luggage I also discovered that a brand new watch, bracelet and earrings that I had transported w me from NY to Trinidad as a gift for my grandmother had been stolen from my luggage in the room.

The point of this email Saucy? Just to warn others that this place is definitely NOT what is advertised and not even close to being an ideal location for Carnival Accommodations or any other stay (should u choose to share any of this of course).

You can see below our pursuant communication with Freddy LeMort regarding this situation. To date we have not heard back from him. If you do decide to mention any of this on your blog I know u do things anonymously so that would be greatly appreciated. If not and u want to shy away from it, that's understandable too...it's just that I would not like others to stay there especially women on their own because it is just not a good location (regardless of whether this type of vandalism has not occurred there before).

Regards from an avid follower of your blog,



I am very deeply saddened and disappointed by the incidents that occurred during your stay at John’s place.B eing a victim of theft myself during the carnival season, where they stole both my mobile phones, cash and other personal items, I can certainly understand and sympathise with what you must be going through.

I was assured by John that his place was safe, and I have had other customers stay there without incident.Honestly, I believe, the crime situation in Trinidad is totally out of control and it is getting worse and worse everyday.

Tourists assume great risk in coming here for the carnival or any other time period. I believe that the Government needs to take drastic action soon to protect the safety of its few remaining good citizens and if it intends to continue to promote Trinidad and Tobago as a tourism destination.

Anyway, I totally agree with you that you should be refunded for at least part of your stay at John's place.I will meet with John to discuss this incident and a suitable resolution and get back to you by early next week.In the meantime, please accept my sincere sympathy.

If needed, you can contact me on my other mobile phone number to discuss. Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.

Fred
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