All Souls Day.

All Souls Day

Full moon on All Souls Day.

Last night, I spent an hour-and-a-half in a cemetery celebrating All Souls Day.

That’s right, celebrating. Vincentians all around me were drinking, lighting candles, taking pictures, and shooting off fireworks, honoring the memories of their deceased loved ones.

Raymond, another bakery employee, urged me to visit the grave of his wife who passed away from cancer. He didn’t mourn his wife’s death. We sat and talked about what made her laugh; Raymond reminisced about how happy they were together.

I couldn’t help but appreciate this positive perspective that everyone seemed to share on this festive day.

I trekked back to the house where everyone (myself, Ate Jhoanape, Kuya Randy, JirahMae, Auntie Eppie, Uncle Fidel, and Auntie Alice) sat down around the table for a feast.

Here’s a little history: According to Western Christian Theology, All Souls Day is celebrated on the 2nd of November after All Saints Day. All Saints Day recognizes beatified and unknown saints while All Souls Day remembers the faithful departed – those who have not entered the gates of Heaven.



I think Examiner writer, Debbra Brouillette, said it best, “While Halloween is now the United States’ second most popular holiday (after Christmas)…its celebration is almost non-existent in the Caribbean region.”

Yesterday, I didn’t see one display of Halloween décor while I walked the crowded streets of Kingstown.

We did have a show in Victoria Park where Queen Ifrit and other musicians were scheduled to perform ( I believe that was her name). Promoters were passing out free concert tickets in full-on Rasta-hair and knit hats.  My memory is a little bit hazy at the moment; stayed up past 2 a.m. and couldn’t sleep. The bay is like a huge amphitheater – you won’t and cannot escape the music unless you travel north and over the hills to the other side of the island.

Regarding Caribbean coconut crackers, I can munch on those goodies any day, every day. JirahMae protested my vocal indulgence, a mistake on my part, by declaring the crackers were hers. I never saw those snacks again.

Doesn’t bother me. My late-night munching makes up for that.

Did I mention I’ve gained 15 lbs since I’ve been here? In less than two weeks. I’m on a mission!

Stateside in three.

Taking Off to the Market.

I have plans to head into town by myself today. Guess you could call it shopping, but not necessarily buying stuff that I need. I think I may have semi-consciously given away my Armani sunglasses to Rizaldy on the return from Bequia.

[Background info: Rizaldy is a friend of Ate Jhoanape and works at the bakery.]

Bummer. I really liked those glasses too. Time for new ones.

Cemetery in Kingstown.

The Kingstown Cemetery.

Yesterday, I walked past this cemetery.

It felt more historical than haunting. Some of the graves are over a hundred years old.

I helped JirahMae with her spelling words for 15 minutes; hope she does well on her test today. She attends a private Catholic school in Kingstown. I’ll make sure to take a picture of the building when I head down and prowl the streets.

Plans, plans, plans.

Wow, watching the news about the U.S. economy is a total downer. Switching off the tube and time to eat!

Apex of Fort Charlotte.

Here is a non-food historical tid-bit. Fort Charlotte was built by the British in 1806. It was constructed to defend against the French. As you can tell from the video, I was totally freaked out by the ascent. Ate Jhoanape, Kuya Randy, Auntie Eppie, JirahMae, and Uncle Fidel were all present.

Lunch, yet again.

Macaroni casserole, plaintains, dumplings, corn, fried chicken, BBQ beef.

Macaroni casserole, plaintains, dumplings, corn, fried chicken, BBQ beef.

Ambassador Letters and Omelettes.

I went out last night. Vids on YouTube.Yum fish

Didn’t get too many pictures of the pre-anniversary celebrations and street parties since it was dark and I didn’t want to draw too many weird looks to yours truly, the wide-eyed tourist.

I need to learn how to crunk!

Yays. Just finished up on Uncle Fidel’s letter to H.E. (his excellency) Dr. Bienvenido Tejano, bestowed with the ambassadorship to New Zealand, representing The Philippines.

I’m repeating myself.

This was lunch.

Golden Apple Chutney.

Golden apple chutney.

Golden apple chutney.

Right now, it’s 4:23am back in Seattle. The folks here are busy frying up breakfast and getting the kids in uniform for school.

I’m feeling super-lazy today.

Fourteen hours later…

Back. Didn’t go anywhere or visit any sites. Just chilled on the balcony and read JirahMae some kiddie stories. Heh, talk about laid-back. I nearly fell asleep twice. Should have. But instead, buzz-cut my hair and started revising and typing up the letter Uncle Fidel is sending to Dr. Bienvenido V. Tejano, the Philippines ambassador to New Zealand and a relative of his…

…which in effect, makes Dr. Tejano a relative (if not by blood) of mine. Sweet.

Back to the foodstuffs. Chutney, it’s awesome. The island variety. From Trinidad and Tobago. Buy, buy buy.

The hot sauce here is AWESOME. I can’t specify all of the peppers that are crushed and bottled (I know there are habaneros and jalapenos in there, extra ripe) but dannnnggggg, I started twitching massively after a good dose.

My jaws were trembling and my brain basically went blank. I was running laps in the house until Ate Jhoanape gave me some brown sugar, melting ice, and yogurt to cool off.

I think I’m going to sleep outside on the swing tonight.


Birthday Wishes.

Cake timeToday is Kuya (older brother) Randy’s birthday.

I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me saying how old he is (49) seeing that he looks about 10-15 years younger than his age.

I took some pix of food everybody was preparing for a short lunch celebration.

We wished him a Happy Birthday and said a prayer before he headed out to take JirahMae (Jhoanape and Randy’s five-year-old daughter) to school.

I’m expecting cake today!

And I got it 😉 . We’ll be heading off to Fort Charlotte soon. You can check those pictures here: