Trinidad driving is a new adventure. We drive on the left side of the road and of course the steering wheal is on the right side of the car. The roads are very narrow with deep gutters on both sides with no curb - in other words drop a wheel into one and you will need a wrecker to get you out. You feel very cautious with cars coming at you from the opposite direction and you're sure you aren't going to make it through the narrow window of oncoming traffic. Then you have cars parking on the side of the road and you weave in and out trying to miss both parked and moving cars. There are a lot of skinned cars with mirrors taken off - recently one missionary took off three mirrors of cars coming in the opposite direction. Now you take that condition and you get a bunch of very aggressive drivers playing "dodgem" on the roads and it gets quite wild. There are no speed limits and very few traffic signals. The smart thing is to take your time and stay in the left lane and let the cars fly by. Honking is considered a polite gesture - just a tap on the horn to say thanks or I'm on right side. Instead of signaling to move to the right, you put you hand out the window and flap it - which means look out I'm moving right! I've got to get a local license to drive within 90 days of arriving and the other seniors say it is an interesting test with questions like "when driving with a child on your lap is it best to hold them with your right or left hand" - trick question.
On Sunday last, one of the families in the Chaguanas Branch asked us if we would take them home. The husband and wife and their three beautiful kids got in the back seat and the husband said it is just down the road. We drove several miles out into the savanna to a dirt road and small houses with garbage and puddles of fetid water. When they got out I asked the husband how we could get back on the highway headed to our house and he gave me some directions while waving his arms which I think meant turn right and left. We had to stop about ten times and ask for directions from people of the street - most of them were impossible to understand and they do speak English. Once I had to get out to talk to a man and after hearing his directions and nodding my head as though I understood, I got back in the car and Nettie asked me what he said to which I answered "I have no idea". She thought I was kidding until he walked over and tried to explain it all over again and when he was finished I rolled up the window and we looked at each other mystified. We drove for an hour on the back roads of the little city of Chaguanas dodging oncoming traffic and barely getting by massive traffic jams. Nettie was terrified and I was laughing - it was a wild and crazy experience. As I was writing this, a high powered sports car went back and forth of our little narrow street and as he wound through the gears he easily exceed 100 miles and hour. Did I say there are no speed limits in Trinidad?
This is the dry season until about January. It is dry and very warm - probably mid 80's. When the rainy season starts, the locals said we should get a day every two or three weeks where the sun comes out. So, as they say here "there are two seasons, dry or wet" and they are always about 85 degrees in the day and 80 degrees at night. We are close to the equator so the length of daylight is also very consistent - sun goes down at about 8 and comes up at about 6 every day of the year. Beautiful palm trees and other massive trees I can't begin to identify. I will try to post some pictures on the weekend.
We are busy in the Lords work. We are support so the missionaries can teach the gospel. The following is a direct quote from one of the books in our office where the missionaries put in their parting testimony when they leave for home. I will put one in every once in a while to give you the spirit of missionary work in the West Indies.
"The most amazing experience ever. We baptized Sister Marius, the sweetest toughest old 81 year-old lady I've ever met (who claims to be 18). Toughest thing we've ever done, and it could never have happened without Elder Hunt, Elder Palmer Brother De'Beauville, Elder Bush and Elder Bills. We arrived at Sister Marius home, which is in a ravine, with a stretcher the Red Cross let us borrow. Now she is not a light lady. She herself will tell you "I'm just laying here like a big blob!" But she was a soldier through it all. It was so hard carrying her out from her home to the truck, but after 45 minutes, which takes less than 30 seconds to walk normally, we finally made it to the truck, where she was then loaded in. When we got to the beach we got her out and walked out to the rough sea, out to battle Poseidon. After four attempts, our arms were dead and poor Sister Marius was a little scared (imagine not seeing the sky for years, let along going in the sea for a dip), so we trudged back to the beach to take a breather. We made it, after half of us got knocked over by a massive, unexpected wave. After re-motivating ourselves, we went back out for Round 2. This time Brother De'Beauville joined us. finally, a few tries later and making sure she went all the way under, Sister Marius was baptized by water. We quickly shot for the beach (all the while lifting her to shoulder-height at the sign of any wave) and collapsed on the ground. Awesome Sister Marius was clapping for joy on her orange stretcher and the whole group of onlookers were awestruck. the next day, she was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, received the Holy Ghost, and shed tears as she thanked all of her missionaries, her "angels." That was the baptism of the century."