Port Of Spain, Trinidad And Tobago Report of what it's like to live there - 05/06/16
Personal Experiences from Port Of Spain, Trinidad And Tobago
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
no, other countries in Europe, Africa, and Latin America
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
Washington DC. three hours to Miami and then another 2.5 to DC.
3. How long have you lived here?
over 2 years
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Housing is mixed. Some is ok, many houses are substandard.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
expensive. COLA does not cover the expenses.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
a ticket home
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
there are but remove the term "fast" as this is not a reality here.
5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
mosquitoes and gnats
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
embassy pouch which takes 2-3 weeks
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
no work ethic here so good luck. Also expensive. On both accounts, good luck.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
A small gym which is small and smelly and expensive
4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
critical crime so be careful
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
they speak English although it can be difficult to understand at times.
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
I have not seen any accomodations.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
no, public transportation is not safe. The private taxis are expensive
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
anything with a little bit of clearance as the roads are not good outside of the city
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
yes, about US$120 for cable and internet.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
It's available and inexpensive.
1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?
3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Yes, it's rated critical for crime. Also, there is a growing concern with the number of extremist muslims going to fight in Syria that has been covered in the news.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
poor medical services.
3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
OK, no issues
4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?
5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Hot, mostly rainy with some four months of dry season.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
One school, many parents have issues with the school.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
Everything is expensive and COLA is not enough to cover costs.
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
small expat size, poor morale.
2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
for young families with babies or young children it would be nice, as there is nothing to do so you can have all the quality family life you want.
4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
I don't think so. I think they can get around as long as they don't declare their lifestyle.
5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
Yes, much attitude between the races, in every direction. Again, it grinds you down.
6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
The work was good and I enjoyed working with my colleagues. The staff at the embassy was a mixed group, some fantastic, and others absolutely worthless.
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Not much. There is a list of some five things to do, after than you can start over.
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
nothing; they don't make anything here
9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Not many. There is a limited amount of things to do. If you love birds, I suppose this might be ideal for you. Customer service is deplorable and the attitude is horrible. It grinds you down.
10. Can you save money?
it depends. Things are so expensive that it's hard to go out so in that regard you can save lots. On the other hand, if you insist on going out, you will not save anything.
Words of Wisdom:
1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?
2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
expectation that anything will be done well or quickly. get over it and focus on the positive
4. But don't forget your:
ticket home every six months