Anthony Bourdain: “Parts Unknown” in Trinidad


Whitney Filloon (Eater) identifies “The Best Lines from Anthony Bourdain ‘Parts Unknown’ in Trinidad.” She lists 10 lines that sum up different aspects of Trinidadian culture (and one on Tobago). [Many thanks to Michael O’Neal for sharing this via Slavery, Smallholding and Tourism.] Our readers should access the original post via Eater, but here is an excerpt of Filloon’s introduction and Bourdain’s conclusion:

On the latest episode of Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain sets sail for the Caribbean to scope out the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It’s a land of contrasts, and the episode opens by showing its two disparate but very much connected landscapes: the tranquil beaches complete with crashing waves and the crowded, bustling city accompanied by a chorus of car horns.

Bourdain’s professed fear of dancing in public keeps him away from massive parties like Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Trinidad’s own Carnival, so before the festivities begin, he heads out to explore Trinidad’s street food scene and discover the meaning of “liming” (hanging out) and “whining” (a particularly hippy style of dancing). But as Bourdain points out, the locals’ penchant for good times and celebration somewhat seems at odds with the nation’s dark history of colonialism, slavery, indentured servitude, and political violence.

An island nation just off the coast of Venezuela, it’s been colonized by the Spaniards, the Dutch, the French, and the British, with an economy built on sugar plantations and slavery and, later, oil. Beyond the economy, though, the oil industry had a bigger cultural effect on Trinidad: After the ruling British banned traditional drums made of animal skins, people improvised with steel oil drums and the sound has become an iconic part of Trinidadian music. [. . .]

[. . .] Bourdain’s final thoughts: “No island in the sun is paradise on earth, however it might look from the concrete blocks, glass cubicles, or wood boxes we may live in. And all the dancing and music and great food in the world can never hold together, by itself, what would keep us apart. What might look like a utopian stew of ethnicities and cultures living together under swaying palms is of course a far more complicated matter. But Trinidad has done better than most and in proud and unique style.”

For full article, see

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s