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Hello WST and Pan on the Net community!
Six years ago, I fell in love with pan. Since then I have dedicated myself to growing as a panist and learning everything I can about the history and culture of Trinidad and Tobago and the steelband movement. I graduated from college last May, and have since founded the Indiana Steel Pan Association to serve and support the pan community in my state. I got a job working nights so I would have time to play five nights a week, in two different steelbands (in two different cities). I teach pan (as a volunteer) two days a week at a community center for students in a particularly rough side of my city. I've read all the books and articles that I can get my hands on, I'm building my record collections... I am, without a doubt and with all the pride in the world, a huge geek for pan, the steelband and Trinidad. Many people use the motto "Pan for Life" - right now mine is Life for Pan!

I'm telling you this because I have just booked the flights for my very first trip to Trinidad to play with Starlift in this year's Panorama. For a guy who has never seen a steelband larger that 40-50 people, for someone who's studied so hard but never experienced Trinidad first hand, and for someone who dreams of studying at NIU's grad program under Liam and Cliff Alexis, this trip is a dream come true! The only problem is that I will be there for two months and I know basically nobody in the whole country. I have a place to stay, but it is much farther from Port of Spain than I would like, and I have no good way of getting from there to a taxi route (much less from the taxi route to Starlift's panyard. Right now, I basically only have an airline ticket... I am hoping that my enthusiasm, politeness, positive attitude and love for pan will be enough to get me some friends when I get there.

The reason I am posting this is to appeal to the online pan community for help with finding people that could potentially show me around a little, people to contact at various panyards so I can find good times to visit, etc. I would love it if anyone could suggest places and things to see, people to try and meet, food to eat, safety, travel, and especially other options for places to stay. I do not have a lot of money, but if anyone can help me get around and to experience the most I can while I'm there, I'll gladly repay the kindness the best I can (I'm OK with doing house chorse, manual labor, errands, etc if that helps...)

 If anyone can help, or if anyone is willing to befriend me when I get there, I would really appreciate it! You can reach me through this discussion or via my email at ericmannweiler@gmail.com. Thanks so much everyone, and hopefully I will meet some of you in Trinidad!

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Hello Eric, I admire your enthusiasm and dedication to our national instrument. Best of luck in T&T and stay safe. Glen of Toronto, Canada.
I think once you get to Starlift yard you will be able to network, make friends and get more info about affordable guest houses that may be in a more convenient location. Starlift maanagement should be able to help guide you a little also. Just be humble and your love for pan will guide you
Blessings to read about your interest and positive vibes for the instrument. You can contact me at kennethclarke1@yahoo.com
Welcome to T&T
Kenneth Clarke
Hi Eric, My name is Herman. I was born in Trinidad and presently living in Chicago. In 1989 I started a small band with Ms. Daisy Mc Clean called Harlem Syncopators in the East Dry River where I was born. I visit Trinidad every year. I like your honesty and humble approach inorder to meet friends and to achieve your goal. I will be leaving in a few weeks so I will contact you by your e-mail and assist you in some small way to acheive your mission. God bless. Gooooood luck.
Season greetings Herman. Can we exchange contacts. Mines are 1868 768 6745 or 353 8160 kennethclarke1@yahoo.com
Thanks in advance
Eric as long as Clarke say to contact him you will have no problem,So check him out he is the man.Shane
Season greetings Shane.Thanks for you comments. Its all about doing good
Contact Pantrinbago.

Hey Eric 

Kenneth Clarke is a great guy to hook up with. I will and can vouch for him. Contact him, you couldn't hook up with anyone better. You should also contact the management of Starlift Steel Orch, cause bands do organize transport for players, especially players coming from abroad. Call Pantribago to get the contact info for the Management staff at Starlift, whereby you can  make them aware of your intentions. 

Please keep in mind; No one is a sure pick to play the night of Panorama, but be competitive and give it your best shot.

 

Have a great stay in Trini, and I hope that you will have a great experience!!! 

Good Luck with everything Eric.

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Thanks to everyone who has replied to this thread! The response I've got just in this first day is enough to give me plenty of encouragement about this trip. Leon, I'm sure you don't need me to tell you, but for whatever it is worth I just want to say I really respect you and the work you're doing. Your album is an incredible representation of the instrument and its capabilities, and was just extremely first rate! Kenneth, Herman, and everyone else, thank you all so much!

Many Thanks for your comments Eric, I am very humbled to receive them. Sorry I won't be Trinidad this time around for us to meet but, maybe another time.

Be safe and take care!

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