My encounter with the Dead!
Going to the abattoir in the Port-of Spain general market is not for the faint of heart. Upon entry you are greeted by the pungent smell of fresh meat married with that of fish and other seafood also as part of the greetings are the crude shouts of the butchers advertising their variety and prices, horrifyingly clad in blood stained clothes and leatherette aprons that looked like a 3-dimentional abstract piece created by the guts, intestines and liver of the various animals that had fallen prey to the blade of the butcher’s chopper.
If that was not enough visual torture, seeing the severed heads of pigs and goats lined up in rows, some with their tongue’s hanging out and others with an eye or piece of an ear missing, would definitely persuade you to believe that you were part of a scene from the animal version of SAW the movie.
If you ventured further you would notice how all the butchers were busy at work in their own sections, which was separated by stone slabs, either advertising, tending to customers or hacking through the carcasses before them. Their display counters were also made of stone and displayed items for sale such as various cuts from, pigs, goats, cows and fish and other seafood, interestingly displayed for the customer. Apart from the various items for sale, the butcher’s tools were neatly laid in order of priority. These tools ranged from very sharp paring knives to choppers, boning knives, sharpening stones and many others gadgets unknown to me.
If you were in doubt about the sharpness of these tools upon further exploration I am certain you would come across a butcher in action, skillfully carving his meat into its various parts with the swift action of his blade that worked its way through bone effortlessly. I would not recommend slippers for your trip to the abattoir unless you are comfortable with splashing of the blood and water mixture that would frequently make its way across the foot path of customers.
However, apart from the gruesome visuals, if you are looking for the freshest cuts of meat at the best prices then the Port-of-Spain abattoir is the place to go. It’s unlike your exalted visit to Price Mart’s meat section but the variety offered at the abattoir are more appropriate to our local traditional culinary culture such as geera hog head just to name one. For me, going to the abattoir is not just for getting the freshest cuts of meat at bargained prices its also done to encourage the local art of butchery and be a part of the experience of this indigenous modern day practice, instead of going to the grocery to purchase imported processed meat products and by-products. The environment at the abattoir may take some getting used to, as I have vividly described, but believe me, its worth the effort!