Potholes in Trinidad and Tobago have become such a part of our driving experience that I have even begun to place them into categories. I have, over the course of the last few months been able to identify some nine unique types of potholes. Here they are in no particular order:
1. Your normal, run-of-the-mill pothole. The regular ones which create very little problems in avoiding or otherwise manoeuvring around. These, many times simply involve angling the vehicle so as to have them pass harmlessly between the tyres.
2. The pseudo pothole: Not a pothole at all in the true sense of the word but just as deadly. These are usually some depression in the road representing a Water and Sewerage Authority lock-off valve or manhole cover. They often lurk just in line with the path of your left wheel.
3. The edgee: A large hole lurking on the left edge of the road, sometimes partially covered in grass. Usually very deep and very jazzed. Most deadly at night.
4. The manicured pothole: An area of asphalt which for some reason seems to have been surgically removed from the middle of the road or lane. Usually square or rectangular in shape. Several of them exist along the Golden Grove Road on the way from the airport. Like crop circles they seem to be evidence or some other worldly force at work. Why else would they exist, I wonder?
5. The camouflage pothole: Those that hide on corners, the down slope of inclines or otherwise in some location where you don’t know that they exist till you experience the death rattle of your shocks and spinal column.
6. The scatter shot: An area of several small potholes in a tight cluster. These require a level of dexterity to manoeuvre around, but are usually so clustered that it becomes a matter of selecting the lesser of several evils.
7. The upside-down pothole: Believe me they exist. While potholes normally represent a depression in the road, we Trinis have developed the ability to install manholes which actually protrude several inches above the level of the road. Take the zig-zag drive behind Bhagwansingh in Trincity from the mall and see what I mean.
8. The trench: Normally the result of WASA projects or some other roadworks gone wrong, the trench is an impossible monstrosity to avoid. Extending across the entire width of the road or lane you simply have to surrender yourself to its power and hold on.
9. The pot road: Yep, again they do exist. What do you get when there is more pothole than actual road? Then it actually becomes a situation where it is safer to drive in the hole than to attempt to find the road. I recently traversed Mon Desir road which connects the Southern Main Road Cunupia with Madrass Road, St Helena, and found that very reality actually exists. The Toco main road has also at times been in that said condition. There you have it. Pothole 101, Trini style. Please Mr Minister, save us.