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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ebola Virus Disease and Trinidad and Tobago

I have little faith in our health care system to be able to treat an outbreak of Ebola. There will not be a solution that appeases everyone but precautions have to put in place before the virus has a chance to reach or spread in Trinidad and Tobago.It is deadly and can spread quickly.

http://www.trinidadexpress.com/news/TT-orders-Ebola-travel-ban-279473602.html



Here is a list of sites with info from the rest of the world. They list the symptoms, precautions on how to stay safe and statistics.

http://edition.cnn.com/2014/04/11/health/ebola-fast-facts/

 http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/ebola-virus/pages/ebola-virus.aspx

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/

Florida Trip Sept 2014

I was fortunate enough to go to Florida recently. The trip was for adventure at theme parks, South Beach and Shopping, every bit of it was amazing. Most of it was new for me.

I went to Kennedy Space Center, Universal Studios, Universal Islands of Adventure , Busch Gardens and the Magic Kingdom. The entire experience was amazing but one major highlight was being able to witness a rocket launch from the space center (link here). The tour bus driver was very insistent on waiting for as long as possible and thankfully he did because the launch happened at the last possible moment. The rocket lit up the sky and roared until it disappeared behind clouds and was exciting to see. During the day I was in awe at the scale of the things used for space travel as I took the tour of the facility. Seeing the space shuttle Atlantis, walking under a Saturn V rocket, seeing an astronaut, being in the launch simulator, it was incredible. Nasa sounds can be heard here.

I went on almost all the roller coasters at the parks. Most of the lines were very short and I could repeat rides easily. The rides I avoided were the older wooden ones that were more violent than exciting. The most exciting one was probably Cheetah Hunt at Busch. It felt fast, the corners were hard and it just felt intense. The smoothest one for the trip was Montu at Busch. The ride in the seat itself was smooth as well as the corners and flips were smooth and enjoyable to experience instead of feeling like I was being torn in a different direction. I was probably most dizzy after a quick ride of both sides of Dragon Challenge at Universal.

Magic Kingdom needed some sprucing up, things look dated. In the washrooms the sinks and hand dryers were old and weak. The washroom locations were not as convenient as the other parks I visited. The Wishes fireworks show were great though and another highlight of the trip.

I did not have any trouble with flights on this trip. Caribbean Airlines was on time and comfortable. iTrolley and lynx buses were easy to get around iDrive. I took a megabus from Orlando to Miami with no problems. The one issue was I waited over an hour for a bus after my Magic Kingdom visit and then gave up and shared a taxi home with other stranded people at the bus stop. Thankfully the weather was dry, the forecasts were wrong except for the day I went on the water rides, perfect timing.

South beach was about Ocean drive and Lincoln Road Mall. There were supercars galore and super fit people all around. The beach was beautiful, even though I did not swim in it. It was all just as expected.

Shopping at the outlet malls were tedious because of some of the malls being so big. You needed a suitcase for the day to carry everything you buy.

The trip was during the school term so the places were not very busy during the week, on the weekend the lines got longer but still manageable.

In the end, I had an amazing trip.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How to check NIS contributions

I recently had to check for a contribution record from the National Insurance Board (NIB). Two forms need to be filled out, one is the request for the contribution statement, and the other is to update your personal information. When I got to the office I asked a security officer where I should go and then I had to wait about 20 minutes to see a CSR who accepted my completed forms. He printed the statement in a couple minutes of me getting to him. As expected, the records showed missing payments.

I will need to get proof of employment for the period in question from my employer and return to have the records fixed. It is amazing that a company letter is all it would take for the records to be changed, as if they are creating payments out of thin air. It is as if the money does not really matter. Another common problem is missing payments before 1991. This is apparently because during 1991 the records were computerised and the records previously taken on paper are ignored.

When I arrived there was a ticket counter that was on 55 when I went in but the next customer was all the way up at 79. I assume people came in and took a number and left because they were tired of waiting. This particular office was extremely cold and the air was blowing strongly directly on the seated customers. The AC must have been set to arctic, that is what it felt like. There was a woman with a very young baby who was waiting for her number to call. I am not sure how long she was waiting.

A list of addresses and phone numbers for all the offices can be found at the NIB site http://www.nibtt.net. Calls to most offices are never answered but you can keep trying. Good luck!