Hot ice cold eh boi! | Yuh is ah Trini!

Triniglish|Trinididioms spoken and explained #86
Yuh is ah Trini | "Hot ice cold eh boi!"

There was a time when the palette man (vendor) was king in the villages of Trinidad and Tobago. On a very hot and sultry day the sound of the ting ah ling bell of the Palette man's cart was a joyous sound indeed. This was the time before the snow cone trucks came and ruled for a period of time (tiger snow cone).

As I can recall the palettes were round and the flavors included peanut and the classic coconut tastes. Well there was no refrigeration and the fun for the kids (like me) was not just paying ten cents for a palette but the hope that the palette man would give us a piece of 'hot ice'. What in heaven's name is hot ice? Ha! Well as silly as it sounds children in Trinidad used the term to describe the 'ice' that kept the palettes frozen in the push cart. So what is 'hot ice'?

Well the rest of the World knows 'hot ice' by its rightful name of 'Dry Ice'. This ice is extremely cold and if not handled properly (with gloves or a piece of cloth) could result in the freezing of the cells of the skin thereby causing injury that is quite similar to a burn. 

As you may know, dry ice does not melt like regular ice but simply evaporates over a period of time. However, as a child, we would beg the palette man to give us a piece of the ice for fun and also for devious reasons. Firstly the fun part was breaking off a piece and dropping it in water. The result was a bubbling mass with what one could compare to smoke rising from the water. That was the fun thing to do with the dry ice.

Then again children are always mischievous at times and this is the part where the ice gets the reputation of being 'hot'. A little piece of ice would be broken off and an unsuspecting victim would be asked to hold the ice in their bare hands. First it would feel very cold (deceptive for what comes next) then suddenly the sensation changes to that of fire! The ice would stick to the skin and burn as if one had placed his or her hands in fire. Well this ended up in fights or someone running away and laughing. That is just the way it was  during that period.

Well if you were not a victim of 'hot ice' then one would hope that you thoroughly enjoyed hearing the sound of the palette man's cart in the neighborhood. On a very hot day the delicious taste of those palettes wrapped in white semi waxed paper were absolutely delightful. If on the other hand you were a victim of a 'hot ice' burn certainly it was not a good day for you. However,if you were the one causing the burn then you went away laughing mischievously. 

Just think about it for a moment... Those were the good ole days. We love to hate them but wished we were living those glorious times all over again!

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