Jan 7 2012
1/7/12 - 1/7/12
- Port of Spain, Trinidad
- Wild Life sanctuary located at Oil Refinery.
- Visit temples, one a temple in the sea
Breakfast on deck as usual This morning we arrive at Port of Spain, Trinidad. I just happened to be eating at a table near the edge of the ship and saw the Pilot boat speeding towards our ship. In a split second it seems, the pilot jumps on board our ship and the Pilot boat takes off. Trinidad is a well-developed island. As we pulled in we could see some skyscrapers and some new hotels. There is a mountain (hill) range around the town and along the island. Looking at the city, from the water it looks like any large city.
We disembarked about 10 a.m. at Port of Spain which is the capital of Trinidad. We were met by buses to take us on today’s trips.
We had a beautiful guide with “locks”. Towards the end of the day she showed us how she uses a tool like the one we use to make hook rugs to “knot” her hair. We went to the Wild Fowl Trust, a bird sanctuary located in the heart of an oil refinery. We ate lunch at the Olive Tree on San Fernando Hill. We had fish, chicken, rice, beans, salad. Very good food and typical Trinidad fare we were told. Notes from the guide’s talk:
• Port of Spain has about 50,000 people
• It is a 6 hr. boat ride to their sister island Tobago.
• Official language is English though Spanish and French are spoken and street signs often have all.
• People are called “Trini’s” If from both islands you are a Trnibagonian (I believe)
• Trinidad is known for their Carnival.
• Venezuela is 7 miles away; one can swim there. But she said Venezuela will meet them with guns. She said when Venezuelans come to Trinidad, they kindly escort them back home; much kinder, she says, than the Venezuela government. Someone later said that oil is the reason for the hostility.
• Many religions. Catholic is most. Hindu second. Trinidad’s “watchword is tolerance”. She said because they have so many religions, they are very diligent about religious tolerance
• In school they learn English as well as French and Spanish
• Literacy 95%.
• Never had a hurricane.
• She told us about the “whine” at Carnival where women are dressed in costume (which sounds like a well-planned and expensive undertaking) and approach men and “whine” (suggestive dancing). Men also do it to some women. She said it doesn’t mean anything personal – but to be prepared if one attends carnival.
• When they hang out at beach or something they call it “liming”. A term that came from WWII when U.S. soldiers would arrive (seasick) sucking on a lime. The lime supposedly helped seasickness. The soldiers must have “hung out” because the word is commonly used for that now in Trinidad.
• She says a bar is called a “rum shop”.
• Ave income is $6000 TT per month. (like a bank teller job) I think I saw that the conversion rate is $1 U.S. TO 6 tt.
• 7% official unemployment rate; 15% unofficial.
• Only two seasons – rainy and dry. Dry is Jan- May.
• Main revenue is oil and gas.
We visited the Temple of the Sea. About one man’s perseverance to serve God. We were invited into the temple even though what seemed like a fairly private ceremony was going on. Food was being laid out in a beautiful organized fashion, incense was in the air, and a small hibachi had food on it. Prayers were being said. I think it was Hindu. The builder almost died in a ship accident and made a promise to build the temple. He was from India. He built the temple on land and the government destroyed it. He rebuilt it in the water, rock by rock. People made fun of him and it seemed it would never get done but it is there today. Along the beach were Hindu flags of various colors. You also see the Hindu flags in yards. They are three sided flags of many colors which seem to have significance. Those flags along the beach are at funeral pyres used for cremation. The body is burned at the beach and the ashes put in the ocean.
This is the first island we have been on with a four lane freeway in each direction. There is industry. The island is 1864 sq. miles, slightly smaller than Delaware. It is modern. They have oil reserves. They are the second largest producer of LNG (liquid nature gas) and do provide that to the western U.S.
Back to the ship for Happy Hour and dinner outside on the deck, as usual.
Our evening entertainment on board was Music and limbo dancing from local groups: Codrington Family Pan Group and Limbo Dancing Loventille Cultural Movement. Good entertainment!
Also used the computer lab and enjoyed the 10 pm snack, where there is always something sweet just as there is always ice cream available after dinner.