Paul and Gayle are taking a year from their roles in Picton and Belleville and will be teaching at the Maple Leaf International School in Trinidad. We will use this blog to record some of our edventures!

Thursday, 25 December 2014

A Little Jaunt to Tobago

Our Trini friends will finally be relieved - we made it to Tobago! We were warned to be careful on the roads -- the windy, narrow mountainous roads that lead to gorgeous beaches are quite the sight.

In planning our trek to Tobago, we decided to take the 2.5 hour ferry so that we would have our car with us. This proved to be a good decision, as it allowed us to explore much of the small sister island of Trinidad.

Tobago is located just north of Trinidad and is somewhat more touristy than Trinidad. We were no longer the only foreigners in a sea of Trinis!

After enduring a late night flight from Toronto, we picked up Abby at the airport in Crown Point. We then headed down the road to Castara, a small seaside town located about 45 minutes (and 20 km) from the airport) where we stayed for 4 days at a "rustic" guest house. Castara was a cool place to call home for a few days, as it came complete with a sandy beach, a historic town mud oven that baked yummy bread, and an ice cream shop. What more could you need?

On day one of our vacation, we donned the running shoes and walked to Englishman's Bay, a 3.5 km walk to a profoundly beautiful bay and beach. Along the way we befriended some goats grazing at the local cemetery, numerous cows along the roadside and some cocricos, one of the national birds of Trinidad and Tobago. We relaxed in the midst of waves, sand and about 15 others at Englishman's Bay.
Englishman's Bay Beach
After a second day of beaching it, we were ready for some action so we jumped in the car with the plan of circling the north end of the island. Well, the road (note - one road only) was so narrow and windy that it took us the good part of a day to drive 20 km. Highlights of our road trip included 3 stops at 3 very different but cool waterfalls.
Abby at Argyle Falls
 During our last full day in Tobago we drove back to Crown Point to go on a glass bottom boat tour out to the Buccoo reef. For $24, we got to see the reef from a glass bottom boat, swim on a coral "sand" bar and snorkel over the reef. For the record, squid are super cool, and elegant in the water.
Store Bay Beach at Crown Point
It was certainly a highlight to explore a new place with Abs for Christmas.  There lots of pictures in the Gallery.

Merry Christmas to Everyone!

Monday, 15 December 2014

New Blog Feature

We've added a new "Map" feature to our blog. Just click the link above and you will be able to see the places we've been in Trinidad (and beyond). The red markers have pictures attached to them. For us, this will be a diary to help us remember where we've been and what we've been up to. Many places on the map have not made it to the blog.

Click this to see the list of titles.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Another Saturday Adventure

To celebrate the first day of our 3 week Christmas vacation, we decided to head east of Port of Spain to Arima, and the Arima Horse Club Track to catch a few races. Although we are used to harness racing in Ontario, we quickly adjusted our betting strategies to match those of turf track races, where jockeys actually ride the horses.

The afternoon proved to be really enjoyable. The grandstand was coolish (probably 29C) with a nice breeze and a great view of mountains in the distance. There was a solid crowd of people, dominated by men. We got a huge kick out of a group of 4 that had a 40 ouncer of Jack Daniels stuffed into a back pack, complete with cups, mix and ice. I guess that is acceptable behaviour??? It was pretty obvious that not a lot of foreign women turn up at the track, so a few people seemed super friendly to me and less so to Paul.

I'm proud to say that once I settled in and got into my gambling groove, my strategy of selecting a horse by its name and colour worked wonders. In the last 2 races, I turned $15 into $26. That might seem like a big win, and it is in my head, but to convert Trinidad & Tobago dollars into Canadian, you divide each by $5, so I walked away with a whopping $2!!! Ok, we may have lost a bit on 2 other races but you didn't want to hear about that.

On our drive back home, we diverted off the main highway in search of the Maracas waterfall. Our car has been acting up a little so we figured a cool down period would do it a world of good. We eventually reached the end of the road that our car could handle and were just about to park on the road side when a young girl walked out of her house to greet us. She informed us that it would be unsafe (for foreigners) to hike to the waterfall or leave our car on the roadside. But for $150 TT she would be our guide and allow us to park the car in her yard. We agreed and off we walked, with 4 sketchy, scrawny, and smelly dogs in toe.

We were half hoping - half expecting a swimming pool at the bottom of the waterfall but when we arrived, there was not much water pooling. Instead there was a team of 5 people filming an environmental documentary about "must see" places in Trinidad. We were told this segment on the Maracas Waterfall would air on Canadian TV sometime in 2015. Watch for us!

On our hike back to the car (which incidentally was perfectly safe), we diverged off to find another waterfall with a nice little pool for swimming. This made the hike complete, and we managed to ditch the one-eyed, rail thin dog that was still accompanying us. I don't think we took a picture of this dog, as we didn't want to scare you or have you unsubscribe from our blog.

Stay tuned for more reports. We are heading to Tobago next week just before Christmas and then to St. Lucia after Christmas.

We hope all is well with you. Enjoy the holiday season and Merry Christmas!

Gayle and Paul

Saturday, 6 December 2014

A Proud Nation

On Tuesday we were fortunate to see the Women Soca Warriors, Trindad's nation soccer team, take on Equador for a spot at the Women's World Cup that is being held in Canada next year.  The women narrowly missed a chance to qualify in a tournament earlier this year and were playing the second of a home and home series with Equador. The winner of the series would qualify to go to Canada.

The first game was a draw in Equador, so this was going to prove to be an excellent contest. (Well, and a great experience for us.)

The stadium was packed with over 20000 fans mostly wearing red. This nation is proud of it's athletes for sure.  The game was dominated by the Soca Warriors, however they could not put the ball in the net. During injury time, Equador scored a soft goal off of a free kick that was misjudge by the keeper.  The disheartened fans were silenced almost immediately.

We learned afterward that in 1989, 25 years ago, the men's team faced a similar challenge against the USA and lost by a similarly soft goal. Everyone, over 25 remembers that day well!

Check out the pictures in the gallery.