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!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Guest Blog: Heather Patterson

Hello from Trinidad, everyone!

The Moira contingent of visitors arrived to visit Gayle and Paul this week (mission: Make sure they're coming back!).  We were warmly greeted (in more ways than one) after our overnight flight by Gayle and Paul at 6:00 am.  We drove (yes, us Trini newbies drove!) back to the apartment and caught a few zzzs, then headed out to the beach.  Getting to the beach involves a long winding drive up the mountains, with some gorgeous views.  We played a little in the waves, then went back to the apartment and headed out again for a hash.  I'm sure you know what a hash is by now, but just in case you're a new follower, it is essentially a pile of people running through the bush looking for a trail.  But it's lots of fun, with lots of great people, and it was a good end to Day 1.  And then we went to bed -- at 8:00 pm.

Gayle and Paul then headed back to the airport to pick up Jane, Dave and Grace (I'm sure you'll hear from them in a few days).  We slept through their return, and didn't get up until 8 the next morning.  Elephants could have walked through our room, and we would have missed it.  Sunday, we started early again, and got up to go visit some caves, and even got to go swimming in the caves.  Incredible!  Next on the agenda was a swamp tour.  I was a little doubtful, as Paul pointed out the dump we could see from the highway, and explained about its proximity to the swamp, but this turned out to be a very cool tour.  We saw the national bird, the red ibis, coming back by the hundreds after a day out of eating.

Monday saw us out on a hike through the forest with our new friends and Gayle-Paul squatters.  We played in a waterfall, and floated on our backs looking up at the forest canopy.  Beautiful!

This country is pretty amazing, whether you're in forest, in the water or visiting a swamp.  One of the benefits of visiting Gayle and Paul later in their year in Trinidad is that they've had time to vet out the tourist attractions that simply aren't worth it, and do find the hidden gems.  One of those was the hummingbird house, Yerette.  Upon arrival, we could see hundreds of hummingbirds, all zipping around, feasting on nectar and generally hanging out.  As I stood taking pictures, it sounded like bees near my head as the hummingbirds were so close, and I could hear their wings moving.  What an amazing site.  And since we promised to spread the word... Did you know that hummingbirds are pollinators, just like bees?  Those little guys are not just cute, amazing little birds, but they are essential to our ecosystem.

Probably the best part of the whole trip, however, was the chance to catch up with Gayle and Paul.  They are doing great here, making friends everywhere, and staying very busy.  You're not going to rest if you go on vacation chez Miller-Pickard.  A visit to their school proved to us that they are right at home there, and are learning lots to bring home with them.  Yes, yes, we checked it all out and it meets with the high standards that we expect for these two.

And now, we head off to Tobago!

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