Friday, March 20, 2009

Trinidad

February 5, 2009 - Port of Spain


Today we are in back in Port of Spain. Now the last time we were here we saw a lot and we both were wondering what we wanted to do here. We were a little hesitant about visiting Trinidad again it didn't seem like a city that really wanted to see tourists, the crowds, and the pushiness of the vendors.



After grabbing a latte we decided to venture out again. And all I can say is "I am glad we did". It is hot hot hot again, almost didn't want to leave the port shops as they had great AC. There are many shops around the port to check out the local crafts. Bernie picked up some cashews.

They have a lovely port facility with a steel drum (aka as Pan) band. Click on the video to get a sample of the music. In the port you will find a few stores (pricey) and tourist information. We were given a tourist map with a self guided walking tour of the town. So are day was planned.

video

Once you leave the port you have to cross a very busy street. I am not sure if you normally have to cross here because there is a lot of construction going on so this may be a temp. crossing. But even if it is permanent they have a crossing guard to help you get across.


There are city paid tourist guides situated all around the main town that are dressed in red and have identification and are able to assist you with directions, maps, questions etc.


A couple walks down the main promenade



At the end of the promenade is this lovely church



Bernie tries out the confessional.



Here are two of the tourist guides, easily identified by their red shirts. They are very happy to assist and are very proud of their city.



As we walked we say a few of these vendors around and this particular vendor had a huge crowd around him. We checked it out tried to see what he was serving but before we could even find out the cook smiled and said "here" as he handed us his food item. It was a pita type bread that had a curry type item in it and then wrapped up. Kind of like a roti but not as big and not as wrapped up. The filing was made up of chic peas, onions, peppers and a curry sauce. He gave us this item for free!
And it was very very good. We thanked him profusely.


Our chef, and he is wearing the Canadian pin we gave him.
We then walked down one of the main streets that was lined with shops on both sides and the sidewalks were packed.


Here is a guy with his CD cart as he pushes it down the street with music blaring. When he saw me looking at him he asked if I wanted to buy anything. I laughed because I somehow think he doesn't have my kind of music.
We walk into a few stores and bought some t-shirts and souvenirs for our nephews and nieces. The staff are so very nice and so helpful and very interested in us.
There were a few street side stores that weren't really official buildings but at one particular store the owner came right to us as we walked by and wanted to chat. He was so nice asking us all about Canada. His sister lives in Canada he proudly says. Seems many Trinidadians have moved to Canada. We chat for awhile and he shakes our hands and wishes us a good stay in Trinidad.
Not once did we feel pressured to buy anything, not once did we feel uncomfortable on the street. All we felt was friendliness, interest and hospitality.

Here is another vendor that is selling fruit.



One of the squares near downtown and the bandstand, still decorated for Christmas.


We walk to the big park (can't remember the name of it) where set up for Mardi Gras is underway. The bandstands are being set up for viewing of the parade. Bernie swears he is going to sit there and wait for it to begin.


On one street beside the park are the Magnificent Seven Houses. Some are in great shape, some others are in desperate need of repair, all are beautiful.


These little buildings are being erected all around the part as little shops that will sell all kind of things.


A bunch of school kids gather in the park for an impromptu cricket game.

It is very hot and we have walked a lot, time to rest the legs.


These street vendors line the street and sell fresh whole coconuts, very intricate iron work.


We decide to walk to the North end of the park where we know the local zoo is (which is located right beside the botanical garden that we visited on the last visit)

The zoo is quite nice and only cost us $2 per person.







The zoo was lovely. I took so many pictures at this beautiful port that I actually killed both batteries from both cameras.
We wandered around the zoo for about an hour and a half and knew we had to start heading back. I don't have any pictures of this part of the visit because like I said the cameras were dead.
We knew that there was a Canadian consulate nearby so we stopped by.. we walked in and went thru security and then we walked into a small room that had a window with a woman behind it, she asked "can I help you" and we just didn't know what to say, so we just said "no just visiting home" and left feeling kind of goofy.
There was a lovely little coffee shop and we walked in for yup you guessed it a latte. We chatted with many of the local school kids who were in the restaurant.
We thought about taking a taxi back to the port, but the traffic was bumper to bumper and be prepared to hear beep beep beep beep beep... amazing everyone beeps their horn but we didn't see anyone get mad as they sat in the traffic. We walked back and laughed as taxi drivers offered us a ride, gee we easily could walk a lot faster than they could drive.
Tonight we were invited to head down to the Cruise Director's office to be interviewed for the morning show. Now neither of us has ever seen this side of cruising. It was a lot of fun, I got to sit with the Cruise Director and the Assistant CD and we talked about Cruise Critic and talked about the ship and our cruise.

This show is taped at 5:30 every night and played the next morning - and they pretend it is taped live.

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