Friday, April 21, 2017

Sights to See: Queens Park Savannah, Port of Spain


Queens Park Savannah  1 mi. N of Woodford Square, between downtown and Northern Range hills.  Occupying approximately 260 acres, the Savannah is Port of Spain’s largest green space.  The oldest park in the West Indies, it was turned it into a city park in 1817 and is encircled by the world’s largest roundabout.

Queens Park Savannah as seen from Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Queens Park Savannah as seen from Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad

          Southeastern End
National Academy for the Performing Arts  This new building opened in 2009 for the Summit of the Americas.  It houses a 1,200-seat main auditorium as well as additional stages, practice halls, and teaching rooms in the University of Trinidad & Tobago section.

The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago

Memorial Square  Opposite the National Museum. 

Anglican parish Church of All Saints  This church dates to 1845.

          Northeastern End
The “Magnificent Seven”  This row of seven extravagant mansions that date back to around 1900 displays a range of colonial architectural fantasy.  Currently the houses are in a state of disrepair, and most are being refurbished.  None are open for tours.

          ●Queen’s Royal College  This boys’ school was attended by Dr. Eric Williams and the Trinidadian Nobel prizewinner V.S. Naipaul.  It is surrounded by an ornate cast-iron fence.

Queen's Royal College in Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Queen's Royal College in Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
          ●Hayes Court  This well-kept, updated home features lovely stonework and glass detail and is now the Anglican bishop’s residence.

          ●Mille Fleurs/Prada House  Built in 1904 in the style of a typical town house of the period, this early French Renaissance-style mansion is currently the law association headquarters.  It is noted for its wrought iron fretwork.

Mille Fleurs/Prada House in Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Mille Fleurs/Prada House in Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
          ●Ambard's House/Roomor  Designed by a French architect, this private residence was constructed in 1904 as a family residence.  Most of the materials were imported--marble from Italy, tiles from France, cast iron elements from Scotland.  After several owners, it was sold in 1940 to Timothy Roodal and is today occupied by Roodal's granddaughter.  The name Roomor is a combination of two family names, Roodal and Morgan.  Constructed almost entirely of wood, it requires constant maintenance.

          ●Archbishop’s Palace  This Indian-style structure was built by an Irish architect.

Archbishop's Palace in Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Archbishop's Palace in Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
          ●White Hall  When renovation is completed, this Moorish Mediterranean-style building will house the Prime Minister’s office.

White Hall in Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
White Hall in Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
          ●Stollmeyer’s Castle/Killarney  A replica of Balmoral Castle in Scotland, this was built to the specifications of a woman who abandoned it because it was too big.  Currently it serves as the Prime Minister’s office.

Stollmeyer's Castle/Killarney in Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Stollmeyer's Castle/Killarney in Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad

          Northwest Corner
Wildflower Park

Emperor Valley Zoo

Royal Botanical Gardens  Open daily 6am–6pm.  Free.  Governor Ralph Woodford and botanist David Lockhart, who is buried in a small cemetery here, established these gardens in 1820, making it one of the oldest gardens and oldest collections of exotic plants and trees in the western hemisphere.  More than 200 species grow in the Orchid Display House.  The 25 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds are a favorite among locals for post-zoo picnics.

Royal Botanical Gardens in Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Royal Botanical Gardens in Queens Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad

          Northern Flank
President’s House  Located adjacent to the botanical gardens, this mansion is fronted by its own manicured gardens.

roundabout   This circle provides access to the suburbs of St. Ann’s and Cascade (go left) and the Lady Young Road, which snakes over the foothills to join the highway heading east out of the city.

          Eastern Side 
More renovation and construction are taking place. 


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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers; Magnificent 7 images courtesy of Trinidad & Tobago Tourism

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Good Eats: HAKKA, Port of Spain


HAKKA  4 Taylor St., Woodbrook, (868) 33 HAKKA.  With a trendy vibe that carries even into the restrooms, this spot is a place to see and be seen.  The delicious fusion of Hakka Chinese recipes and Indian spices results in some delicious dishes.  Good bets on the extensive menu include Konjee crispy chicken, spicy Hong Kong Pork, and prawn pakora.  Making dinner outdoors on a pleasant patio in front even more wonderful, we were serenaded by an army of crickets that sounded like bells.  


interior of HAKKA in Port of Spain, Trinidad
interior of HAKKA in Port of Spain, Trinidad


drink menu (in Trinidad dollars) at HAKKA in Port of Spain, Trinidad
drink menu (in Trinidad dollars) at HAKKA in Port of Spain, Trinidad


cheery server at HAKKA in Port of Spain, Trinidad
cheery server at HAKKA in Port of Spain, Trinidad

delish dish at HAKKA in Port of Spain, Trinidad
delish dish at HAKKA in Port of Spain, Trinidad


delish dish at HAKKA in Port of Spain, Trinidad
delish dish at HAKKA in Port of Spain, Trinidad

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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Eats: Coloz, Port of Spain, Trinidad


Coloz  1 Woodbrook Pl., Port of Spain.  In this cheery, colorfully painted restaurant--its name translates as “colors” in English--we enjoyed a delicious buffet of local foods, including bahgi (spinach with plantains) and kingfish with tamarind sauce.  I also enjoyed the licorice-flavored mauby tonic drink, which is made from bark, spices, anise seed, and sugar.

interior of Coloz restaurant in Port of Spain, Trinidad
interior of Coloz restaurant in Port of Spain, Trinidad

lunch buffet at Coloz restaurant in Port of Spain, Trinidad
lunch buffet at Coloz restaurant in Port of Spain, Trinidad

mauby tonic drink at Coloz restaurant in Port of Spain, Trinidad
mauby tonic drink at Coloz restaurant in Port of Spain, Trinidad

art at Coloz restaurant in Port of Spain, Trinidad
art at Coloz restaurant in Port of Spain, Trinidad

 ●IMAX theater  Adjacent, This is the only IMAX theater in the English-speaking Caribbean. 

IMAX theater in Port of Spain, Trinidad
IMAX theater in Port of Spain, Trinidad

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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Sights to See: Fort George, Port of Spain, Trinidad


Fort George  Port of Spain.  Built in 1804 and reached via a windy, narrow road, this fort never saw military action and so became a signal house.  Now it is famous for a magnificent view--it overlooks the city of St. James and the Gulf of Paria, and on a clear day you can see Venezuela.  

signal house at Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad
signal house at Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad

sign at signal house at Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad
sign at signal house at Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad

view from Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad
view from Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad

view from Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad
view from Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad

cannon at Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad
cannon at Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Venezuela in the background in selfie at Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Venezuela in the background in selfie at Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad

casava tree at Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad
casava tree at Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad


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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


Friday, April 7, 2017

Sights to See: Emperor Valley Zoo, Port of Spain, Trinidad


Emperor Valley Zoo  Port of Spain.  Daily 9:30am-6pm.  TT30/US$5, under age 13 TT15.  Named for the giant iridescent blue butterfly that once populated this valley, this small 7-acre zoo has been here since 1952 and is the largest in the Caribbean.  It is currently being expanded and upgrading exhibits as it aims for accreditation.  Assistant curator Richard Wallace says the aim is “to be a small San Diego Zoo.”  It has an extensive collection of local animals (crab-eating raccoons, boa constrictors) and birds (the Trinidad motmot) plus flamingos from the San Diego Zoo.  Two large South American River Turtles are the oldest in Trinidad and have been here since the zoo opened.  I saw two Trinidad white-fronted capuchin monkeys busy grooming each other, and two bright pink scarlet ibis perched way back in an enclosure.  A circular path takes you past  most exhibits.  Two 3-year-old giraffes from Texas are the first in the Caribbean.  A contest named them Melman (children’s choice, from “Madagascar” movie) and Mandela (adult’s choice, to honor Nelson, who had just died).  The zoo has five white Bengal tigers, two of which were born at the zoo and are the first to be born in Trinidad and the Caribbean.  If you visit, be sure to apply insect repellent.  My souvenir was a bite, probably from a sand fly, and it left me with big red welts for several days--probably an allergic reaction.  Note that the local natural treatment is to rub a lime on bites.  


blue macaw at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad
blue macaw at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad


flamingoes at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad
flamingoes at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad


turtles at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad
turtles at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad


Trinidad white-fronted capuchin monkeys at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad
Trinidad white-fronted capuchin monkeys at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad


scarlet Ibis at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad
scarlet Ibis at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad
giraffe at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad
giraffe at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad


baboon at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad
baboon at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad
 

playground at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad
playground at Emperor Valley Zoo in Trinidad

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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Sights to See: The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago, Port of Spain, Trinidad


The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago  117 Frederick St., Port of Spain, (868) 623-5941.  Tu-Sat 10am-6pm.  Free.  Though the exterior of its 1887 Dutch-gabled German-Renaissance-style building is modest, this museum holds interesting collections.  The first floor features special exhibitions and natural history exhibits (you can see the magnificent blue Emperor butterfly here).  Upstairs, the national art collection displays work by leading local artists, including paintings by Trinidad’s first major artist, Michel-Jean Cazabon (1813-88).


exterior of The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad
exterior of The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad


special exhibit at The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad
special exhibit at The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad


cocoa industry display at The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad
cocoa industry display at The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad


Emperor Butterfly display at The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Emperor Butterfly display at The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad


art gallery at The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad
art gallery at The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad


art gallery display at The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad
art gallery display at The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad


art piece in gallery at The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad
art piece in gallery at The National Museum & Art Gallery of Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain, Trinidad

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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Friday, March 31, 2017

Sights to See: steel pan yard, Port of Spain, Trinidad


The steel pan is the national instrument of Trinidad.  First made from discarded oil drums when hand drums were banned under British rule, it is the only musical instrument invented in the 20th century. 
          Pans were originally informally pounded into a dish-like shape, tempered by fire, grooved, and tuned--until they were workable musical instruments.  Now a standardized instrument, the tenor pan, or lead pan, carries the melody and can play 29 notes over 2.5 octaves in the higher register, while the newer G-Pan, originated at the University of the West Indies, can play 37 notes over 4 octaves.  The pans need to be tuned every few months. 

pan musical instrument with standardized markings at Dan-Demonium pan yard in Trinidad
pan musical instrument with standardized markings at Dan-Demonium pan yard in Trinidad

pan yards in Port of Spain  Be sure to visit a pan yard for a performance that will knock your socks off.  Look for posters around town advertising current performances. 
Invaders perform at pan yard in Trinidad
Invaders perform at pan yard in Trinidad

Dan-Demonium  Pan player and song writer Kwesi Paul has been playing since he was 8 years old.  Here you will see pans in various stages of formation. 

Kwesi Paul at Dan-Demonium pan yard in Trinidad
Kwesi Paul at Dan-Demonium pan yard in Trinidad



●I saw the Invaders steel pan orchestra and the Les Coteaux Folk Performers calypso dancers perform at another pan yard.







Darron Scotland of the Les Coteaux Folk Performers calypso dancers performs a delicate maneuver at a pan yard in Trinidad
Darron Scotland of the Les Coteaux Folk Performers calypso dancers performs a delicate maneuver at a pan yard in Trinidad

Jaffa restaurant is just across street.  Named for the play in cricket that is a perfect delivery, this Mediterranean restaurant is situated at the home of cricket in Trinidad.  A British high tea with scones and clotted cream is served on Wednesdays.  Queens Park Oval, 94 Tragarete Rd., Level 2, (868) 622-6825.  

bar at Jaffa restaurant in Port of Spain, Trinidad
bar at Jaffa restaurant in Port of Spain, Trinidad


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images and videos ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Sights to See: Downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad


Originally a mangrove swamp, Port of Spain is now the second-largest in the Caribbean, after Kingston in Jamaica.  Construction is going on everywhere, like in downtown San Francisco but on a smaller scale.  Above-ground wire tangles are reminiscent of those in China and on my own residential street in California. 

tangle of wires in downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad
tangle of wires in downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad

Downtown Shopping
●Frederick and Charlotte streets are the main shopping streets.

corner shop in downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad
corner shop in downtown Port of Spain, Trinidad

police car across street from Bang Bang shop in Port of Spain, Trinidad
police car across street from Bang Bang shop in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Excellent City Centre  Considered the heart of downtown shopping, this popular shopping center has everything you might need under one roof--from designer clothing to electronics to jewelry--plus a bakery and food court.  You’ll also find everything for the home, including appliances, toys, school supplies, children’s clothing, books, and souvenirs.  You can even shop online.
(my articles:  3-24-17 my blog)

Excellent City Centre mall in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Excellent City Centre mall in Port of Spain, Trinidad

KFC  On Frederick St., across from Independence Square and a roundabout.  This branch of finger-lickin’-good chicken made the Guinness World Records in 2000 for selling the most chicken in the world and also for making the most money world-wide.  Trinidadians favor the spicy fried chicken.

famous branch of KFC in Port of Spain, Trinidad
famous branch of KFC in Port of Spain, Trinidad

Holy Trinity Cathedral  The oldest Anglican church in the Caribbean, this old building has a lovely mahogany ceiling.

exterior of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port of Spain, Trinidad
exterior of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port of Spain, Trinidad

interior of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port of Spain, Trinidad
interior of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Port of Spain, Trinidad


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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers