Friday, May 12, 2017

Sights to See: Paramin village, Trinidad


PARAMIN VILLAGE  On Maracas North Coast.  This rural village is located on one of the highest points of the western area of the Northern Range--it peaks at 2,800 feet--and includes part of the Maraval area known for its expensive homes and golf course.  It is a sprawling, steep, and mountainous village whose residents have traditionally been farmers, producing herbs such as chives, thyme, and parsley, as well as vegetables such as tomatoes and yams.  Tomatoes are grown on almost vertical plots.  To maneuver the route, most locals and visitors ride in jeeps, which turns out to be a lot of fun, especially with a stop on the way down at the Kool Breeze Bar.  

view of Paramin Village over vertical tomato fields in Trinidad
view of Paramin Village over vertical tomato fields in Trinidad

jeep tour drivers in Paramin Village in Trinidad
jeep tour drivers in Paramin Village in Trinidad



 

exterior of Kool Breeze bar in Paramin Village in Trinidad
exterior of Kool Breeze bar in Paramin Village in Trinidad

interior of Kool Breeze bar in Paramin Village in Trinidad
interior of Kool Breeze bar in Paramin Village in Trinidad

view from Kool Breeze bar in Paramin Village in Trinidad
view from Kool Breeze bar in Paramin Village in Trinidad


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images and video ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Great Sleeps: Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre, Trinidad


Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre  Lady Young Rd., Port of Spain, (868) 624-3211.  418 rooms.  Pool; fitness center with 2 saunas, treatment rooms; 2 tennis courts.  Guests drive up to the top of a hill to enter the lobby of this hotel known as the “Upside Down Hilton,” whose rooms cascade down a small hill.  Built on the site of the former colonial French Governor’s residence, this hotel is set amid 25 acres of tropical landscape.  All guest rooms feature a private furnished balcony overlooking the bucolic surroundings.   
view from guest room balcony at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad
view from guest room balcony at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad

Facilities include one of the city's largest swimming pools--it is shaped like Trinidad--and a kids’ pool--shaped like Tobago--plus a terrace lined with lounge chairs shaded by umbrellas and trees.

pool area at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad
pool area at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad

The Terrace Garden restaurant features three-story-high ceilings and glass walls looking out to the green pool landscaping.  It is a delightful place for breakfast, when the buffet includes made-to-order omelettes as well as some local items--I became very fond of both the spinach-like calaloo made with dasheen leaves and the pumpkin choka fillings for fried bake breads--and an array of more familiar items. 

Terrace Garden restaurant at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad
Terrace Garden restaurant at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad

LUCE Sushi Bar is an independent restaurant known for its excellent sushi and cocktails.
LUCE Sushi Bar at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad
LUCE Sushi Bar at the Hilton Trinidad in Trinidad

Technically the hotel is located walking distance from Queen’s Park Savannah and the botanical gardens.  However, I took the “path” down from the hotel--it was actually a very steep, paved, decidedly unbucolic narrow service road used by hotel employees.  It passed noisy hotel machines, and when I reached the bottom there was no cross walk.  After watching locals, I literally ran across a confusing road beside a traffic circle and then had to do the same yet again to get over to the Savannah park.  It was then a looong walk to the gardens, and then I needed to cross the busy thoroughfare yet again--in a downpour that drenched me even with an umbrella.  Later, I wound up walking through a flooded grassy road edge to retrace my path back to the hotel.  My sneakers took two days to dry.  My advice--take a cab!


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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Things to Do: Maracas Beach; Good Eats: Bake and Shark, Trinidad


Maracas Beach  On north side of the island; 1-hr. drive from Port of Spain.  Unlike many of the northern beaches of Trinidad, Maracas Beach is protected by a deep bay.  It is one of the most well-known and beautiful beaches in Trinidad.  It is also famous for the dozen huts located across the highway from the beach that serve Bake and Shark, a native Trinidadian dish that consists of deep-fried shark stuffed in a "bake," or bun.  It is basically a fish burger served with condiments galore--pepper sauce, garlic sauce, coriander/cilantro sauce, tamarind, veggies.  The bread/bake is cooked in very hot oil so it is not greasy. 
 

Maracas Beach in Trinidad
Maracas Beach in Trinidad
  
Richard's Bake & Shark sign at Maracas Beach in Trinidad
Richard's Bake & Shark sign at Maracas Beach in Trinidad

 
preparing Bake & Shark at Richard's at Maracas Beach in Trinidad
preparing Bake & Shark at Richard's at Maracas Beach in Trinidad

adding condiments to Bake & Shark at Richard's at Maracas Beach in Trinidad
adding condiments to Bake & Shark at Richard's at Maracas Beach in Trinidad


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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Monday, May 1, 2017

Sights to See: Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary, Trinidad


BIRDWATCHING
Trinidad’s lush landscape provide the perfect conditions for the more than 450 species of birds that call the island home.  Key birding spots on island include:

Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary  Off the Solomon Hochoy Hwy., 8 miles south of Port of Spain.  US$10 for 2 1/2-hr. cruise.  This 12,000-acre, mangrove-filled wetland is the top nesting site for the Trinidad national bird--the Scarlet Ibis (pronounced eye-bus).  Best viewing is in morning and evening.  Approximately 15,000 of these big red birds gather here at dusk each evening to roost in trees.  Among the more than 100 additional tropical birds seen here are snowy egrets, blue herons, green kingfishers, and bicolored conebills.  You might also see caimans amid the mangrove roots and boa constrictors entwined on branches.
boa constrictor in tree at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad
boa constrictor in tree at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad

Scarlet Ibis roosting in trees at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad
Scarlet Ibis roosting in trees at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad

single Scarlet Ibis heading to roosting trees at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad
single Scarlet Ibis heading to roosting trees at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad

flock of Scarlet Ibis heading to roosting trees at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad
flock of Scarlet Ibis heading to roosting trees at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad


Boat tours are available on site, though some tour companies arrange in advance.
     ●Nanan’s Bird Sanctuary Tours  38 Bamboo Grove Sett, No. 1, Uriah Butler Highway, Valsaya P.O., (868) 645-1305.  Depart at 4pm, return by 6:30pm.  In business for 60 years, this tour concession uses wood boats equipped with life vests.

Nanan's Bird Sanctuary Tours boats at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad
Nanan's Bird Sanctuary Tours boats at Caroni Swamp & Bird Sanctuary in Trinidad


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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sights to See: LeRoy Clarke home, Port of Spain, Trinidad


LeRoy Clarke home  This popular contemporary native Trinidadian artist focuses on African art, and his paintings are usually very large.  As like calaloo--a popular island stew--is how he describes the mix of races in Trinidad.  Clarke is also a poet and, at age 78, has strong opinions, and so is loved by many and not so loved by others.  He lives in a small gated community in De Legacy House of El Tucuche, which was built to his specifications and where he graciously welcomed my group of journalists into his private space.   The soft-spoken artist says he uses his “sweet man voice around women,” and claims that he was the favorite of nine children. 


exterior of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad
exterior of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad


front room of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad
front room of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad


front room of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad
front room of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad

dining room of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad
dining room of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad

painting porch of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad
painting porch of LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad



artist LeRoy Clarke at his bedroom desk in LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad
artist LeRoy Clarke at his bedroom desk in LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad


artist LeRoy Clarke in his library at LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad
artist LeRoy Clarke in his library at LeRoy Clarke home in Port of Spain, Trinidad


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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sights to See: Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC


Metropolitan Museum of Art  1000 5th Ave./82nd St., (212) 535-7710.  Sun-Thur 10-5:30, F-Sat 10-9, closed M.  suggested donation:  $25, 65+ $17, students $12, under 12 free.  The Metropolitan Museum in New York City is the largest museum in the U.S.  The Met, as it is referred to by New Yorkers, has a permanent collection of more than 2 million precious items from around the world and through the ages and holds an amazing number of complete original rooms, some of which even retain their original creaky floors.  The museum poses a daunting challenge to view, and you probably won’t know which way to look first.  Because you really can’t see it all in one day, it is best to pick a few favorite periods or genres from its wealth of beauty and plan to leave some things for next time.  But if it is your first visit or perhaps you suspect it will be you only visit, consider catching just the highlights--which will still take most of a day to accomplish.  Here is a mix of paintings, temples, and a few of the entire intact rooms the museum is famous for, plus a great suggestion on where to have lunch--all doable in one day.  Should you visit in December, be sure to add the first-floor Medieval Sculpture Hall (gallery 305) to your itinerary.  A gigantic Christmas tree is decorated then with angels from the museum’s collection, and atmospheric music resounds. 

interactive map of the galleries

see the best of the Metropolitan Museum in a single visit 


American Wing Sculpture Gallery at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
American Wing Sculpture Gallery at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
 
exterior of Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
exterior of Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC

Arms and Armor Gallery at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
Arms and Armor Gallery at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC

kids in Egyptian tomb at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
kids in Egyptian tomb at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
period bedroom at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
period bedroom at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC

Temple of Dendur at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
Temple of Dendur at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC

The Astor Court at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
The Astor Court at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC

Versailles Panorama at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
Versailles Panorama at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC

Petrie Court Cafe at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC
Petrie Court Cafe at Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC


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images ©2017 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Sights to See: Queen's Park Savannah, Port of Spain


Queen's 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.

Queen's Park Savannah as seen from Fort George in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Queen's 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 Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Queen's Royal College in Queen's 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 Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Mille Fleurs/Prada House in Queen's 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 Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Archbishop's Palace in Queen's 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 Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
White Hall in Queen's 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 Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Stollmeyer's Castle/Killarney in Queen's 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 Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain, Trinidad
Royal Botanical Gardens in Queen's 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, Trinidad


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