Trinidad and Tobago-the lost Paradise. Memoirs of 'la isla bonita'.
Trinidad and Tobago, like many tropical islands, has always held a particular allure to the outsider. Like a tropical queen, She is the epitomy of beauty, exuberance and stature. She stands like a fortress in the Caribbean, unwavering; god mother to the other Caribbean nations. She will never be daunted. Trinidad and Tobago-the land of my birth...my mother of the Earth.
Trinidad and Tobago is actually one republic. Historically colonized by the Spanish, British, the French and the Dutch, the country obtained independence in 1962 and became a republic in 1976. The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago consists of two islands: Trinidad, the larger one and Tobago, the smaller. Located in the Southern Caribbean and lying off the coast of northeastern Venezuela, the country's distinct shape can be seen from an aerial view. Trinidad is more populous with about 1.8 million people. Tobago is significantly smaller with about 540,000 people.
The ethnic composition of the country is largely Afro-Trinidadian and Afro-Tobagonian but the country is also known for its cosmopolitan makeup. There are Indians, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Chinese, Syrians and Caucasians who also live there. As Trinidad and Tobago is multi ethnic, so too is it multi-cultural. Though largely Christian, Catholicism, Hinduism and Islam are also practised and everyone co-exists with enough racial and religious tolerance and appreciation of each other to really call this country a "paradise". Because of the distinct blend of religions, races and cultures, it is not surprising that there are many mixed race people. Typically,the result of a mixture of the two predominant races-Indo-Trinidadians and Afro-Trinidadians produce what is locally referred to as "douglas". They are usually light to dark brown in complexion, very attractive with wavy, long hair.
Interestingly, Trinidad and Tobago has birthed famous people. It is the bithplace of the famous cricketer, Brian Lara and the international calypsonian, The Mighty Sparrow. The famous rapper, Nicki Minaj was born in Trinidad and lived there before she moved to Queens. Her latest album, "Pound the alarm" was created in her birthplace and many images of Trinidad's mas, the island people and the country's beaches are portrayed.
For tourists looking for a vacation, Trinidad and Tobago is the ideal tourist resort. It has attracted famous stars like Will Smith, Malik Yoba, Ian Somerhalder from ''Vampire Diaries" and Sullivan Walker, to name a few. The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival which typically takes place two days in February are a site to behold for both tourists and locals alike. The country's trademark music called "Soca" is played all over the streets. The Carnival of this country is considered one of the largest tourist attractions in the world and flights are booked out from as early as November in order to make it in time for when the festival begins. "Wining" a dance which involves gyration of the hips is very popular and tourists as well as locals can be seen "wining" in the streets in beautiful, brightly coloured costumes.
In addition to the Carnival, Trinidad and Tobago has many sites of interest to visit. The beautiful beaches adorn the islands, where there is always sun, coconut trees and sparkling sand. When visiting Trinidad, be sure to check out The Pitch Lake in La Brea, the Nariva Swamp, the Caroni Bird Sanctuary and the Aripo caves to name a few. Tobago has the beautiful Buccoo Reef as well as many diving resorts.
The Buccoo Reef in TobagoThe Maracas Beach in Trinidad
Additionally, there are many tasty delicacies to be eaten on both islands. These local delicacies, to name a few are bake and shark which is fried shark embedded within a fried flour dough and seasoned with different sauces, oil down (breadfruit cooked in coconut milk with pigtails and salted cod), pelau which is rice browned and cooked with carrots, peas and a meat of your choice, callaloo- a green savoury soup made from dasheen bush and last but definitely not least, roti, an Indian dish which consists of an Indian flatbread filled with curried chickpeas traditionally accompanied by curried potato and/or curried meats.
Pelau Bake and shark Roti
What makes many visitors and locals refer to Trinidad and Tobago as a Paradise? It is the fact that when you are away from home, the warm tropical beaches, the sunny climate, the delicious food and the naturally friendly disposition of the inhabitants will make you feel welcome. And on a hot day, when you drink an icy cold coconut water, you may never want to leave this lost paradise called Trinidad and Tobago.