Saturday, January 7th, 2012
Today (yesterday) I decided to skip the group trip and go out on my own. After 3 days on the ship the thought of getting on to a bus was not particularly appealing to me. So, I left the ship and walked out through the port with the full intention of simply ploughing my way through the usual wall of tour operators and taxi drivers who vie for your business and out into the street. And I almost got through the gate when I was approached by a smiling and soft-spoken taxi driver named Ignatius. And, to make a long story short I decided a short ride with Ignatius wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all… which it wasn’t. He ended up driving me around for about 3 hours (at a very reasonable rate) and I had a wonderful time learning about the island and about him. In addition to the usual places I would imagine he takes his passengers we also rode by one of the many Hindu Temples in Trinidad. In the interest of a balanced experience Ignatius drove me through both a pretty upscale neighborhood and a fairly poor neighborhood as well as out along the coast road and up on the hills behind Port of Spain so I could see the view. One of the highlights was stopping at a local Indian place to get a Roti: a Trinidad-inspired version of the East Indian dish. it was delicious… filled with a mix of vegetables and spices and wrapped in a pancake of sorts.
At the end of our driving tour Ignatius kindly dropped me off in the Port of Spain shopping & business district where I walked up and down a few streets before heading back to the ship. I can’t say that walking around by myself felt particularly safe and most of the shops seemed to sell pretty westernized items along with a sprinkle of East Indian trinkets (incense; salwar kameezes, statues) and of course T-shirts and various touristy items. I have been wanting to find something to bring home to Hari so looked at a few Tropical-looking shirts… but when I turned the tag over on one I liked it said, “Macy’s” OMG… that was the end of my shopping day. But I did buy some Indian spices (Trinidad-style) and chocolate (apparently Trinidad is an award-winning chocolate producer).
There were many other things I would have liked to see on Trinidad but with only 1 day in port this was about all I could do… my Dad always wanted to see Trinidad because of it’s abundance of birds (over 400 species)… but he never made it.
Next… Barbados (stay tuned!)