Trinidad Cruisers Exploring the Island

Trinidad - History and Culture

Trinidad contains a vast number of places to explore. Usually the first step a cruiser takes is shopping for necessities.

Santa Cruz Green Market

Sharing this mornings outing to the Saturday Green Market in Santa Cruz, Trinidad. The market is known for it's organic, local, fresh produce there. Tasty food, craft, and product vendors there offer a variety of many things to experience. It's a delightful place in a mountainous area with friendly people to meet. The Green market has a pleasant setting of gardens with orchids and flowers in the hillside offering shade and a pleasant ambiance. Today's sampling was a pineapple chow creatively presented with mixed local fruit and a Tobago Love Crepe made with Calaloo and crab topped with fried plantain bits. My friend Susie had the shrimp crepe which was very tasty too. Ending our time there, we had home made ice cream from local dairy. The Nutmeg ice cream, which I've never had before,was one of the most heavenly ice creams I've tasted.

Many of the crafters there included wood workers, sculpters, jewelry, clothing, gardening plants, lotions and potions, and hand made soaps to name a few. Food venders offered chocolate, rabbit, several produce stands, corn soup, bread, crepes, pineapple chow, ice cream, fresh fruit juices, fried pies and bakes to name a few.

Any fellow cruisers may enjoy the Green Market as an outing to do on a Saturday. Sharing the information. - Evelyn Miller, Fleetwing

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Green Market in Santa Cruz, Trinidad. Photo by Evelyn Miller, Fleetwing
Green Market in Santa Cruz, Trinidad. Photo by Evelyn Miller, Fleetwing

Diwali (The Hindu Festival of Lights)

Diwali, otherwise known as the Festival of Lights, is one of the most spectacular events in Trinidad (after Carnival). Although it is a Hindu festival, in the island it is a national holiday observed by people of all denominations. The day is marked by prayers, feasts and the lighting of thousands of diyas (small clay pots filled with oil in which a wick is immersed and lit) all over the country.

For further information see our - Diwali, page

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Diwali, Festival of Lights, Trinidad
Diwali, Festival of Lights, Trinidad

Temple by the Sea

I have visited the Temple by the Sea on several occasions and am always fascinated by the story of a man, who made a promise to build a temple if he survived a storm at sea and then spent twenty or more years fulfilling that promise. There are also other Hindu Temples in the vicinity of interest as well.

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Temple by the Sea, Trinidad.
Temple by the Sea, Trinidad.

Mount Saint Benedict

To the East of Port of Spain is Mount Saint Benedict, it is notable for its famous Tea Room which was built during World War II and is the oldest in the country. It operates for a few hours each afternoon serving a variety of international teas and items produced on the premises such as honey and bread.

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Images needed

Angostura Rum Factory tours

The House of Angostura was established in 1824 and is the only company in the Western Hemisphere to receive a Royal Warrant for its product, Angostura Bitters. A comfortable tram tour is available to visitors. Once a year they open their facility for a weekend rum festival.

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Angostura Rum Factory open house - 2013, Trinidad.
Angostura Rum Factory open house - 2013, Trinidad.

Chaguaramas Military & Aviation Museum

The Museum first opened its doors to the public in 1992 and consists of 12,000 square feet of indoor displays along with outdoor items and Memorials on a 4-acre site. Dominating the outdoor displays is the preserved Coast Guard 103 foot FPB TTS Buccoo Reef along with aircraft, vehicles and other artifacts.

The museum is located close to Chaguaramas so it is an easy walk or Maxi-Taxi ride. Bring bug spray.

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Music:

Trinidad is best known for it's Calypso Music, Soca Music and of course Steelpan. Calypso is a medium for political and social satire. Its root is from communication between slaves while working. Other traditional Trini forms include Soca, Parang, Chutney, and of course Steel Pan. Steel Pan Bands are most evident in the weeks leading up to Carnival. A cruiser's first introduction to Trini music is usually a trip to one of the many Pan Yards. But, there are many other opportunities to experience the many varieties of typical Trini music.

Calypso music grew together with Carnival. The music drew upon the West African Kaiso and French/European influences, and arose as a means of communication among the enslaved Africans. Kaiso is still used today as a synonym for calypso in Trinidad and some other islands, often by traditionalists, and is also used as a cry of encouragement for a performer, similar to bravo or olé. Highly rhythmic and harmonic vocals characterized the music, which was most often sung in a French Creole and led by a griot. As calypso developed, the role of the griot (originally a similar traveling musician in West Africa) became known as a chantuelle, and eventually, calypsonian. Calypso was popularized after the abolition of slavery and the ensuing growth of the Carnival festivals in the 1830s.

Soca is an offshoot of Calypso that evolved in the 70's but the rhythm is quicker and the music can be danced to. It dominates the nightclub scene and you will hear it all over the airwaves. The words are risqué lyrics and clever social commentary. The Godfather of Soca is Garfield Blackman, who rose to fame as Lord Shorty with his 1963 hit "Cloak and Dagger" and took on the name Ras Shorty. He started out writing songs and performing in the calypso genre. In the 1970s, he began experimenting with calypso by blending it with the local chutney music style . A prolific musician, composer and innovator, Shorty experimented with fusing calypso and the other Indian inspired music including chutney music for nearly a decade before unleashing "the soul of calypso,"...soca music.
One cannot discuss music without commenting on the Steel Pan or Steel Band. The steel pans or drums originally were made of old oil drums, one end of which was pounded into several flat sections in such a way that each section had its distinct tone or note. Rhythm and percussion drive steel bands and the soul of Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago. The Trinidad and Tobago Defense Force, tasked with internal security and assistance of local law enforcement, fields the world’s only military steel band.

Parang is heard at Christmas time and is sung in Spanish accompanied by guitars. It is performed the same way that Carolers were seen to perform a Charles Dickens Christmas scene with wandering groups supported by the local community with gifts of food and drink.
Chutney is both an East Indian food accompaniment as well as an up tempo rhythmic East Indian music accompanied by drum and metal rod and striker. The songs celebrate social situations such as a marriage or an engagement. It is classical Hindu music fused with contemporary Trinidadian sound.

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Diwali, Festival of Lights, Trinidad
Leroy Calliste, the Black Stalin, Calypso Monarch 2014, Trinidad
Diwali, Festival of Lights, Trinidad
Panorama 2015, Trinidad
Diwali, Festival of Lights, Trinidad
Drummer, Dwali, Festival of Lights, Trinidad