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Flag of Trinidad & Tobago

August 1998: Visited Trinidad, July 31 - August 14. Linda and I made a much-anticipated trip to her home country. It was my first visit there, and Linda's first in over six years. Trinidad is a culturally diverse country of 1.3 million people; is the southernmost outpost of the Caribbean Islands, and is the birthplace of calypso music and the limbo. Trinidad has a lot of unspoiled tropical forests, with hilly-to-mountainous ranges, and some flat-to-swampy farmlands. Trinidad is one of the more industrialized of the Caribbean nations with manufacturing, oil drilling, and refineries, and also has one of the most stable economies. Trinidad's official name is the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago, but is often referred to as T&T for short.

A view of the northern coast-line of 

This was my first time to meet Linda's mother and her two brothers. We rented a car (a Mitsubishi Lancer), and went wherever we wanted each day. They drive on the left side of the road there, so I quickly adjusted, flashing back to my driving days in England. I soon noticed that all the petrol stations were nationalized, and they had full service at the pumps. We visited the capital, Port of Spain, three times, and went to the Zoo and Botanical gardens. The beautiful Botanical gardens date back to 1820, and are among the oldest in the western hemisphere. I saw the Parliament building, the National Library, some old churches, and a lot of the shopping district as well as other sights in the crowded capital city.

We went to a mud volcano in Piparo, that was only a few miles from Linda's house, and went to other places further a field, such as, Manzanilla Bay, Brigand Hill Lighthouse, and Maracas Bay, where we went swimming on the beach. We also visited a lot of Linda's relatives, including aunts and uncles, some cousins, friends in the church, and attended two different churches on consecutive Sundays. Trinidad is one of the few countries in the world where you can find such a high concentration of Christians, Muslims, and Hindus living together in relative peace, and harmony.

Geologically, Trinidad is very similar to South America, being located just off the coast of Venezuela, but culturally, is very Caribbean.

We stayed at Linda's home place, with her mother, out in the country where she grew up, near Williamsville, which is located in south-central Trinidad, about 15 miles east of San Fernando, T&T's second city. The house is surrounded by coconut, calabash, banana, lime, and teak trees, as well as tropical pine, bamboo, and sugar cane. Besides that, there were many other trees, and plants too numerous to mention. The house is located up along a ridge, and is almost overshadowed by a medium sized mountain. I had a wonderful time getting to know the people and culture of Trinidad on this trip, and look forward to going back again one day.

The view from Brigand 
Hill Lighthouse, looking north, including a telecommunications tower in the foreground.

Christopher Columbus discovered Trinidad on his third trip to the new world, way back in 1498. He named it La Trinidad (the Holy Trinity), for the three summits located around the southern bay where he landed. Although Trinidad was initially settled by the Spanish in 1592, and heavily influenced by French plantation settlers from 1783, British forces invaded in 1797 and declared it a colony, which it remained until 1962, when Trinidad and Tobago gained independence within the British Commonwealth. In 1976, the two islands became an independent republic, governed by its own Prime Minister. The British influence is still clearly visible today, from the strong presence of the British dialect, judiciary and educational systems, to the islanders' fondness for cricket.

Government of Trinidad & Tobago
Parliament of Trinidad & Tobago
The Trinidad Guardian
Go to trinidad travelogue #2; #3