Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back from BEAUTIFUL Tobago!

I can't even begin to say how much fun spending a whole week in Charlotteville, Tobago! We had to take another plane to the island & the town we stayed at was very small & was right on the beach! We were split into groups & stayed in cabins that were along the beach. It was so nice.

My view everyday in Tobago (:

We also had classes this whole week. It kind of sucked that we had class when all we wanted to do was have fun, but it was nice that we had class only in the morning & the rest of the day we got to relax on the beach. I did get a tan & I'm very surprised I didn't get a sunburn. I was out in the sun every single day!

Some of us trying Doubles for the first time. MY FAVORITE TRINI FOOD SO FAR!

The first few days were spent mostly just on the beach & exploring the town a little bit. On Wednesday, we hiked to Pirate's Bay which was so amazing! The water is usually super clear but for some reason there were a lot of storms lately so the water wasn't very clear the day we went. It was still a lot of fun to hike up the hills & climb some crazy stairs to get there.

Hiking up to Pirate's Bay

Pirate's Bay!

On Thursday we got to go on a boat ride around the area. We went to the little islands off Tobago where there were hundreds of birds flying everywhere we could see! We even stopped by an island & got to jump off the boat & swim just right there in the middle of the ocean. At first I was a little bit scared, but then I realized that I would regret it if I didn't take every experience... so I jumped! So much fun! (:

Some of the girls & I on the boat

On Friday, some of the group went on the optional trip of going to Bucco Reef! IT WAS THE BEST DAY OUT OF THE WEEK! We went on a glass bottom boat where you could see everything under the water. Then, we got to jump out & go snorkeling right on top of the reef. I did have a little bit of a hard time because the current was so strong, but it was so amazing! I wish I had an underwater camera! But that's okay. I followed this really pretty rainbow fish for the longest time (: After snorkeling, we went to the famous Nylon Pool. It literally is a pool just right in the middle of the ocean. It's made up of all the old broken pieces of coral that the currents push together to form this area that is only waist deep! It was so amazing! A lot of tour boats were there at the time & one of them had some dancing on it so me & our supervisor Candice got up on the boat! I learned a little bit of dancing! I also tried BAKE & SHARK for the first time! It actually was really good!

About to go snorkeling!

Trying to do Titanic! Haha.

The Nylon Pool

Saturday we took a trip to the Tobago Wetlands & the Rainforest. The rainforest was so beautiful. I felt like I was in George of the Jungle or something! It was very muddy & we had to rent some boots. I loved hearing the birds everywhere around me & getting to see the waterfalls. It was a really good trip.

Tobago Wetlands

The whole group at the Rainforest

Now I'm back in Trinidad! 5 of us actually weren't booked on the plane & almost had to stay in Tobago another night, I have to say that I would have not minded at ALL! Tobago is so beautiful. I can't wait to go back. I think some of us are planning like a weekend trip & taking the ferry over! (:

Tomorrow I have registration at the University of West Indies! I'm kind of nervous. Classes start in a WEEK! Not to mention we are starting to have dance classes to get ready to perform in Carnival! It's going to be a crazy next couple of weeks!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Homestay Weekend!!!

I just arrived back from my homestay in Chaguanas, Trinidad! I had such an AMAZING time & I have so many stories to tell just from one weekend! I first arrived on Friday afternoon & had lunch at Mr. Hyland's house. It was there where some of the group & I met up with some of our homestay families. Each of us got our own family to stay with. I had my first homecooked Trini meal there & I had some SUGAR CANE! (:

Nina, Me, & Max eating Sugar Cane!

That night, along with our host families we went to the Pan Yard to watch the steel pan practice! It was amazing! The young girl who was assigned to show me around, Sulyn, plays in the band & she showed us around. I also got to try & play for a little bit as well! Players ranged from all ages, it was so awesome to see a small town come together in this band.

Video I took of the band practicing!

Sulyn trying to teach me how to play!

On Saturday, some of the group was brought into Port of Spain which is the capital of Trinidad. The younger people who were assigned to each of us showed us around the city. We went to the museum, the zoo, & various look out points with great views. We also got a chance to go to the beach! It was so funny because there was actually a KFC right on the beach! I wish I had taken a picture of it! They just LOVE KFC & I can't blame them! (: That night, Sulyn took me to her house for a family party. There was loud music, lots of people, & TONS of food! She showed me all types of food that I hadn't tried yet & they were all delicious! Everyone was dancing from the young to the old. Her whole neighborhood was at her house & you could just see there was such a strong sense community. Sulyn told me how everyone always greets eachother all the time & how if you had no food at your house, you can always visit a neighbor & they could feed you. I loved the idea of her neighborhood & how everyone basically took care of eachother.

Me, Kristen, Max, & Amy at the Performing Arts Center.

The Scarlet Ibis at the zoo. The country's bird!

The view from Fort George overlooking Port of Spain.

I love the sunset in Trinidad!

The elderly lady I stayed with was named Ms. Reid. Ms. Reid is the sweetest lady who lives by herself & has all grown children & grandchildren. She told me all about how she grew up, her time spent going to school in England, & introduced me to many new fruits! Have you ever heard of a Portugal before? & I am not talking about the country! It's a citrus fruit that basically looks like an orange but it is green on the outside. It was delicious! I also got to visit an Anglican Church with Ms. Reid. It was actually pretty cool to visit another church different from my own. I was surprised I knew most of the songs & I participated in the communion with the rest of the group. What caught me off guard was that it was actual wine & not just grape juice like back home! Ha, that was a surprise!

Ms. Reid & I at a church party.

The only thing that was not very fun during the homestay was that I got ATTACKED by mosquitoes in Ms. Reid's house! I slept with a blanket on & the only part of my body that stuck out happened to be my right elbow. Let's just say... it's RIDICULOUS how much I got bit. Hopefully it goes away soon. I think out of all 13 of the group, I'm the worst off right now.

It's actually WAY worse then how it looks in the picture :/

Overall, it was such a great experience! I'm so glad I got to meet new people from Trinidad & had a chance to experience the day to day life someone in Trinidad lives. Tomorrow we leave for Tobago for a whole WEEK! I'm not quite sure what we are doing there yet, but I know we'll be discussing some reading for my J-Term class, get to relax on the beach, & I believe visit the rainforest! I'm excited! I shall be back in one week with more updates & TONS of pictures (:

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Off to Homestays!

My second day in Trinidad was a little slower. First off, I got up & met a ton of new people that will be part of my cultural course & projects while I am here. I have to say, they were all really interesting. The first man, Mr. Fullerton reminded me so much of my Lolo (grandpa), it was so funny to me!

For lunch, my friends Bianca, Maia, Sam, & I went to go explore Tunapuna to find some local places to eat. We ended up at a chinese restuarant which was nothing like what I was expecting. The place was the fanciest chinese place I have ever been to! Don't get me wrong, the food was good & it was really cheap for what they considered "fine dining" but I really did want to try some more local food. The problem was, we couldn't find any! Anyway, I felt kinda bad that we seemed like the "typical Americans" eating out at such a fancy restuarant. We ended up going to the grocery store for dinner to try & find something we could cook, but everything didn't look very familiar & I was at a loss as to what to cook! Plus, I was kinda of tired & had a headache already so we just agreed to just eat something... so we had KFC! haha. Hopefully I will learn how to cook some Trini food soon (:

Tomorrow I am off to Chguanas, Trinidad to stay with a family until Sunday evening. I am so EXCITED to meet new people & to get to know the culture better. I'm leaving at 10:30 in the morning & right now it is 1:38am! I better get some sleep!

I'll be back Sunday night with plenty of good stories & hopefully some great pictures!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


So, I arrived in Trinidad last night at about 10:30pm Trinidadian time. Which is 4 hours ahead of Washington State time! It was a long couple days of traveling. Left Seattle at 6am, spent the night with my family in Ft. Lauderdale, & then off to Miami to hop on another plane here the next day!

My cousin Clark & I at the beach in Florida

On the plane I made my first friend from Trinidad! He sat right next to me & actually had an Ukulele with him. I thought it was such a huge coinicidence so I started to talk to him. He was from California & actually goes to high school over here in Trinidad. I thought that was pretty cool.The rest of the group with me here seem pretty cool as well. There is 13 of us total & only 2 boys.

The place I am staying at is called "The Caribbean Lodge" & it is HUGE! We all got to have our own room & there are other local students who live here as well. Everyone is very welcoming & I'm loving my room (:

This is my room at the lodge:

Right when I stepped out of the airport, I felt like I was in Philippines again! The humidty, the palm trees, & even the smell reminded me of the Philippines. The only difference is well... here they speak English, they drive on the LEFT side of the road, & mostly everyone is from Indian or African descent.

Outside my windows:

Today we got a chance to walk around the area. I had my first experience with the local food. This morning for breakfast I had "Bake & Salt Fish" & then for lunch I had "Chicken Roti". Both were very good! I'm so excited to try the rest of the food here. Tonight we are going to the University of the West Indies for dinner & I'm assuming we are meeting some other people.

The gate to the lodge

So far, so good! I can't wait to see what the rest of the trip brings!
I know this weekend I'm going to be staying with my homestay family & next week we are spending a week in Tobago! I hear the place we are staying is like paradise! SO EXCITED!