Star Date:  January 2014
Trinidad & Tobago




Hello Dear Family & Friends!


"Wuz de scene? – A greeting similar to “What’s up?”  Response like "I normal", meaning, “I’m fine.”"
(What's up? -Trini slang)




"Consider how hard it is to change yourself and you will understand what little chance you have in trying to change others."
(Jacob Braude)


Self responsibility.  Change ourselves first, what a novel idea.  But who will I blame?    I would miss my dear friend, blame, in my life.  We came into this life with infinite power and resolve, why waste any energy on blame?   We simply have to remember and accept this and the next time we want to blame someone in our life simply have a quick look in the mirror and ask, " What  could I have done differently?"  Change starts inside each of us.


Jim Humble, discoverer of MMS (See Thoughts on Health) wrote: "Blaming people or situations around you or trying to change others doesn't work. Assign responsibility to yourself and then you are careful. You look at things with the idea of, “How can I be careful enough to make things go right today? When you say, “My wife upset me this morning,” or “My boss made me mad,” or “My son made me late for work,” or any one of a thousand things that you believe was caused by someone else, you are allowing others to control your destiny. Instead say, “I allowed my wife to upset me this morning,” and “I kept allowing my son to control the situation until I was late for work,” and “I screwed up and made my boss upset and then allowed him to upset me. I must not allow myself to bring that about again.” As long as you take responsibility for the situation, then you can do something about it, but if you assign responsibility to someone else then you can do very little about it, since you are not in control of the “someone else.”

Carolyn Myss:  Why People Don't Heal, Spiritual Power and Practice, Energy Anatomy, etc. writes about Self responsibility - No whining, blaming or excuses allowed.

Food for thought.

Trinidad and Tobago.  When looking for a one way flight back to Hawaii for Christmas with the family, we uncovered a little known secret.  Flying from Bogota or Caracas, on the continent of South America, cost twice as much as taking a ferry 30 miles off the eastern shore of Venezuela to Trinidad and Tobago.  After an expensive sea crossing (they only exchanged at the official Venezuelan rate!) we arrived on the weekly Wednesday boat .  Landing at a port outside of Port of Spain after dark, we teamed up with an U.K. traveler and found a backpacker hostel to crash for the night.  Arriving without a travel guide and no previous knowledge of the islands we were shocked to see the prices.  Outrageous!  We headed up to the north shore only to find that little houses along the beach are usually rented by groups of people and budget accommodations are a thing of the past.  We started looking on the internet and found a decent price, after bargaining, for the 3 weeks of our visit on Airbnb.  A simple student's apartment was owned by Garth, who stayed in the family home while we were there.  Just back from a trip in Europe he was super busy but managed to keep his promise of a full day look around the island and a ride to the airport. 

The apartment was across from the University of the Indies.  We took long walks through the lovely tree filled campus, keeping an eye on the rain clouds.  Once they start rumbling you had about 20 minutes before the 10-15 minute deluge began.  We got caught under an overhang a couple of times waiting out the tempest.  On campus we met groups of students and the leaders of the student union.  Great group of young people, restoring our faith in the future.  They invited Joseph to give a talk on "E-text" to a group of interested students. 

'Friends of friends' is wonderful most of the time when traveling, especially if it involves Dr Harry and his lovely wife Zalima.  We bridged the globe from Hawaii to Colorado to Texas to Trinidad.  They brought us to an organic market then to their home to cook together and meet the friendly and impressive family.  We learned about his intriguing practice involving working with the cellular intelligence of the body to heal itself.  He also does 'gonging' workshops, using the vibrations to once again heal on a cellular level.  A true healer in this ailing world.  He is supported and helped by his talented wife, Zalima.  Wives have a way of balancing and keeping the ship afloat, while the captain stands in full view on the bow.

A short 10 minute walk brought us to the commuter mini bus line and a direct 20 minute ride to downtown Port of Spain.  We settled in and soon knew the best shop for papayas, the best shop for Indian spices and the best little street food stand for rotis or 'doubles'.

The population mix in Trinidad & Tobago is fascinating and exotic with a large East Indian population, a large population of black Trinis, and a smattering of other races including Whites, Chinese, and Syrians to just name a few. With such an interesting mix of people, you are bound to have a lip smacking array of restaurants and street food.

Street food in Trinidad & Tobago is yummy and inexpensive. Each ethnic group has its thumb print on the Trinidad & Tobago menu.  Everyday started with a fresh coconut from our friendly guy down our alley.  Coconuts abound so just look for a local standing with a machete on the street corner.  Then we had a choice of Syrian gyros, East Indian stuffed rotis (flat bread stuffed with dahl and green spinach like Calaloo that exploded when you bit into them).  Doubles were the same with double the chewy roti bread. 

We tried the 'buss-up-shut', which is roti in little pieces that supposedly resembles a busted up shirt. You can dip your bust-up-shut in your curry sauce or use it as a wrap.
People wait in lines to get the best in town, wrapped and served then stand on the sidelines biting into the tasty soft wraps, ingredients spurting out in all directions and dripping off your chin like a juicy mango in season.

Along the coastal areas seafood abounds, spicy corn soup is served in styrofoam cups from giant urns, and there is always a competition for who makes the best 'bake and shark'.  Another wrap and fixings with the showpiece of baked shark.  At Maracas Beach, they have Bake and Shark stands including the extremely popular joint called Richard’s. They have a buffet of fixings for your sandwich including a variety of sauces and tomatoes, lettuce, and onions. The sandwich is incredibly flaky but if you aren't looking for fried shark then a veggie burger substitute will do.  It's all ambiance anyways.  Sea, sand, sand flies, little shops with locals enjoying their shark.  Fun. 
  We had to do some serious looking to find a vegetarian version of some of the traditional food and when we came up empty there was always a good East Indian curry shop or a Chinese buffet around the corner. Spicy curries and Cantonese dishes reflect waves of Chinese and South Asians, many as indentured servants, who arrived to the former British colony in the 19th Century.

After the discovery of Trinidad by Christopher Columbus in 1498, the first Spanish settlement amongst the indigenous Carib and Arawak Indians did not take place until 1592.  Funny how history never really highlights the indigenous groups, instead acting like life in that location started with the arrival of the conquerors.  Well the winners always write the history, and still do.  Catholics were the first religious group in the country and the Roman Catholic Church was officially established in 1593. When the Cedula of Population was issued in 1783, settlers came to the island from European countries such as England, France, and Germany. The Cedula invited "everyone of all conditions and trades to take lands of up to 3,000 acres free of charge" and settle in Trinidad. In 1797, Trinidad was captured by the British and the ongoing slave trade brought many Africans to work on the island's plantations. When slavery was abolished in 1834, Portuguese laborers from the island of Madeira began arriving and in 1845, and the first indentured (contract) laborers were brought from India to work on the plantations.  From 1845 to 1917, it is estimated that approximately 130,000 immigrant laborers (100,000 Hindus and 30,000 Muslims) came from India. These immigrants brought many religious customs with them, including the festival of Divali (Hindu) and the observance of Hosay (Muslim). Between 1849 and 1866, immigrant laborers were also brought in from China and, in the 1900s, merchants came from Lebanon and Syria. Throughout the years, the population of Tobago remained predominantly of African descent.

The main language spoken in T & T is officially English and Trinidad Creole but listen for the combination of all the cultures in Trini slang - just like pidgin in Hawaii.


  • Ting – A way of saying thing, which is used as an addition to a sentence like "I was in the party and I was dancing and ting."
  • Lime - as a verb, it means “hang out” – “We limin on the avenue.”
  • For true - "My cousin’s child fadda is Drake Person B: For true?"
  • Eh eh – Sign of exclamation; "Eh eh look who here!"


Carnival in Trinidad and Tobago is one of the liveliest in the Caribbean, worth experiencing if you don't mind the prices for food and lodging quadrupling.  Everyone knows that Trinidad is the “mother of all West Indian carnivals”, which attracts visitors from all over the world, including international celebrities.  Its roots are here.  It started with French plantation owners encouraging a riotous celebration of 'farewell to the flesh' before the Catholic 30 days of lent.  African slaves and free coloreds wore masks and danced in the streets to the rhythm of drums and 'steelpan'.  Mimicry is a big part of the ritual, adding fun and excitement to this crazy cacophony of colors and music.  Whether it's multicolored spicy food, or pulsing music cursing through their veins, or the rainbow of cultural diversity, Trinidad and Tobago is waiting to welcome you into their party.

And so it goes.........................................Next a welcome visit with family and friends on our dearly loved Big Island of Hawaii. Until next month Keep Smiling and let us remember to work at changing ourselves, rather than blaming or trying to change those around us.  Take care and Keep in Touch!


Love, Light & Laughter, 

xoxoox  Nancy & Joseph



Travel notes:


1 US Dollar equals 6.45 Trinidad & Tobago dollars

The prices of the islands floored us.  Not much tourist infrastructure or any basic/budget accommodations at all.  Research, budget and plan to spend some money.  That being said it is a fascinating place to experience the local culture and enjoy the unique food provided by a vast array of ethnic backgrounds.


Check out www.airbnb for a basic but good place to stay.  Garth will help make your stay enjoyable.  Thanks Garth.  Happy Travels.  Reductions for longer stays.  Contact the owners directly.




Beautiful beaches are tucked away around the islands.


Lush forests.


Tropical flowers.


Scenic mountains in the center of the island.


Colorful birds and butterflies.


Flowers in the countryside.


The stunning north shore.


Wild areas still exist in the interior.


A curious lizard, 3.5 feet long, checking us out as we
 checked him out.


Stunning vistas.


At Maracas Beach, they have Bake and Shark stands competing 
for the title of best on the block.


We had a great time riding the minibuses around the
island with the locals.  Everyone was so friendly.


A unique hairdo in front of us.


Waiting for the bus.


Colonial homes and stores are tucked in next to modern
office buildings in downtown Port of Spain.


Our landlord, Garth, on our great day exploring the island.


One of the cathedrals downtown.


Large pipe organ inside.


Love the name, hopefully his herbal products live up to his name.


Our favorite market!  A lot of East Indians have our same last name.


Mouth watering veggies to cook with.


One of the magnificent trees we walked under every day on our
walk around University of the Indies.


Joseph talking to students about the importance of E-text.


Dr Harry and his lovely wife Zalima.  We bridged the globe
from Hawaii to Colorado to Texas to Trinidad.


We were invited to a gala Christmas season party with all
of Harry & Zalima's friends and family.


What an enjoyable evening.


The port where we arrived near Port of Spain.
You can see the small boat in the distance.


End of a gorgeous day in the mountains.


Steelpan - a tradition in Trinidad and Tobago.




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