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Trinidad & Tobago Info
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The Republic of "Trinidad & Tobago" lies before the coast of Venezuela. The capital Port-of-Spain lies in Trinidad. Trinidad is the fifth-largest island of the Caribbean. It is rich in resources and does not depend on tourism. Although Trinidad is not promoted as a tourist destination, it is worthwhile to visit.

The two islands are rich in culture and history. The southern part of Trinidad is highly industrialised and supplies excellent support services including Banks, Supermarkets, and accommodation facilities. The North Coast of Trinidad as well as all of Tobago is a paradise of green hills, white sandy beaches and turquoise sea. The center of Tobago is a mountain comb covered with rain forest, and in the northeast of the island are only small villages. Trinidad & Tobago is ideal for the holiday-maker who looks for sun, sand and sea combined with peace and serenity.


History
Trinidad’s first settlers were Arawak and Carib Indians. Columbus landed in Trinidad in 1498, and a century later the island was settled by the Spanish. The Indians were largely wiped out by the Spanish colonizers. The few survivors were gradually assimilated later. Trinidad remained under Spanish rule until the British captured it in 1797. During the colonial period Trinidad's economy relied largely on sugar and cocoa plantations.
The Spanish settlers planted mainly cocoa, coffee and sugar in Trinidad. Africans were brought to Trinidad to work as slaves on the plantations. They brought with them art forms, such as drums, traditional wear dashiki, singing oral recitations, dance and religion. African slavery was abolished in 1834 in Trinidad.

Today you will see people of all different races in Trinidad: Africans, Indians, Chinese and Europeans. The faces are best spoken of history and colonialism. Thus Trinidad, a multi- ethnic and cosmopolitan nation, is called “A Rainbow Country”, a country of many varied races.

Tobago's development was different from Trinidad's. French Dutch and British forces fought over possession of Tobago and the island changed hands 22 times. Tobago was finally ceded to Great Britain in 1814. Trinidad and Tobago were incorporated into a single colony in 1888; they became independent from England in 1962, with a democratic form of government under a parliamentary political system.


Culture
Trinidad and Tobago's people are mainly of African or East Indian descent. Virtually all speak English. Small percentages also speak Hindi, French, patois and several other dialects, so it can be handy to learn to speak French but it is not necessary if you are fluent in English.

Trinidad has two major folk traditions: Creole and East Indian. Creole is a mixture of African elements with Spanish French and English colonial culture. Trinidad's East Indian culture came to the island with indentured servants brought to fill a labour shortage created by the emancipation of the African slaves in 1833. Most remained on the land and they still dominate the country. East Indians have retained much of their own way of life including their religious festivals.

Carnival, Calypso, Steelpan, Chutney Music, East Indian Classical and Limbo Dancing are all products of a dynamic heritage and a vibrant people.


Rich & Rare
An enormous sea turtle creeps from the waves of the Atlantic to the Matura beach, in order to put their eggs down there. In Trinidad & Tobago many of such miracles and secrets can be found. There are over 430 kinds of bird, 620 different butterflies, 2300 different flowering plants including 700 orchids.


Economy
Trinidad & Tobago enjoys continuous growth dynamic. The political-economic course is liberal and stable-oriented. The per capita income is well above the average for Latin America thanks to its oil wealth, which in the early 1970s made it the third biggest exporter of petroleum in the western hemisphere. The Pitch Lake in the southwest of Trinidad is the world's largest natural reservoir of asphalt.

An average growth rate between 4 % and 5 % is expected. The positive development is above all the expansion. The USA are the most important customer. German plant farmer are involved in the production of ammonia, nitrogen fertilizer and methanol as well as in the exploration, development and production of natural gas from fields in the northwest of Trinidad.

The national income from the oil and gas sector is at present 30 % of the household.
The inflation rate amounted to 2002 in the annual average 3.6 %. The central bank succeeded to keep the inflation to a large extent under control and the external value TT dollar stable.

The secured gas reserves of Trinidad will last after recent computations for more than 5 decades. Already today Trinidad & Tobago are the world’s largest exporter of ammonia and methanol.

The unemployment rate sank in the last years continuously. 1995 was still 17.2 % of the population able to work unemployed. This rate sank 2001 to 11.5 %. In view of the development related to market conditions and durable growth, the unemployment rate is still on a high level. On the other hand certain sections (e.g. skilled workers in the oil and gas industry) of full employment are characterized.

Trinidad and Tobago has a relatively well trained population, a sufficient infrastructure, good communication possibilities and a juridical system aligned at the British model. An upper limit of 1 acre, with commercial projects a border of 3 acres generally applies to the private purchase of land.


Domestic Affairs
After years of tensions relating to domestic affairs the elections from October 2002 brought a stable majority.


Festivals

Emancipation day
Emancipation day is held on August 1st of each year. Before Emancipation banks and offices are decorated with African fabric and art. An African Village is opened at the Queen’s Park Savannah, where handicrafts, clothing of African design, jewellery, books and delicacies are on sale. Emancipation starts with a parade early in the morning on the Brian Lara Promenade in Port of Spain. People with flambeau lights, drummers, men women and children all dress in traditional African wear, they march to Frederick Street up to the Queen Park Savannah, where the Lid Ommawale Village is held. A lot of activities take place, such as storytelling, dancing, drumming, plays, speeches given on African Culture. Artists come from Africa to perform at the African village. Today African culture is kept alive in Trinidad. There is also a special speech given by the honourable Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago.

Tobago Heritage Festival
Tobago also has a lot going on. In July the Tobago Heritage Festival highlights the island’s hodge-podge of folk traditions with song, dance and drama they are staged in villages across the Island, this is where you might equally come across some the old colonial jigs and reels being dance to the distinctive sounds of fiddle and goatskin tambourine, or some African rituals of a ceremonial saraka feast. Nothing is guaranteed; but everything is possible in Trinidad and Tobago.

Divali
Can you imagine the flickering of all those tiny lights in the dark? They are put into a small clay vast called deyas. The festival with a thousands lights usually occurs in October or November and celebrates its good over evil by honouring Mother Laskmi, the goddess of light, beauty, riches and spiritual wealth. The deyas are put all alongside the wall of houses and garden path, door step, and even in the side walk of the streets, in Chaguanas and San Fernando. The streets glow when darkness fall, people come out in all their numbers to see the lights. Bamboo frames are built and also lined with lights. In almost all individual homes prayer and rituals are performed during the day which later takes you into meeting of friends and neighbours which come together there are all sorts of goodies made by the Hindus such as Parsad, a sweet dough mixture of fruit, as an offering to the Gods and to the guest Adults and children are seen wearing traditional East Indian clothing, which is made up Sari, Shalwar for women and Khurta for the men. A nationwide competition of song and dance for exotic Divali queens also takes place. The Divali Nagar site is on the out skirts of Chaguanas it is the hub of all Indian arts and cultural exhibitions at this time of the year.

Christmas
Christmas is also a happy time for all family and friends which come together, there are a lots of delicacies and drinks. Six months or more before Christmas fruits that were preserved are now taken out to make Christmas fruit Cake or Black Cake , and wine. The taste is very rich and unlike any other wine in the Caribbean. Some of the Christmas drinks are Punch De Creme, Cashew, Pommerac, and Cherrie wine . We also have Pastelles, roast pork, turkey and ham, which we all know as Christmas delicacies.
We also have a special music called Parang, being played at this time of year. Parang starts as early as September and continues competitively in different areas.


Shopping
A visit to Trinidad would not be complete without some shopping excursions. There is an abundance of creativity and energy evident in the craft items and you will find it hard to resist buying a bit of Trinidad to remind you of your stay here.

The streets of Trinidad may be hot and crowded, but the bargains are great and you can buy anything from pins and soap to fresh fruit, most of the shopping is done downtown Port of Spain on Charlotte Street where the bargains are.

Don’t pass up a trip to downtown Port of Spain. Frederick, Henry and Charlotte Streets comprise the main shopping street, with Charlotte St being home of all-purpose bargain stores which sell everything, such as Trinidad best craft work is being shown on display mostly for our lovely tourist to take home. You can also get these beautiful craft at the Airport boutiques as soon as you arrive, or some of you who like to sail to Trinidad, as you enter the Port there you can see a lot of vendors with almost anything you can imagine. They are so lovely you must have one, You can also get retail work by some of Trinidad’s best known fashion names. Craftwork is easily available all over the island, not leaving our twin island Tobago. For the more formal creations the hotel boutiques and gift shops are ideal. Turtle Beach Hotels holds a craft market on Tuesdays and Thursdays, where local artisans are encouraged to show their work; and the Cotton House studio on Bacolet Street produces splendid tie-dye, batik and beautiful fabrics and fashions.

Eating in Tobago can be a nice experience for you, from Crown Point to Charlotteville - from one end to the island to the other - you can sample our traditional Tobago favourite, curry crab and dumplings and at the other end you can sit to the king fish fresh from the ocean, deliciously cooked in a Creole style with lots of onion, green pepper and tomato. At Crown Point there is the largest of restaurants, both simple and fancy, on the island.

Not forgetting Friday night lime and eating habits. In Trinidad you can get a lot of nice restaurants mostly situated in Port of Spain, on Frederick Street you find a lot so when you are through with your shopping and need a bite you can enter Town Centre or Excellent Mall on Fredrick Street where you can get all different sorts of food to your choice, a mixture of Creole, Chinese, and Indian delicacies it is always crowded but there is a lot of seating area so you can enjoy a good Trini meal.

On Friday the special day for all after work limers people come out in large Crowd some just standing in the street tapping their feet to the music that is played by the vendors, some with a beer in their hand. There are also a lot of stalls with all kind of foods such as bake and shark, Corn soup, chicken foot-souse, bar-b cue and lots more to enjoy. On Friday and Saturday most vendors set up roadside stalls in cities like Port of Spain, San Fernando or Arima. You can get a bite at all these food stalls. There is also the selling of CD’s on the street with loud music coming from them so you can imagine how crazy that can be but a sense of freedom and you enjoy yourself.

Text written by C. A. Gajadhar
Coffee Tree
Coffee Bush

Coffee Beans
Coffee Beans

Cocoa Bean
Cocoa Bean

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Christophene