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We have so much to offer
Posted: Sunday, July 26, 2009

By Derren Joseph
July 26, 2009

The July–August holiday, which many of us now call "summer," is here. Children are home from school and some of us have friends and relatives visiting from foreign shores. Either way, it is as good a time as any to enjoy our island and share it with our friends and family.

logoLast Saturday, we had two friends visiting from New York. They were en route to Suriname and were just here in Trinidad for the day. Steve had visited Trinidad once before, but it was the first time for Alecia. Their visit invited me to try to take a glimpse at Trinidad through their eyes. Since it was Saturday, we took them with us to the market. On a Saturday morning, after my morning run, I look forward to visiting our local Namdevco market in Diego Martin. It is at the very end of St Lucian Road. Given how we eat at home, I estimate that vegetable prices are about 30 per cent cheaper than the supermarket. For some fruits, the savings are probably much greater.

The market is clean and safe and, over time, the vendors remember us and a friendly relationship has now developed. After getting our shopping, we all bought doubles right there. To be honest, I cannot think of a better breakfast on a Saturday morning. Our guests thoroughly enjoyed it. I could not find information on these farmers’ markets on Namdevco’s Web site (, but I do remember hearing about it on a talk radio programme. Kudos to the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (Namdevco) for its efforts.

Ashantee prince

After dropping off our shopping, we decided to take a drive up to Fort George in St James. I visited Fort George as recently as last month. The view is absolutely breathtaking and one cannot help but feel peaceful gazing down at the city from up above. It is an excellent way of relaxing after a stressful day.

Looking on the Web, I saw quite a few favourable reviews from (what seem like) overseas visitors who made the trip to Fort George. One review on a popular Web site called Trip Advisor said it better than I could: "The views of the Caroni Swamp, the Gulf of Paria, Port-of-Spain, Westmoorings, Carenage and Pointe Gourde from this fort are first rate, and a few picnic tables on the grounds make for a lovely place to enjoy a snack or meal while enjoying the views."

Of particular interest is a sign that said that the signal station, built about 1883, was designed by Prince Kofi Nti, son of King Kofi Calcali of Ashantee, West Africa. Apparently he arrived in Trinidad on July 1, 1881, having become a ward of the British Government after a war against the Ashantees in 1872. Quite interesting! The children enjoyed climbing on the canons and trying to identify familiar landmarks in the city below. Overall, the facility is maintained to the standards we have enjoyed in our own travels elsewhere. Kudos to the teams at the Forestry Division and the Rotary Club of Port-of-Spain West for their excellent work in maintaining this important historical landmark.

Tourism product

Finally, we visited Maracas Beach. Any time we have guests, I think it absolutely necessary to share Maracas with them. We take it for granted but that drive through the Northern Range to get there is an experience on its own.

Being surrounded by greenery and the fresh water springs plus the views of the various bays is all simply amazing. Of course we had to stop at the look-out to sample the treats on sale and take lots of pictures for our Facebook profiles. Good memories need to be captured. Despite starting off slightly overcast, the weather turned out to be perfect beach weather. The only complaint would probably be the length of the line by Richard’s for shark and bake (or is it bake and shark?). Kudos to the team at the Tourism Development Company for its work at Maracas beach.

The Vision 2020 document sees tourism as a key industry as we seek to diversify away from our dependence on energy exports. The document goes on to say, "Trinidad and Tobago is well positioned to provide an exceptional tourism product based on a sound combination of environmental, structural, cultural and economic elements." I agree that we have much to offer the world.

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