I’ve been writing for years and had several articles published locally, regionally and internationally and each time is such a rush, but something about this article makes me soo happy!

photo credit - C. K. Correia All rights reserved 2015...Blue Moon, San Souci, Trinidad
photo credit – C. K. Correia All rights reserved 2015…Blue Moon, San Souci, Trinidad

When I first started writing it on Monday, I did not know how it would all turn out, but I’m glad that I gave it a go. I wrote it in less than an hour and the outcome brings me such joy.

It was published today on the front page of Section B [Features] of the Trinidad Newsday.

It’s about my trips to the East coast of Trinidad. A “tabanca” in Trinbagonian lingo means a broken heart or to be love sick over something or someone…in this case it’s the east coast!

Hope you enjoy! Feel free to share and/or shoot me a line if you like.

Shark River, Matelot. Serenity at Toco. East Coast tabanca
By Carolyn K Correia Thursday, November 12 2015

First published here: http://www.newsday.co.tt/features/0,219823.html

THIS HAS been a year of many firsts for me. First time singing karaoke in front of strangers… first time riding on a motorcycle…first time to a Paul Keens Douglas show. What an incredible adventure it has been! But, I digress. Ever since my editor asked me to cover a wider range of stories, I’ve had the opportunity to explore my country of Trinidad and Tobago and our people in greater depth.

I’ve been as far as Toco and Grand Riviere on my own in the past, but I finally made it to Matelot (the most easterly point of Trinidad) and San Souci for the first time in September.

Matelot/San Souci

photo credit - C. K. Correia All rights reserved 2015 Shark River, Matelot
photo credit – C. K. Correia All rights reserved 2015 Matelot River

The experience was so unforgettable that I didn’t want to leave. In fact, a full day of work and play culminated with an unexpected splash in the Matelot River, stopping for a bite to eat in Grande Riviere and enjoying the sweet sounds of reggae on the beach from a nearby bar in San Souci, while gazing at the blue moon and sampling the street food all the way to Valencia.

Let’s not forget dancing to Latin music (or attempting to) in the moonlight where the streets have no name! That seems like a lot, but it ended way too quickly for me.

After a day like that I had a serious Matelot ‘tabanca’ days later (Trinbagonian for broken heart), much like the feelings I experienced when I moved back home a year ago after living in Tobago in 2013.

Brasso Seco Paria

I could not leave out my first trip to Brasso Seco Paria in June where I got to experience the fresh, clean air, the lush and simply heavenly flora and fauna that you thought only existed in travel magazines and on National Geographic.

photo credit - C. K. Correia All rights reserved 2015 Brasso Seco Paria
photo credit – C. K. Correia All rights reserved 2015 Brasso Seco Paria

Of course the authentic chocolate tea (and coffee) freshly made from the newly rejuvenated cocoa (and coffee) estate(s) made me return for seconds. It was reminiscent of the kind my Dad used to make for us in the olden days on the old mill where we each took turns grinding the beans.

It brings back golden memories which we took for granted growing up (thinking it would never end); however, those days remain forever frozen in time etched in a special place in our minds.

Mayaro/Manzanilla

In October I made my first trip to Mayaro and Manzanilla. It was a refreshing experience to be away from the familiarity of Port -of- Spain and see what life is like in other parts of the island.

photo credit - C. K. Correia All rights reserved 2015 - Mayaro
photo credit – C. K. Correia All rights reserved 2015 – Mayaro

Driving along the Manzanilla stretch with the windows down and feeling the cool wind in your face as you pass the palms and inhale the intoxicating sea breeze is what I believe life should be like all the time: sweet bliss.

It was just that as we drove to Guayaguayare and me, being the (sheltered) city girl that I am/was found it amazing that the roads in Trinidad stretched that far!

IMG_20151004_160627
photo credit – C. K. Correia All rights reserved 2015 – drive to Guaya

We finally got to the sea wall after a long drive that seemed to allow me to reflect on my entire life thus far. Of course I jest, but my friend who was driving made light of the situation by saying that we were driving to Venezuela.

He was joking, but I felt a deep appreciation for our islands’ development and I know there’s so much more room for growth especially where local and foreign tourism is concerned. Some people would give an arm and a leg for this kind of adventure and natural, pristine beauty and charm while we sometimes take it for granted.

The residents you meet on your travels are twice the fun, as they are so friendly and willing to share their experiences of country life which is far different from living in the city. In fact, most of them say they’ve lived elsewhere and (like me had a tabanca and) had to return because this feels like home.

On my trip to Mayaro the water was too rough so my friends and I just sat on the back of the van, eating Sticky Rice and drinking coconut water freshly picked from the nearby tree, while enjoying the sunset and the ebb and flow of the tide as the waves crashed on the shore.

Oh, what a life! Sometimes these moments go by so fast that you are not fully cognisant of it, but good memories are borne by living in the present and savouring every last drop before the moment is gone and becomes a fuzzy, distant memory of the past.

Rio Claro

Old train station used in the early 1900s now the home the Koskeros steel panyard
Old train station used in the early 1900s now the home of the Koskeros steel panyard

Last week my trip to Rio Claro was mainly work-related and though there was less time to explore the full splendour of the town, it was certainly an eye-opening, learning experience filled with history, culture, commerce and diverse people from all demographics and walks of life.

From the very young to the very old, from the housewife to the pensioner to the businessman, there was one common denominator: the vibrancy and warmth of their spirit that I was able to connect with on so many levels consciously and subconsciously.

I was lucky to meet the pioneers of the Koskeros Steel band whose panyard sits on the same ground where the old train station was housed back in the early 1900’s. I learnt that the town got its name from the Agua Clara River which runs through it and Rio Claro celebrated its 100- year anniversary in 2014 with a Heritage Festival. This coincided with the arrival of the train on September 19, 1917 making Rio Claro its last stop.

photo credit - C. K. Correia All rights reserved 2015 Beautiful relic - Roman Catholic Church
photo credit – C. K. Correia All rights reserved 2015 Beautiful relic – Roman Catholic Church

This year the residents celebrate 101 years of the town’s birth with their second annual Heritage Festival with the theme: “Celebrating 101: Education in Focus”.

The calendar of events takes place between November 8 to 28 with activities such as storytelling, entertainment, a film festival, book fair, a visit from the High Commissioner of India to TT and a series of public lectures culminating with a lecture from author and historian Bukka Rennie who will be speaking on November 28 at the Rio Claro Presbyterian School about the 1937 Rio Claro labour uprising.

photo credit - C. K. Correia All rights reserved Toco 2015
photo credit – C. K. Correia All rights reserved Toco 2015

From these trips, I took with me a tonne load of rich experiences, a more intimate understanding of my sweet twin-island republic, a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and a heart full of gladness bursting at the seams for having “escaped” from my comfort zone.

Ours is a beautiful life if only we embrace the lessons and opportunities for adventure and growth. We would then realise that despite our differences and geographic location, we are all one people under one sun with a unique story to tell. Once told, our life becomes meaningful and our existence worthwhile as we fulfil our destiny on this earth.

For more adventures, you can follow Carolyn at https:// carolynkcorreia.wordpress.com/ or connect on Facebook at CarolynCorreiaAuthor or via email inspirationescape@gmail.com

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