Around Trinidad & Tobago

sweet, sweet blogging life…

…where have you been?

Oh how I have missed you!

It has been far too long. I’ve been occupying myself with lots of crafts these last few days (weeks really).  My baby’s birthday is coming up and I’ve been designing and making (slaving really) over invitations, decor, food ideas…just about everything. Phew…it’s hard work when you want to do it all yourself, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  It gives me a lot of satisfaction doing these things so I’m always happy to do them.

I’ve also been thinking about lots of new ideas for food-both savory and sweet.  I haven’t done any ‘sweet’ posts since I started thehiddencook back in January so I’m thinking one is just about due.

I am very honored to mention as well, that some folks have written asking me about new posts! I’m so happy that my posts seem to be reaching people and that people appreciate the effort that goes into each and every post ūüôā So, thanks for keeping me on track and for checking in on me!

thc-manowar

 


trip to the zoo

Today was a very special day.  We took our little one to the zoo for the first time ever!majestic

ocelot

alligator

It was lovely to revisit the Emperor Valley Zoo, here in Trinidad, again after many many years.  I love zoos, always have.  I make an effort to go to zoos every time I visit a new country/city.  I think it tells a lot about the country- much like markets do- since you can really see what money has been put into not only its upkeep, but also the state of the animals- their living conditions, their nourishment and their general wellbeing.

tapir

DSC00205

Our zoo isn’t the best- it frankly isn’t even close to being the best. ¬†It’s unfortunate especially since it’s the country’s only zoo; the only place where children and adults alike could visit and learn about animals. ¬†It saddens me that more of our country’s money isn’t put into our only zoo (especially since it isn’t specifically being spent on our health care system either!).

otter house

Among the animals we got a chance to see were the lions- always intriguing and regal, their size and elegance never gets tired and capybara- the world’s largest rodents- I can’t say I’d ever want to wake up to the sound of rustling in my kitchen cupboards and stumble upon one of these behemoths! Others included the Ocelot- a wild cat similar to a cougar, cheetah found in the jungles of Trinidad and Tobago, alligators, baboons, monkeys, snakes, various fish, macaws and parrots.¬†I really didn’t take too many photos since I was busy enjoying the animals and the time with my family…

capybara

roar

lions' den

king lion


visiting a local fishing village

conches2

So today I was able to go to a couple of places and get a few things done. ¬†I went to Trinidad’s main ‘member shopping store’ called Pricesmart. ¬†Basically, this store was the first ever in Trinidad and Tobago and is still largely popular. ¬†I can’t think, off the top of my head, whether there are other places like this in T&T…hmmm, I wonder?

pricesmart

pricesmart complex

Anyway, we went there to do some shopping- get our laundry detergent, a few vegetables that ran out and other little monthly requirements. ¬†For the Trinibagonians reading this, I’m sure you would be glad to see a couple of photos of familiar territory! ¬†I hope so anyway. ¬†I’m always happy to see my home country when I’m away!

IMG_4806

So, after shopping there we went to this fishing village called Othaheite. ¬†It’s located in south-west Trinidad and found at the junction of the Oropouche river and the Gulf of Paria(see RED arrow on Trinidad map below courtesy caribbean-on-line.com).The water looks quite brown and muddy since the river opens out into the sea- but the abundance of fish is the trade off! ¬†I’ve been there a few times and find it quite rewarding to visit the local fishermen, hear their interesting stories and learn more about our fish. ¬†It’s really very enlightening- I learn something new every time I go there to purchase our fish.

Trinidad Map-from caribbean-on-line.com

on the way

To get to Othaheite we have to pass the ‘Mosquito Creek’ where a crematorium- open air- is located. ¬†I tried to take a few snaps, but unfortunately(or maybe fortunately) was unsuccessful.

othaheite parking

Othaheite bay

I ended up buying two small ‘red fish/snapper’- I don’t know the proper names of the fish, just the Trini names. ¬†Among the fish I spotted some conchs/lambe. ¬†They are delicious! Almost every island that I’ve been to has a special way of preparing these little sea ‘gems’, in Trinidad we prefer them curried. ¬†I can’t say they are as popular here as they are in say Martinque, Guadeloupe, Grenada or other islands- I don’t know why!

king fish fish conches

my red fish being cleaned

Perhaps the only thing that I’m always bit surprised and disappointed about is the lack of proper storage. ¬†Despite these fishermen saying that they’ve caught these fish ‘just a few hours ago’, I just wonder why keeping them on ice isn’t promoted more. ¬†I guess we’re all so accustomed to purchasing fish like this that maybe it doesn’t bother us too much? But I’m always pretty careful about what I purchase and from where…I think you have to be. ¬†So it makes me want to ask you, would you purchase fish/sea food that’s not being stored on ice?


am I vain enough?

Today is a brand new day and I feel ready to go. ¬†I haven’t been able to exercise as much as I had planned in the last couple weeks, but today I feel like I’m going to just do it. ¬†I must!

mayaro

Mayaro

I’ve been hunting around online looking here and there at different things and I came across a really good song by a popular band down here in Trinidad. ¬†I loved the video and thought I’d share it with you all. ¬†The band is called Kes the band and they produce a good amount of ‘listen worthy’ music. ¬†I particularly liked their song called Tuesday on the Rocks. ¬†It’s really mellow but has a great ‘time to feel good about myself vibe’.

One of the things that I guess didn’t make me feel too great while watching their video is how ‘non-bikini ready’ my body is. ¬†You see these beautiful women looking great and obviously enjoying themselves and I just thought to myself ‘girl, you need to get yourself in order!’. ¬†But then I think ‘am I vain enough?’ I mean, who cares that I can’t wear a bikini at this exact moment? And if I did wear one would I look¬†that bad?¬†

You know, I think that people who aren’t from the Caribbean or who have never visited the Caribbean think that life down here must be just like that video by Kes the band. ¬†I know when I lived abroad, people thought that we wore bikinis all day long and drank from coconut shells. Well, we do! ¬†Ha, just kidding. ¬†I think people would be shocked to see what we do have- you’d be shocked at what we don’t have as well- and how we live.

Most of us don’t live on/near to a beach- the beaches are ‘far’ for us and most of us are just plain silly not to! ¬†If you could believe it, we’d rather live in convoluted cities! ¬†We drink coconut water but it’s not from the shell (at least not the majority of times) we get our coconut water the good old fashioned way- we buy it in bottles from Hilo or some other grocery and we live in concrete houses!

coconuts

But maybe one of the things that really makes us a bit different- and there are many things unique to Trinidad and Tobago- is that we’re not that against women having a little extra meat on their bones. ¬†I’ve found that this works for me! ¬†The women are beautiful, I mean seriously! ¬†The ethnic varieties are endless and the meshing of races make for exotic beauties that can only be described as ‘Trini’. ¬†Maybe it’s our unique looks and nondescript race that makes me feel like I look ‘good enough’? I don’t know but I just don’t see my extra weight as too much of a problem but then maybe it’s just because I’m not vain enough to see the flaws!

 


fishy smells and dirty toes

So in my last post I showed some photos from my market trip. ¬†If you remember in one of my earlier posts ‘my 7 simple ‘musts’ for getting healthy and staying healthy’ I mentioned that I wanted to eat more fish?

moonshine

Well at the Marabella market you can find a wide variety of fish- king fish, sharks, moonshine, carite, cascadura, shrimps, even crabs(mmm, I can taste the crab and dumpling)and more. ¬†I usually go on Sundays and purchase the fish I feel like trying and then cook it immediately; I really don’t like leaving fish for longer than a day in the fridge so I try to purchase and cook the same day.

sharkcascadura

Some of the vendors don’t keep their fish under the right conditions and in this blistering heat I think the fish are at risk of rotting pretty quickly. ¬†So, I’m really careful about who I buy from. ¬†There’s a guy named Ravi who sells at the back of this fish section; his fish is always fresh and kept in a freezer/cooler with lots of ice. ¬†Packing fish on ice is a MUST. ¬†Some of the photos I got today show a little less than favorable conditions, but who am I to judge? ¬†Some of these people get off their fishing boats and come straight to the market and I suppose the turnover is fast enough that it’s safe.

shrimps

bluecrab

What amazed me about the trip to the market- and this is probably only the second time ever I’ve gone to photograph the stalls and bustling activity there- is that the vendors, well not just the vendors, but everyone, is so keen on being photographed! You cannot help but be warmed by their generosity to share themselves. ¬†I haven’t included their images because I am after all, thehiddencook! ¬†However, that doesn’t make me any less impressed and grateful to them for sharing their time and a part of themselves with me. ¬†So, thank you!


trip to the market

seasoning

Today is Sunday. ¬†It’s market day for us- in my family at least. ¬†It’s the first time I’m taking my little one. ¬†We go to the Marabella market located in South Trinidad. ¬†It’s vibrant colors and characteristic scents remind me of when I myself was a little one and I’d go with my mother. ¬†I always loved it. ¬†The people, the colors, the chatter, the produce. ¬†It’s about getting in touch with the real Trinibagonians, the people who we seldom think about; those kind folk who choose to make their livelihoods toiling away beneath the blistering sun so that we-you and I- could taste and sample only the freshest crops. ¬†I admire them. I love them. ¬†They are my people.

pumpkinpiccassavatomatoes dasheen bushshattine pumpkinmosaicmarket

Everything looked enticing and fresh today at the market and I’m keen to see what recipes I come up with during the week!


trip to the market

seasoning

Today is Sunday. ¬†It’s market day for us- in my family at least. ¬†It’s the first time I’m taking my little one. ¬†We go to the Marabella market located in South Trinidad. ¬†It’s vibrant colors and characteristic scents remind me of when I myself was a little one and I’d go with my mother. ¬†I always loved it. ¬†The people, the colors, the chatter, the produce. ¬†It’s about getting in touch with the real Trinibagonians, the people who we seldom think about; those kind folk who choose to make their livelihoods toiling away beneath the blistering sun so that we-you and I- could taste and sample only the freshest crops. ¬†I admire them. I love them. ¬†They are my people.

pumpkinpiccassavatomatoes dasheen bushshattine pumpkinmosaicmarket

Everything looked enticing and fresh today at the market and I’m keen to see what recipes I come up with during the week!