Tobago L~O~V~E

20140324-150957.jpgNo trip home is truly complete for me without a visit to Tobago. I recently went over for a visit and got to spend time there with a couple of old friends and made some new ones too.
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[It’s Tobago, so here’s a goat^^]
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I finally went to The Shade night club/liming spot as well. We had a ball! The DJ was on point. He played everything from Soca to EDM to Conscious. It was pleasing to the locals and foreigners alike, that filled the place. A fantastic first impression for me.

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Other events that occurred were a failed attempt to buy what we heard was the best conch and dumpling on the island. We arrived to find out she only made that dish on a Friday. However, she did go the extra mile that day and the days that followed to get us some, but no luck. A couple of house limes, chilling poolside. A visit to the National Carnival Commission’s Visual Arts Exhibition. A missed ferry to Trinidad. And a tasty breakfast from Rosie’s where I got to satisfy my month long craving for smoked herring.

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Sadly, I didn’t go to the beach nearly as much as I thought I would. However, when I did go, it was as spectacular as always. I love the waters of Tobago and after recently dealing with the FREEZING, sharky waters of South Africa, my appreciation for it has increased. Warm, clear, blue green waters. Gentle waves lapping the shore. Soft, cool breeze carrying the salty smell of the ocean that I love so much. Yes, no trip home is truly complete for me without a visit to Tobago.

~~~The Wandering Pier

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~~~The Wandering Pier

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The Temple in the Sea

20140322-100245.jpgAfter our plans for the day had failed, my friends and I started brainstorming some alternative ways to spend our day. I suggested going to “the temple in the sea”. I had only seen pictures of the Sewdass Sadhu temple and I’ve always wanted to go. A few of us had never seen it, so we decided to set off for central Trinidad.

The Sewdass Sadhu Hindu Temple was built by an Indian indentured labourer of the same name. His original temple was built in 1947. It was later broken down, he was charged with trespassing paid a fine and served jail time. He then decided to painstakingly build one on the sea, which he did by himself. Since then it has been reconstructed by the government and is still used as a place of worship and is an attraction for visitors to the island.
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Getting there was faster than I thought and pretty straightforward. When we arrived, we made our way along the waterfront on foot and then up the walkway towards the temple, observing the trees, birds and muddy creatures swimming on the surface of the nearby waters.
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The atmosphere there was very tranquil and inviting. The breeze blew gently, cooling us as we strolled along under the afternoon sun. The colourful flags that lined the walkway waved us in. Boats nearby and in the distance rocked softly on the water.

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We spent time exploring the grounds, looking at the paintings on the temple and taking in the view of the Gulf of Paria. The calm waters surrounding the temple adds a special dimension to one’s experience there. After some nervous contemplation about entering, for fear of doing something that may have been disrespectful, I took my shoes off and went in. There was an alter with incense burning and statues of various gods. There was a friendly couple there who seemed to hold some official capacity. The man invited me to ask any questions I wanted and I did. He was very knowledgeable and they were both extremely pleasant to speak with.
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I met one of my friends sitting on a bench outside by herself. She was soaking in the peaceful atmosphere and in truth I think we could both have easily sat there in silence for another hour or two. It made me think that it may be a good idea to visit temples and churches on a fairly regular basis, outside of worshipping hours, to be alone with your thoughts, centre yourself and refocus on the simple and lovely things in life.

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~The Wandering Pier

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch, South Africa

My friends had planned a little surprise trip to Stellenbosch prior to my arrival in Cape Town. When I got there, they told me all about it and it’s fantastic wine farms. I was delighted. I’d always wanted to go wine tasting and wine tasting specifically at a vineyard was actually on my bucket list. 20140730-131242.jpg
After an early morning surf with them, back at my accommodation, my mum and I got ready. Their friend also joined us and we drove about an hour to Stellenbosch. As we entered the wine country we were hit with yet more spectacular views of the landscape of South Africa. The sky was pristine blue and the rolling green hills unfolded before us, giving way to jaw dropping scenery. 20140730-132000.jpg
As we pulled up at the first farm, I was brimming with excitement. It was finally happening. We walked pass rows of grapes, toward the entrance. We couldn’t help but try a few. Naughty. Don’t do that. On the inside we were greeted by some friendly, knowledgeable staff. They gave us menus and told us the breakdown of their tasting process. If I remember correctly, we could try three white, three rosé and three red of our choice.
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We made our way to the seating area outside, under the shade of a tree and began. My friends had been there before, so they were able to share some knowledge on the wine tasting process. They also had a very helpful wine book with them. We made our way down the menu with pleasure. 20140730-132734.jpg
20140730-133315.jpg My mum was starting to lag a bit, since she isn’t really a drinker, but always a good sport. After chatting at length, taking photos and learning about the various wines there, we realised we would only have enough time to go to one more wine farm.
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Again, we rolled up to a gorgeous vineyard and entered a stunning, well kept older building. Dark woods and stately furniture inside handsomely matched the outside. We paid, got our wine lists, settled down outside and began. My mum was able to handle one more tasting before bowing out. Which was a bonus for my friend! Mum then moved to seating at the end of the deck, seeking a more panoramic view while we finished up.
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On our last couple of glasses of tart, dry reds, one thought unanimously descended upon us- food. At the end, we turned away from each other and focused on the view before us. The lowering sun, coupled with the unique rock formations of the mountain in front of us created some interesting shadows. Rows of perfectly lined grapevines surrounded us and peacocks paraded around vying for our attention.
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On the drive into the town, we were met with fantastic architecture everywhere. It was quaint and fairly quiet in comparison to Cape Town. We ate lunch in a venue that had overhanging vines, chunky wooden country style furniture and a roaming cat. The food was well enjoyed. On the drive home we stopped for ice cream. This rounded it off as a perfect Sunday for me- beach, wine, ice cream and a long drive. Perfection.

~~~The Wandering Pier

Time to lime

One of my best friends, Gabby, organised a little girls’ lime at her place in my honour ^_^ Oh, for those of you who don’t know, to lime is Trini speak for hanging out. Verb and noun. It was great to kick off our first round of quality time together in the comforts of her home, where conversation wise, anything goes and anything it went!
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G had also decided ahead of time that it was going to be a mega cheat day. That included pizza and drinks with chocolate cake and cinnamon rolls for dessert, which she made herself. The pizza was ordered from Mario’s, a local pizzeria. Since the arrival of new pizza places, most people have moved on from Mario’s and never looked back ㅠㅠ For me however, it’ll always have a special place in my Trini heart & I always try to have it once when I’m home on a visit.
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She also made chocolate cake. You all don’t understand. Baking is a recent hobby Gabby has taken up, starting about a year ago. So for months, I have endured numerous pictures of extremely delicious looking things from all the way on the other side of the world in Korea. Finally the day had come and I was too full! >_< Greediness gave me the encouragement I needed to have a slice anyway. Pure chocolatey heaven. My goodness.

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We spent the rest of the evening chatting away, doing manicures, watching hilarious videos on YouTube and laughing until it hurt. Thank you Gabby, for an awesome girls’ night in.

20140324-080305.jpg Cinnamon roll for breakfast 🙂