Thursday, 31 January 2013

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

ON THE MOVE ... COASTING THE CREEK



What we call 'the creek' is really part of the Southern Main Road; the main route that connects central, south and deep south/south-west Trinidad.
The road along the creek runs for about 2 miles along the south-western coast of Trinidad before dipping a little further inland.  On a clear day, you might see 'down the islands', tiny dots just off Chaguaramas on the north western tip;  La Brea (home of the famous Pitch Lake) or even Icacos at the south-western tip of the island, a few miles from Venezuala.

The Creek is often a route of traffic jams and unfortunately, accidents.  However, the wild beauty of the Oropouche Swamp on one side and the wide open view of the Gulf of Paria on the other, presents a captivating sight.

On the weekend of my drive along the creek coast, there was some traffic, but it was moving.  Of course we were still able to catch a few shots before stopping to refuel at Duncan Village, just outside the city of  San Fernando.

Over the past years the creek has  been a area of persistent flooding.  The construction of the sea-wall and other drainage infrastructure  has just about eliminated this hazard.  Yet you can still experience the spay of the sea-water as it lashes against the sea-wall when the tide is high and the occasional high tide back flow, from the nearby swamp.

As we passed the Shore of Peace, a land-mark cremation site, many people could be seen casting their fishing lines off the big bridge at the southern side of the creek, along the lay-bys or from the safer grassy areas.

Fishing boats could be spotted anchored just off shore or docked a short distance from the main road.  We could even see the ferry that moves between San Fernando and Port-of -Spain, anchored at King's Wharf as well as  some cargo ships or tankers in the distance at the port in Point Lisas and Pointe-a Pierre, as we got closer to San Fernando.
 
Many suburban developments and smaller towns have developed around the city.   La Romain, Gulf City, Palmiste, Plesantville, St. Joseph Village, Vistabella, Marabella, Duncan Village; all of which can be clearly seen from San Fernando Hill. We actually skirted La Romain and Gulf City on the way up, leaving behind Oropouche and Otaheite further south. 

We did not get shots of the Shore of Peace, Paria Suites Hotel (both landmarks) or other more recent developments  on the route, but these will be added in an update to this post.

Some may think that there's not much to appreciate as they speed  along the creek, but on a clearer, slower and cooler day, with good conversation, a couple pairs of watchful eyes  and the camera close at hand, it's possible to catch some quick views, even while on the move!

Come along for the ride as we 'coast the creek', traffic and all!  Remember to click/double click images for expanded views.


A hazy city of San Fernando in the distance

Not yet safe to pull aside



The city of San Fernando 
and San Fernando Hill, a natural landmark, in the distance; the sea wall separates the Southern Main Road and the Oropuche swamp from the open Gulf of Paria.



Week-end traffic; safely on the road shoulder
Safely leaving the lay-by; less traffic; San F'do in the distance
  
 

  View of San Fernando Hill from the 'Interchange; (the noodle) 
on the way to Duncan Village.

 
Gas station and Quik Shoppe at Duncan Village

Look out for the photo updates from 'coasting the creek'.



(T-SPOTS)
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Monday, 28 January 2013

INDIAN CAVE* - MIDDLE CAICOS ,TURKS AND CAICOS (TCI)


*INDIAN CAVE - Updated and re-posted


Indian Cave is a heritage site located in Middle Caicos, the largest and least populated island in the Turks and Caicos (TCI) chain of islands.
Indian Cave falls under the protection of the TCI National Trust and the UK Overseas Territory Conservation Forum, among others.

Map Source: Google Images

The Cave was identified as home to the Lucayan Aboriginal Indians over a thousand years ago.  Many artifacts from their daily lives and culture have been found and preserved at the TCI National Museum.

These photos display the awe inspiring presence of the cave.  Not surprisingly, the memory of this experience invited much reflection and 'a few words'.

The cavern itself is huge and picturesque and its aged features reveal that it might have part of the surrounding ocean thousands of years ago.  It is impossible to not feel that you have stepped back in time and into the living space of an indigenous and industrious people.  There is a lingering presence.

More information about Indian Cave's history and current exploration may be had from the above-mentioned sources.  
You can also visit the TCI Mall website in the Trail Spots Travel Links section in the side-bar or go directly to   http://www.tcimall.tc/middlecaicos/index.htm

 Take a virtual look around the islands while you're there!


Indian Cave, I believe, is worthy of several visits.
(Remember to click images for expanded views.


 
 
 
Dwarfed by the cave entrance/roof
Huge tree roots ... descending/ascending?
 
I shall return ...

 

 

Indian Cave and its rustic surroundings, filled with mystery and energy, I believe, is worthy of several visits.

(T-SPOTS!) 

~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

 

 

 

Friday, 25 January 2013

ESTATE ART: THE GALLERY OF ESTATE ART - PART 3


PART 3:The Gallery of Estate Art




 


Every real estate visit ends with food: breadfruit, oranges and grapefruits, fresh coconut water and jelly ... to go!



NOTE:
In keeping with the idea and reality of a former agricultural plantation transformed into a nature park, I will identify one among a few in Trinidad that I have also visited: The La Vega Estate in south-central Trinidad ...  another gallery of estate art and more.
A visit to the website will provide a virtual tour of all that La Vega has to offer.
Find them in the Trail Spots Travel links (side-bar) or go directly to  http://www.lavegaestate.com/



(T-SPOTS!)
 
~~~~~~~~~~~


Thursday, 24 January 2013

ESTATE ART: PART 2 - 'THE GALLERY OF ESTATE ART



PART 2:
'THE GALLERY OF ESTATE ART' 
"Unwritten Words"





 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 




Coming up next ... PART 3: THE GALLERY OF ESTATE ART*


(T-SPOTS!)
~~~~~~~~~~~~



If there is a public estate or nature park near to you, take a  walk through.  Let your eyes or camera roam and find the unlikely and often missed master-pieces that await your arrival and energy.   

* Enjoy the rest of the gallery (and a little more information) in the next post.


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Monday, 21 January 2013

ESTATE ART ... BY NATURAL DESIGN - PART 1



 I had the pleasure of visiting a privately owned estate located in southern Trinidad; about an hour's drive out of San Fernando, Trinidad's second city.

 The  estate is in transition from predominantly cocoa and coffee to lumber and citrus, but the evidence of its former 'glory days' is still present.  From what I observed, the potential for the making of a nature park/trail is unmistakeable.  Maybe that vision is already in the pipeline.

 It is among the 'last of the Mohicans' as far as agricultural estates go in Trinidad, since agriculture is no longer as strong a revenue earner at the national/export level, as it used to be.  Sugar-cane, cocoa and coffee are no longer kings ... maybe oil and natural gas! 

...

On the estate I saw the effects of limited maintenance and in some areas just a tangle of bush.  Some might know that I am no stranger to the bush. In fact, years ago as a student-teacher, Agricultural Science was my elective!  
While the estate visit was no field-trip, my love for nature has not diminished, but has blended with other natural forms of expression.  On the estate there were many such  natural forms; natural works of art, including
  • century old trees,
  • hills, valleys and natural springs, land-slides
  • wild orchids, seasonal flowers, citrus and other fruit trees, cocoa and coffee trees, beans and pods,
  • banana/cooking fig and plantain patches
  • traveling vines and roots
  • huge termite and 'bachac' nests, trails and tunnels
  • young and maturing cedar, mahogany and other lumber trees
  • 'pee-wah' trees, impenetable bamboo patches, huge immortelles
  • numerous species of small wild animals and insects.
It takes us back to the true meaning of 'real estate'.


The Real Estate Thing!

Remember to click images for expanded views.
Mature 'boundary plant' leaves are flaming red

Maturing plant; traditionally used to mark property boundaries
Coffee beans on a decades-old tree

Blackened squirrel eaten cocoa pod & half-ripe pod


















Elemental Estate Formations


What was less outstanding, unless your eyes or lenses framed them, were the bounty of natural formations that, over time, have weathered the elements to become  'estate art'.

Peeling 'tonca-bean' tree trunk; the seed is used as a spice.  A large brown termite nest with tunnels in all directions.  A brown mat of dry leaves.

I was struck by the artistic work (forms, colors, light, shadow, lines, textures, layers, shapes, ...) that were displayed on the estate.  These were the results of the unique free-style work that only nature can blend on such natural canvases.  The secret to these master-pieces, I believe, is time ... time and acceptance of the work of the elements.


 I looked closely at the weathered barks, the thriving epiphytes (moss and ferns, etc.), parasites (mistletoe molds, fungi) and other vines, many of which I was familiar with in another place.  Many of these are erosive, destructive features, yet they remain captivating in this setting and do have a vital role to play.

I was fascinated by the brilliance and blending of color, light and shadow, lines and layers, indeed, the very ground we walked on, where what was once alive was being transformed.  

It was clear to me that the word 'resistance' might not exist in nature's lexicon.  Nature's attention to detail, I believe, is unmatched. 

Common 'croton'; colorful welcome


Pumpkin vine with flowers; just sprung up!



I make no claims to having any expertise in the language of inspired/realistic/abstract artwork, but awareness of the gifts of nature and a discerning eye goes a long way towards spotting the master-pieces.
  
What I have also seen are the varieties of 'exotic' plants that are sold at garden shops everywhere. They might have been harvested from their natural bush/forest locations and propagated in simulated environments.  The unusual wild beauties are always main attractions, but they're never quite the same once removed.

Back to Nature

There is a worldwide movement 'back to nature' and it is not only about what we eat or drink; the organic movement.  Beyond that, it is about how we 'see' our environment.  Is it just 'real estate' with a price tag, or is it creativity at work waiting to be 'discovered', appreciated, experienced, enjoyed and conserved, maybe even framed?  The 'simple' answer is that it is what continues to keeps us alive. 

At the 'Abstract Artist Gallery' website, one artist, Evelyn Collins  said  
"Colors and art touch me inside and make me hear unwritten words"... words which have to be expressed through paintings.   

Since the immortelle tree is one of the more common trees on any estate, let's have a look and a 'listen'!


Mature immortelle in full bloom



Maturing immortelle tree trunk with thorn buds and climbing root

Immortelle flowers on branches

Fallen immortelle flowers, starting new life

  Collins' words immediately reminded me of what I had  seen on this estate visit.  I make no attempt at artistic descriptions, but I will share with you what I consider to be natural master-pieces, that will no doubt, continue to evolve ... naturally.  Like Ms Collins, I could "hear unwritten words".


Who knows?  You may one day walk this trail spot in person and recall reading a little blog post about 'Estate Art'.
 
In the next post you will have an uninterrupted view of more estate art at this small estate trail spot with big potential, in south Trinidad.  
Other useful information will also be provided.  



NEXT POST: PART 2 - The Gallery of Estate Art.

(T-SPOTS!)


 

  

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