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Contents Christmas tree at Trincity Mall Los Alumnos de San Juan Scents of Trinbago Christmas Halloween in Tobago Love Thy Neighbour like a Trini would Look good, feel good Fashion designer’s unique touch Joy of December Boat racing from Trinidad to Tobago All dressed up for Christmas

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Christmas foods Dining on top of Port of Spain Reshma’s Methai Dining at TTHTI Eat ah food

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Columbus Bay: My home North Coast drive Landmarks

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Creole Corner Uncle’s old cricket boots The Coconut Counting Man Veil of Punishment

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Credits editor Joyanne James Graphic/comic artist Andrina James

editor’s note we close the year with parang, sorrel, decorations and Santa Claus in Sweet TnT Magazine since they fill the air in Trinidad and Tobago during december. while all this is going on we still have the coconut and red mango vendors operating business as usual who also make appearances in issue #7. once again, our team together with our dedicated writers have carefully prepared an issue that would definitely satisfy the appetites of our readers. There are Christmas and everyday stories, poems, comics and photos that will keep readers entertained and pleased. if the drama displayed on the evening news gives you a sense of hopelessness for T&T, we advise you to visit our website often at http://sweettntmagazine.com/ and check out our other issues that should remind you that there are still a lot of positive happenings in our country. Thanks to our team, writers, interviewees and press release contributors for making this issue possible. also, thanks to all our supporters on Facebook, Twitter, instagram, Google+, Four Square, Linked in, Tumblr, and especially those who visit our website regularly. request for coverage can be made through the “Contact us” section or press releases can be emailed to contact@sweettntmagazine.com. also, readers can look forward to an exciting 2014 with Sweet TnT Magazine. See schedule on this page. enjoy! Joyanne James editor

Sweet TnT Magazine is an online and printed publication

Marketing representative Jevan Soyer Contributors Marc Algernon Nadia Ali Marissa Armoogam-Ali Simone Charles Therese Chung Akeme Clarke-Abdullah Kielon Hilaire Marika Mohammed Omilla Mungroo webmaster Neil Singh Net Control Ltd, 76 Main Road, Montrose, Trinidad Printer TechXpress 579 First Street, Edinburgh 500, Chaguanas, Trinidad Publisher Culturama Publishing Company 31 Maitagual Road, San Juan, Trinidad Phone: 747-8560, 782-4808, 340-4085 Email: contact@sweettntmagazine.com

Schedule for 2014 Sweet TnT Magazine is scheduled to be published in 2014 on the first of: February April June August October December To adverTiSe wiTh uS Call: 747-8560 or 340-4085 Email: contact@sweettntmagazine.com Visit http://sweettntmagazine.com/ for advertisement sizes

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Lifestyle

Christmas tree at Trincity Mall See pages 7 and 16

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Lifestyle

By wayne Jagdeo, member

B

orn from the ethos of San Juan Secondary Comprehensive School in November 1988, Los Alumnos de San Juan Parang Group has a record of 25 years of community service and excellence in their musical expression. The group aims to educate the wider community on the history of Parranda (parang) with specific emphasis on youth, highlight the multi-ethnic contributions, emphasise the code of ethics and how it builds community, and provide training opportunities for young people in the music. Today Los Alumnos no longer competes in the battle for parang supremacy on our island. The group retains the significant achievement of being unbeaten champions of the National Parang Association of

Los Alumnos de San Juan

25 years of parang Trinidad and Tobago (NPATT) from 1998 to 2010 when the group last competed. The lead singer of the group, composer, cuatroista, Miss Alicia Jaggasar, won the title of Queen of Parang in 1997 and was the unbeaten Queen of Parang from that time to 2010 when she stopped competing. The group has independently produced three compact disks featuring many of Alicia’s compositions. The first titled “Cantando Gloria” was recorded in 2000,

aChieveMenTS In recent years 1997 to the present the group achieved the following: — Nine times National Parang Champions 1998-1999-2000-2001, 2003 and 2004. In 2005 they withdrew from the competition to facilitate the members’ pursuit of the Associate degree in music at COSTATT. They remain unbeaten in all competitions since 1998. Returned to competition and was crowned champions 2008-2010. — Eleven times Best Lead Vocalist and Queen of Parang 1997-2001, 2003 and 2004, 2008-2010 — Alicia Jaggasar — lead singer, composer and cuatroista. — Independently produced its first compact disk titled “Cantando Gloria” 2000 and its second Compact Disk titled “Es Navidad” 2003. La Dedicacion 2011. — Founded or resurrected Parang groups in Febeau Government Primary, San Juan Girls’ Government, San Juan Boys’ RC, St Jude’s Girls’ Institute, Mt Hope Junior Secondary, El Dorado North Secondary, El Dorado South, South East Port of Spain

schools to name a few. — Produced its first music video 2001. — Established a working relationship with the Santa Rosa Carib Community (2000-2013). — Worked on a compact disk with the Signal Hill Alumni Choir 2001. — Worked annually with a number of primary and secondary schools training and preparing students for the National Junior Competition leading Los Jovenes de San Juan to the National Secondary School Championship on four occasions, Arima Girls’ RC once, Newtown Boys’ RC. Twice, to the Primary School Championships. — Worked annually with the Rose Foundation and Trinidad Hilton workers to take Parang to the areas where children will never hear live Parang. — Perform annually for the, the sick, orphaned, the aged, the infirm and the imprisoned along the East west corridor. — Produced a concert titled the twelve days of Christmas in collaboration with “The Rose Foundation in 2005.

the second “Es Navidad” in 2004 and the third “La Dedicacion” in 2011. The group also focussed on taking parang music beyond the shores of Trinidad and Tobago. In 2005 Los Alumnos participated in the “Festival Internacional de Folklore de Puerto Rico” and was part of a national cultural contingent at the ACS Heads of State and Heads of Government Conference in Panama City. In the early years 1988-1991 the group focussed on research through interviews with the elders, collecting historical data, performing for the school community, the sick, orphaned, the aged, and the infirm along the East-West Corridor and doing a little house parang to ensure authenticity in their performances. Within the period 1992-1996 the group comprised both past and present students of the school. During that time significant resources went into studying Spanish and Cuatro at the Andres Bello Institute and learning to compose within the genre. We expanded our field of service giving guest appearances, goodwill performances and became active in the National Parang Association of Trinidad and Tobago. Today, the group continues to contribute to the enrichment of Lower Santa Cruz community in particular, and the country in general and is in the process of establishing a parang academy to provide more structure and expand its research and training efforts.

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Lifestyle Sacred Heart Girls' RC at BPTT National Junior Parang Festival. Photo by raymond Syms

Scents of a Trinbago Christmas by Marissa armoogam-ali

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Ham at the supermarket

o the August vacation is long gone, everyone’s back to their usual routine and you, as well as I, know what’s on most if not all Trinbagonians minds... Christmas holidays... we really like our holiday times. For me the excitement to Christmas starts when I am flipping through the newspaper and I see any Christmas advertisement or sale, I become ecstatic. The countdown begins and every Friday you are sure to find droves of Trinis looking for where the parang action is. The malls are all overdone, but in a good way, and almost everyone is anxiously awaiting all the last minute shopping to be done. But above all things Christmas, my most favourite part has to be the scents that go hand in hand with this most wonderful celebration. All the shops are busy unpacking boxes of newly received stocks of Christmas goodies. I love the smell of the plastic wrappings and toys, it reminds me of opening up my present on Christmas morning and seeing and smelling a brand new doll. I am sure we all remember the weeks leading up to Christmas, our homes are abuzz with activities, painting over the house and sewing new curtains which in some households like mine was


Scents of a Trinbago Christmas

Lifestyle

Christmas creche at Long Circular Mall

Fountain decorated with reindeer at West Mall happening on Christmas Eve itself. The smell of fruits and citrus peels soaking in cherry brandy for use in the black cake later on. The best night however, the night that takes your nose along with your stomach on a delightful aromatic journey has to be Christmas Eve night... just thinking about it gets me excited and hungry too! The house is filled with the warm smell of bread being baked, I don’t know about you but I remember waiting anxiously for the bread to be finished so I could spread some butter on the hot bread and watch the butter just melt into the slice... Are you hungry yet? Then there’s the ham or turkey or maybe both in the oven now everyone knows it’s not Christmas if a ham doesn’t make it to the oven, slice it up a little chow chow and some homemade pepper sauce... seriously I’m sure your mouth “watering”. Usually cake batter was being mixed and in a really lucky house pastelle... tasty pastelle steaming in a big pot. Of course all the rooms in the house have the familiar smell of brand new bed linens and curtains. A serving tray with drinks and glasses on the table and a couple bottle of nuts and channa staring too! I don’t know about you guys but I making sure I’m not naughty this year because I’m really looking forward to Christmas and the goodies it brings.

A true Santa

Mark Ezekiel Waldropt, a true Santa Claus, gives his time to charity works by visiting children’s homes playing with orphans and teaching them about God. Photo by Therese Chung

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The Trinidad Theatre Workshop is a not for profit organization and has long been a flagship for theatre here in Trinidad and Tobago, and indeed for the Caribbean. Trinidad Theatre Workshop has multiple facets. These are: • Theatre in Education (T.I.E.) • School for the Arts Workshops (Children Theatre Workshop, Teen Theatre Studio, New Actors Workshop) • Productions • Theatre in Education Theatre in Education also known T.I.E. was started in 1991. The concept of theatre in education (T.I.E.) incorporates the elements of education theatre, and drama. The benefits to school children and young people, while interacting as members of the audience or as participants of a TTW T.I.E. Company Project, may be put into four basic components: 1. Social Interaction 2. Content 3. Forms of Expression 4. Use of the media – the language of drama • School for the Arts The school for the arts has three components which are Children Theatre Workshop, Teen Theatre Studio and New Actors’ Workshop. These classes teach basic acting techniques, movement and allow students to engage in fully participatory sessions. Classes will be resuming January 2014.

• Productions Known for producing high quality productions with great artistic integrity, the Workshop is setting its flag sailing high with the continuation of the Theatre Season 2013/2014: “Reclaiming Dignity” with the completed production of Two Trinidadian Plays Same Ol’ Mas by Randy Ablack and The Perfect Place by Elspeth Duncan and the upcoming Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar directed by TTW’s assistant Artistic Director, Timmia Hearn Feldman.

Upcoming Events December 14th, 2013 - Showcase At the end of each school of the arts term students’ showcases occur. This term’s showcase will be happening on the 14th of December. January 2014 School of the Arts resumes Children Teen Theatre – 7 – 12 years Teen Theatre Studio – 13 – 18 years New Actors’ Workshop – 18 and older Our production of Julius Caesar is coming to a theatre near you date to be determined. Persons can contact us at 624-8502 or email: trinidadtheatre@gmail.com for further details. We deeply appreciate your support, and look forward to further discussion with you. If you need any further information kindly call 624-8502 or email: trinidadtheatre@gmail.com. Looking Forward, Albert Laveau, Artistic Director


Lifestyle Lovely lady

“Wicked” witch

Sweet Snowwhite

Devilish diva

Halloween in Tobago “Bad” bunny

Sexy Santa

Patrons all dressed up in halloween costumes at a party held on october 31 at Le Grand Casino, #1 rise Land, Cambee, Tobago. The event was hosted by Le Grand Members Club and Club Milford located upstairs the Quick Shoppe at Milford road, Tobago.

Double the fun

Serious surgeon

Bewitching

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Lifestyle

Love Thy Neighbour like a Trini would By Marissa armoogam-ali

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he people in Trinidad are well known for our tremendous love of celebrations and public holidays, actually we look forward to any time that allows us to step away from work and relax for a bit (I have personally witnessed offices and schools closed due to “Hurricane Watch” and every liming spot

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was packed with Trinis taking one before the storm). Our population is one where a diverse people live together in harmony (most of the time). Because of our multicultural and multi ethnic backgrounds there are varying religious and cultural celebrations throughout the year. It is quite a blessing actually to live in such a society when compared to the harshness of the rest of

the world. The three major groups are Christians, Hindus and Muslims and yet each of these groups is able to peaceably co-exist. For each of these distinct and auspicious celebrations almost every Trini shares in the festivities, Christians, Hindus and Muslims alike each prepare on the special day the local foods associated with each event. In a Hindu home on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr you are sure to find a pot of Sawine being made along with sweets, or for Divali each home shares in the making of Indian delicacies and dishes. And as for Christmas every Trini except for those who are exceptionally devout to their respective beliefs shares in the happiness and celebrations of Christmas. There is an unsaid law, if you would call it that amongst Trini neighbours, as in all societies, not everyone gets along all of the time, sometimes a neighbour might get angry because the leaves from your tree might fall in his yard, then follows the customary “cuss-out” and then a couple of months of not speaking to each other. However, during the couple of months of not speaking, if an incident or unfortunate accident should happen to you, be sure it’s the neighbour you “cuss-out” that will be at your house first to make sure everything is okay. Even though we as Trinis may have a vast variety of differences amongst us the love and sometimes even ‘tough-love’ outweighs the problems. So the next time your neighbour watch you hard because your tree drop some leaves in his yard... smile and say “neighbour ah love yuh, let we boil ah pot”.


Lifestyle Gigi Too a Foo in the Spinning room in Fitness Zone in Gulf City Mall. her weight training sessions have aided in the strengthening of her biceps and triceps thus allowing her upper body to lift her body off the ground. She is certified in spinning and has made fitness a major part of her life. She is dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and exercise.

Look good, feel good By Therese Chung

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e all want to feel good about ourselves. So pick yourself up and get off that couch. Go for a thirty minute brisk walk in the stadiums in Trinidad. We have the Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain and the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in San Fernando. We have many parks to breathe in fresh air whilst you walk yourself to a fitter you. In addition, we have several gyms throughout Trinidad which you could visit any day from Sunday to Sunday. Fitness is a must and when you look good, you feel good! One day I took my own advice and picked myself up and got off that couch. I put down that remote control for the television and headed for the biggest mall in Trinidad, Gulf City Shopping Mall. I heard of a gym in the mall. I like the

“mall scene” with the luxury of the very best equipment which could shape you for a better tomorrow. I had to warm up, before I hit the machines, so I headed for the spin room and there was a sight to behold. This lady was in a position which I have never seen in real life. She was stretching and warming up for her routine holding several positions. She looked magnificent and fit for life. I approached her because I wanted to ask her about the positions she displayed. Without hesitation, this fitness champion named Gigi Too a Foo said, “I think that fitness is essential in daily living. You should treat your body with all respect, number one being your diet, and then exercise. I warm up with stretches which allow oxygen to flow through my body easily and then I do cardio by walking on the treadmill for half an hour.

Weight training is my favourite which shapes your body beyond its natural ability. Don’t drink juice or soft drinks, but replace that need by drinking lots of water.” I felt pumped up and ready for my new life, a life of good health and diet. Sometimes we see a random person on the street and we think that he or she looks pretty hot but we don’t stop to think whether that person works hard and is disciplined in the gym. We think that he or she just looks good. No my dear. That gorgeous man or woman you admire on the road has a healthy lifestyle, one which we all should have. There are gyms everywhere that are easily accessible in Trinidad. So I will take my own advice and when I look good, honey, I feel good.

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Lifestyle

Fashion designer Josanne:

Adding my unique look to modern-day style I

am Josanne Joseph, owner and manager of Eliquet Jose Fashion. I attended the Marabella Senior Comprehensive School and graduated in the year 2001. I then studied accounting at School of Practical Accounting where I graduated and also Omardeen School of Accounting where I learned how to set up and manage a business. Studying accounts started to interest me in setting up a business of my own, so here I am today, working hard on my dream. The name of my business is Eliquet Jose Fashion. I design fashionable classy and sophisticated women clothing and hand bags. My aim is to add my unique look to modern day style, presenting fashion with flare and giving my customers what they want, what makes them look good yet makes them comfortable. At the moment my aim is to have my brand promoted so I am selling my designs through our local stores and would soon branch off to exporting my product with the hopes of one day having a

Josanne wearing her own creation.

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adding my unique look to modern-day style

Lifestyle

Josanne poses with her daughter Nikesha Baptiste while wearing a dress she designed.

brand name everyone would be proud to wear. This will do good for both my business and my country. So far, all my clients are satisfied. If I create a piece that I believe is not satisfying I do not sell or promote it. This is to keep a good standard. Some of my best jobs have been sold to store owners that import goods but could not resist the good quality of my work and the unique sense of style that I have to offer. I’ve received nothing but great comments about my talent. My clients, my friends and my family often tell me how blessed I am to be so gifted. They tell me things like I will reach far because I have ambition and skills and they love what I do. I aim for perfection when it comes to style and fashion. As for my country, I love

Trinidad and Tobago, it is home to me. What I enjoy most about my country is our culture, our sense of style, our diversity, the beautiful people and our food. I would rather work nowhere else than my lovely home. Our country has so much to offer in terms of fashion. I would like to be one of the designers to help present Trinidad and Tobago Fashion to the world. My advice to young people in Trinidad and Tobago would be to set high goals, the sky is the limit. Make the world feel proud of you. It is easy to get discourage but do not quit. Hard work and determination goes hand in hand. It pays off in the end. Let the world know that Trinidad and Tobago got some of the most talented people the world has to offer.

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Lifestyle By Kielon hilaire

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remember when I was just a little boy and all the joys the Christmas season used to bring. Picture a child of eight years old eagerly counting down the days till Christmas while impatiently awaiting everything but his two front teeth. Schools usually closed just a few days into December and for some odd reason “class parties” which usually heralded the onset of a child’s Christmas vacation used to be often held on a Wednesday or Thursday during the last week of school. What a shame! This meant that children whose parents believed their child would win an award for perfect attendance, had to resort to all-time lows like faking a severe belly pain for a day or two so they could have said an early goodbye to school and a merry hello to Christmas. Well, if I remembered correctly, my belly used to mysteriously start aching from November! From the very first day of my Christmas vacation I would wake early and madly dash towards the kitchen to observe what sort of Christmas dishes my mummy would be making. The first few days often resulted in me showing a rather long face. “Ah not starting to cook or bake nothing till this place looks like ah house,” my mother used to say. All that meant was that she wanted to see our home thoroughly spick and span (decorations included) before any fun could be had. Of course this would dampen any child’s mood but my mother’s subsequent threat of “And I will tell Santa not to

Joy of December

come if this place is not cleaned!” usually made me see the Christmas spirit immediately. I would then grab a paint brush, give my brother and sister a broom and a mop and together as a family we would begin to transform the house. In the end it somehow always turned out to be fun. Oh, and the house actually did look nice. Days later such a wide variety of food and snacks were available that you were never always sure what to eat, when to eat it or sometimes how to. And Trini children sure love their tummies so my hands had shamelessly frequented the bottom of many pots, jars, bowls, and paper bags. But what would a Trini Christmas be without treating yourself to some of the most renowned Christmas delicacies like ham,

Quality HAIR Anywhere Anytime!!!!!!!!!!! THROUGHOUT TRINIDAD & TOBAGO 784-1955 BB 285C5FE1 haironwheelsltd@outlook.com

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ER WE DELIV

turkey, pastelle, sponge cake, buttermilk cookies, macaroni pie, sorrel and ginger ale. However, back then no matter how much I tried to reach for Punch de Crème and Black Forest cake my hands always used to get smacked. I always wondered whose idea it was to forbid a happy 8-year-old boy from consuming the then mystifying ingredient known as alcohol. Oh well. The remaining days leading up to Christmas would then become filled with family bonding, Christmas carols, cartoons, and the entertaining concept of “moving from house to house”, which simply involved spending time at your friends’ and families’ homes. Christmas day would then finally arrive and after a half sleepless night wondering what Santa would bring me I would wake up to unwrap my gifts under the Christmas tree, thanks to the thoughtfulness of “Mr and Mrs Santa Claus”. Fast forward to the present and I sometimes find myself remembering what used to make me so eager about Christmas as a child. Some may say it was the tasty Trini food, the surprise gifts I looked forward to and even the undisputed love of Jesus Christ. Yes, all of those things had a significant part to play but what I remember most was the combination of spending time with family and friends and the fun and freedom that used to bring to everyone. Christmas was not viewed as a single day and everyday was a completely different adventure, even well past the 25th of December. While it is inevitable that Christmas will always be a more enjoyable experience for a child — because let’s face it: adults do most of the work in making the season enjoyable — consider how different a child may turn out to be if he/she never gets to fully anticipate and experience the fulfilment of their wildest dreams, an experience that most can only experience once per year. After all, there is no purer thing in life than a child’s innocence. This, and probably the first time I ever heard someone say, “Take ah sip nah. Ah lil alcohol good for de worms.” There is always joy to be had with a Trini Christmas.


Lifestyle

By Therese Chung

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ne bright Saturday morning, I was cruising in my car in West Moorings. The sun’s arms were warm and the breeze cool and fresh like the morning springs. BEEP BEEP!!! BEEP BEEP!!! All of a sudden the sound of horns were approaching. I pulled into West Mall’s car park. As I opened my door, I was greeted by a sight I have never seen before. There were boats everywhere, approximately thirty. They were pulled by trucks and colours flew in the air. Oranges, reds, yellows, fluorescent greens and bright blues were connecting the people to the Great Race Boat Parade. This parade of the finest boats started in Trinidad and would race to her sister isle of Tobago. Music filled the air and I felt thrills of excitement multiplying throughout my body. Each boat displayed a unique characteristic and was perfectly designed by graphic artists, the best in Trinidad. I booked my ticket and in a few weeks I was walking the sands of Tobago for the GREAT RACE 2013. Every year there is this huge boat race in Tobago where at least thirty of the finest boats test their skill and performance in the tropical waters. They start from Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and finish in Scarborough, the capital of Tobago. I enjoyed the opening of the festivities on the Friday night in

I enjoyed the opening of the festivities on the Friday night in the streets of Tobago where music trucks came out in full force and welcomed all guests to the dance of Calypso

Boat racing

From Port of Spain, Trinidad to Scarborough, Tobago

Members of the winning team “Monster” pose with me as they display their trophies at the award ceremony.

Scene at Great Race in Tobago.

the streets of Tobago where music trucks came out in full force and welcomed all guests to the dance of Calypso. But today was the day, Saturday and I was anxiously awaiting the boats at the finish line. The boats were flying over the sparkling blue green waters. My adrenaline was pumping, faster than it ever did before. The Monster boat leaped across the finishing line and I ran to the winners and was lucky to get that memorable photo with them. Champions to the core! I could never forget the feeling of anticipation with the musical tunes in the air simultaneously adorning my body. So come to our annual Great Race during August and I promise you experiences you will never forget.

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Lifestyle

All dressed up for Christmas

Christmas decorations at Gulf City Mall, San Fernando

By nadia ali

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hen Christmas comes to Trinidad and Tobago there is no north wind that blows, no frost on the ground and definitely no chestnuts roasting on an open fire. There is, however, parang in the air, poinsettia’s in full bloom and black fruit cake baking in the oven. One thing that truly represents a Trinbago Christmas which is not confined to a specific place or thing is simply one colour and that is the seasonally intense colour of red. Boutiques and clothing shops clad retail mannequins in fabulous red flowing fashions that gets shop windows noticed. Shoppers are treated to a variety of dresses such as party, cocktail and evening gowns in stunning red designs.

Of course, there are matching accessories in red to compliment that special outfit, such as earrings, bracelets, necklaces and handbags. On the roads, some motorists adorn their cars with red novelty Christmas bows tied onto the grill, definitely giving the impression of a gift on wheels. Even the odd streamer can be seen flying in the wind from a car’s antennae. Garden shops, some of which can be seen from the highway, suddenly come alive with floors of red potted plants. These are Poinsettia plants with bright vibrant red leaves — a must have for a Trinbago Christmas. It is sold in the hundreds of thousands to households, offices, banks, malls and companies to

Christmas decorations at Trincity Mall. Photos by nadia ali

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be incorporated into seasonal themes. Though it is a plant that requires a lot of darkness to thrive, it brings such bright red warmth to the yuletide season. The sound of parang, derived from the twin islands Hispanic heritage, sees costumes that are use varying patterns and vibrant solid colours including a lot of red. Parang groups dress to impress, from the use of simple red t-shirts matched with colourful skirts to flamboyant, ruffled off-the-shoulder dresses. Many of the competitions not only offer prizes for singing, but also for the best costume which encourages groups to wear bold, folkloric dresses. The food of the season also has red delights. These can be seen and tasted in the red pepper stuffed olives in the pastelles. Also, in the red fruity flavour of sorrel drink, the red grapes and apples that are in abundance, and the red cherries that put the finishing touches on both savoury and sweet dishes. And, the place where red is seen decorating huge interior spaces is at the shopping malls. From West Mall to Gulf City to Trincity, the Christmas decorations incorporate red bows, red Christmas balls, red poinsettia’s, red trim, red balloons, red and white candy canes and red garlands. Shop assistants also dress reflecting the seasonal colour of red. So, when you next hear the cliché of “Paint the town red” think of the twin island of Trinidad & Tobago where it has never been more appropriate when it comes to a Trinbago Christmas.


Creole Corner

FiCTion

Uncle’s old cricket boots By omilla Mungroo

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teeped in superstition, our country could sometimes make the simplest of events seem so serious and confusing. If something out of the ordinary happened, “book it”, there was bound to be a story behind it — a story which unfolded in any direction you wanted to tell it, unless it was someone else’s story. I will never forget my late grandmother’s vociferation that day, slicing through the cold, early dawn in the crispy hills that surrounded Maracas Valley. The village I grew up in snuggled comfortably under the breathtakingly beautiful Northern Range. El Tucuche and Cerro del Aripo loomed far away but their majestic view made me marvel at the treasure that I thought we alone had in Trinidad — the mountains! How badly I wanted to go to see my uncles play cricket that day! I thought the mountains were feeling my pain that morning as my grandmother shouted to me with fierceness I never heard before. “Don’t cross it over, you mad chile! You doh know what it is and who put it there!” My late aunt added to the commotion, “Yuh cyarn see that is somebody do that to cause trouble here?” What trouble? I was in a daze, and could not understand what they meant. Other wiser, stricter authority than my grandmother had shut me up and sent me inside sulking. It was very early, around 6.00 a.m. when I went to see if my uncle’s shoe laces were still on the line where I hung them at the back of my grandmother’s house. They were gone, so I knew he already left for the match. Ours was an extended family with three houses in one yard, but I spent most of the time at my grandmother’s. Hearing the noise, everybody came outside rubbing sleepy eyes, wiping their faces, feeling for “yampie” and mumbling, “wha’ happen?” It wasn’t long before my cousin, nine years old and always in the middle of grown ups, whispered something like, “de obeah ting in de back ah Ma house.” The “obeah ting” in question was a diagram on the ground, like a rectangular box, with lines crossing one another like the Great Britain flag, the Union Jack, as it

is sometimes called. The lines were white and straight. I thought it looked neat inside the boxed border. It reminded me of the same diagram the pundits used on a rectangle box on the ground, filled with dirt, when my father’s parents held their Hindu prayers at their home. As I passed the ledge downstairs where my uncle’s cricket stuff was stored I put his bottle of whitening back on top of the shelf and stood near the door. He must have forgotten it on the ground in his rush to leave home. My two brothers, sister, another aunt and my cousin now stood at one end of Mama’s house. They were all whispering as I felt a sharp slap across my back. “Ent I tell you to go inside?” My aunt shouted, her evil looking eyes boring through me like a drill hammer. I did not remember anyone telling me to go inside but I quietly went, leaving everybody else there. My two uncles had left very early to play an important cricket match, somewhere in the east of Trinidad. How I wished I had gone, so I wouldn’t have to be scolded all the time. They were playing in their white clothes. Big match! My younger uncle begged for me to go with no success. He was the most fun person, I thought, in all my family, and the only one who would “take for me” when my aunts scolded me. We all passed the day quietly, eavesdropping on my two aunts and grandmother. All we heard was my aunt, “Mus be Boysie an dem nah! They fighting for what is not theirs. That ent goin an frighten me.” But she was the most coward person I knew. Then my grandmother, “But what hour he go come here an do that? Mus be in de dark!” “Since Papa dead an gone he feel he own even here!” “Wait till I see de scamp!” Their voices were hushed, and inbetween my aunt would get louder than the rest, “Well yes! What to do now? This place always have trouble oui!” It was the dreariest, bleakest, somber day, despite the glorious sun shining out — a perfect day for cricket, I thought, and here I stood, praying that my uncle’s team would win the match and come home quickly. All day we had to stay inside and

not go near that “thing” on the ground. We couldn’t even play hide and seek. It wasn’t until the next morning when I opened the window upstairs in the room where I slept with my grandmother, that I heard whistling and knew it. I saw my uncle downstairs, standing right over the rectangular box on the ground. I ran out through the hallway and opened the front door, skipping down the stairs, hurrying to gripe about what had transpired the day before, to warn him about the “thing” near his feet, and to say how badly I wished I had gone to see them play, but how I had to be shouted at all day and had to stay inside and not talk at all; a punishment too harsh for a talker like me.

T

hey had won the match and had to play another one in two days. Before I finished talking he was laughing so loud I heard my aunt upstairs quarreling. For some weird reason I was not afraid. I could not understand why my uncle would laugh at me though, and I felt angry and almost in tears when he finally spoke. “So this is what cause all that?” And he swished the whitening brush he held in his hand across the ground adding another very straight line inside the box. I froze. I stared at the box. Then he swished it again, and again, and we both laughed. He had been whitening his old cricket boots the evening before, and swished the brush by accident. When he saw how straight the line was, he swished it again and again, creating the pattern on the ground, just as he was doing then. I laughed because I was remembering my “wicked” aunt’s slap, and her tone of voice when she said, “This place always have trouble, oui!” My uncle did not believe in superstition, and I don’t think he wanted me to grow up believing in it too. He promised to take me to their next match, no matter what my aunt said. I felt secretly glad that I moved his bottle of whitening from the ground before anybody else saw it. Oh what stress my aunts must have experienced. Suddenly I felt everything that went wrong the day before, seemed right. I helped hang my uncle’s shoe laces on the line and carefully placed his bottle of whitening on the shelf inside, with the most victorious smile on my face.

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Creole Corner

The coconut counting man By Marc algernon If you ever go, to Mayaro, in the dawn of morn you will see, undoubtedly, this man of brawn who climbs these trees, with the greatest of ease, to pick this precious nut whose water provides what no words could describe, with just one simple cut. one by one, he and his son, they load their rusty van they don’t stop, they load it to the top, he’s the coconut counting man. when the counting is done, he hugs his son and starts his long drive to Port of Spain he whistles a song, cause the drive is long even worse it starts to rain... he says “God washes the nut, wet is better than hot” in his mind he has a plan. to sell his mountain of gold, to those young and old he’s the coconut counting man. when he gets to the spot, the sun is blistering hot,

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at the largest roundabout in the world. The Queens Park Savannah, tonight is Panorama, so much gold to be sold his blade goes ‘shwing’ and with a few meagre swings, he cuts a tiny hole, he sticks in a straw, could you want more? you can even get it cold. his smile grows wide, with the feeling inside, he is as proud as he can he hums to himself, at the growth of his wealth “I’m the coconut counting man.” Sure as the air is hot and the water sweet, he cut coconut and sell it cheap he taps his feet to the coconut beat, he is the coconut counting man... he is not PNM or UNC he is not ILP he say “he is he!” “that don’t mine he family and he belong by the coconut tree” he’s the coconut counting man... he’s the coconut counting man... he is the coconut counting man...


Creole Corner

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Creole Corner

Veil of Punishment

(in honour of all the abused children) by Marissa armoogam-ali

She rarely came out to let the sunshine dance upon her skin Sometimes you could see her tiny eyes through the cracks in the wooden house Looking for a friend, looking for hope, maybe just looking for an end She wore a veil with a smile on it, but it was never long enough to cover her eyes Those eyes told a story, they whispered to anyone lucky enough, Lucky to see such innocence, such hurt, such pain At times you could have heard her humming or was it groaning? To the lucky ones, our ears heard humming I think for her the “humming” made the bruises lighter It made the pain within her sacred place fade away She was forced to become “ah woman” before she even knew what it was to be a child She never really knew what she did wrong or why he had to teach her to be “ah woman” She just knew she was bad, punishment was always there! Over and over and over and over Then one day, she must have been really bad... So he punished her more than she had ever been punished She fell to the floor like a broken toy never to be fixed again A soft, sweet wind swept across her cheek; it was a strange, but welcomed breeze Her veil lifted Now everyone saw just how bad she’d been all along

Trini Christmas is the best By Therese Chung Trini Christmas is the best, It lasts longer than the rest, From October the parang starts, Trinis musical work of art The parang invites all to dance, Some sing and hum and even prance, Songs are played in every single mall, On radio stations for one and all Christmas trees are decorated everywhere, Adding to the spirit of the Christmas cheer, Everywhere you look you could see, A Trini smiling, you or me Pastelles are made for the thousands, Chicken and pork by the dozens, Pork and ham with a side dish of turkey, Add some chow chow and now you’re a Trini Sorrel and ginger beer will quench my thirst, After punch a creme which I will drink first, Now come together let’s say a prayer, Thanking God for a wonderful year

You see Christmas in Trini is a combination of things, Of fine pleasures and blessings which the season of giving brings, Although presents and kisses are exchanged here and there, All Trinis know God is the centre, he’s everywhere

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Food Sorrel vendor at Barataria Roundabout

For sale Apples and grapes for sale at Independence Square, Port of Spain

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Food By nadia ali

W

hat better way to celebrate a milestone in your life than going out to dinner with your family or friends. Of the numerous restaurants that line Ariapita Avenue none offers the panoramic view of the 360 Restaurant located on the 14th floor of the Capital Plaza hotel in downtown Port of Spain. We had made a reservation for Sunday Brunch and took the elevator from the lobby to the 12th floor. Having realised that was as high as we could go, we got off to see a sign above an exclusive elevator that only goes to the 360 Degrees Restaurant. Once there we realised that the restaurant was disc shape almost like a UFO sitting atop the hotel. The staff showed us to our table, but not before making mention of the golden metal line that marks the outer end of the circular floor which actually revolves — no not the entire top of the hotel. The tables for 2, 4 or more hug the ceiling to floor window panes. It was a little unnerving at first as we sat, sensing the gentle movement of the revolving floor. It’s slow enough not to give you motion sickness and actually takes a full hour to make a complete revolution. Before venturing around to visit the various food stations, we took some time to admire the unrivalled revolving views of Port of Spain. Towering above the capital city, we could look straight down Wrightson Road at the ant-like cars that

Dining on top of

Port of Spain

zipped along the roadway. The best part of the view for me was the waterfront view, peeping through the shafts of tall buildings to view the blue of the sea and catch the national colours of the ferry which was docked or loading. Looking further afield the relatively flat buildings of Port of Spain showed the contrast of newly designed buildings alongside typical

Photos by nadia ali

colonial Spanish Architecture of the scattered churches. Every diner has access to these views as all of the tables are on the outer circumference of the circleshaped restaurant. The full window panes allow for the maximum view. Having enjoyed the view, it was time to visit the food stations, with soft easy listening music in the background we walked around to see what was available. The omelette station had an array of vegetables, meat and cheese to make the perfect omelette. There was also a variety of bread, croissants and bread sticks to accompany the omelette. There was big stainless steel food warmers that had sausage rolls, chicken pastries and cinnamon rolls which were kept yummy and warm. One thing with eating buffet style is that there is quite a bit of walking to be done, so with my comfortable shoes on I made the rounds. The menu was varied and offered everything from pasta, rice, soup, veggies and a selection of meat, but the best was yet to come… dessert! Being someone who eats the main course only to get to dessert, I was not disappointed. The pastries, cakes, tarts, ice cream and crème caramel were a delight. The presentation of trays of bitesized decorated cakes was visually stunning. The prix fixe Sunday buffet lunch menu is costly by all standards, but the ambience, the dining experience and last but not least the view was worthwhile. After our meal, the staff came over with an elongated white plate with “Happy Birthday” written in chocolate sauce and a fabulous square of chocolate cake with a candle lit singing Happy Birthday to me. It was a fitting end to a memorable occasion dining on top of Port of Spain.

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Food

Reshma Persad Photos by Simone Charles

Reshma's Methai By Simone Charles

I

stumbled upon her advertisement in the newspaper stating that she does catering. It read: ''Reshma's Methai'', curious to know what ''methai'' meant, I contacted her and found out much more than I expected. Reshma Persad of Roy Mootoo Avenue, Sangre Grande, says that she sells Indian delicacies as her livelihood. She explains that ''Methai is the Hindi word for sweets. I have been in this business only about a year and it has been really good! I get orders from all over the country and even to send abroad. My other customers are from banks and a lot of businesses from companies for the Divali period. I also cater for weddings.'' I asked her what made her enter this business and she said, ''Girl, people loved my sweets and kept telling me to get into it.'' I complimented her, ''I guess you had a sweet-hand for sweets!'' I'm sure she has because she sells delicacies that I or some of you haven't even heard of. She names them, ''Kurma, goolab jamaam, peera, barfi, jellaby, ladoo, ras gulla, ras malai, mohanbhog, eggless cakes, eggless tiramisu, puffs, somosas and apple pie, which is a best seller.''

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I was very impressed by her sweets and surprised with what some of it were made. Reshma states, ''Ras malai is made from ricotta and submerged in a milky creamy sauce, while Mohanbhog is commonly known as Parsad.'' She has something for everyone and to fit your pocket as well. ''I sell my kurma at 12 for $2.00 and the barfi for $3.00. The cakes start from $150.00. She says that she wants to be competitive and that is exactly the type of approach one should have when in these types of businesses. Having come to know that she makes all those delicacies, I questioned if she has any assistance with those orders. She states: ''It depends on how large the orders are, some days are full-time others are

Apple pie

part-time. However, usually for weddings or at Divali time I employ workers. I have a separate kitchen at home other than my personal one. My customers would order by way of phone call and then come and collect their sweets.'' Upon closing of our interview, being so astounded, I said to Reshma that she should she consider advertising her sweets in local supermarkets to attract a wider audience and also because I and I'm pretty sure that you too would enjoy seeing her sweets in your neighbourhood supermarket. I thanked Reshma for her time and congratulated her on preserving the rich diversity of the East Indian culture as far as delicacies go; because many of us are not aware of them and it will be an excellent decision to try them at Reshma's. If you are interested in ordering any of her delicacies for whatever event you are hosting, you can email her at nreshpersad@gmail.com

Ras gulla Ras malai


Food

Dining at TTHTI By Marika Mohammed

I

t was the first time dining at the locally known “Hotel School” and it was definitely something. It wasn't anything different or exotic from the trini flavors that existed already, it was just an above awesome customer experience. I was greeted, hosted and served by the students themselves who are training to be Trinidad's next top masters in the culinary industry. The waitresses were so exceptional I couldn't help but enjoy the experience the entire time. They were effortlessly polite, funny and smiling when serving and moving the dishes from my table. My water glass was always filled and my plates were served with caution and a friendly smile, even though I'm sure they were so nervous about the plates falling. I had a five course dish which consisted of an appetizer,

soup, salad, entrée and dessert. My appetizer consisted of a phyllo pastry and tamarind chutney which was really flavorful and flakey. The pumpkin soup with spatzel was spicy and complimented the juice, but for me, the long awaited dessert was awesome. I was so full after the soup but when the dessert hit the table, it was too good for words. I especially loved the whipped cream that mounted the banana cream pie. Even more amazing the dishes were all made by the students themselves who should really be proud of creating such lipsmacking works of edible art. Photos by Maraika Mohammed

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Food

A quick snack

Snack vendor located at the lookout on the North Coast Road before Maracas Beach

Eat ah food! Macaroni pie, stew chicken and zaboca, a famous menu for many hungry Trinis. During the week forget the rice, peas, potato salad, and lettuce, just bring the pie and gravy. Vegetarians may have the stew soya instead, the macaroni pie we all must have. Enjoy these scrumptious photos and go have yourself a meal Trini style! Photos by Jevan Soyer

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Places

Columbus Bay: My home

By akeme Clarke abdullah

E

xotic greenery, a beautiful vast expanse of scenic ocean view and a place where residents are warm and welcoming is the ideal spot for a getaway. The South-Western part of Trinidad known by locals as “deep south” is treasured by those who have visited and cared for by those who live there. Columbus Bay, located in Cedros, was given its name by Christopher Columbus, who many say visited this part of Trinidad upon approaching our island on his voyage to discover new lands. The beach is a massive four-kilometre expanse of beautiful sand with a long shallow slope making it possible to venture some distance from the shore with the water still below your knee. The water is as clear as crystal and although there are a few mosquitoes buzzing around, the unique setting of this beach is marvellous. Adding to the unusual and unique beauty of this particular beach are three distinctive islets jutting out from the sea. Many of the locals say these rocks were created by the sea’s continuous erosion of the point. The islets, commonly referred to as Santa Maria, Pinta and Nina, are named after the three

The three ‘islands’ known as the Three Sisters

ships that brought Christopher Columbus here to our island. Columbus bay is also one of those places that just delights and tickles the fancy of true nature lovers. The estate on Columbus Bay stretches over 2,250 acres of undulating land where there used to be an operational coconut plantation, exotic tropical wetlands and miles of unspoiled scenic beach frontage. Columbus Bay is generally regarded

as one of the best bathing beaches in Trinidad. It features amazing unsets, miles of beautiful golden-brown sandy beaches with lush greenery. There are also islets and an off-shore reef that is considered a geological testimony to the fact that Trinidad was at one time a part of the South American continent. There is so much history wrapped up in so much exotic beauty. This is the place where I grew up and love the most right here in beautiful Trinidad.

Nathaniel taking in the view

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North Coast drive

Places

By omilla Mungroo “All yuh want to go to the beach?” That was the question a friend asked after we talked about “beach” for days. But of course! We hadn’t gone to the beach in two years! Two whole years! For avid campers like us, that’s a long time to stay away from the exotic beaches that surround us here in sweet Trinidad and Tobago! So when my friend offered to take us to Las Cuevas, we started to make plans, only to be told that this would be his gift to us. We were to pack only a change of clothes and our towels. This was new, because in all the years I camped, or went to the beach with family, we always cooked a whole set of food. Every Trini knows that a good beach lime goes hand in hand with good food. Nevertheless we followed instructions. This was not just a beach lime. We were going for a drive, and didn’t know it yet. We took the Saddle Road from San Juan, through scenic Santa Cruz, then onto the winding North Coast Road. I felt like a foreigner in my own country because these parts looked so fresh, new and exciting, but the fact that I did not cook anything made me feel a little guilty. My friend read my mind and smiled, “Relax and enjoy the sights. We’ll buy some bake and shark on the way.” Our first stop was brief, along the Saddle Road, at a point where one can see parts of Maraval; the Moka golf course, and its environs. I could not remember ever seeing this place because although I camped in Las Cuevas as a girl with carloads of my family, we never stopped to take in the sights along the way. Passing the Paramin hills and lush greenery all around, the air suddenly felt cooler. We were on the North Coast Road then, chatting whilst admiring the beauty and closeness of the mountains, cruising to popular Maracas Bay. The beach itself is one and a quarter miles long with three-feet waves; our local surfers’ paradise. There’s a spacious carpark, public restrooms, picnic tables, benches, and food galore! All of a sudden I remembered

We made a short stop to see the prettiest little beach I ever saw, hidden from the main road, down some stairs, but it was a gem of white sand and clearest blue-green water. a song I heard by Denyse Plummer: Nah Leavin’ and I knew then why she sang it. We bought bake and shark at Richard’s and while strolling to the car I was drawn to a colourful stall with handmade jewelry which I love. The owner of the stall was very friendly and proud of his goods. The chains, earrings, wrist bands, were made of shells. I love their natural look, so, you can imagine how speechless I was when we got into the car to continue our journey, and my friend presented me with the glossy cream coloured band I tried on! “Merry Christmas!” He smiled, although we were in the month of March. I began reminiscing about my family camps but I was knocked out of memory lane when the rolling hills of Las Cuevas appeared in sight. The name Las Cuevas was derived from the Spanish word for caves. It was so named because of the amount of caves you can find on the beach. The landscape had not really changed though. It was still a pretty little sheltered beach, and the ideal time to be there, if you wanted a quiet getaway from noise and city life, was early mornings, before the crowds came. We arrived about 9.45 a.m. and enjoyed the calm, soothing waters till we got hungry, ate our bake and shark, and started out on what

I remembered a song I heard by Denyse Plummer – Nah Leavin’ – and I knew then why she sang it

would be “de real scene!” It was about 12.45 p.m. when we left “the caves” and drove through La Fillette and Blanchissuese. La Fillette is a tiny fishing village right after Las Cuevas. We made a short stop to see the prettiest little beach I ever saw, hidden from the main road, down some stairs, but it was a gem of white sand and clearest bluegreen water. The perfect place for a photoshoot, my friend said. By the time we drove through Blanchissuese, it was almost 3 p.m. and we turned back from a rocky dirt road that seemed to be going on and on and on, with no end in sight. We had passed the big silver bridge and drove up the dirt road, but who knows where the North Coast Road ends. On the way back we stopped a while for a welcome rest by a clear, shallow river. Signs of a fireside by the bamboo stool told us people used the spot to “make a cook”, a regular Trini past-time, not just for river-lovers, but for Trinis in general, wherever they are! In all the years I camped all over Trinidad I never saw such beauty. The North Coast holds gems in every nook. I don’t think we had enough time to see it all, but what a memorable trip it turned out to be! We thanked our friend for taking the time to carry us, and thanked God for our little paradise — Trinidad and Tobago. Nah leavin’.

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Places

View from Woodford Square of the old National Library, Port of Spain

National Waterfront Complex, Port of Spain

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Places

Supreme Court building, San Fernando

Couva maxi taxi stand in Chaguanas

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Sweet TnT Magazine Issue 7