Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Monday June 8- First Free Day in Trinidad

Hi all- there has been a lot of guest blogging in the recent week, but this one is just me (Elizabeth, the TA).

So, today was our first free day in Trinidad. Doc (the nickname I have used for Dr. Lehtinen for a number of years and now several students have picked up on), Ben and Aaron all tackled el Tucuche today. This is the second highest mountain on the island (just behind el cerro del Aripo, but only by about 4 meters). Their hike started super early (left the cabin around 5am) and continued until after 6pm when they finally arrived home, stinky, tired, and happy. They were hoping to see the Golden Treefrog which only occurs on the two highest peaks here in Trinidad and no where else in the world, but no luck. All three of them dropped into bed early.

While Doc and the two boys were trecking up a mountain, the rest of the crew decided to head into Port of Spain (the largest city). I drove everyone down to Arima (the closest town to Simla where we are staying) and we all used public transportation to get the rest of the way into POS. After the hour plus bus ride to the city, we were all hungry and craving some local flavor. Most of us tried "Roti" which is sort of an Indian burrito. It is a bread that is soft and spongy (somewhat like soggy naan for the Indian foodies out there), and it is packed full of potatoes and meat and curry. You can get it with pepper (which is SOO hot) or without which is slightly bland. The major downfall of roti is that the meat is not de-boned. So those of us who ordered chicken roti were munching through on bones with what felt like every other bite. About half of the group liked it, half thought it was gross and they never wanted to eat it again.

After food, we split into two groups. Chase, Tim, Whitney, Heidi, and myself decided to wander around the city, sample all street vendor food and do a little shopping. Larken was the ring leader in charge of the other group and led Trip, Emily, Alex B, and Alex V. toward the museum and zoo. Unfortunately for that group, the places they were hoping to see were closed on Monday. They walked around for awhile and decided to catch a movie- surprise surprise- it was Angels and Demons (apt since most of the group spent the two weeks in Tobago reading the book and passing it off to the next person). As I mentioned, my group made it somewhat of our goal to sample street food. First, we had a snow cone which was half guava and half pineapple flavored (absolutely delicious!!). Next, we had cashews that were honey roasted. Shopping was a lot of fun. Whitney and Heidi bought everything they could lay their hands on. Okay, not really, but both did try on a lot of clothes and each settled on two dresses to buy. We all bought lots of souvenirs.

After a day of walking around the city, we were tired and hot. We caught a bus back to Aripo and everyone gorged themselves on Pizza Hut and TCBY. Yes, I said Pizza Hut and TCBY- sometimes you just crave American classics.

Tomorrow is another free day, so stay tuned, there should be good stories and adventures to report.

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