Monthly Archives: December 2015

Tobago Adventure Day

On the second day of the Tobago trip, we drove around the entire island and stopped at a TON of places along the way.

Quick note: Rather than add captions to half of these photos, I’ll just tell you now that a lot of these pictures were taken by Keeshan! You can read about some of his outdoor adventures on Trail Pace.

12371039_10156345289665402_6221399198500670375_oOur first stop was Argyle waterfall. There was a mandatory admission fee that included a guide if we wanted one, so we chose to have one since we were paying for it either way. We definitely didn’t need one in terms of the trail since it was very clear where we were supposed to go, but it was awesome to learn about some of the local plants and birds.  The only bird I remember is the blue crowned motmot which is quite pretty and, as you may have guessed, has a blue crown. The guide mostly told us about trees, but he also showed us a ground provision called tania or tanya. I guess it’s not commonly used since I’ve never heard of it before, but I’d love to try to cook some. One think I really like about Trinidad and Tobago is the fact that there are so many different fruits and vegetables that grow here that I’d never really heard of or tried before.

The guide told us that the waterfall had 17 levels, but we only went up to level four. As you can see, each level change was a little trek all on its own.

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1064802_10156345291640402_5161321816323446801_oAnother highlight of the Argyle waterfall was that a stray dog loyally followed us the whole way, even up the really steep parts. Apparently in T&T stray dogs are called “potongs.”

 

 

 

After Argyle we went to Flagstaff Hill for lunch. I don’t know if the hill is second or third or any tallest ranked hill in Tobago, but Kevan said that at least I could put that it is the Northeastest most hill. So there you go.

Fun highlight: There was a radio tower that you could just walk up to and climb if you had the inclination. (I’m sure that wasn’t they intention, but hey, it was there.) Look how far up Kevan climbed!DSCN0535

Look I climbed really high too!DSCN0536

Haha just kidding no I did not.DSCN0537

 

DSCN0538Anyway, we ate lunch on a very sunken in bench and looked out over the bush. “Bush” loosely means “wildly growing plants.” Example one: When I have something compostable like an orange peel, Kevan says to throw it “into the bush,” where the bush is grass cuttings and plants in his yard. Example two: We go on hikes “through the bush” where the bush is all of the plants and trees that are growing naturally. Example three: His grandma said that her grandchildren grew “like bush.”

DSCN0546We went to Pirate’s Bay and walked down some very slippery steps to the beach. We snorkeled there and it was awesome. Snorkeling is becoming one of my new favorite things, though I’ve technically only gone three ish times for real.  Growing up in a completely land-locked area, my main experiences with water were swimming pools, which of course lack waves and are chlorinated. I tried snorkeling once last year and did a bad job. That was try #1. Breathing around the salt water in the tube made my throat scratchy, and being far from where I could touch the bottom was scary.  This year we had two really good snorkeling outings in Tobago. I’m more Pirates Bayconfident in the water this year, I think as a result of an accumulation of many little swimming experiences and practice. This year, having the snorkel wasn’t scary anymore, and it made me more confident to swim out farther. When you snorkel you are just floating on your stomach, face down with the tube sticking up out of the water. It’s much easier than swimming because your position is very natural and you don’t have to fight to keep yourself or your head up. I am still far from being a good snorkeler, but I’d like to keep doing it.

As the day went on I lost track of where we went. Where is this? I do not know.886927_10156345223985402_3376668435051890804_o

 

Fort something, which had two cannons and a gazebo.DSCN0562

When the sun is out, everything has the most beautiful colors.DSCN0566 DSCN0540

 

12371155_10156345300180402_5597429645858008953_oI don’t remember the name of this waterfall either. We walked across a field with goats to get to this little hike.

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And we’ll end with some boats.

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I don’t remember exactly what we did that evening, but I think it involved eating leftovers and going to bed at around 8:30. A full day of activities will do that to you. I find it kind of funny that we only really have days like these when we visit new places. Okay, it makes sense that if we lived in Tobago, we could have done all of these things over the course of many days. But 1) would we have? and 2) is that better? When you live somewhere, you have the tendency to think that you have all the time in the world to do a thing/visit a place. But suddenly you’re moving somewhere else because of a job or school, and you never did that thing. (Or perhaps you live your whole life in that place and then you’re 70 and thinking about how you never did that thing and now you’re too old.) In conclusion, do the things.

Cow Hike

We spent four days in Tobago this past week, and each day was packed full of outdoor adventures. This particular hike had the added bonus of cows.

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Okay, you are correct, this is not a cow. This is an agouti, a tropical rodent. Cute, yes? It kind of wiggles back and forth when it walks.

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First cow sighting, where Kevan doesn’t understand why we are taking a selfie with cows.

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We encountered this cow on the path, so we took a detour to walk through the stream instead.

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But alas! Another cow by the stream. Since the cows were chained we walked the line farthest from each cow’s tether point.

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Highlands Waterfall. We were able to stand right under the waterfall.

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View down from the side of the waterfall.
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Cow tax.

A DIY Advent Calendar (that you’re hearing about 3 days before Christmas)

I made Michelle an Advent calendar! It started on December 1st, though I suppose it should have started on November 29th since that was the first Sunday of Advent.

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I cut the triangle from a piece of cardboard that I had lying around (One of the remnants of my education in architecture, I have literally been carrying these pieces of cardboard/illustration board/chipboard/whathaveyou around for years.) and covered it with green-hued scrapbooking papers. As you can see I went for an artful/patchy look. I glued them on and cut off the edges around the cardboard. Simple!

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I folded boxes for each of the days. The paper I bought in individual sheets from Hobby Lobby, so I got exactly what I wanted and only spent a couple of dollars on it. The folding was definitely the longest part of this endeavor as each box was two boxes, lid and base. My method of box-making is not technically origami because I made cuts in the paper, but they look nice so there you go.

Weekdays were small boxes and Sundays were big boxes. This means that this Advent calendar couldn’t be used again until 2020. Wow. If you wanted this to be reusable you would either want to a) make all of the boxes the same size or b) not assign numbers to the boxes and make them rearrangeable, perhaps by attaching them with velcro instead of glue.

I originally used scotch tape to attach all of the boxes. I propped it up in my closet to see how they would hold, and after about an hour most of them had fallen off. I switched to elmer’s glue and that worked much better.

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In addition to the chocolates, some of the boxes came with extra little gifts. I drew out different illustrations on two pieces of paper, one for the box and one as a gift tag. The paper in the box instructed Michelle to find the gift under the tree with the matching tag. The gifts had little things like cookie cutters and stickers.

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And finally, here is our apartment all dressed up for Christmas. 🙂

Canada Part II

. . . just in  time to preface Trinidad and Tobago Part V.

First, upon arrival, I learned that Toronto has two international terminals and hence two customs. Since I was waiting outside of the wrong one, Kevan spent almost an hour looking for me. Oops.

We went first to Kevan’s sister’s apartment where we were commissioned to help make paper cranes to be used as decorations at the reception. I had to be retaught.

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Clearly I am doing an excellent job.

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Kevan and I were almost late to the wedding because of traffic. He was doing a reading, so when we got there he got a thirty second brief that he maybe didn’t need anyway and we sat down right when the procession started. The wedding was lovely. Afterwards, the bride and groom insisted on getting pictures with absolutely everyone there. That was cute.

The reception was within walking distance, so Kevan and I meandered there by ourselves, stopping for a hot chocolate along the way. The reception lasted a long time, slash I am a lame party-goer and always get sleepy by 10pm. As it got later Kevan and I started wandering around the reception venue more, and we found a rec room where a TV was playing some Disney channel movie about the children of villains and heroes, so we watched that for a while.

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Overall it was really fun. As you can see, Kevan is a much better dancer than I am.