About Me

Living in the Caribbean is probably like living anywhere else, with the same ups and downs. But it does have its own vibe and flavour and gives me a unique perspective on most things. I'm often sarcastic, mostly funny, always looking for a new adventure. I have not boxed myself into any one category of life. I love a lot of things and dislike a lot more. I write about them all.

Hello Amsterdam!

Here I am again. This time I am coming to you from my hotel's bar in Amsterdam. Almost did not get here. Lol. Sooooo...had some time to kill before my flight and headed to the London Gatwick branch of Jamie's Italian. I love Jamie's Italian. Anyway, got to talking with an older gentleman next to me and next thing I know my half hour lunch became an hour plus. After waiting way too long for my bill, I checked the screen to see my departure gate and the horror...it was closing in 4 mins. Of course the gate was at the end of the freakin' earth, and my morning runs on that treadmill came in quite handy, lemme tell you. Run, Forrest, run. I kept seeing my Euros slipping away as the closed gate loomed. Got there, breathless, but got there! The most maddening part? The flight was delayed. Lol.

So here I am in Amsterdam. I made an Italian friend on the hotel shuttle.  Yeah...about that. So I am a bit of a high maintenance traveller.  The train was the cheapest option at 5 euros. I bought said ticket to be fair. But upon weighing my exhaustion, my 17kg bag (a feat of epic proportions from Ms 23kg plus hand luggage! ) and this heat in my all black get up, I decided I work too hard to be lugging this pink suitcase behind me from some train station when there are perfectly good hotel shuttles with a/c and wi-fi available for 17 euros. And with nice Italian travellers on board as well.

My hotel. So glad I chose it and stuck to my decision.  I did not make a whole lot of effort in choosing hotels etc this year as I was just way too busy. Though not in Central Amsterdam,  Citizen M is comfy, modern, CLEAN and friendly. The room is a bit extra terrestrial with the bathroom and toilet in the middle of the floor, and everything is controlled by a mood pad -the brightness and colour of the lights, the tv, the blinds, the room temperature.  massive and extremely comfortable bed, free movies on demand, including porn...lol. great lobby bar. Pretty cool. I have not had chance to make my way about town yet. That comes tomorrow. Between the running for planes, the heat and pre-vacay exhaustion, I am happy right here at the hotel bar for now. Tomorrow -me, my map and Amsterdam. Tonight - chatting and drinking at the bar.

Refresh moment in London

So after being absent for a while, here I am, in London. Vacation time took its time to get here but here it is. Much needed after a hellish period at work. I will admit I was not as excited about this vacation as I should have been. Even the planning was lackadaisical.  My days were just too crammed with work and annoying things. But these are sure symptoms of need-a-vacationitis.

Anyway, after a long flight where I slept the majority of the time, I am in London.  Actually, I am still in the airport as I wait for my next flight. Getting in at 8.30am and flying again at 4.30pm meant I would be stuck in the airport for longer than I would like. I hate layovers with a passion, and feeling sick was not helping. Anticipating this annoying feeling way in advance, I booked a cabin at Yotel in the South Terminal of Gatwick Airport.

Yotel is pretty much a layover hater's oasis. The cabin is as big as a closet and this is no lie. But I needed a bed, a shower and some privacy for 4 hours. Yotel offers short stay options, meaning you don't have to pay full price for a room for a few hours. I was so thankful for this as I need a shower and a pick me up nap before I hit the runway again. The free coffee is also a welcome bonus.

Well, this was a quick one. I threw some curlers in my hair to try to rescue myself from looking like road kill, and after a vanilla scented shower, which I hope the smelliest of my fellow passengers are also getting, I should be less likely to be eyeballed by immigration at my next stop.
The bed. Pod-like.

Road Trip - Leatherback Turtle Watching in Matura, Trinidad

So a few weeks ago, we went turtle watching. This is something I have done now, quite a few hundred times, but sometimes I just cannot escape doing it. Trinidad and Tobago is a significant nesting destination for marine turtles, particularly the leatherback turtle, and hundreds of people visit my little country just to experience this natural phenomenon. If you have never been turtle watching, I must say, it is quite an experience. There is something very sobering and beautiful about the way the leatherback comes ashore to nest.

This time around we journeyed to Matura, which is one of the important turtle communities on the North East coast of Trinidad, and home community of the Nature Seekers group. We first stopped off at the Valencia Visitor Centre for a few minutes, and there you can check out some of the wildlife, like these beauties.

I believe this is a Scarlet Macaw

At Matura, we had a quick bite, after which we made our way down to the beach at about 7.30pm. Everyone had been told to dress in dark clothing, and the only illumination comes from the moon, so as to not disturb any turtles which may already be on the beach, or scare off any turtles coming ashore. Our guide had already gone ahead to ensure no turtles were in our path, and we headed down the stretch of beach, in the direction where he said a lot of turtles seem to come up.

We did not have to wait very long, as before you could blink, a leatherback emerged from the surf and slowly began making her way ashore. If you have never seen a leatherback, they are massive – they can weigh up to 2000 pounds – so you have to excuse her lack of speed. She first does some exploratory work to see whether the temperature of the sand is to her liking. The temperature of the sand determines the sex of the hatchlings, so the cooler sand near the surf would mean male hatchlings and the warmer sands further up the beach – female hatchlings, or as our guide simplified, “Cool guys, hot chicks”. If she is happy, she will begin digging a hole in which to nest. If not, she goes back into the water and resurface at another spot until she finds an area in which to nest.

Your guide would give you the details during the entire process, but after she digs her nest, then it’s time to lay her eggs, and she can lay anywhere between 60-80 eggs. It is only during this time we were able to touch her, and use flash photography, which is prohibited during the rest of the event. After she lays her eggs, she begins refilling the nest, after which she will also disturb the area around the nest, in an attempt to hide the presence of her nest from predators. It’s really something to see.

Mama Leatherback during the nesting process - Matura Beach, Trinidad

The leatherback turtle lays about 60-80 eggs - Matura Beach, Trinidad

Turtle conservation is a huge part of what turtle groups and communities do, as there is still so much ignorance and disgusting behaviour from humans, which have  put sea turtles on the IUCN Endangered Species list. Experiences like these only highlight how important it is that we continue to do our part to educate others and change the way we treat with species like these. 

I also did this last year and the video shows a cute leatherback hatchling at Grande Riviere beach, which had been part of a hatchery aimed at giving them the best chance of survival, before being released into the sea. Turtle season in Trinidad runs from March to September, and for more information, you can check out groups like 

World Cup 2014 - The Man Candy Edition

With the World Cup mere days away now, I just had to do THE post - the man candy post. Now while I personally live for the Cup and get rabid when games are on - screaming at the tv, cursing out players who cannot hear me and missing out on sleep or a social life - there are those who don't care at all. There are women who don't give two cents about the World Cup and that's alright. But still, while you may not care about the game, there are 32 teams competing to be the best team in the world, which means the man candy potential is high. If you don't watch for any other reason, you can watch to spot some football hotties.

Cesc Fabregas - Spain. He has that smouldering look down.

Gonzalo Higuain - Argentina. Messi may be the star, but we also need the looks.

Adam Kwarasey - Ghana. Mocha goodness.

Olivier Giroud - France. He is on many a hottie list, so had to do him twice. Les Bleus can be proud.

Guy N'dy Assembe - Cameroon. Look for him in goal for the Lions. Yes, Lord.

Gerard Pique - Spain. Also known as Mr Shakira. He looks better with his mouth closed, that's for sure. I am supporting the ladies who think he is the hotness.

Cristiano Ronaldo - Portugal. He is not one of my faves but I was told my list would be incomplete without him.

Jerome Boateng - Germany. His brother, Kevin Prince Boateng,who plays for Ghana, was on the list last World Cup but I just find he looks a bit nashy of late. Jerome is still keeping it hot though. Love him in the Nike ad - that's hawt!

Glen Johnson - England. God save the Queen? More like God save Glen Johnson!

Fabian Johnson - USA. The last team I would be supporting but the cutie is representing.

Neymar - Brazil. He is as fat as a matchstick, and very young, making any lusting bordering on paedophilia but I love his swag more than anything else. He has a "King of Cool" energy I find hot.

Alem - Trinidad and Tobago and friend. And for the local ladies looking for a football hottie, while he may not be Brazil-bound, he will be found in sports bars across the country taking in the Cup, and I think he deserves a hottie mention. For the RWB!

The Azzurri. - I tried my best to find one hottie worth the list from the Italian national team, as they have been known to bring the sexy to the World Cup but did not really drop my knickers for any of them. Collectively though, they are my everything!! Dolce and Gabbana has outfitted the players as well - don't they look good? Forza Italia!

Foodie excitement in Princes Town via VIAAA

I am always on the lookout for new places, good food, new things to try. While I love this, it has always been just a bit frustrating when these new things to try, these new experiences mean I have to jump in my car and hit the asphalt strip known as the highway.

So I was totally excited to try VIAAA Gourmet Bakery and Restaurant on High Street in Princes Town, not only because it is a brand new thing in South Trinidad, but it is a brand new thing in my home town. Yep. I am a Princes Town princess, but though I have lived in Princes Town for most of my life (though most people seem to think I am a Port of Spain girl), during that time, I can safely say, there was nothing that made me want to stay in Princes Town, outside of the cosiness of my home. I went to school in San Fernando, I work in Port of Spain, I shop and I socialise in either of the two cities simply because there is nothing really in Princes Town.

Enter VIAAA, for which the owners/management clearly have a grand vision. After being enticed all week with photos which suggested this was going to be an unusual Princes Town experience, I booked my Saturday morning. With my mum and nephew in tow (aunty/nephew breakfast date!!! cuteness!!!) we headed to VIAAA. From the outside, already you knew something was different. In a town that has not really changed aesthetically since I was a girl, the sleek, modern exterior stands out, and in a good way.

Side note: the Rattans-esque call to action via deejay man outside the place is not so "fresh" and in my opinion brings down the general feel and more upscale vibe of the place. Let's not do this, Princes Town. C'mon...

Inside, the decor is a reflection of the exterior. Dark wood, large open displays, modern fittings. The professionalism of the place extends to the smart orange uniforms of the employees, and the open layout is warm and inviting.

There is an amazing variety of food, both at breakfast and at lunch. For breakfast, I ordered the continental breakfast for my nephew and I to share. The breakfast  - pancakes, hash browns, scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, with pieces of fruit - was pretty splendid looking, lemme tell you, but my nephew attacked it before I could get a photo. Apologies. There are also local dishes like fried aloo, pumpkin, caraille, tomato choka, and more, with your choice of carbs like bake or sada roti just to give examples.

As the coffee Nazi, I cannot rate the coffee experience too much, but you have the choice of the VIAAA brew or machine brew. I would really, really love to see the coffee experience taken to the next level.

One thing VIAAA really impressed me with was their baked goods. I had the chance to sample a bit of their freshly baked goodies and was totally impressed by the quality. They taste as good as they look in their open display cases. Whether you want a savoury delight, like veggie quiche, or something sweet like Tiger Eyes or a danish, or breakfast breads like croissants or hops, there is an immense variety and from what I have tasted, you cannot go wrong on taste, texture and overall quality. Impressed. Once the coffee gets right, they would need to just set up a little coffee/blogging/reading nook just for me - only for me. Can I like...get this? Seriously?

Our little breakfast tasting plate with the lightest croissant, a veggie and
non-veggie quiche and a Danish. Awesome stuff, guys. Oh and my cappuccino - splendid.

Yummy treats

Great savouries

Tastes as good as they look

Lunchtime - again, great variety of dishes. Local favourites like caraille and curry made the cut, as well as Jamaican rice and peas, tandoori chicken and fettucine alfredo. There was way too much for me to remember them all and that's a good thing.

If you prefer a sandwich, there is a great sandwich and salad bar where you can get freshly made salads and sandwiches like the awesome BBQ chicken tender sandwich I had - amazing famazing!!! There is also a pizza bar with a fab wood burning oven for the pizza lovers and certainly for pizza that is worlds above what is available at the moment in the town. I love the thought put into the menu - taking the culinary options in Princes Town to a whole new and fantastic level.

The VIAAA Pizza Bar with wood burning oven

Awesome BBQ chicken tenders sandwich with fries. Epic!

Chicken burger with all the fixings and provolone and yummy wedges

Great desserts as well, from wonderful cupcakes, strawberry tartlets, cheesecake cups and homemade ice cream. I will be popping back in to sample more of these great treats when next I have the chance. My waistline can only handle so much!

Oreo cupcakes at VIAAA
And if you're in a hurry, there are pre-packaged treats like muffins, currant rolls, and fruit, along with boxed juices, bottled water, cheeses, yogurt - all with the aim of getting you sorted in no time, but with quality stuff.

So VIAAA - first week in and let me say, both at breakfast and at lunch, the place was packed. I am not the only one who felt that this was long overdue; that Princes Town needed something like this - somewhere that offered something new and fab, raising the bar on service, quality and overall culinary experience. Of course with only one week in, there is work to do still but for one week in, I can honestly say, great job so far! Nice to have you, VIAAA.

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