Tag Archives: Trinidad

A day in the life..

Just a little something light for a Sunday afternoon..

This video was taken by a Trini pilot friend of mine who messes around with cameras when he’s bored..

A day in the life is his (almost) daily journey from his house..to Piarco..to taking off and landing back in Trinidad..

oh,,and here’s another one..just a simple moonrise over Westmoorings.

Enjoy and happy Sunday!

(oh and a few more of his stills)..

I will most definitely miss Trinidad's lush mountain ranges..

the moon over Westmoorings..beautiful.

Video and photo credits: Andrew Pereira

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Trinidad – the next ‘it’ island?

“Trinidad is not piña colada territory. That’s part of its allure: Unlike virtually every other Caribbean island, the oil-rich country seven miles off Venezuela is not driven by tourism — which means that in lieu of sunbathing hordes and “Yah, Mon” T-shirts, you’ll find miles of unspoiled beaches and waterfalls visited by locals; a Creole culture with roots in Africa, India, Europe and China; and a bustling capital city offering some of the Caribbean’s most electrifying night life. Partying, after all, is a national tradition in Trinidad, home to an annual Carnival that is the region’s biggest and, lately, most star-studded (last year, the actors Idris Elba and Malik Yoba showed up). That, along with recent restaurant and hotel openings and trendy Trini ambassadors — from the rappers Nicki Minaj and Theophilus London to the “Project Runway” winner Anya Ayoung Chee — might just turn Trinidad into the next “it” island.” – an excerpt from a recent New York Times Article: 36 hours in Trinidad

Anya Ayoung-Chee

Anya.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj

Theophilus London

Theophilus London

Everyone knows Nicki,,but does everyone know Theo? I didn’t know about him till this NY Times article..and now I can’t stop listening to him..

And…

How could’ve the NY times have left out Vashtie? Vashtie Kola – a.k.a. Va$htie or “Downtown’s Sweetheart” – is an artist, video director/producer, clothing designer, party promoter and entrepreneur. She’s directed videos for Solange, Kid Cudi, Jadakiss, and even Justin Beiber..and throws parties in NYC with QTIP. She also has her own clothing line, Violette which got her a collaboration with Jordan – making her the first woman to ever have her own Jordan.

Vashtie and her Jordan collaboration

The Jordan Vashtie designed..

Kola was born and raised in Albany, New York and is of East Indian and Afro-Trinidadian descent. In March 2009, Vibe Magazine listed her among the “31 Most Stylish People Under 31.” She came in at the 23rd spot amongst names like Kanye West, Rihanna, and Justin Timberlake. In an interview about being American on the outside but Trinidadian on the inside, she had this to say “My parents are and were very Trinidadian and very traditional in that manner. For me I know that my parents would always talk about American kids and the difference in culture between there and Trinidad. We ate traditional food. My mum would show me Trinidadian music and movies. Once I walked in my door it seemed like Trinidad.

Vashtie

Vashtie..

Anyhow,,I’m getting further and further from the point.

Now is an interesting time in Trinidad. This country is in flux,,in the midst of evolution. Especially after Anya’s highly publicized ‘Project Runway’ win..all eyes are on TNT to prove to the world (and itself) that this dual-island nation is so much more than just..Carnival. (Or maybe that’s just what I would like to see for the country?)

This is not to say I don’t like Carnival (although I won’t hide the fact that I’m no Carnival baby). On the contrary, I recognize what Carnival means to Trinidad (both culturally and economically) and what the annual festival has done to ‘put Trinidad on the map’ so to speak, in terms of the international exposure and tourism. And, what’s more..I think Carnival has provided the  foundation on which a new ‘generation’ of creative professionals plan to build great things..transformative things. Things, and experiences that showcase Trinidadian culture, customs, and ability all throughout the year – not only for a couple of days in February/March.

Recently I’ve been finding myself in discussions with artists, architects, film makers, designers, writers, …advertising and communication professionals.. Most of whom share similar profiles: educated/lived abroad and and have returned to Trinidad to put their education/experience to good use. Some, like me, are in the middle of getting to know Trinidad for the very first time. They are eager. Eager to take a holistic, transformative approach in developing Trinidad along more creative, artistic, and sustainable lines. They see this as being the “way forward” for this country..and think that there is no better opportunity than now to be part of this movement. I agree.

Trinidad is ready for a new Trinidad. This country is ripe with opportunity. Overripe almost.

I thought about this when I picked up the first print edition of Trinidad Lookbook last week.. Before it ran in print, Trinidad Lookbook was previously an online magazine/blog. This in itself piqued my interest about the publication..as many people have asked me why I don’t look into turning my Beiruti blog into a book. One of my main arguments was always, “Why would people pay for a book when they can get my content online..for free.” But flipping through the pages of Trinidad Lookbook, definitely made me think twice about my previous apprehension. From what I understand though, the case with Trinidad Lookbook is different as as the content that appears in the magazine is exclusive content that cannot be sourced online – which is the completely opposite stance most publications are taking these days.

As Robert (@mezblaq) over at Tribal Caribbean noted, “In a time when ‘the death of print’ seems to be looming ever closer, it’s quite interesting for a company to do something so ‘backward’ as it were, to start digitally and move into traditional media.” When Robert asked T’dad Lookbook Editor, Mel Gabriel (@tdadlookbook), on ‘why transition now, especially into what many consider a dying medium’ she had this to say “There’s a general misconception that print is dying… almost everything is digital now – like, life is extra-digital – so print is the new luxury and we wanted to provide a luxury option for fashion publishing that isnt the typical Facebook page or Twitter feed.”

I couldn’t agree with Mel more..print has become a luxury. However it will be interesting to note whether Lookbook continues to separate their online content from their print content..or choose instead to run their print content online.

Trinidad LookBook

Trinidad Lookbook

To be honest, I was a bit hesitant when I picked up this publication as my experience with other local publications (which shall remain nameless) have been..disappointing to say the least. (They are usually nothing more than photographic reviews of the latest fetes..sprinkled with a few restaurant/bar reviews to justify running ads) But as soon as I read ‘The Editor”..Mel’s introduction to her first print edition..I knew Trinidad Lookbook was, well..different. The features are more than well-written..they are intriguing, thought-provoking, and most importantly,,honest. They give insight into the up-and-coming industries in Trinidad: fashion, design, art. And… they are written for everyone, not only for the fashion-obsessed.

Trinidad Lookbook
10 questions with Anya feature..
Trinidad Lookbook

Style spread..

I enjoyed reading about Anya and Wendy yes, but I also enjoyed reading the “Fashion Emergency” piece about how fashion changed (or didn’t) during the SOE/curfew when people started to go to day time parties instead of nighttime parties..as well as about the artist/attorney Justin Sobion. The art direction and photography are also superb.. My favorites? The candid shots of Anya in “10 with Anya” and “Ayana Riviere’s Fashion Diary” as shot by Kibwe Brathwaite (@KibweBrathwaite)..(Ayana is such a beauty! wow!) And finally the layout and design of the publication –  by Abovegroup Ogilvy (@ag_ogilvy) – is clean, modern, and sophisticated..and ties the whole thing together.

Trinidad Lookbook

Wendy, Darling..feature

Trinidad Lookbook
Ayana Riviere’s style spread

All in all, I am impressed..and am looking forward to the next edition. This is what Trinidad needs..these types of publications and creative expressions. I am convinced. I mean, aren’t you?

My only criticism? Like Ceola B (@ceolab) pointed out on her blog, “Perhaps it is the type of paper or maybe this was a production ‘flaw’ but some of the photographs are far too dark, losing a lot of detailing in the clothing and accessories, which really, is the whole point of this [publication]. This was especially evident to me in the set with Manwarren, Steel and Emmanuel where clothing was described in the caption and I could not distinguish it.”

But I’m sure they’ll fix this by the next edition.

As usual, this post ended up starting as one thing and turning into something else. I hope you made it to the end..I know it was a long one.

Follow Trinidad Lookbook on TwitterFacebook and on their website..and pick up your complimentary edition of Trinidad Lookbook at the follow locations:

The Pallet Stick, POS

Meiling’s No. 6 studio

Runway Street, Woodbrook

Bang Bang, Frederick Street

Bang Bang, High Street, San Fernando

Bang Bang, Trincity

So Chic Boutique in Francis Plaza, Chaguanas

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Random sightings on The Avenue..

Was making a lap of the Avenue with some of my girls on Tuesday night, when we stopped by La Habana for a drink.. We sat on the stools facing the street when this man started to put on quite the show for us. From what we were told, this is how he gets foreign women to sleep with him. (Especially European women..who have a thing for Rastamen) I wonder how often he gets through!!??

While his charms didn’t exactly work on  us..we did come away with a good laugh.. (you’ll here my friend in the background laughing her A off.)

Gotta give it to him for trying a ting!

Good times in TNT!

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I’m a nobody in a country of somebodies..

..and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Island life is charming..sure. Everybody knows everybody and there are always familiar faces around.

Great.

But that all of this comes at a steep cost. A very steep cost as a matter of fact: everybody knowing your business – and all of it.

Mention someone’s name to someone else, and 9 times out of 10 they can tell you their ENTIRE life story: where they come from, where they live, where they vacation, what they do, what their hobbies are, how much money they make, where they hang out, who they hang out with, who they’ve slept with..and all of this before you even ask!

Rossco's Ariaptia Avenue Trinidad

Oh..the beauty of small island life.

This is definitely going to take some getting used to.

You see, I don’t really want to know everyone’s life history. Really..I’m not at all interested. I like to judge people based on my personal experiences with them..,not what they have done in their past, what their parents have done, or what people think about them.. And seriously, doesn’t that take out the excitement of getting to know somebody? I think so.

BUT, at the same time..this extends further than just how easy it is to find out information about people. As someone “new in town” I’m very conscious of the fact that the people you associate with has a lot to say about the person you are – especially in a small island like Trinidad – where people can’t stand to see someone they don’t know without passing some sort of judgement on them. (I once heard that people thought I was a divorcee with two children after seeing me and my brother and sister hanging out on a friend’s boat. Incredible.)

I am ashamed to admit that I’ve thought twice, and sometimes even completely avoided going somewhere or hanging out with people for fear of what others would think..or how it would be perceived. And that SUCKS..like really sucks! I mean, I shouldn’t care about what people think.. Or should I? I mean this is Trinidad after all – reputation is everything. My co-worker summed it up best when he said, “Trinidadian society isn’t about who you know Danielle, it’s about who knows you..and WHAT they know about you!

Talk about social anxiety.

I’m soooo not used to this.

Coming from the States – where you hardly ever see people you know unless you personally invite them to meet you somewhere – to living in Trinidad.. where you are forever running into people you know – is a huge adjustment. HUGE!  I remember the days I used to drive around Miami,, going in and out of different social circles without anyone really caring or judging me for it. I really don’t feel like I can do the same thing here.

Ahhh.. I’m conflustered!!

Do I obey the “unwritten rules of Trinidadian society” or do I break them? I’m still trying to figure it out. I kinda just want to walk the fine line between both and see what happens.

But for now,

Very few people outside of my family know who I am, where I come from, where I lived, what I’ve done, and who I’ve dated. And I cannot even begin to explain how empowering that feels. Especially when you go out and realize that you are probably one of the few people that other people don’t know anything about.

I wonder how long I can keep this novelty alive.

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Snapshot Saturdays..

Sugar Cane Trinidad

Sugar Cane for sale!

Took this one at the Maracas Bay lookout point.. 🙂

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From the Mediterranean, to the Caribbean

Whoa… What the hell happened?

Wasn’t I just living in Beirut..? Walking up and down the Corniche ? Going for cocktails at Ferdinand’s and GEM? Catching servicees on Bliss Street?

Damn. How quickly things change. Sometimes I can’t even keep track.

I’m now in Trinidad..my “ancestral homeland” if you want to call it that. The place that I’ve been visiting ever since my family moved to Miami when I was a baby. The place that was always referred to as “where my grandparents live..and my parents grew up.” The place that I never really had any intentions of coming back to (like ever)..until now.

How did I end up on this Caribbean island of 1.3 million people? Well.., that’s a really good question that I’m still trying to figure out..

Trinidad

Trinidad is the larger and more populous of the two major islands and numerous landforms which make up the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. It is the southernmost island in the Caribbean and lies just 11 km (7 miles) off the northeastern coast of Venezuela.

source

“What had happened was…”..after I left my job in Beirut earlier this year, I had a really hard time finding an employer who wanted to sponsor a crazy American on a seemingly nonsensical Beiruti adventure. “Explain to me again why you left Miami to come and live in Beirut? Because I really don’t get it.” 

I spent my last few weeks in ‘the land of the cedars’ going to and from interviews..back and forth, up and down..and back again..frustrated when nothing seemed to be working out in my favor. I was prepared to do anything to stay in Beirut. Anything.

I love Beirut

I love Beirut.

source

But after Lebanese immigration gets on your arse for overstaying your welcome, confiscates your passport for 5 weeks, and pretty much tells you that you have to leave and cannot return unless you produce an employment contract..things become a liiiiitle bit difficult. If you know what I mean. My charming “I just want to live in Beirut!” story suddenly becomes suspicious as soon as I step into the black hole that is General Security.

Soooo..against my will, I went back home to Miami for a couple of months of R&R.., hoping to clear my head, spend some quality time with my family, and figure out how I was going to get back to Beirut. I mean, I was certain I’d be back. So certain in fact that I left behind 85% of my personal belongings which are still in Beirut to this day.!

Many of you (if you’re reading this from Lebanon) can empathize with me when I say that finding a job while in Lebanon is hard enough. Trying to find a job in Lebanon while abroad??? pfffff! Close to impossible!

source

After a pretty stressful month in Miami, I decided to head Trinidad to visit my Dad and some friends for a few weeks.. Usually, my trips to Trinidad consist of visiting with family and friends, a couple of nights of partying, a visit or two to the beach, and a boat trip down the islands off the coast of Trinidad. It’s always nice, but after 10 days or so, I begin to get antsy and am always more than ready to get back home. (I’m a city girl after all!)

Down the islands, Trinidad

the view coming back from a trip down the islands..

Something about this trip was different though…very different. Maybe my time in Beirut had trained my mind to see things differently? Maybe some of my friends helped to open my eyes to a Trinidad I hadn’t known before? Or maybe I was just not at all ready to move back to the States..and with my Beiruti adventure coming to a close, I began to consider Trinidad as a potential option?

It was probably a combination of the three.

When I headed back to Miami, I packed my things, tied up a few loose ends, and booked yet another ticket back to Trinidad..determined to start a new life. And that’s just what I did. No time wasted.

It’s a shame my adventure in Lebanon had to end this way. But maybe it was for the best? Just the thought of saying goodbye to all of my friends, experiences, and memories makes me emotional. Until next time is always easier than Goodbye.

So here I am, coming to you live from Trinidad and hoping you’ll come along with me for the journey (especially those of you from Lebanon!). If it’s one thing I can promise you, it’s never a dull moment.

It’s good to be back..

-Dani.

P.S. Even though I’m now in Trinidad, Lebanon will always be in my heart. Always.

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