We interchange the use of the words Caribbean and West Indies, so please don’t be confused during this blog if you see I use them, they mean the same thing. I live in Trinidad & Tobago, but I have not visited a beach in almost 5 months. I was in Antigua from December 26- January 9 on holiday and was at the beach almost everyday. Antigua holds a special spot in my heart, as some of my near and dear ones reside there. Their claim to have 365 beaches is still a bit contentious to me, as a sliver of land could separate a space and they’ll claim that as 2 separate beaches. Me, I just go with the flow, they depend on tourism for their economy, so tout away at 365.
Not all Caribbean islands have turquoise water and white sandy beaches. Trinidad is atop that list, we have jade green waters and beige sand at best. Tobago on the hand fits snugly in with the “perfect” island imagery. Turquoise beaches and white sand, slow island life and the whole touristy vibes associated with a tourist dollar economy. Trinidad is the busy-body kinda hustle and bustle of the Caribbean, but it’s laid back just enough to be island life. For the better part of my life, we’ve been living off the wealth of an oil-based economy. Well now “$h!+ stick in we @$$” and oil isn’t saving us and the country is economically stagnant, but in the words of the 2017 Road March song “We Jammin Still”.
I might be biased but I don’t think there’s another Caribbean country whose food and people are as tasty and diverse as Trinidad & Tobago. From dishes passed on through the generations of the colonizers, slaves and indentured labourers, to the settlement Middle Easterners, Chinese, South Americans and just about any other culture you can think about. Trinidad & Tobago is the melting pot of the Caribbean. Many have tried to copy but never succeeded to make better doubles, roti and curry than Trinbagonians.
Despite this island rivalry, it’s still “One Love”. I would easily pack up shop and move to one of the other islands to live and work. I had a very short visit to Jamaica and I fell in love. I am a curry person, and their curry goat as well as bammy certainly tugged at my heartstrings. I’ve heard talk about how unsafe Jamaica is and while that may be true, I never experienced any of it. Some of my closest friends are Jamaicans and the others I’ve met, have been nothing but friendly and helpful. (educated Jamaican accents are my kryptonite).
I found Jamaica to be one of the few countries in the West Indies to hold on to their culture and traditions not frequently seen. Jamaicans are so passionate about sports and I can unashamedly say, they are THE MOST passionate and supportive sports fans in the region. Their highschool track and field competiton has more people than a Soca Warriors World Cup qualifier. Football is also a priority and the President of the West Indies Cricket Board is Jamaican. They’ve got their bases covered.
Photo by WICB Media/Kerrie Eversley
As I’ve said before and will continue to say, the one thing that brings the ENTIRE region together is WEST INDIES CRICKET. Though the regional team isn’t in the best position right now, there is an unwavering love for the game and significance of West Indies Cricket in the Caribbean. Some of us have nicer beaches, tastier foods, diverse cultures and ethnicity and national pride, but WI all have a common love for West Indies Cricket, so BELIEVE…..
“Rally…. NOW… and forever more….. Rally Round the West Indies”