South America Trip.2

OK. Still not about South America yet, but I warned you last time. Anyway – if I hadn’t gone to teach in Trinidad in 1965, I probably wouldn’t have done the two month South America trip in 1967. So kindly bear with me, or, if not, feel free to skip to the end of this post or go elsewhere with my good wishes and abject apologies.
Boarding The Plane in September 1965 Boarding The Plane in September 1965

Our West Indies CUSO volunteer contingent (young adults with university degrees or special skills who had selected to serve in the sunny Caribbean over more distant sunny places like Malaysia, India or Tanzania – about two dozen of us in all) assembled at Ottawa’s international airport on a very chilly morning in early September, 1965. We climbed an outside ladder, waved to our loved ones and entered Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson’s Canadair North Star. This was not a jet, but a plane powered by four Rolls-Royce Merlin propeller engines. They were proudly termed “turbo-props,” whatever enhancements that meant. Still slow and noisy compared to modern jet planes. Simpler times. It took us 19 hours of island hopping before our 8-member Trinidad contingent arrived at Piarco Airport in Port of Spain, the North Star’s last stop. Continue reading “South America Trip.2”


Christmas Day Parang

Our impromptu parang side
Our impromptu parang side

It is always  better than good to get together with family and friends and feast at Christmas. We had nine for dinner and Avril had nine. The two groups combined later at our place for more partying and an impromptu, extremely lively, parang. Parang is a custom coming from the time when Trinidad was a colony of Spain. It is sung mostly in six-eight time and in Spanish. Often the parang deviates into calypso, Trini folk songs and lively, Trinified versions of traditional English language carols. We had two visitors from St. Maarten. Rose’s daughter-in-law and grandson. Having so many musical Trinis in one place made the parang, I now realize, inevitable…

Off topic, but very worthwhile: This amazing, colourful version of Handel’s Halleluja Chorus by The Lydians, a well known Trinidad musical company.

I now know that using the “three photo” option with the 10 second time delay can encourage a lot of frivolity, even amongst adults.  Out of nine photos this was the best – with 94% of the group actually on task. It was obvious that fun was had by all.