My Island Paradise, part 3

posted 10 January 2005

I didn't go very far or do anything particularly interesting today, because I'm on holiday and I don't have to. So today's entry is all about where I'm staying.

We start today's story with the view from my window. It's a big picture-window directly behind the desk I sit at as I type this, and the view looks like this:

The window that I'm looking out of is in my parents' house. My parents' house looks a lot like this:

Although not exactly like this, since this is the house up the hill from our house. The development has a lot of houses all designed by the same architect. My parents' house is surrounded by a lot more greenery, like this:

Although this is still not my parents' house, but the one next door. My parents house is a bit different to the other houses in the development because they spent a bit of time adding their own touches. One of my favourites has been the addition of a lot of stained glass everywhere, like this one at the top of the stairwell:

The development my parents' house is in is called Rainbow Hill, and this is their rainbow. When the sun shines through this window at mid-day, the stairwell is lit in squares of blue and red, which is gorgeous.

My parents have also filled the house with art, like this rather imposing specimen, also on the stairwell:

Although this sculpture goes out of its way to look "local" (red, black and white are the national colours), it was actually made by a German sculptress, Luise Kimme, who has settled in Tobago and spends all her time carving stuff there. Local sculptors are not nearly so talented as Ms. Kimme, so a lot of her stuff gets passed off as local in the tourist brochures of Trinidad and Tobago.

I won't bore you with the bulk of my parents' house, but just to give you a flavour of the interior design, here is the living room:

It's very bright as it's lit on all sides by big glass doors that open onto the view, and anyone to whom I've mentioned my mother's obsession with rugs will notice the lovely deep-pile one on the floor. My parents' house is covered in rugs.

But enough of the house. Let's hit the pool!

The houses in the compound share a pool, because the land the houses are built into is extremely steep, so it would be crazy to build more than one. The pool is pretty tiny, but nobody uses it anyway. That thing off in the corner is, yes, another four banana trees:

I apologize for my obsession with showing you guys banana trees but I do want to emphasize that the bloody things grow everywhere, like weeds. Those four would have started life as a single one grown by the landscaper.

The pool is built to lack its third edge, which leads straight off to the view:

This would give more of an impression that the pool merges directly into the sea, except that it turned out to be too much trouble to have water cascading over the edge all the time, so they left a little lip, and the gardeners haven't been recently so the greenery from below is fighting its way into view (including another banana tree). As I said in an earlier post, Caribbean gardening is a matter of cutting things down selectively.

The big grey cloud is why I came back inside -- it started to rain -- but before we end this sequence, here's the view from the edge of the pool itself:

You can just about make out a little dark line between sea and sky in this photo: that land is the other end of the island. You can very literally see the entire country from my parents' house. This island is tiny and yet Trinidad is one of the bigger islands in the Caribbean -- only Cuba, Hispaniola (containing Haiti and the Dominican Republic), Puerto Rico and Jamaica are bigger.

This concludes part 3. I'm beginning to run out of things to show you all, so part 4 might be city shots if I can manage to get into the capital with a camera around my neck and not get instantly mugged.

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