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Notes on the Geography of Trinidad: Chaguanas to Morne Diablo

A run down the west side of the island.

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We begin again in Port-of-Spain, where these street signs introduce the East Indian community. The Nizam, of course, was the ruling prince of Hyderabad, India's largest princely state.

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The Indian community came to Trinidad to work in sugarcane, then as now concentrated on the relatively flat lands of the west-central part of the island.

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It's also an industry that's been in decline for a long time.  Here: an abandoned but not so old sugar refinery.

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A few miles south of Port-of-Spain and at the end of the Uriah Butler Highway, Chaguanas is close to the heart of the cane country. It's also the heart of the East Indian community. This is the main street, with signs indicating two Canadian banks historically important in the Caribbean.

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A bit further down the street, a building that would be at home back home.

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On the same street.

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Wonder what's inside?

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Definitely a special inventory.

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A Hindu temple.

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The inside is as severe as the out.

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The temple priest.

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Something you won't see in India: butcher shops selling not only meat but beef. The customers include some Hindus.

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Chaguanas is not wholly Indian. Here, two girls of African descent sell Washington State apples as well, it seems, as star apples.

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Curbside prayer.

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The famous pitch lake, southwest of San Fernando.  Its tar was supposedly used to caulk the ships of Sir Francis Drake.  It's firm enough to support a man on foot, so long as he watches his step.

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Prints in the middle of the lake.

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Here and there, asphalt bubbles up in slow-motion turbulence, with ponds of rainwater floating on top.

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A modern petroleum industry exists, too, scattered widely over the central, low-lying parts of the island. The refinery is near San Fernando.

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Rough roads branch off the highway into rural communities that seem little changed by the oil wealth around them.

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Here's a house along such a road near Penal, south of San Fernando.

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Closer.

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A girl passing by.

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The harbor at San Fernando, the island's second city.

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The local fish market, a relic of British rule.

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Fishing boats at Morne Diablo, on the south coast of the island. Such boats, fitted with an outboard motor, head each night toward Venezuela and the mouth of the Orinoco. The catch goes to San Fernando.

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The same beach, deserted except for a few fishermen.


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