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Notes on the Geography of Trinidad: Port-of-Spain

Let's try a transect, moving from Port-of-Spain to the east coast.

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Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 1

Port-of-Spain's harbor, with its cruise-ship complex on the right and, on the left, the towers of the central bank and national petroleum corporation.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 2

Warehouses and office buildings.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 3

The city center lies in the mid-distance, where, just left-of-center the steeple of Trinity Cathedral may be discerned.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 4

Coming around to the northeast.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 5

Looking north: we've now made a circuit of more than 180 degrees, and we're back to the water, now on our left.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 6

The Queen's Royal College, fronting the city-center Queen's Park Savannah. Its best known graduate may be V.S. Naipaul, who wrote of it, painfully, in A House for Mr. Biswas.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 7

A block to the north, this was the World War II headquarters of the U.S. Army. The American military would have a huge impact on the island, despite the futile resistance of Governor Hubert Young, who, seen as obstructionist by the Americans, was removed on Churchill's order.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 8

A relic of that American presence: an abandoned hangar at the former American base on the north side of Port-of-Spain.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 9

Another relic: Waller Field, east of Port-of-Spain and just past Arima. In the early 1940s a steady stream of American military aircraft landed here briefly, en route to North Africa.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 10

Perhaps the best-known British institution on the island was the Imperial Agricultural Research Station, midway between Port-of-Spain and the international airport at Piarco. Opened in the 1920s, this institution trained agricultural officers from around the world. It now houses part of the Trinidad campus of the University of the West Indies.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 11

Translation: "The way of the cultivator is anything but easy." Not that knowing Latin helped.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 12

On the hills to the north, coffee and cacao plantations were ultimately destroyed by economics and disease. The plantation houses survive.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 13

In the far northeast of the island, near Toco, a rural population sought to escape plantation servitude. Some of the houses, though small, are meticulously maintained.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 14

A Toco merchant, selling from behind heavy screens above the counter.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 15

Mondo Nuevo Trace, a road in the forest west of Toco.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 16

A path through the windswept brush at Galera Point, the northeast tip of the island. A lighthouse was erected in 1897 and bears the initials JVR: "Jubilee Victoria Regina."

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 17

The surf is not only strong under the northeast trades but dangerous, because the Gulf Stream passes here, ready to carry a swimmer to Barbados and points beyond.

Trinidad: Port-of-Spain  picture 18

Windswept islands off Point Galera.


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