Go Eat Give Insight to Cuba

Join Go Eat Give and GCIV Executive Director, Shell Stuart for an insider look into Cuba. A visit to Havana and Trinidad offers an unforgettable and unique experience to learn about the legendary history, art, music and architecture of Cuba. Each day, we will explore a different element of this beautiful country that is frozen in time. From a walking tour of Old Havana, to touring a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to visiting Hemingway’s private estate, and the picturesque Bay of Pigs, you will get to experience the real Cuba. During this one week tour, you will stay at private homes, eat at authentic restaurants, visit popular sites and volunteer with local projects.

More information at at www.goeatgive.com/trips/tour-of-cuba

Top 10 Things to do in Barbados

Barbados is a British island in the eastern Caribbean. It is very popular among European tourists looking to enjoy sun, sand, warm waters, good food and nightlife. The official language is English and US dollars are accepted everywhere.

The name “Barbados” comes from a Portuguese explorer named Pedro Campos in 1536, who originally called the island Los Barbados “The Bearded Ones”, after the appearance of the island’s fig trees, whose long hanging aerial roots resembled beards.

While most visitors who come to Barbados spend their days at all-inclusive resorts, there is much to see around the small island too. Here are my top recommendations for things to do in Barbados:

1. Bridgetown – The capital and a cruise harbor, is dotted with historic buildings, shops, yachts and waterfront cafes. Bridgetown, was originally named “Indian Bridge” for the rude bridge which had been constructed over the river (now known as the Careenage) by the Indians. One can spend an entire day walking through Broad Street passing by the parliament buildings and shopping areas, cathedrals and a Jewish synagogue. Take a photo stop at Chamberlain Bridge and have lunch at The Bridge House. Go through Baxter Road to see a historic Barbados neighborhood. Stop by Pelican craft center for local art and souvenirs.

barbados bridgetown

2. Harrison’s Caves – Located in the central uplands of the island, this breathtakingly beautiful, crystallized limestone cavern is a testament to nature’s mastery. Flowing streams, deep pools of crystal clear water and towering columns characterize this living cave. Gaze in wonder at the white flow stones and in awe at the beauty of the speleothems which adorn the cave. There are walk in, tram and cave adventure tours that kids and adults would enjoy. More at www.harrisonscave.com

harrison cave barbados

3. Oistins – This is the street where locals hang out and east casual food – mostly grilled or fried catch of the day. Every Friday night, there’s a “fish fry” where you can eat, drink and dance with the locals until wee hours in the morning.

barbados fish fry

4. Crystal Cove Beach – After looking around the island for beaches and hotels, I found Crystal Cove to have the perfect balance of an intimate Bohemian style accommodation, with all the comforts of a large resort. The beach is perfect for laying around sipping cocktails, and the water is calm to swim. There are also tons of complimentary water activities including waterskiing, banana boat rides, tube rides, snorkeling, hobbiecat, and kayaking. The surrounding waters are also famous for diving, fishing and swimming with sea turtles – all of which can be arranged at Crystal Cove.

barbados beach

5. Flower Forest – See panoramic views of the sea coast at this 7 acres wild garden in the Barbados “Scotland District” 750 ft above sea level. There are hundreds of varieties of pants and flowers, blooming throughout the year. You may also be able to see some of the wildlife – monkeys, birds, insects and butterflies. Don’t miss the Forest Cafe at the entrance where you can get some of the best fish cakes on the island. More at www.flowerforestbarbados.com

flower forest barbados

6. Mount Gay Distillery – Barbados rum is served everywhere, so its nice to learn a little history of the local rum production. Although the actual rum making takes place at the northern part of the island, you can get a good look of the bottling plant here. There is a short video about how Mount Gay got started, a tour of the museum, and then a few tastings. There’s a bar and snack shop to enjoy all sorts of rum cocktails. At the gift shop, you can purchase all of Mount Gay products and souvenirs. See www.mountgayrum.com

mount gay distillery barbados

7. Animal Flower Cave – Located under the cliffs at the northern shores of Barbados, it is the island’s lone accessible sea cave. There are steep stairs to go down but once inside the cave, you will see some sea anemones which are locally called animal flowers from whence the cave obtained its name. The cave’s coral floor is estimated to be about 400k to 500k years old. You can also swim in the natural pool inside. The sea outside is very rough with tall waves crashing against the rocks.

animal flower cave barbados

8. Kensington Oval – Cricket is the national sports of Barbados and its common to find people playing at parks and fields around the country. For competitive matches go to the historic Kensington Oval complex on game day and participate in this favorite West Indies pastime.

barbados cricket

9. Rent a car – Driving around the island is the best way to explore its natural and manmade landscapes. You will pass by small villages, upscale condominium complexes, luxurious resorts, historic cathedrals and scenic views. The south point of the island is good for restaurants, clubs and resorts. The west is where some of the best beaches and nice resorts can be found. The north point is where you will see high waves and sea caves. Towards the east is a hilly village, Bathsheba. The waters along the coast here are rough, making it suitable for surfing.

Remember that in Barbados, you drive on the left side of the road, and most vehicles are right hand drive.

10. Eat the local cuisine – Most menus in Barbados would offer a mix of western and Caribbean dishes, catering to the diverse tourists the island receives. Skip over the hamburgers and pasta, and look for fried flying fish served with a sauce made with hot Scotch Bonnet peppers with onions and mustard. Pepperpot is a typical Bajans pork stew; Cutters are sandwiches made using Salt Bread; and Cou cou is the national dish of Barbados. Somewhat similar to polenta or grits, Cou-cou is made with corn meal and okra. Most local dishes can be found at Cuz’s Fish Stand near the Hilton Hotel, Sand Dunes restaurant on the east coast and Lemon Harbor in the St. John countryside.

barbados national dish

5 Cities in Jamaica You Must Go To!

Jamaica is a wonderful island known for its white sand beaches and reggae music. The country is a perfect destination for a family vacation, wedding celebration, outdoor excursion, or culinary tour. Here are some of the most important Jamaican cities you must visit:

1. Kingston

Kingston, the capital, is Jamaica’s bustling metropolitan city and is considered the cultural district of the island. It’s mix of jungle, modern business, and original colonial architecture makes the city a must-see for any visitor. Kingston is located in the Southeast corner of Jamaica far from the northern resort towns, which speaks to why Kingston is known as the most authentic city on the island. An interesting tourist destination located in Kingston is The Bob Marley Museum, which is coincidentally the departed reggae star’s former home in Jamaica. All of the rooms in his home have been meticulously preserved to display Bob’s life as accurately as possible, including his personal recording studio, closet, and award showcase. Also, the “One Love Café” in the museum boasts some of Bob’s favorite meals.

bob-marley-museum

2. Montego Bay

This Jamaican destination is perfect for the traveler who loves relaxing on the coast with a piña colada in their hand. Montego Bay, or simply “MoBay” by the locals, is home to many famous and luxurious beaches. The city is the second largest on the island and is located in the Northwest corner where it holds many hotels, restaurants, and a cruise ship port. For the beach bum, Doctor’s Cave beach is the most popular beach in Montego Bay and is known for it’s clean and beautiful waters. Interestingly enough, one can also experience a winter wonderland in the city while enjoying the tropical paradise. CHILLIN at Coral Cliff holds the island’s only ski lodge and ice bar!

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3. Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios, or “Eight Rivers,” was initially a historic site and is now a thriving tourist city. Columbus Park is located just outside of Ocho Rios and is where Columbus supposedly first landed in Jamaica. There is also a port here for cruise ships and interesting scuba diving spots. Even though there are not actually eight rivers in Ocho Rios, there are many beautiful waterfalls in the area. The most well known is Dunn’s River Falls, which receives thousands of visitors each year because of its resemblance to a giant staircase. Tourists can actually climb the waterfalls with a guide in about an hour!

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4. Negril

About an hour drive from the Montego Bay Airport lies the quiet resort town Negril on the westernmost shore of Jamaica. A relaxing and popular attraction is Seven Mile Beach full of soft white sand and palm trees for as far as the eye can see. For the more adventurous visitor, a must-see spot is Rick’s Café on the coast. Not only can you taste a great Jamaican meal and party at their nightclub, but you can cliff dive off the rocks. The highest platform jump at Rick’s Café is 35 feet and ensures the thrill of a lifetime.

 

5. South Coast

The South Coast in Jamaica is a hidden treasure dripping with luxury. Any traveler should definitely visit the Bubbling Spring mineral baths known for their healing powers. The spring is fed by water that is filtered through limestone, and contains substantial levels of magnesium, potassium, chloride, sodium, iron, and manganese. Hungry? Schedule an outing to the Bloomfield Great House. It’s an expansive 200-year-old coffee plantation house that was recently renovated into a breathtaking restaurant.

2911To learn more about Jamaica, attend Go Eat Give Destination Jamaica on April 23, 2015 at Stir It Up Atlanta.

Inside Bonaire Carnival 2015

Bonaire Carnival Holidays are celebrated all through the month of February leading up to Ash Wednesday. Almost every day, there are events happening around the island. Carnival celebrations start with the Tumba Festival and the Queen’s and King’s Elections and children carnival parade.

Below are photos from the Children’s parade in the Centrum of Kralendijk. Toddlers to elementary age kids wear colorful costumes, parading across streets of the city center, moving their bodies to the rhythms of blaring music. DJ floats sign and play Spanish, hip hop and Papiamentu songs. Families sit at the sidewalks cheering on the crowds and having picnics.

The grand parade commences with an adult carnival that is filled with celebrations, costumes, and partying ending with the burning of the King Momo at the parking lot of the Kralendijk Stadium. This symbolizes the end of the carnival and beginning of Lent.

carnival

carnival Bonaire

carnival princess

carnival parade

carnival bands

carnival winners

carnival boys

carnival girls

carnival Bonaire

carnival costumes

carnival bonaire

carnival 2015

carnival babies

Visit Bonaire Tourism website to see a complete list of Carnival related and other events in Bonaire.

Dinner at the Beach House

The Beach House is a boutique resort located at famous Grace Bay on Providencials in Turks and Caicos islands. The luxurious property offers elegantly designed 21 rooms and suites, overlooking the white sand dunes and turquoise blue waters. The accommodation is ideal for someone looking for an almost-private beach house style living, with top class service and great location. There is also a swimming pool, spa, gym, complimentary watersports equipment and bicycles, and fine dining available at the resort.

beach house turks and caicos

Even if you don’t stay at The Beach House, make sure to book yourself a 7-course tasting dinner at Kitchen 218. Ambient lighting and artful furniture decorated by the pool, create a Mediterranean feel around this elegant restaurant. Chilean born and world traveled, Chef Cristian Rebolledo of Kitchen 218, creates a globally inspired menu that you cannot find anywhere else on the island. He surprises the diners with creative cooking techniques and rare ingredients.

chef Cristian Rebolledo

On September 29, 2014, I start this culinary dinner adventure with Chef Christian with a refreshing Tomato Gazpacho. For my second course, I am presented a too-beautiful-to-eat plate of beets salad. Edible flowers and micro greens create the look of an edible garden, drizzled with raindrops of pesto. (Too bad my nice camera fell in the water while kayaking earlier that day).

salad

Next comes the Corvina Tiradito, thin slices of fish fillet swimming in black milk are a drastic contrast to the colorful salad I just had, but the onion cream and lemon air add a bit of curiosity to the dish. The flavors are nontraditional to the average diner, but they work.

Sea Bass with spicy lentils and liquid gels

My favorite was the Duck Sensation with crumbled blue cheese and truffle honey, served over mushroom ragout and micro greens. The theme of “food art” was well played out throughout the dinner, as I enjoyed looking at the dishes as much as eating them.

One can’t go wrong with a good pumpkin soup, especially when it is made from scratch with locally sourced ingredients. The soup was garnished with pesto and chili sauce. It was not too rich and very flavorful.

A Sous Vide Sea Bass was served as sixth course. Light piece of fish on a bed of spicy curry lentils was a sophisticated dish on its own. With some French velouté sauce and mango gel, the journey got more exciting. I am not a big fan of Beef Tenderloin, but when properly cooked (meat is medium rare), and paired with mushrooms and shaved black truffles, there is no reason to leave a morsel on this plate.

Chef Cristian Rebolledo charmed me with more of his French culinary skills presenting the perfectly created Macaroons in three flavors – lemon, chocolate and vanilla!

french macrons

After a meal this luscious, I just wanted to take a long walk on the white sand beach, under the moonlight, allowing all my senses to soak in the experience.

Click here to see Kitchen 218’s recipes and cooking tips.

Taste of TCI Food Tour

Research shows that more than half the population choose their desired destination for vacation based on the food of that place. Now, before coming to the islands of Turks and Caicos, I knew very little about the island’s cuisine. My limited knowledge assumed that the food would be similar to other Caribbean islands, which mostly consists of locally available resources, such as tropical fruits, fresh seafood, rice, and some veggies.

During my stay in Providenciales, the largest commercially developed island, I booked a Taste of TCI Food Tour online. Mrs. Sheniqua, the proprietor of the tour company,  picked me up from my hotel at 11am, and we were off to conquest some of the culinary treasures of the island.

Sheniqua gave me an overview of the day, which restaurants will we be going to, and what we will be tasting there. As we drove around the island, she also pointed out sites of important significance, such as the original transportation sailboats, and ground for Thursday Fish Fry.

creamy conch chowder TCI
Creamy Conch Chowder

Our first stop is a small casual restart, Fresh Catch, centrally located at the Salt Mills Plaza. Sheniqua claims this is her favorite place for creamy conch chowder. The art to cooking conch is to harvest it, and eat it right away, Weather you are making conch salad, conch fritters or conch chowder, it will taste more flavorful and less rubbery. Fresh Catch also offers a Wednesday night seafood buffet for only $30 per person.

Next stop was Mr Grouper, who has received many awards for the best fish in town. The grouper we had was fried and had a nice crisp from the flour, bread crumbs and spices. It was served with baked macaroni and cheese pie, which was flavored with onions, spices, and light cheese, unlike its American counterpart.

Mr Grouper TCI food
Mr Grouper winner of “Best Fish & Best Conch”

Bendiciones near the airport was a Dominican Shack serving both Dominican and TCI dishes. We tried the chopped lobster in bell peppers, with okra rice, and fresh salad. The ambiance was not much, but the food made from the heart.

minced lobster
Minced Lobster with Okra Rice

Walking into Bugaloos island restaurant, I was greeted by Mr. Berlie “Bugaloo” Williams, himself standing in the garden. He was elderly, and walked with a stick, but he still held his fort everyday. Bugaloo started catching conch and made his truck into a Conch Shack. The concept caught on and he became well known all over the island. Now, he has a funky establishment, right at the waters edge. Guests come in to soak their feet in crystal clear waters, walk on the soft sandy beaches, grab a Laval Flow or Rum Punch, and munch away on the most talked about conch platter on the island.

Mr Bugaloos and Sheniqua from Taste of TCI Food Tour
Mr Bugaloos and Sheniqua from Taste of TCI Food Tour
Outdoor Seating at Bugaloos Restaurant
Outdoor Seating at Bugaloos Restaurant

Our last stop was for drinks and dessert. Flavors of the Turks and Caicos (aka FOTTAC) is a great place to buy locally made rums, beers, cakes, hot sauces, jams, teas and more. We do a little rum tasting of Bambarra Coconut Rum, 2 Year Old Silver Rum, and 8 Year Old Reserve Rum. I end up taking a bottle of the Reserve Rum, and 4 boxes of the most delicious Bambarra Chocolate Rum Cakes homes. They didn’t last very long!

Rum Tasting at FOTTAC
Rum Tasting at FOTTAC

Food tours are an educational and entertaining way to get to know the history and culture of the destination. I recommend doing the tour during your first or second day, so that you gain familiarity with the local dishes and restaurants. Then you will know exactly what to order during the rest of your stay.

The Taste of TCI Food Tour is a 3 hour walking, riding food tour visiting 5 locations that are native Turks & Caicos Islanders favorite spots to enjoy great food. Tickets are $99 per adult and advanced booking is required. The mix of restaurants picks changes regularly based on Sheniqua’s latest finds.

~ This tour was sponsored by Taste of TCI Food Tour

Temple Culture of Bali

Bali: exploring Hinduism outside India while also enjoying pristine beaches, dive sites, all-inclusive resorts, and year-round temperate weather.

bali for Khabar 2014

As seen in Khabar Magazine January 2014 print issue. Words & photography by Sucheta Rawal. 

I arrived on the island of Bali, Indonesia, during an auspicious time. Palm trees adorned homes and businesses, colorful offerings for deities sat on doorsteps, and locals, dressed in traditional white garb, carried baskets laden with fruits and flowers. Children played the gamelan, a traditional musical ensemble, and processions taking Barongs (mystical beasts) paraded the streets. Every home and business had its penjor (palm tree) decorated with fruits, coconut leaves and flowers. It looked like a tropical Christmas.

It was the week of Galungan, the most important festival for Balinese Hindus. It marks an occasion to honor the creator of the universe and the spirits of ancestors. The festival symbolizes the victory of good (dharma) over evil (adharma), and encourages the Balinese to show their gratitude to the creator and the saints from their ancestry. During this holy period, people cook special cakes (known as jaja) in pots of clay, visit family members, and pray at multiple temples.

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It is easy to get lost in the architectural beauty of over fifty thousand temples in a mere 2,232 square miles. I questioned my host, Sri Ekayanti Ni Wayan (who goes by Eka), why Balinese people felt a need for so many temples. “It is mandatory to have a temple at one’s home, a family temple and a village temple. Every village also has three temples, each dedicated to the Gods Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Therefore, a Balinese person prays at least three temples daily,” she informed me. They would also visit some of the larger temples during festivals or special occasions.

Eka invited me to her family temple, in the village of Sukawati. The family members, consisting of about 100 people, gathered in the evening to celebrate the temple’s anniversary, which is held every six months. Women are required to cover their legs before entering the tem¬ple; therefore sarongs (similar to the Indian lungi) are available at most public temples. There is a technique for properly tying a sarong with a sash, which Eka had to demonstrate for me, even though I have draped myself in a sari many times before. I was taken through the common grounds of the temple into an inside chamber, where we sat on the floor. Some of the women blessed me with flowers and incense, sprinkled holy water and dotted my forehead with uncooked rice. It was not clear which God we were praying to, as the Balinese Hindus do not practice idol worship. (Different colors identify each God: red for Brahma, black for Vishnu and white for Shiva.) Then we gathered to watch children from the community perform traditional music and dance.

A procession of temple offerings during Galungan

The Balinese temples (called pura) are different from an Indian Hindu temple. An outdoor complex of small buildings leads into a series of gates to reach the interiors of the temples. The Balinese people are associated to a particular temple by virtue of descent, residence, or some mystical revelation of affiliation. Some temples are associated with the family house compound (also called banjar in Bali), others are associated with rice fields, and still others with key geographic sites.

While visitors cannot enter most family temples, there are some well-known temples in Bali that are also major tourist attractions. During my stay in Ubud, the central region of Bali that is nestled among rice paddies and volcanic hills, I visited Pura Tirta Empul. Dating back to 926 AD, the temple has a pool known to have healing powers. Locals take a dip in the sacred waters hoping to purify themselves.

Taman Ayun (“beautiful garden”) is a family temple belonging to the Raja of Mengwi and built in 1634 AD. This is one of the most beautiful temples in Bali, characterized by towering Balinese pagodas (known as Meru) made of odd-numbered black thatched roofs. The temple complex is surrounded by gardens that are packed with locals picnicking with families over the weekends.

My favorite of all was Tanah Lot, rightfully named one of the most photographed temples in Bali. It is lo¬cated on a cliff jutting out into the sea, surrounded by black sand and surfing waves, and makes for a picturesque view especially during sunset. During high tides, the rock looks like a large boat at sea.

The profusion of temples in Bali is not surprising considering almost 85 percent of Bali’s population fol¬lows Hinduism, which is said to have come to Indonesia from India in the fifth century. By the eleventh century, Java and Sumatra were seeing an increase in the popularity of Buddhism, which was eventually replaced by Islam. However, due to geographical barriers, the island of Bali was the only part of Indonesia that remained Hindu, while the rest of the country experienced Muslim conversions.

There are similarities between Balinese Hinduism and that found in India. It follows the belief of rebirth, karma and nirvana, divides the cosmos into three layers (heaven, human and hell), and is deeply embodied in rituals celebrating birth, marriage, death, and everything in between. Balinese Hinduism is deeply interwo¬ven with art and ritual, which is reflected in the various festivals celebrated throughout the year.

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Hindu mythological characters and scriptures also inspire Balinese music and dance. Traditional dances depict episodes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, and are taught to children early on. At the Sukawati temple celebrations, Eka’s nine-year old daughter and her classmates performed temple dances dressed in one-shoulder gold wrap and peacock-shaped headwear, gesturing with captivating eye and facial expressions. A dance-drama played out the battle between the mythical characters Rangda (a witch representing adharma) and Barong, the protective predator (representing dharma), in which performers fell into a trance and attempt¬ed to stab themselves with sharp knives.

Dance schools around the island run by genera¬tions of artistes hold classes for adults and children who want to practice traditional Balinese dances. For spectators, many local restaurants, temples, and cul¬tural centers offer Balinese folklore performances for a cover charge of about $8-10.

In recent years, Bali has become a major attraction for travelers seeking spirituality through yoga, meditation, healing, and vegetarianism. Many yoga schools, retreat centers, and spas offer a chance to develop spiritual and physical being. Styles of yoga and movement taught in Bali include Hatha, Vinyasa Flow, Yin, Laughter, Power, Anusara, Ashtanga, Silat, Capoeira, Poi, Qi Gong, and Juggling. The annual Bali Spirit Festival gathers world-renowned musicians, yogis, and dancers to illustrate the Balinese Hindu concept of Tri Hita Karana: living in harmony with our spiritual, social, and natural environments. Yoga teacher training, cleansing detox, and meditation retreats are offered to international visitors before and after the festival. Balinese Hindus, unlike a large percentage of other Hindus, are not vegetarian. They eat chicken, fish, and pork. However, there are many juice bars, vegan restaurants, and vegetarian restaurants serving international cuisine in Bali. It is common to overhear tourists from different parts of the world discussing afterlife and spirituality over a lunch of tempeh curry and herbal tea at a café in Ubud.

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Coming back to the festival of Galungan, I am lost in the sights and sounds that make up the spectacle of the Dance of the Barong, performed through the streets of Bali during this time. Like in a dragon dance, two people wear a costume as they lead a crowd of followers through the village with much clanging to announce their approach. The Barong, even though frightening to look at because of its fiery eyes and animalistic hair, is meant to restore the balance of good and evil at a Balinese home.

The tenth day, Kuningan, marks the end of Galungan, and is believed to be the day when the spirits ascend back to heaven. On this day, Balinese families get together, make offerings, and pray. Then they have a feast where traditional Balinese dishes such as lawar (a spicy pork and coconut sauce dish) and satay (chicken tenders grilled on bamboo sticks) are served.

While most Western tourists visit Bali for its pristine beaches, dive sites, all-inclusive resorts, and year-round temperate weather, the more unforgettable attractions remain the region’s colorful art, vivid dances, rich culture, and Hindu festivals. Hindu customs in Bali have been preserved over thousands of years and form an integral part of everyday life.

Most popular temples in Bali Pura Besakih – Also known as Mother Temple or the Temple of Spiritual Happiness, this is the most import¬ant temple for Balinese ceremonies.Pura Tanah Lot – The most photographed temple in Bali sits atop a high rock with a backdrop of foamy white waves and black sand.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu – Perched on cliffs against a surf break against the sea, it is spectacular to visit during sunset.

Pura Tirta Empul – Fitted with two holy springs, it is a popular place for the Balinese to bathe for spiritual cleansing.

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan – Situated in beautiful surround¬ings, the temple juts out onto a lake.

Goa Lawah Temple – The 1,000-year-old-cave temple swarms with bats and is one of the most unique temples in the world.

Taman Ayun Temple in Mengwi – Surrounded by beautiful gardens, it is a good place to see the famous Balinese pagodas.

Pura Goa Giri Putri – Nestled inside a mountain cave, the dwelling place of God symbolizes the power of a woman.

8 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were of Trinidadian Descent

Did you know all these famous people were from the islands of Trinidad and Tobago?

1. Alfonso Ribeiro

alfonso

You probably know him as the quirky character Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but did you know that both of his parents hail from Trinidad and Tobago? His grandfather is even the late famous calypso singer and composer Rafael de Leon, aka Roaring Lion.

2. Nicki Minaj

Nicki-Minaj-Singer-Wallpaper-e1383450800358Born Onika Manaj, this top rapper is one of the few on this list who was actually born in Trinidad, Saint James to be specific. She has used her career to show love to Trinidad, performing there, featuring the island in her MTV special, “My Time Now,” and even filming her most recent video there, “Pound the Alarm.”

3. Nia LongNia-Long-1

The actress has stated many times that her mother is from the island of Trinidad, and recently was spotted on the island snapping photos in Port-of-Spain and visiting extended family. As she told The Trinidad Express, “We enjoyed lots of real coconut ice cream every evening from St James, and of course I love curry, so I had rotis every day!”

4. Mike Bibby

mike bibby

This point guard for the New York Knicks was born to an African American father and a mother from Trinidad and Tobago.

5. Romany Malco

romany malco

This actor caught the public’s attention in movies such as “The 40 Yeard Old Virgin” and “Think Like a Man,” but a majority of people probably don’t realize this Brooklyn native was born to two Trinidadian parents.

6. Lorraine Toussaint

lorraine toussaint

Born in Trinidad, this actress moved to New York with her family at the age of 10. Since coming to America, she has made a name for herself as an actress, studying drama at The Juliard School and landing roles in popular T.V. shows such as “Saving Grace,” “The Young and the Restless,” and “Orange is the New Black.”

7. Jackee Harry  

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She has been making a name for herself since her first T.V. role on the show “Another World” in the early 80s. While her father is African American, her mother comes straight from Trinidad.

8. Heather Headley

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This singer and Tony-award winning actress was born and raised in Trinidad, where she lived until she moved to Indiana as a teen. Before then, she was said to be inspired by the calypso and soca music of her land. “Trinidad is where I learned to sing and to appreciate music. One of the beautiful things about home is that there’s so much music.” She has returned to Trinidad to perform, and is considered a huge star in Trinidad.

~ By Allie Williams, a recent graduate of the University of Georgia. Allie explores her passion for food, travel, and learning about different cultures though her internship with Go Eat Give.

On July 19, Go Eat Give is hosting Destination Trinidad at Tassa Roti Shop in metro Atlanta, where the public can witness live music, speakers and an authentic Trinidad buffet.

Up close with nature in Roatan

The island of Roatan off the coast of Central America is a green and blue paradise as seen from the sky. It is 35 miles of thick vegetation surrounded by turquoise blue waters. While most people come from around the world to dive and snorkel at the hundreds of dive sites around the island, there are also several opportunities to get up and close with the land animals, which is a fun experience for the entire family.

Watch your step at The Iguana Park at French Cay – The Arch family has been running a 12 acre farm for over 28 years which protects the island’s iguana population from getting poached. Over 2k iguanas roam free and visitors can get up and close with them. Watch your step because the iguanas take over the grounds, specially during feeding time. For $5, you can tour the grounds, watch Green Iguanas and Hammo Negro Iguanas as well as Monkey Lalas, Jesus and Blue Head lizards.

Face to face with monkeys and birds at Gumbalimba Park – Along with a vast area of botanical gardens with over 200 colorful plant and tree species, the park is also home to an animal preserve. Here you can get Capuchin monkeys to jump on your shoulder or pet a free-flying exotic Macaw. Other native animals include lizards, iguanas, rats and birds. The insectariam at Fort Gumba has thousands of butterflies from around the world that are unique in colors and designs.  Some even look like cats, dogs and tigers.

Kissed by a Dolphin at Anthony Key’s – Anthony’s Key Resort and the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences offer opportunity to swim, dive or snorkel with trained dolphins. The dolphin encounter is just in waist deep water where you can touch, hug and kiss a dolphin. The trainers work one-on-one with each dolphin to teach them to respond to signals and perform tricks and dances for the audience. Dolphins are highly intelligent mammals and a lot of fun to watch. It’s definitely a must-do in Roatan.

Here’s a video of Mr French performing some jumps for us.