Yes, we are in the West Indies, Trinidad to be exact, having come from frosty Wisconsin (WI) we are lavishing in tropical warmth, barefoot. Sorry to incite any envy, but how else can I tell you what we are doing without mentioning this. The weather is one of the main reasons we leave WI in the winter. But the weather has been interesting here. It's supposed to be the beginning of the dry season but instead the rainy season is lingering into January. What that means is that its been raining a lot! A couple days this week it rained in sheets most of the day and all night. The ground is soggy and the air is humid to say the least. We tried to go for a walk but got rained on and came back to our sweet cottage. The cottage is situated on a four acre tropical garden in the center of the country, in the countryside. We have a deck off the kitchen which looks out towards the hilly grasslands and to the mountain range in the north. Trinidad is also a bird watcher's heaven and we've been enjoying the birds and butterflies. Rory and Bunty, our hosts, loaned us a good binocular. I could sit all day and look for birds and then look them up in the bird book. Our closest neighbor is a Copper rumped Hummingbird who lives in the tree just off our deck. He has inspired my large painting of the week, the 3 ft by 3ft canvas. Another circle, titled Hummingbirth.
|Hummingbirth 36 x 36 inches acrylic|
We haven't gone far except to the grocery in Port of Spain and to the local market in the nearest town. So I've been enjoying cooking. Today I made an eggplant curry and Caponata (my favorite Italian eggplant relish). I also made a beet salad with green apples and feta cheese. Tonight we had beef stroganoff with portabello mushroom, yummy. The only exotic food (unique to us) we've had so far is Breadfruit. It is a large tree fruit that when cut up looks like starchy uncooked potato. When boiled it makes the best 'mashed potatoes' you've ever had, almost like you added some cream to the potatoes/breadfruit. You serve it with butter. The garden we live in produces unlimited grapefruit, limes, bananas and mandarins. The local beer Stag, is a great lager, Yata and I are impressed with it.
In fact, overall we are impressed with Trinidad. It's a very developed country. Good education and standard of living. The mixture of Muslim, Hindu and Christian seem to get along well, as do the races. But, the country is only seven miles from the coast of South American, Venezuela to be exact and that brings gang/drug crime. The crime rate is up and people are concerned. The world is not a particularly safe place these days but we refuse let it keep us down. We will continue to be cautious, do our research and try not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
In some ways we feel as if we are home here. Bunty and Rory feel like long lost friends. They are artists, Bunty a talented artist and she has many artists friends just like I do back home. I have a feeling it's going to be difficult to leave here, seven weeks from now.
Stay warm and keep the creative juices flowing! Jean and Yata