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When in Trinidad, Do As the Trinidadians Do

Today, a guest post by a Semester at Sea Maymester student

By Brenna Bonfiglio
Senior, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

I decided to do Semester at Sea to learn and experience new things, and that is exactly what happened in Trinidad and Tobago May 24 and 25 on the Maymester voyage. I signed up for an FDP that involved hiking because I needed fresh air and exercise. I never imagined that I would also be having the most unusual snack I’ve ever eaten.

What I thought would be just a seven-mile hike from Santa Cruz to Maracas Bay turned out to be an educational experience, too. We started our day with a bus tour throughout Port of Spain while driving to our start point for the hike. When we arrived, we walked past both extravagant and rundown homes whose residents greeted us from their front porches. Numerous stray dogs and chickens wandered the streets.

Once we started hiking, I began to wonder what I had gotten myself into because it was tough and mostly uphill. Everyone in the group was definitely feeling it, and the heat didn’t help the matter. Fortunately, the deep forest shaded us from the sun and rain.

We often took breaks so that our tour guide could show us different types of plants, including those that can make shampoo and others whose wild fruit isn’t edible. We also saw a tree that flowers and then grows leaves that resemble an umbrella to protect the petals of the flowers. It is a way to defend them because if rain hits the petals they will fall off.

The thing I will remember forever is the tour guide showing us a termite’s nest. He cracked it open slightly and put his finger on the side, allowing several termites to crawl onto his finger, and then proceeded to stick it into his mouth! He told us that termites were full of protein.

I looked at him in horror, especially when he asked if anyone else wanted to try it. But then I got to thinking, why not at least try it? I, along with several other people, went up to the termite’s nest one by one and did the same thing. I couldn’t believe I actually did that because normally I try to stay away from insects and bugs and definitely don’t eat them. I’m glad I did though and now I can officially say that I have eaten termites.

They taste like wood.

Shortly after leaving the termite’s nest we reached our peak, which had a beautiful view overlooking the ocean. The rest of the way was downhill. Believe it or not, downhill was actually harder because the path was slippery.

Once we completed the hike, we were in beautiful Maracas Bay where we finally had a lunch of delicious “bake and shark” sandwiches, a Trinidad tradition. We had definitely worked for our food and everyone was exhausted by the end of the meal, so we enjoyed some relaxing time in the water of the bay.

I will never forget my first Semester at Sea port in Trinidad and Tobago, and now I can’t wait for our next stop in Panama on Sunday.

Topics
  • Culture
  • Education
  • Life on Land

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