Monday, January 21, 2013

Tobago and Kariwak Village Resort

Ah, welcome to Tobago - "Clean, green, and serene". Just a 4.5 hour flight from NYC to Trinidad and then an 18 minute flight and you will find yourself there. The airport is in that bottom left corner on the map - ANR Robinson International - and my mom and I stayed at Kariwak Village, just a 5 minute cab ride away. We heard planes arriving and departing throughout the day, but it did not bother us as we were intoxicated by the sounds of birds chirping, rain drizzling, and the playlist of good, chill songs (a whole lotta Whitney Houston) serenading us in the background.
Kariwak Village
Tobago is the much smaller island that makes up the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. It's 26 miles long and  about 6 miles wide - so, yes, it's pretty tiny! And on this small island live about 55,000 people (Trinidad has 1.2 million folks on it). It claims to have the oldest protected forest in the Western Hemisphere - that's the Main Ridge Forest Reserve, protected since 1776. The island is very green and fertile. I have traveled to a few of the Caribbean Islands and this one (along with Jamaica) is by far the greenest and prettiest. A lot of plants grow on the island, again it is very fertile. but it is unclear why the main government on Trinidad does not do much to cultivate the land to export so as to help the people out (these are words spoken by our guide on the island tour we did). Tobago does not have an universities on it and so those inclined to pursue higher education must go to Trinidad, or go to other Caribbean countries or the United States. There is also limited to no high quality medical care on the island, and so individuals who have suffered serious injuries must be choppered off to Trinidad. 
Waves over Store Bay.

Our guide that day as well as a man I overheard talking on Store Bay discussed a desire among some of the people for Tobago to be it's own country as they feel they have the resources and man power to govern and support the people. There were elections the week after I left with the president who has been governing over Trinidad & Tobago for 12 years running for another term. Every country has it's turmoils and issues as well as it's happiness and productivity.

Where the yoga happens.
Kariwak Village Resort is a nice, small quiet place that has a big garden type place to walk around, lay in hammocks, and swim in a pool or Jacuzzi (which was not working), or do yoga in one of the hut looking places. They have yoga at 8am almost every morning and on select days there is a second class in the afternoon. I thought I would have been much more active, but the first two - three days my mom and I just slept and read ...mostly slept. I participated in a Kundalini Yoga class Friday night at 6:30 and just from the 6 or so positions we did had pain in my abs for days! The class also helped me find some inner peace and start thinking about things I want to work on. I felt especially connected to a quote the instructor read "If you become your own teacher, prosperity will be there. Good things and good ideas will come to you." -Yogi Bhajan. Many of the other students in the class seemed to be living on the island as they were all participating in a 10-week course at Kariwak with this instructor.

A lot of the food they prepare is grown on the property and people have raved about it - however, I found it all to be too saucy for my taste. The water in the sinks, in your glass, in the pool was purified and ozonated. I have no idea what "ozonated" means but I do know that my skin still feels really soft - like a fluffy cloud. Store Bay is a 8 minute walk from the resort. You can get food there, hire a snorkeling tour, or go for a swim in the water (boats docked nearby). 

In general, life was easy, quiet, full of sleep, and meditative all while being surrounded by beautiful birds, plants, colors, water, and people.

The photos that follow were all taken at Kariwak.

Sculpture made by an artist who spends half the year on Tobago.

Kariwak Slug

You know I like flowers right?

Bananaquit birds were chirppin' all around Kariwak!

Don't know what kind of bird this one is but I think my mom wanted to be it!

Heavenly hammocks

Path around the garden at Kariwak

Some places have flies, this place has Bananaquit birds. They're out of control!

Pretty palm trees, look like fans.

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