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Ah Trini Travelogue http://www.rishiray.com Trinidad & Tobago's most travelled blogger through 92 countries. Create and Re-Engineer your life for travel. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 18:33:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The ways 9/11 changed travel … 13 years later http://www.rishiray.com/the-ways-911-changed-travel-13-years-later/#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed http://www.rishiray.com/the-ways-911-changed-travel-13-years-later/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 14:51:41 +0000 http://www.rishiray.com/?p=5685 I still remember working in Montreal and seeing the towers fall on 9/11. Little could I have understood how the game completely changed on that day. I remember reading Orwell’s masterpieces of “1984” and “Animal Farm” and Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451″ or Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” as a teen and thinking that if ...

The post The ways 9/11 changed travel … 13 years later appeared first on Ah Trini Travelogue.

I still remember working in Montreal and seeing the towers fall on 9/11. Little could I have understood how the game completely changed on that day. I remember reading Orwell’s masterpieces of “1984” and “Animal Farm” and Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451″ or Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” as a teen and thinking that if we ever got even close to the nightmare dystopias that were described in these books, that we’d be all fucked!

(If you’ve never read these books, then you should order them now and get some essential reading done)

Fast forward 13 years ahead and we live in an age of media saturation and attenuation, 24 hr propaganda/misinformation/disinformation cycles through the American media, almost complete erosion of press freedom around the world and the development of quasi police states in the US and Canada. The illusion is real, pervasive and and sad. It is almost forbidden to mention anything about 9/11 in a negative context … it’s as if a mention of the true, chilling effect of 9/11 will make it less true.

9/11 was the catalyst for the people accepting the police state. It’s taken 13 years for people to become complicit in the erosion of their freedoms. That being said, my blog is about travelling and seeing the world. I’m glad that I had a window to see the many places during the evolution of the 9/11 complex … the world will not be a similar place for my children. They will live in an age where it will be even more difficult to be different from the sheep of the world. Different ideas are already being struck down as conspiracy against the global good. The silent march of Islamophobia is unyielding and unforgiving.

If you’ve ever watched a show called “Homeland”, it’s difficult to push the notion that powerful Muslims are infiltrating the American government with a goal of bringing down America. The show is an absolutely fantastic setting of writing and build up … which makes it even more powerful. Kids watching shows like this, do not have the knowledge or global awareness to combat propaganda of this form.

As for travelling (since this is a travel blog), here’s a couple ways 9/11 changed travel and what I’ve noticed over the last 13 years

  1. Lower demand for air travel but higher profits because of security fees
    “To charge someone $25 to check a bag, but then to take away the seven-cent bag of peanuts is just not consumer friendly”
  2. Billion dollar 9/11 cottage industries
    Since 9/11, with the consumers picking up the cost of the establishment of the Transportation Security Administration (or TSA), you get a lot more screening for your money and you get to feel like a criminal every time you get to the airport. For travelers, airports now mean long lines, pricey snacks and the added bonus of an occasional pat down or finger bang – you get to pick!
    US Passengers now pay a $2.50 September 11th Security Fee, which goes toward financing the TSA’s staff, operations and screening equipment — like those new body scanners. (Passengers don’t pay the fee more than twice per one-way trip.) Airlines and passengers contributed $2 billion in taxes and fees to the TSA. The federal government — in other words, taxpayers — picked up the rest of the organization’s $8 billion tab.
  3. The acceptance of being profiled if you’re brown
    In my post 9/11 years of travelling, I’ve been stopped by security in many countries asking what type of name Sankar was. God forbid my name was a Muslim name instead of a Hindu name – it would have been a lot more difficult. I can’t even imagine what Muslim travellers go through now … especially with the rampant Islamophobia raging through the US news channels or print media. It’s become acceptable to profile visible Muslims. Go read up on the prevalence of hate crimes towards Muslims and Sikhs … even though the faiths have no intersections aside from beards.
  4. We pay more for our bags and get far less for our money
    After flirting with bankruptcy post 9/11, the airlines added loads of revenue-boosting measures like fees for checked bags and fuel surcharges. To cut costs, they reduced the number of flights they offered, crammed more seats onto planes and did away with complimentary snacks.
  5. Travel habits have changed so much … movies prior to 9/11 make travel seem like a dream
    • Travelers must check in at least two hours before their flight takes off.
    • Liquids and toiletries have to be a certain size and placed in clear, sealed bags.
    • No food or bottled water is allowed through security.
    • Passengers are selected at random for more intense screenings.
    • The extra security protocol means longer lines and yet more waiting.
    • Travelers have become accustomed to the post-9/11 restrictions, that seeing a pre-2001 movie where someone waits for a loved one at an airport gate seems dated, even strange.
  6. 9/11 created things like this


  7. Resentment of the US around the world (Canada gets a bit of the reflected negative light too)
    American travellers now claim that they are Canadian, so that they’re not the victim of incidents. Of course, this has now meant that saying you’re Canadian doesn’t mean you’re a peaceful bystander but rather a possible American. Worldwide sympathy has faded in the ten years since the 9/11 attacks. Much of the Arab world resented the U.S. occupation of Iraq. In May 2011, the hunt for, capture, and killing of Osama bin Laden, strained relations further with Pakistan. Throughout the Middle East and Pakistan protests against the United States have continued over the decade since the attacks.
  8. Passports for everyone …
    Remember when as a Canadian or American, all you needed to get into Mexico, Canada or the Caribbean from the U.S. was a birth certificate or drivers license?  Not anymore.  In 2007 beefed up screening measures require a passport to fly to these regions.  Many Americans were forced to get a passport for the first time to check out Niagara Falls.  In fact, the number of Americans holding passports increased dramatically since 2001.  According to State Dept. statistics, a little more than 7 million Americans had a passport in 2001, the year of the terror attacks. In 2010, that number jumped to 13.8 million, which are the latest statistics available.

    It’s like this video … but not really


If you think 9/11 just only affected travel … then I have a couple lakes in the Sahara that I’d like to sell you.

Here’s a great post from Matador Network on “Things we miss about travel before 9/11″

  1. Not needing a passport just to go to visit Canada from the US, and vice versa.
  2. Not having to remove your laptop.
  3. Leaving your shoes on when going through security.
  4. Not having to worry about your stuff getting stolen while it’s all spread out during security.
  5. Not having notes left by TSA in your luggage advising you that they’d done a hand-inspection because they saw something suspicious.
  6. Not having to get to the airport three hours before an international flight whenever it touches the United States, even if it’s a layover.
  7. Not having TSA agents yelling directions as if you were a schoolkid or inmate.
  8. Being able to use the airplane bathroom on flights between NY and Washington, DC.
  9. Not being prompted to think “nothing could go wrong on this flight, right?”
  10. Not having to worry about being pulled off a flight for having a “suspicious conversation” in a boarding queue.
  11. Not having to use TSA-approved locks (which are unavailable in many places outside of the US).
  12. Not having to balance a kid on your hip while trying to put your shoes / your child’s shoes on, then stuffing your laptop and stuff back into your carry-on, so you can then uncap all your kid’s bottles so the TSA agent can wave a piece of paper over them to test for illicit substances.
  13. Not having to worry if the body scanner is giving you brain cancer.
  14. Not having to watch as some elderly person in a wheelchair, probably a WWII veteran, has footwear removed for him, then his ass rolled through the scanners by TSA inspectors who don’t fall over and die from shame.
  15. Not having my family sit with your at the gate and wave you off as you board.
  16. Not having to stand by helplessly while your darker-skinned travel companion gets “randomly selected” to have her belongings searched.
  17. Not having to hear her calmly say “it’s okay, it’s okay” when her best friend, who has seen this happen to her multiple times over the last 3 months, starts to loudly question the randomness of their selection.
  18. Not hearing endless loops of security warnings about terror threat levels, unattended bags being destroyed, etc.
  19. Having your partner’s family members from Argentina, Uruguay “allowed” to visit you in the US without a (now nearly impossible to get) travel visa.
  20. Not having immigrations officials question you exhaustively upon reentry to the US about the whereabouts and “purposes” of your travels abroad.
  21. Not having to sit in a host family’s living room and attempt to explain US foreign policy.
  22. Not feeling an urge to conceal your identity as an American traveler.
  23. Having your husband/wife/brother/sister/son/daughter meet you after a long flight at the gate.
  24. The civility that people used to have
  25. Privacy & dignity, which is constantly violated by the Federal government’s agents: TSA, etc.
  26. I miss the lack of fear, much of which is a direct result of the Federal government’s actions post 9-11.

 So happy 9/11 anniversary to the Industrial Military Complex of the Americas!

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Tipping etiquette in Trinidad : Who and Who not to tip! http://www.rishiray.com/tipping-etiquette-trinidad-tip/#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed http://www.rishiray.com/tipping-etiquette-trinidad-tip/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:11:20 +0000 http://www.rishiray.com/?p=5678 From a previous series of discussions on “crappy service charges in Trinidad” based on another post on “What to eat in Trinidad in 72 hours“, I realized that many travellers to Trinidad might not even know the actual tipping etiquette in Trinidad. Overall, we know that 90% of the travellers have at least once been ...

The post Tipping etiquette in Trinidad : Who and Who not to tip! appeared first on Ah Trini Travelogue.

From a previous series of discussions on “crappy service charges in Trinidad” based on another post on “What to eat in Trinidad in 72 hours“, I realized that many travellers to Trinidad might not even know the actual tipping etiquette in Trinidad. Overall, we know that 90% of the travellers have at least once been confronted by a person they should be tipping and thus felt embarrassed. However before I provide my opinion based on growing up in Trinidad and all the Trinis I know, I should offer some stand alone context before I provide my opinion on “How to tip in Trinidad” or “Tipping etiquette in Trinidad”.

Cultural Background:

  1. Trinidad is not the same as Tobago.
    All points mentioned in this post are sort of related to Tobago, but not really. This post only applies to tipping etiquette in Trinidad.
  2. Trinis are not accustomed to tipping. Period! End of story!
    This has nothing to do with cultural backwardness or failure to reach the 21st century … but simply, it’s never been part of the culture. There are many cultures and countries where tipping is simply NOT part of the norm … see my post here for a sample list of those countries.
  3. Trinis regards tipping as a foreign habit and generally indicates a level of “stoucheness”
    We as a people hate pretentiousness, “uppity-ness” or “stoucheness” … it’s why a lot of people hate “Providence, Convent or SAGHS girls” (These are the female product of upper class girls high schools … it would require a book to explain that phenomenon. See the following videos for examples of “different accents” in Trinidad. The second one is a bit egregious because the poor children aren’t even really aware of their “Convent” accent.



    in Trinidad also regard those who live in upper middle class/wealthy neighbourhoods of Valsayn, Gulf View, Westmoorings as also somewhat foreign. In Trinidad, if you live in these areas, one has to make an additional effort to appear unpretentious, since Trinis just naturally assume that people who live in these areas are just naturally “stouche” or “uppity”.

So now that I’ve set the background that Trinis are different from Tobagonians,  didn’t grow up with tipping, hate stoucheness in all forms and manners … I can deep dive into the topic.

Appropriate places to tip:

  • Anywhere frequented by foreigners i.e. White People.
    This requires ZERO explanation, if you’ve ever been to Trinidad. Blame our post colonial mentality. Blame our post Slavery hangover. Blame what you want … but anywhere you see a white person in Trinidad, expect that a tip is required. Canadians and Americans have brought that aspect of their culture over in Trinidad and it’s just part of standard operating procedure in establishments that cater to foreigners. Here’s a couple nuances to the “foreigner” term (these are only my opinions BTW) …

    • A Trini who lives abroad and visits Trinidad and speaks like a Trini … is not a foreigner
    • A Trini who was born and raised here till 20+ and now lives abroad and visits Trinidad and speaks like a foreigner … is a pretentious jackass or wants to show off that they live “away”. This works wonders on the local girls though … so I understand why it’s done.
    • A person who was born in Trinidad but who has left so long ago/hasn’t visited in 20+ years and speaks like a foreigner … they get a pass :)
    • Anyone white … assumed foreigner, even though we have “local” whites/expats here! This is another post for a later time.
  • Hotels
    Higher end hotels like Grand Hyatt, Hilton and Crowne Plaza are definite tipping zones
  • Restaurants that cater to foreigners, expats or people in the Oil sector
    See the bullet above … it’s classified as anywhere.
  • Chain restaurants (TGIF,Ruby Tuesdays,etc)
    I don’t really know how chain restaurants in Trinidad became a posh thing, especially because of the sub standard food they serve. However the service in these franchised restaurants tends to be better because of service quality control directives that come from the US based head offices. There are numerous spot checks on these types of restaurants for the service … I can’t speak for the food. I’ve never had a great meal at a chain restaurant in Trinidad. I also only recommend 10% … I’ve also never had an amazing service experience in a Trinidadian restaurant.
  • Some service people (Hairdressers, guys who carry your groceries to your car etc)
    It is also recommended that you tip if someone did something for you for free or really went out of their way like putting your luggage in your car or carrying something down to the beach for you or made your stay/tour really memorable.  A typical tip in such a case could be between $5-$20 TT depending on the assistance provided.
  • High end bars in Port of Spain
    See the first bullet. If you see foreigners … then you should tip. In fact, these bars are the one place you really do want to tip because …

    • There are many lovely lasses looking for a moneyed guy or foreigner. Seriously!! If you’re a white person in Trinidad, you can get massive amounts of play … and even if you’re homely/average looking and girls won’t beat you with a stick in Canada or US … you’re guaranteed in Trinidad, if you’re here for a reasonable amount of time i.e. a week or more.
    • Tipping bartenders here will get you a lot of inside information – so definitely spread your money to those bartenders. It’s an investment into a better time in Trinidad.
  • Kids selling stuff on the beach
    Buy something on the beaches and give the kids a buck or two extra. You’ll actually be spending your tip money on people who really need it.

Inappropriate places to tip:

  • A fete …

    If you see a bar like this … don’t be an ass and tip the bartenders. There will be no special service or special cocktails. These people are here to pour alcohol and process your thirsty ass. If you’re tipping, then you might as well flush your money into the mud. No normal self respecting Trini will tip here. Cooler fete … bush fete … jungle fete. It doesn’t matter. No tipping required.

  • An all inclusive fete during Carnival

    This is a picture from Moka golf course on Carnival Sunday. This fete is known as a high ticket fete (between $100 and $200 USD) … Johnny Walker Blue flows like water here … and there is NO Tipping here. In fact, it would be a little “gauche” and “stouche” all in one to tip here – so if you REALLY want to look like an over moneyed, pretentious douchebag tourist … then let your money rip in an ultra premium fete.

  • A rum shop

    A rum shop is where the common Trini man drinks. The only females are usually waitresses. Most women look down on other women who actually drink in rum shops.

    A rum shop is where the common Trini man drinks. The only females are usually waitresses. Most women look down on other women who actually drink in rum shops. So if you’re a female traveller to Trinidad … this is not high on my recommended types of those places that you should be in.

  • A roti shop, village restaurant, doubles stand or roadside vendor

    If you offer a tip here …. not only might you be laughed at, people all around will know you’re a tourist and you might actually encourage some negative attention. In Trinidad, drawing attention to yourself isn’t a good thing. So be aware!

  • Anywhere you see a stage … like this one

    Apply the same rules as a fete. BONUS POINTS for avoiding any GirlPower or Island People fete … http://www.rishiray.com/good-morning-and-fuck-you-islandpeople-girlpower-2012-fete-review-february-17th-2012/

  • Taxis of any kind in Trinidad
    Maxi taxi Trinidad

    Taxis in Trinidad are run on a fixed fare basis. Fixed fares are awesome. You know exactly what to pay. The pay schedule is located somewhere within the taxi or your can just ask someone how much the fare is. Never tip on public transport in Trinidad. Keep your tips for the surly taxi drivers in NYC/Toronto/Chicago/San Fran etc. As a rule you don’t tip taxis at all. Tipping in this situation would draw unnecessary attention to yourself. Airport taxis are included in this rule. Those guys rip you off anyway … so don’t tip them either.

  • Gas station attendants
    Full service gas stations are not the norm in big North American cities but they are the norm in Latin America and the Caribbean. In Trinidad, no one tips the gas station attendant … it’s not your job as a visitor to break the social contracts and create something different. My girlfriend now wife … attempted to tip a gas station attendant on her first visit to Trinidad and he was more confused initially, but he actually refused the tip and said it’s included in the price. I gave him $30 just because he was honest with her … if only a lot more people were like him.
  • Take out restaurants
    If I have to explain this … then just forget why you came here.

Here’s a oldie but goodie by one of the Original Trini etiquette police : Manners and Entertaining with Marguerite Gordon.

Tipping is usually 10 per cent, but in more places it is now15 per cent (and since this book was written some restaurants are 20 per cent now). If service charge is added, you don’t usually have to tip, unless the waiter or waitress has been absolutely dreadful, you should give them a little something extra. This is because tips are almost always shared. I also don’t recommend you add the tip to your credit card bill, as you can’t be quite sure your waiter is going to get it. Though I am sure most restaurants are very ethical and pool the tips at the end of the evening, some may just be using the accumulated tips to buy more glasses and clean the napkins.” End of quote.

So where did the first idea of tipping come from? Actually it was not the US, it was developed in Europe (was it Italy where the fork first appeared in the Western world? The fork certainly did not come form the US as did neither many of the concepts of etiquette), but more about that another time.

It is alleged that the TIP is an acronym for the words: “To Insure Promptness.” OK, so the Americans may have ‘captured’ it, but now all countries endorse it. Tipping is supposed to motivate (difficult because as we all know people are not only motivated by money), staff to give of their best — and — quickly. Well, sometimes the kitchen lets down the waiter and/or the waiter lets down the kitchen, and the manager may be faulty in his or her time management and the ovens are not working as well as they should and there is general confusion.

However, THE waiter and/or waitress are supposed to give of THEIR best.

I can, however, think of one organization – that I know of (where up to a few years ago), the guests were instructed verbally and in general written information NOT to tip. This well-run, enticing, romantic and superb holiday resort organization to which I refer is ‘Sandals,’ owned and operated by the imitable Mr Butch Stewart of Jamaica. In his all-inclusive hotels in the Caribbean, tipping was not allowed.

So in the average restaurants and hotels, customers have some authority at their finger tips (or I should say their credit cards/cheques/cash), and can decide yea or nay. Still it should be remembered that many waitresses and waiters (now called “servers” by the Americans), really look forward to tips because this type of staff who receive tips sometimes earn less than the minimum wage rates. But this begs the question..are they really being TRAINED how to give Customer Service to the Customer?

Am I getting carried away? Perhaps, because the real questions you needed to think about were these… did the waitress (who by the way should NOT have asked about the tip, but there we go: did she know she should not ask that question, was QUALITY service explained to her?); was she pleasant, did she give an appropriate greeting and welcome you? Did she repeat your order? Did she have good knowledge of the menu? Did she give suggestions? Did she show some personal empathy to any — even a small – situation that may have arisen? Was she fast and accurate, apologising for any delay if there was one? Did you get exactly what you ordered? Was she too personal? Was she too familiar? Did she have a pleasant and warm smile?

Check your answers to these questions… because perhaps you just may have been right NOT giving her a tip. But then again, perhaps you should have!

Here’s another funny post on tipping in Trinidad : Cha with that: I Not Tipping (I also highly recommend browsing through Outlish)

So imagine I’m on my honeymoon in Jamaica, in a white van, strongly resembling a white maxi, travelling a distance processed as walking distance to my Trini brain. But like the Jamaican driver confuse my Trini accent with a Miami one, because on top of charging me $10US return – per person – he looking for a tip. You could believe that one?

Is best he started looking for world peace, or an honest politician one time, because all he received in return was a poker face, and a thank you. Not even the peer pressure of all the ‘proper’ tourists in the bus forking over 50% and 100% of the fare’s value in tips could melt my resolve. I guess the job situation in the US wasn’t as bad as advertised.

It got me thinking though. When did we reach here? How did we get to the place where tipping was expected as a right from those in the service industry? The bus didn’t even have AC self.

How did we get to the place where tipping was expected as a right from those in the service industry?

It seems that these days a tip is expected, regardless of service quality. Researching the matter, I read that “failing to give an adequate tip when one is expected is a serious faux pas, and may be considered very miserly, a violation of etiquette”. Personally I say ‘cha’ with that. If I give a tip at all, it’s because the person soldiered beyond the call of duty to provide my happiness. Not to satisfy anyone’s misplaced idea of etiquette.

In my lifetime, I’ve probably tipped fewer times than days in the week, and each occasion remains securely tucked in memory. A woman who recommended food to me that tasted good, and who changed my drink, when she realized I didn’t enjoy it. A Ruby Tuesday’s waitress with an upbeat personality, who ensured we got a proper seat, and didn’t disappear like Mumford every time we were ready to order. A lady in Tobago who made us feel at home, even though we were Trini…though technically we were at home. And the list goes on, albeit not very long.

If those things don’t seem particularly memorable, well you should and would shudder at the average level of service. Still, service staff expect extra for performing what, essentially, is their job description. One even flat out asked me for the extra contribution, even though the food was terrible, and she took years to bring me my char siu pork, something that you can get in less than five minutes by any two by four Chinese outlet. Immune to social expectations as I can sometimes be, I told her no.

Is either the person doesn’t want to be there, so they ‘face swell’, and they’re nowhere to be found…

Amazingly, I don’t consider my quality quotient to be particularly high. At this point, if I go to a restaurant, and can get my food in less than ten minutes – with no attitude from the attendant (I personally don’t even need a smile) – then tip passing like ball from Iniesta. Good luck finding that in Trinidad though. Is either the person doesn’t want to be there, so they ‘face swell’, and they’re nowhere to be found, or they’re in your face incessantly, trolling for tips, so the smile is plastic, and they’re badgering you to buy things you don’t want…and suggesting expensive ‘ting’ they know doesn’t taste well.

Thankfully, in Trinidad, most attendants seem to realize that the service ‘cheesy’, so they don’t demand tips, a relationship I’ve grown accustomed to maintaining. They don’t perform well. I don’t complain. They don’t look for tips, and I eh giving.

Abroad is a different story, and when I say ‘abroad’, like most Trinis, I’m referring to America, more commonly known as ‘The States’. The service is generally what I consider average, albeit wayyy better than ‘average’ in Trinidad. They do what you would expect from a restaurant of that price range, but they stop just short of demanding a tip. If I have to pay so much for average service, I say give me a tray and let me organize my own stuff.

I mean, am I not already paying service charge? Oh you say you’re underpaid? How is that my fault? I was underpaid at my first job, yet none of the people who enjoyed the websites I built tipped me. I would really like to meet and congratulate the marketing genius who transferred the onus of ensuring that workers in the service industry are properly paid from their employers to the patrons.

Again…how is that my fault? ‘Cha’ with that. I not tipping.

When I look at my bill in any restaurant, I see the food/drinks cost and the service cost (and VAT in Trinidad), so a tip, in my mind, is not for basic, expected service. To get a tip from me, you have to provide some intangible je ne sais quois. And since that is increasingly rare these days, I guess I’ll be saving my money – not giving it away to suit someone else’s idea of etiquette or reward for poor service.

So now you know about tipping etiquette in Trinidad … save us all from future nonsense and follow the rules.

How about you? Post below and let me know if I’m completely crazy in my Trini tipping primer

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Why you should get a Parks Canada Discovery Pass for PEI. http://www.rishiray.com/get-parks-canada-discovery-pass-pei/#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed http://www.rishiray.com/get-parks-canada-discovery-pass-pei/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:56:34 +0000 http://www.rishiray.com/?p=5656 In my years of travelling, I’ve found that city passes or time limited passes have rarely given me the value that I thought I would get. Here’s a three tales from my experience using passes in Europe Helsinki Card : For instance, on my last trip to Helsinki, Finland … I bought the “Helsinki Card” ...

The post Why you should get a Parks Canada Discovery Pass for PEI. appeared first on Ah Trini Travelogue.

In my years of travelling, I’ve found that city passes or time limited passes have rarely given me the value that I thought I would get. Here’s a three tales from my experience using passes in Europe

  • Helsinki Card :
    For instance, on my last trip to Helsinki, Finland … I bought the “Helsinki Card” thinking that I would see a whole bunch of museums and get into places for free. Indeed, you can use the pass to get in places for free … but it’s almost impossible to get your money’s worth in a weekend.  See my overall thoughts here.
  • Milan Pass:
    My pass was sponsored by “Milan loves you“. In theory, this pass should have been awesome … but with the 48 hr time lime, it’s almost impossible to get the proper use from it … especially at € 69. The pass promises valuable coupons of € 300 as well as free use of the transit/metro system for this 48 hr span … but I found that I didn’t want to use the subway as it added tons of extra time to my journey in between places and for my 48 hours, I spent the vast majority of the time enjoying my walks along the narrow streets.
  • Paris Pass:
    I had a two day pass sponsored by Eurail for a quick 72 hr trip to Paris. In the “City of Lights”, prices are pretty expensive … in fact, they’re damn expensive. This being said … it’s Paris – need I say more. Paris is worth it, just to say that you’ve been there. Using a 48 hr Paris Pass for € 117 seems completely ridiculous, especially as you’ll use the Metro no more than 6 times in 48 hrs. In fact, to break even for the value from the pass, you’ll have to see 15 museums, 3 galleries, 3 monuments, ride the Metro 6 times and take the hop on/off bus tour. I thought this wasn’t really a good deal … I’m glad I didn’t pay for it.

In 2013, I attended my first TBEX and I loved meeting all the travel media and providers. I also happened to meet up with Guy Theriault and Natalie Fay of Parks Canada. to say it was eye opening would be an understatement. They spent about 20 minutes with us describing all the awesome programs and facilities that Parks Canada had for the regular and professional traveller. It was definitely the best meeting I had at TBEX and it wasn’t even an officially scheduled meeting!

They also provided me with my first Parks Canada discovery pass. Fast forward another year and another discovery pass and I have to say that this is definitely the best valued pass I’ve ever used.

In Prince Edward Island, there is a lot of camping and beaches that you can visit. The PEI provincial parks are free to visit and are definitely some of the best parks I’ve visited in Canada. The national parks do required an entrance fee and with your Parks Canada discovery pass you’ll have complimentary entry for the following places

Over the course of 6 weeks, we had a total 6 visits to Parks Canada sites. I tallied the math over the 6 weeks and this is what I came up with

  1. Visit to Green Gables Heritage place for 4 people = $35.20
  2. Visit to Dalvay-by-the-Sea National Historic Site for 4 people = $35.20
  3. Visit to the Province House National Historic Site for 4 people = $15.80
  4. Another visit to Green Gables Heritage place for 4 people = $35.20
  5. Scenic drive from (Cavendish-Brackley-Dalvay) for 4 people = $15.80
  6. Another scenic drive from (Cavendish-Brackley-Dalvay) for 4 people = $15.80

All for a total cost of 153$ while the Discovery Pass costs $136.40 … this isn’t a huge savings upfront but keep in mind that I got my value from the pass over a leisurely 6 weeks.

The pass is valid for a full year from the time that you purchase it … With a full year to do it, this pass gives you unlimited opportunities to enjoy nearly 100 National Parks, National Marine Conservation Areas and National Historic Sites across Canada that charge entry fees.

So if you’re coming to PEI in the near future for a week, then I would suggest that you pick up a Discovery Pass. It wonderful to have and will save you money in the long run. If you have kids and you live in Canada … then I think it’s a must have, since you’re going to be visiting a park or three over the year and here’s another list as to why it makes sense.

  • Enjoy unlimited opportunities to experience nearly 100 places that charge entry fees for a full year! Remember that other great places administered by Parks Canada are available with no entry charge!
  • Provides faster entry and greater convenience;
  • Makes a great gift idea. By purchasing the Parks Canada Discovery Pass, you are giving someone endless opportunities to experience Canada at its best for a whole year. A special gift folder, only available when you buy online, allows you to personally dedicate the gift that never stops giving;
  • Can pay for itself in as little as seven days compared to purchasing day passes;
  • Valid for 12 full months from the date of purchase;
  • Your fees stay with Canada’s National Historic Sites, National Marine Conservation Areas and National Parks to help us maintain the places you love.

So do your travelling self a favor and pick up a Discovery Pass today!!

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What to eat in Trinidad in 72 hours : Eat like a local! http://www.rishiray.com/what-to-eat-in-trinidad-in-72-hours/#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed http://www.rishiray.com/what-to-eat-in-trinidad-in-72-hours/#comments Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:02:46 +0000 http://www.rishiray.com/?p=5624 As a traveller, amateur cook and a “foodie” … and by “foodie”, I mean someone with highly exacting food standards that can come off as a pretentious “know it all” asshole, I’ve had my fair share of amazing meals. I’ve also had a litany of terrible meals in all parts of the world. It’s why ...

The post What to eat in Trinidad in 72 hours : Eat like a local! appeared first on Ah Trini Travelogue.

As a traveller, amateur cook and a “foodie” … and by “foodie”, I mean someone with highly exacting food standards that can come off as a pretentious “know it all” asshole, I’ve had my fair share of amazing meals. I’ve also had a litany of terrible meals in all parts of the world. It’s why I can make ridiculous claims about good eating. Trinidad has some amazing food … but for the real Trini flavours, you’ll need to stay away from any place with hordes of tourists!

If you end up somewhere and you see signs with words like “Gourmet Doubles” … run! You’re in the wrong place …

A friend of mine is travelling to Trinidad and it inspired me to put together a list of Trinidadian dishes that one should have over a long weekend – so here’s what to eat in Trinidad in 72 hours : Eat like a local!

1. Trini KFC

If you meet a Trini anywhere in the world, they will tell you that the KFC in Trinidad  aka “Colonel Sanders nonsense chicken”, “Kentucky Fried Chicken”, or “Trini Kryptonite” is the best in the world. Trinis won’t swear to many things … they might swear to a god or deity, but they will always swear that “Trini kfc is the best”. There are Facebook groups dedicated to the greatness of Trini KFC.  A visitor to Trinidad should expect to eat KFC at least twice in 72 hours … it is highly doubtful you will be sober though.

A Trini commandment along with “thou shall only take one wine with a strange woman” is “thou shall not get between a Trini and his KFC”. Personally, I’ve been to 90 something countries … and Trini KFC is still the best!!!

It’s the combination of herbs and spices and that green hot sauce … in fact, it’s all about the green hot sauce. If you’re looking for the SUPER combo … then get KFC Chicken + Royal Castle fries + Royal Castle pepper sauce. See the following primer on how important it is!!


2. Doubles

There are many posts explaining what “Doubles” are. I won’t bother with an explanation … but you have to know how to eat a “Doubles”. It is absolutely essential that you get the doubles eating technique down and you have to know the “Doubles Ordering Lexicon“. It’s imperative that any visitor understand how to order a doubles else be branded as a jackass or tourist.

Expect that you will also have doubles at least twice while you’re in Trinidad for 72 hours. You definitely will NOT be sober every time you eat doubles in Trinidad. Every visit to Trinidad has two mandatory ‘doubles” stops

Even ordering from a “Doubles man” is the simplest of things. You can order one or multiple “Doubles” and there is no such things as one “double” – asking for one “double” is asking for massive laughter at your ignorance.

The singular and plural of “Doubles” is “Doubles”. 

As for the “how to order doubles”, you know only need to know 5 terms, tourists need know the first two terms.

  1. Nothing – Plain, boring and the mark of the utter tourist or someone with ulcers.
  2. Slight – a touch of pepper and sweet chutney – typical tourist order
  3. Regular – Typical Trini order – a little bit of all chutneys and pepper sauce
  4. Heavy/Plenty – Venturing into no man’s land, unless you the know “Doubles man” chutneys well and know that he doesn’t have a really hot pepper sauce.
  5. Kill It – The mark of the expert white rum drinker aka Alcoholic (no more taste buds), the mark of the “Iron Stomach and Rectum” or a “Doubles man” with the mildest hot pepper sauce possible. The “Doubles man” will give you a slight nod of recognition.

Chances are that the doubles man will look something like this!!!

3. Caribs and a couple shots of 1919 and one shot of 1824

I love my scotch. That’s a fact! Full Stop!

I also love great rum … and Trinidad has two very fine rums from Angostura … you absolutely must have some. I’ve enclosed the following video reviews. I’m not so stoked on Carib … since I’m not a huge beer fan, but if you’re in Trinidad and you don’t have a Carib, then you’re with shitty friends or stupid foreigners … either way, you’ve missed an essential part of the experience.

Bonus points : You should have a Carib in a run down “rum shop” … there should be nothing on the walls but old Carib girl posters and nothing inside except a couple chairs and old pool table.

  • Angostura 1919
  • Angostura 1824 :



4. Chicken Roti and a Red Solo

Roti is a big deal in Trinidad. Seriously big deal! I even have a section of this blog where I do Toronto Roti Reviews.

If you happen to live in Toronto, New York or anywhere in Florida, you’re going to find a decent roti, but it will be tougher to find that “Red Solo”. You could also pair your roti with a Sorrel Shandy … but I’m a traditionalist and I go for the Red Solo. Trinis call this soft drink a “Red Solo” … because which Trini says “May I have a Kola Champagne soft drink please?” … yeah, ummm … NONE! It’s called a “Red Solo” because the colour is obviously RED. Nuff said!

The perfect partner for a Roti … DO NOT BUY IT IN THE PLASTIC BOTTLE … unless you want AIDS, HEP-C or a Plastic taste in your soft drink (Note : AIDS and HEP-C refer to other weird flavors in my book)

Here’s a note from Uncommon Caribbean on this…

Some time ago, I made a case for the sweet red wonder that is Sorrel Shandy Carib being the best drink pairing for a nice, hot roti. This contention was, like all of my reviews on food, drinks, hotels, etc., based on my own personal tastes. According to tradition, though, it’s also only half right.

As many of my Trini friends and family were quick to remind me soon after that Sorrel Shandy post, ah roti and ah red is, indeed, the time-honored roti pairing traditionally favored in the birthplace of my favorite food, Trinidad & Tobago. Only thing is the right red for most isn’t a Shandy. It’s a Solo.

Every bit as ridiculously red and sorrel-sweet as my beloved Sorrel Shandy, Red Solo has been Trinidad & Tobago’s favorite soft drink treat to pair with roti since the 1950s, though the company’s roots go back a bit further than that.

In the end, I think that a “Red Solo” is the national drink of Trinidad & Tobago. Ask for it by name with your chicken or goat roti.

Another note for those beef lovers … If you’re a fan of great beef, don’t bother with a beef roti … you’ll be sad with the result. The flavour will be great but chances are that you’ll get tiny chunks of strip or some other poor cut of beef.

Roti is food for the masses and if you’re expecting some fancy type meal … then you’re in for surprise.

NOTE : DO NOT EAT YOUR ROTI WITH A KNIFE AND FORK …seriously!!! It’s pretty touristy, shameful and the epic mark of someone completely new to Trinidad.


Here’s a list of places … completely copied from Trinichow

#1 - Good roti shops include Mona’s in Marabella, opposite the Police Station. Next time you go to make an accident report, buy a roti one time.  Mona’s is well-known and you can’t go wrong here. 

#2 – Shaffies Catering in Marabella near the Marabella cemetery makes roti on order.  The buss-up-shut is silky smooth and delicious – you could eat the roti by itself.  This is mainly due to the ghee.  One roti could feed about 5-6 adults.

# 3 - Staying in Marabella, there’s also the well known Amin’s Roti Shop.  Here you get buss-up-shut and dhalpuri roti.  (868) 658-1691.

#4 - On Todd Street, Les Efforts East, Sando.  S&D Roti Shop is jam up every day at lunch time.  You lucky if you get roti or food after 1:30pm.  Roti, dhal and duck is real trouble.  S&D is very breezy and open, real cool and relaxed ambiance.

#5 - On Matilda Road, off Matilda Junction in my hometown Princes Town, is Quilly’s – also known as “Kresh” to anyone up there.  Great tasting roti with chicken, goat and duck.  And, usually available up to about 4pm.  Remember the calypso with “She gone Matilda Road, She gone to look for obeahman,” that is where I talking about.

#6 – Karamath’s Roti on Coffee Street, Sando.  This roti shop is the mainstay of San Fernandians and has been around since!  They’re open late in the night and is the only place in Sando you could get home-food so late.  Here you have the interesting ‘Piper Roti’ which is basically chicken neck and back.  I don’t know the etymology but I suppose you had to be real tight to eat this.  (868) 653-1142.

Best Roti in South (alphabetical order)

Best Roti in the West and Port of Spain Area (alphabetical order)

  • Don’s Roti Shop (Petit Valley)
  • Dopson’s Roti Shop (Newtown, Port of Spain )
  • Hott Shoppe (St. James) or Patraj Roti Shop (Port of Spain)
  • Shiann’s Food Palace (Woodbrook)
  • Upstairs Towncenter Mall on Frederick Street (Port of Spain)

Best Roti in East-West Corridor/Chaguanas (alphabetical order)

  • Highway Roti Shoppe (Freeport)
  • Hot Roti on Lyndon Street (Curepe)
  • Lovey’s (Tunapuna)
  • Pamela’s Roti (Chaguanas)
  • Sylvie’s Roti Shop, Back Chain Street (San Juan)
  • Wings Roti Shop (Tunapuna)

5. Bake and Shark

I have very specific thoughts about “Bake and Shark”. It’s supposed to be Shark meat along in a fried float sandwich. Regardless of what you think is inside the sandwich … it might be Shark meat or it might be Catfish … either way it’s ridiculously tasty and if you’re heading for the MANDATORY Maracas Bay visit, then you’re going to have one.

6. Trinidadian Chinese Food

There are a lot of Chinese restaurants in Trinidad. Like a lot … and for the most part, they’re pretty decent. If you’re looking for classical Chinese cuisine, then you need to stop and don’t eat any Chinese food in Trinidad. However, if you’re looking for a uniquely Trinidadian slant complete with a million chilis, then Trini Chinese Food will be your favorite meal ever. It’s as addictive as Hakka cuisine, but even spicier … Trinis love their heat!

Trini Chinese food

Trini Chinese food … you’ll note the quantity of hot chilis on the plates.


This was probably the best spicy crispy skin pork I’ve ever had!!! If you’re in Edinburgh Village, Chaguanas … I’ll tell you where it is … but I’m not sharing easily!

7. Corn Soup

Corn soup is Trinidadian comfort food. It’s a complete meal in a cup – it has carbs, protein (sketchy protein). It also must be bought from a roadside vendor outside a “fete” or party. Nothing else is the real thing. There’s something about seeing tat Well, that’s if you buy it from a roadside vendor, like most people do. And just the mere mention of it conjures up memories of Trinidad Carnival. This is the premiere after fete food, warm liquid love to set your feet on the right path home, the carnival pick-me-up. As you can no doubt tell I am a big fan of Corn Soup, but believe me when I say that it is also the favorite of many carnival masqueraders, Jouvert revelers, and partygoers; the ill, the weary, and the wounded; and anyone else who craves delicious Caribbean comfort food.

Pour that Corn Soup!!!

Corn Soup is in essence a Sancoche, which in Trinidad is a savory split pea based soup featuring a selection of ground provisions and rooty vegetables, which could include any of the following: eddoes, sweet potato, dasheen, cassava or manioc (root crop of the Caribs), carrots, green fig or plantain, pumpkin and the like, along with some form of meat, usually salted pig tail. And more recently, as the name Corn Soup implies, sections of corn have been introduced as the featured ingredient.

Another satisfied customer …

7. Aloo pies, Saheenas, Pholourie and Kachories

The Indian influence in Trinidad is strong … you can tell by the scent of hot, boiling oil that seems to radiate everywhere in Trinidad. In fact, most newcomers say that Trinidad only smells like food. You’ll want to make a pilgrimage to South Trinidad … preferably to the towns of Debe (pronounced Day-Bay) or Penal (pronounced Pee-nal) for your buffet of fried Indian delicacies … you might want to take along a defibrillator also. Eat one of everything … your belly and your brain will thank you … ignore the complaining of your heart though … hearts can be wusses sometimes.

You’ll want to eat one of everything in this glass case.

– Aloo pies: (Fried dough stuffed with seasoned potatoes, curried chick peas (Channa), mango pickles (Kutchela) and two types of mango chutneys)
- Baiganie : (Fried dough stuffed with strips of whole eggplant, curried chick peas (Channa), mango pickles (Kutchela) and hot sauce – like an eggplant fritte
– Saheena:  (Rolled Dasheen leaves with chick pea dough st, curried chick peas (Channa), mango pickles (Kutchela) and hot sauce
– Kachorie : This is my least favority and it’s still great with pepper and Kutchela. It’s a spicier Falafel … no other description required.
– Pholourie – Fried dough balls eaten with Mango Chutney … or any decent chutney available
– Multiple doubles … no explanation required

8. Everything else … Roast Pork, Souse, Pastelles, Cow Heel Soup, Black Pudding, Gyros, Callaloo, Pelau, Crab & Dumplings …etc etc

If you’re in Trinidad for 72 hours, you probably will not have time to find space in your digestive tract to have anything else. If you have a chance to try anything above … ensure that you’re with a Trini who’s been around for a while

9. What not to have … if you’re a Foodie

If you live in North America … don’t bother having dishes that you can have in North America.

  • Sushi : For example … under no circumstances should you eat Sushi in Trinidad. If you do, then you’re an idiot for wasting your money. There is nothing on the planet short of Sukyabashi Jiro opening in Trinidad that will convince me otherwise.
  • Steak : Why bother paying twice the price for some crappy Canada Select, non dry aged beef? Seriously!!!
  • Burgers : See the above, with the steak/beef. Don’t do it … there are too many other amazing dishes to have in Trinidad.
  • Pizza : It’s awful … also bonus shit points … Trinis put ketchup and mustard on their pizzas. There is some “gourmet” pizzas ala thin crust etc … but why search Trinidad for semi decent pizza.
  • Korean : Seriously … ? Trinis don’t have a culture of eating pickled cabbage, sprouts or fish. Why would you want to eat this in Trinidad, when no one will order it. Korean hot pot … see my note above on not eating beef in Trinidad.
  • GOURMET DOUBLES: Under no circumstance should you be eating a Chicken Doubles, Pork Doubles, Goat Doubles or some other ridiculous bastardization of doubles. If I could go out and slap the vendor who was selling this nonsense … I would!


10. Who not to have a Trini food tour with …

A Trinidadian who doesn’t sound Trinidadian. Here’s renowned local chef Debra Sardinha-Metivier explaining Trinidadian street food. She is an excellent chef and trailblazer in Trinidad … however I’m embarrassed at the poverty of her explanations in this clip (She also incorrect in her explanations about Dasheen vs Callaloo). The Trinidadian accent is one of the sexiest in the world … google it! I cringe everytime I hear a well educated Trinidadian speak like an American.

So … if you have a food tour of Trinidad … ensure your Trini guide or Trini friend speaks like a Trinidadian, otherwise at best, you’ll get a poor experience … at worst, the vendor will think you’re an idiot tourist with a “pseudo-Trinidadian” or “Foreign Used and Abused Trinidadian (FUAT)” or “Fresh Water Trinidadian” and more than likely put some other special additives in your food. Trinidadians have a special dislike for Trinis who pretend to be something that they’re not. You can read my article on “How to piss off a Trinidadian” for further ways to be successful in this task.

Also expect service charges for food in restaurants. It’s stupid and I hate it … and I always get them to remove it. I also never patronize that establishment again … so be warned!

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Racism as a Travelling Trinidadian. http://www.rishiray.com/racism-travelling-trinidadian/#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed http://www.rishiray.com/racism-travelling-trinidadian/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:08:18 +0000 http://www.rishiray.com/?p=5619 Everyone is racist. Get over it and move on! Now that I’ve said it, we can move on and talk about travelling as a “visible minority” or “person of colour” or racism as a travelling Trinidadian. My definition of racism is a bit fluid. People are naturally drawn to what they know and understand … ...

The post Racism as a Travelling Trinidadian. appeared first on Ah Trini Travelogue.

Everyone is racist. Get over it and move on!

Now that I’ve said it, we can move on and talk about travelling as a “visible minority” or “person of colour” or racism as a travelling Trinidadian. My definition of racism is a bit fluid. People are naturally drawn to what they know and understand … which has led to many theories on the nature of prejudice. I view racism as an extreme bias. My favorite one would be “ingroup/outgroup bias”. Here’s an excerpt from a short post (you can find 1000’s of social psychology posts on the topic … or you can do a useless first degree in Psychology as I did ;) )

When most people think of racism and other forms of bias, they picture one group having negative feelings toward another group. Although this dynamic certainly takes place, research since the 1970s has found that many group biases are more a function of favoritism toward one’s own group than negative feelings toward other groups. As Marilyn Brewer (1999, p. 438) put it in her summary of the evidence, “Ultimately, many forms of discrimination and bias may develop not because outgroups are hated, but because positive emotions such as admiration, sympathy, and trust are reserved for the ingroup.” The tendency of people to favor their own group, known as “ingroup bias,” has been found in cultures around the world (Aberson, Healy, & Romero, 2000; Brewer, 1979, 1999).

One of the most startling aspects of ingroup bias is how easily it is triggered. This finding was documented in a series of experiments in Bristol, England, by Henri Tajfel (1970, 1981). Tajfel and his colleagues invented what is now known as the “minimal group procedure” — an experimental technique in which people who have never met before are divided into groups on the basis of minimal information (e.g., a preference for one type of painting versus another, or even just the toss of a coin). What Tajfel discovered is that groups formed on the basis of almost any distinction are prone to ingroup bias. Within minutes of being divided into groups, people tend to see their own group as superior to other groups, and they will frequently seek to maintain an advantage over other groups.

If you’re travelling around the world, you’re going to meet many people who don’t share or understand your viewpoints. I have friends who have completely different and contrary philosophical and political views to me. It doesn’t make me dislike them, I just accept that we can’t have the same view point. As you’re going to have different friends, you’re going to meet people with different educational backgrounds and world views. How many times have you heard a stereotype being referred to or someone stereotyping people based on one experience they’ve had or read about or heard 3rd hand about. Here’s some actual statements I’ve been privy to over the years … are they true or have elements of truth in them? Think about it!

  • Chinese people can’t drive, be careful crossing the road as they mightn’t see you
  • Germans are Nazis. Are you sure you’ll be safe during the World Cup?
  • Make sure and over tip in Italy. You don’t the Italians thinking you’re a typical cheap Indian.
  • Do you speak English? (This happened to me in the US once, as I was talking on the phone)
  • Are you sure you want to go to Guatemala? You’ll die over there.
  • Don’t walk in Detroit/St. Louis/Baltimore downtown at night. Black people will shoot you.

Bad things, happen everywhere. More bad things happen in some places more than others.

As a Trinidadian of Indian descent, I can definitively say that I’ve never had a racist experience while travelling across 90+ countries.

As a “brown” guy with super straight hair, slightly “Asian” eyes, “Hispanic” nose, West Indian volume and large arms, I’ve found that people don’t know how to treat me or how to deal with me. I’m also very forthright and opinionated, so maybe that also ensures that I don’t have racist experience lest there be a consequence. It does help that I look like I can find in everywhere except Scandinavia. The following picture will hopefully add to the point.

How do I look here?

How about here?

How about here?

Or finally here?

That being said, I have friends and fellow travel bloggers who have had racist experiences but it would be unfair and unwise to say that the all of <insert country> is racist based on my couple of days wandering through. As mentioned at the beginning of the post, I believe that we all have our biases and even if a whole country *were* racist, if the landscapes, architecture and scenery are worth it, then I would happily go back to explore further once my personal safety wasn’t in jeopardy.

Why should you let someone else’s bigotry, stupidity, immaturity or ignorance stop you from enjoying all the world has to offer?

In travelling to Uzbekistan, the border control guys weren’t the most friendly to start with. However, I had to ask myself … “How many Trinidadians, has an Uzbek border guard ever met before?” Chances are that I was the first Trinidadian that they had ever met, so this was an opportunity to educate these guys.  They questioned my intentions and how I was to get around. I pointed to my Russian comrade and he indicated that I was a wealthy traveller and I hired him to be my guide . They were understandably impressed and provided ZERO resistance from that point in time. In fact, I had an easier time in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan because I was a “visible” minority … actually I had an AMAZING time there. This in a country that people thought I might be killed in. BTW… here is my step by step process to getting in as a Trini.

I firmly believe that if you go looking for something, you will find it. If you expect racism, you will experience it. Just like if you go looking for a fight, you almost end up finding one. For instance, this article “8 of the worst countries for black people to travel” … this is an awful post, since it paints a horrible picture of everyone one of these countries and I’ve been to every country mentioned in that horrible post.

Also, you’ll find many of the “racism while travelling” post written by Black American Women travelling. As a result of the history of the United States, people of color and whites alike have been rendered into sensitivity machines, often analyzing things at a level of sociological sophistication that may not be of issue in some other countries. Also, bear in mind that every nation has its own respective history and deals with race and ethnicity accordingly. Don’t attempt to color their history with your own. Think of these things before you jump the gun.

Here’s a checklist to help with an assessment and worth considering the following (I’ve lifted the previous paragraphy and next list directly from Racialicious – you should check out that site!)

  1. Most travel guides will likely leave out information about the reception, or lack thereof, you may experience as a person of color.
  2. Expect the unexpected, and don’t go into the situation assuming your experience will match those of your white peers and/or friends and family of color. Your command of the native language, body language, familiarity with the culture, style of dress, etc can alter how you are perceived and treated.
  3. Don’t always assume racism is at play.
  4. Find out what you can do if you ARE a victim of racism. There are several anti-racist groups that hold workshops and do outreach based on race-related issues. Sites like this may be worth checking out prior to taking a trip.
  5. Reconcile your prior experiences with those of the present. The United States and/or your home country more likely than not has witnessed acts of racism, many of which continue. Don’t assume that it’s only the country you are visiting that has problems. If we think of the Amadou Diallo case or the Jena 6 or Vincent Chin, the U.S. is a scary and ugly place for POC too. It doesn’t make racism here or elsewhere any better, but it definitely makes you realize that every country has its problems, so you can’t let a few instances of racism frighten you away.
  6. If traveling by yourself and feel threatened as a result of your race/ethnicity, try to remove yourself from the situation, if possible and find a place where you feel more welcome. You may even want to try to get to know other people like yourself in that country, depending on the duration of your stay, to get tips on places to avoid, how to behave in the case of a threat, etc.
  7. Do your homework. Before traveling anywhere, ask around and look up information detailing the experiences of people like yourself. As I mentioned before, their experience may not entirely mirror the one in which you are about to partake, but it may offer some helpful advice.
  8. Have a good time, despite any adversity you may encounter. If you have spent the money to go somewhere else, you might as well try to get as much out of it as you can!

While it hasn’t been an issue for me, has your race ever been an issue when it came to your travels? Have you ever been reluctant to travel to a place because of your racial background? Drop a line in the comments section below … but before you do, here’s how not to talk about race or think that you’re the victim of a racist experience – someone throw this child a book.

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Throwback to a Trini in Scotland 2004 with bad photography http://www.rishiray.com/throwback-trini-scotland-2004-bad-photography/#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed http://www.rishiray.com/throwback-trini-scotland-2004-bad-photography/#comments Sat, 16 Aug 2014 18:23:00 +0000 http://www.rishiray.com/?p=5611 I was having some thoughts about the Scotch tour I had in Scotland, which was my first really great drinking experience and to my wife who has some English and Scottish in her bloodline … and I was thinking that it’s about time to start planning a trip back to the land of my favorite ...

The post Throwback to a Trini in Scotland 2004 with bad photography appeared first on Ah Trini Travelogue.

I was having some thoughts about the Scotch tour I had in Scotland, which was my first really great drinking experience and to my wife who has some English and Scottish in her bloodline … and I was thinking that it’s about time to start planning a trip back to the land of my favorite alcohol. 10 years ago, I had my first real digital camera and while the photo quality is pretty average in terms of my shots today, I can’t help but giggle at my style back then. My friend Avinash and I ended up doing a three day tour from Glasgow to Edinburgh and Stirling with a random stop in Inverness years later as I was flying to France.

10 years later, I’m sure all the places that I shot on those trips would now be completely different. What makes me laugh aside from the horrible colouring of the pictures would be my inability to create a single point of focus within the pictures. I wanted to capture as much detail as possible. Now I realize that trying to squeeze everything into a picture doesn’t do anyone looking at your pictures any favours.

I love taking pictures of stained glass but this one I took was just horrible since I used a flash.

Note to anyone taking pictures of stained glass … using a flash damages the glass and makes your picture look washed out.

What was I thinking here? Although I was in much better shape then for sure!


Here I am at the Stirling Castle doing my best impression of an Indian Bride playing peekaboo

I do like this old picture of the great hall though

Do you have pictures from back in the day that you want to redo? It seems like every year I have more and more pictures I like to go back and reshoot.

This one reminds me of a bad episode of Doctor Who

Oh what I would have done for a tripod and ambient flash in this shot!

Where have you done some bad photography and would like to reshoot?

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What to do in PEI #10 : Not go to Old Home Week? Seriously! http://www.rishiray.com/what-to-do-in-pei-10-not-go-to-old-home-week-hmmm/#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed http://www.rishiray.com/what-to-do-in-pei-10-not-go-to-old-home-week-hmmm/#comments Sat, 16 Aug 2014 02:09:51 +0000 http://www.rishiray.com/?p=5602 Prince Edward Island in the summer has some amazing places, experiences and event to see and attend. From the summer we’ve spent so far, I’ve loved almost every part and event in PEI. Old Home Week though … at least the Exhibition part of it, ranks as my least favorite part. This being said, if ...

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Prince Edward Island in the summer has some amazing places, experiences and event to see and attend. From the summer we’ve spent so far, I’ve loved almost every part and event in PEI. Old Home Week though … at least the Exhibition part of it, ranks as my least favorite part.

This being said, if you’re

Then I would really recommend taking a stroll into Old Home Week. Seriously though … if I didn’t win back my admission and parking at the nearby Red Sands Casino, I would have been furious with myself for going, even as a tourist event.

This was actually my favorite thing from Old Home Week … Those red sand sculptures are pretty awesome

Getting into the fair was definitely a straightforward and easy process. There are homes around the site that all turn themselves into parking lots for $4 or $5 … if you’re willing to walk for 3 mins, then you could find parking for $2 at people’s homes. I do love how kitsch that part is … Islanders inventing another way to make a buck! When almost everyone seems to have a 1/2 acre of land with their houses here, why not put it to good use?


Note all the previously used punches … Note that I didn’t use someone else’s pass, I’m just taking a picture for this blog

If you’re really lucky, you might even find someone who will sell you the use of their weekly “Old Home Week” pass for a significant discount. The running joke in PEI is that everyone is named Gallant and if I did happen to use someone else’s pass, I would have been a Gallant according to that pass … I’ll say that I’ve not met a Brown skinned Gallant on my trip here so far.

According to the CBC … everyone is named Gallant, and I did find the other PEI EI PI clips more entertaining than Old Home Week.




After paying the full price to get in …(!!!) then it was just really a walking tour of the entire fair.

There were a lot of restrictions on those fences… but we might have used the pass entrance to get it.

This was the best picture inside the fair …

Hey PEI Old Home Week organizers, if you’re really looking to have more people come in, then you should have an all you can ride price or something. The idea of paying for blocks of coupons and then having each ride cost 3-5 coupons each, is a bit stupid.

For instance, you can buy 40 coupons for 40$ but then when each ride costs a couple coupons, then it really becomes a no-decision to skip them all

You will get some great pictures though

There was a reason that the back row of stalls were all empty … well I have my own theories of course

Definitely not the fullest place around

At least you end up trackside to watch the horses pass by … and then you could have headed to the Casino to play some blackjack on their two tables

From here on in, it was all about farming and farming related stuff …

After all the farming stuff, it was time to head on out and head to Victoria Row for some drinks on the patio. Now that’s something worth writing home about!

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My 138 item travel bucket list http://www.rishiray.com/my-new-travel-bucket-list/#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed http://www.rishiray.com/my-new-travel-bucket-list/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 20:14:14 +0000 http://www.rishiray.com/?p=5597 Every year, I try to update my old bucket list page … and it gets tougher and tougher each year. As I knock things off my bucket list, I add harder and harder things to the list. Years ago, I thought I would chronicle my experience/bucket list just like so many others before me … ...

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Every year, I try to update my old bucket list page … and it gets tougher and tougher each year. As I knock things off my bucket list, I add harder and harder things to the list. Years ago, I thought I would chronicle my experience/bucket list just like so many others before me … nothing special really, just a way for my family and friends to keep track of me and also to answer the questions – since I’m inherently lazy about recapping my daily, weekly, monthly routines. It would also answer the questions that people would pose on the travel blog or my facebook …

  •     What are you up to these days?
  •     What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done lately?
  •     Where is the most interesting place you’ve been lately?
  •     How is the food in <Insert random place>?

I also thought that this bucket list would be a static entry, that I could fixate on, achieve and then be on my merry way to some other complete use of my time. Now after 10+ years, I’ve come to realize that I will forever be working on my to do list – the latest list for work, home, travel, friends, and health. Make no mistake – having some type of list is absolutely essential for your happiness … well at least it’s helped in my happiness.

  •     One cannot be grateful, for which they don’t know they have
  •     One cannot learn, unless one remembers the mistakes they have made
  •     The richest people are those, who know that they can live with very little.(Except excellent 30 yr old Scotch!!)

Travelling has helped me to realize that the only thing worthwhile, is trying to live the best life for yourself or at least giving it the best you can! I’ve been blessed with great family, friends and people who have helped me along the way, all of those, one cannot take for granted.

In the end, a major component of my happiness, is the ability to make choices … to make any choice I want and make no mistake – we all have choices. Like the sun will rise every morning, one always has a choice about everything – some choices will obviously have higher and longer lasting impact by limiting or creating future choice opportunities.

Choice opportunities for everyone includes

  • To live the way you want – being jealous of someone who is living the way you want, is an utter weakness – since you’ve given your choice away to someone who doesn’t even realize the way you feel.
  • To be positive or to be negative – I personally like complaining, but it’s also because I like to hear myself talk for no reason – plain truth!
  • To choose to see the glass half empty or half full – I like being an optimistic, confident pessimist
  • To love is a choice – one which takes a lot of work for most people – since the majority of us are truly selfish at heart
  • To give is a choice – whether of your time, money, effort, energy or thought.

Your life’s goals are achieved on a daily basis … everyday I try, and fail to put in the necessary work on my lists, but the learning is in trying. So for today (August 14th 2014), here’s my latest updated bucket list post … the items in RED are still to be completed

  1. Play in Trinidad Carnival played J’Ouvert and Mas in Trinidad, gotten drunk on great rum on the streets of Port of Spain to the greatest soca and calypso.
  2. Walked where Jesus is said to have walked to his crucifixion, had a falafel the size of my head with two ice cream scoops of hummus on Ben-Yehuda St and watched the Sunrise and Sunset over the Sea of Galilee.
  3. Drove a Golf Cart on the airport runway in San Pedro, Belize and then crashed it into a mangrove swamp. Never mind that I’m 30+ years old and I have no drivers’ licence.
  4. Kissed under the Eiffel Tower and had wine on the Champs Elysee, because who has watched an romantic comedy and dreamt about doing exactly what you saw in the movies?
  5. Was in the stands to witness every match in Trinidad and Tobago’s World Cup campaign in Germany and cried when the National Anthem was played and then went to an impromptu soca concert in the middle of Dortmund after Trinidad tied Sweden 0-0 and acting like had won the World Cup.
  6. Painted a “beneficial” brick at 4 am in the middle of Prague – who pays to paint a brick in Prague – a drunk Trinidadian of course.
  7. Been in a dancing boat rocking out to Mozart in Salzburg – any river cruise from Salzburg and you get the loveliness.
  8. Gotten kicked out a hotel in Milan while being loud and rowdy – World Cup and drunk Trinidadians … need I say more?
  9. Was ripped off by having lunch in Ginza but then having raw unagi in Tsukiji Market the following morning kinda made up for this … but only partially!
  10. Been laughed at by a crazy sausage guy in Vienna, who made the spiciest dish I have ever had – CurryWurst with raw Capsaicin.
  11. Learnt how to make Chapulines in Oaxaca with tons of Limes and Chili and then ate them all.
  12. Diverted enroute from Trinidad to Canada, to St Kitts, to surprise one of my best friends who lived there, then got trashed drunk, and got the Airport Manager to write me a letter to explain my extra delay to my boss at work. Boss calls Airport Manager, and still doesn’t believe my story to this day.
  13. Went to work by taking a ferry from downtown San Francisco to Sausalito and passing Alcatraz every morning.
  14. Had Dim Sum in Hong Kong harbour.
  15. Whoopie time on the grass in Old Port in Montreal.
  16. Gambled with Thai hookers while playing “Hit the nail into a block of wood” in Phuket
  17. Had Belgian Chocolates and beer in Brussels and ended up in an impromptu parade with Spaniards, after Spain came back to beat Tunisia on a late Raul goal.
  18. Watched cricket in the Antigua Recreation Ground, home of Brian Lara’s two world records and Sir Vivian Richards.
  19. Went up the Matterhorn twice! Had a champagne toast the second time with a bunch of Indians, called my parents from the top of Europe and this is what I got….
    • <Rishi> : “Morning dad, I’m at the top of Europe, overlooking the Matterhorn”
    • <Dad> : <grumbles> …. “Mahnin, Rish! What?? You’re on top of the Matterhorn…. Hmm that’s nice but I have to open the shop now, talk to you later!!!!!”
    • <Rishi> : “but …. It’s the Matterhorn”
    • <Dad> : “It’s a matter of bills”
  20. Been in a car going at 270km/h on the Autobahn, while looking and moving to Ethiopian and Eritrean music videos on the dashboard, with three Ethiopians.
  21. Had gun pulled on me by soldiers at the Palestinian border, and then upon knowing I was from Trinidad, having them congratulate me on “escaping” Trinidad!
  22. Buying my God-son’s first pair of Timberlands for him in the British Virgin Islands and pretending to be a posh millionaire at a resort in Virgin Gorda.
  23. Learned about the Torah from an Arab in Montreal, while having strong Moroccan coffee and smoking Green Apple shisha.
  24. Took one of my best friends to Pigeon Point, Tobago and circled the entire island in one day with her.
  25. Eating a Bake and Shark at Maracas Bay, Trinidad, with lots of pepper, pineapple, cole slaw and coriander.
  26. Playing hide and seek with Buddhist monks, watching the sunset from the top of the main temple at Angkor Wat.
  27. Getting sunburnt at the top of Masada and then going to cool off in the Dead Sea, then learning why no one actually swims in there. Feeling salt crystallize on your face, lips and in your eyeballs is not the greatest feeling in the world, but a cool story.
  28. Watching the sunrise from the top of Tikal and then going for a night cruise with some complete strangers on a riverboat in Lake Aitilan.
  29. Feeding the Koi at Kinkakuji
  30. Flying kites with some Puerto Ricans children in San Juan.
  31. Drinking Scotch on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and avoiding William Wallace in a blue tartan. My love affair with scotch started here. Fast forward to March 2011 to American Express calling Diane about a $954 USD charge for one bottle of Balvenie 30 yr old and one bottle of Glenmorangie 25 yr old at the duty free shop in Hong Kong Airport
  32. Driving from Las Vegas with some of my friends after losing money on Black Jack to go see the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam and then driving back in the same day to win back the money I lost and then some on a casino tour
  33. Gone shopping and snorkeling in Margarita Island. Actually ripped off one of the local bars with my lack of Spanish and kissed a local in a bar there.
  34. Met a Mexican Lawyer traveling in Toronto, we fell in love for 3 days and then she was gone to her boyfriend in New York because destiny hates me – fast forward to June 2008, when I met Diane … destiny works in strange but great ways. Destiny is also a stripper in St. Louis and Montreal and Toronto and Panama … you get the idea.
  35. Midnight picnic with friends on the edge of the Amalfi jetty, knocking back Raspberry Vodka and Amalfi Limoncello!!
  36. Singing “Volare” in the Blue Grotto in Capri
  37. Ending up a Papal Mass at Santa Maria Maggiore for Corpus Christi and seeing the Pope, completely by accident, instead of going drinking at some bar.
  38. Climbed the Cupola at St Peter’s Basilica.
  39. Partying with Drag Queens in the Dominican Republic
  40. Extreme 4Wheel driving at the Fontur,the North-Easternmost point of Iceland, 2 km away from the Arctic Circle, dodging huge rocks, battling 100km an hour winds
  41. Crossing a residual glacial stream at an Ice Tongue of Vatnajokull and falling into a sinkhole, but thankfully getting out in time before it swallowed me up
  42. Kissing while walking over the Brooklyn Bridge – blame Sex in the City : The Movie
  43. Went sea kayaking through underground caves to an atoll in Pattaya
  44. Been to Kingston Mines in Chicago for good southern cooking and some authentic Blues music,highlighted by an old homeless, “hard on her time” Blues singer coming in for an impromptu performance capped.
  45. Sampling the best jerk chicken and pork at Scotchies in Jamaica
  46. Stealing into Brazil to see Foz de Iguacu, without a visa and having conversations with a Argentine bus driver only with eyebrows
  47. Having 5 choripans in Retiro train station at 4am in Buenos Aires, with a ton of “chimi”, much to the disgust of the local porteno worker without knowing any spanish
  48. Watching the sunrise while walking along Ipanema beach.
  49. Making friends at the Baldi Hot Springs in Arenal, Costa Rica … then getting to a hotel drunk, waking up the owners for Seafood Paella, who then shipped us off to one of their friend’s house to watch the Arenal Volcano erupt and brighten the night sky
  50. Sailing in a hot air balloon watching the sunrise over Cappadocia
  51. Live abroad for at least 1 year … I live in Canada from Trinidad :)
  52. Have a travel story published in a magazine …Gadling.com (2006)
  53. Attend the FIFA World Cup with Trinidad as a participant … Germany 2006
  54. Attend a Super Bowl
  55. See the Champions League Final
  56. See a World Cup cricket match in the West Indies … (Antigua 2008)
  57. Have breakfast at Tsukiji Market … (Tokyo 2007)
  58. Climb an active volcano : Mt Pinatubo, Philippines (2011)
  59. Climb a dormant volcano : Myvatn (Iceland : 2008) (Almost getting blown off Mt Hverfjall by 120km/h winds and falling into the volcano)
  60. See an iceberg : Jokulsarlon, Iceland : 2008
  61. Visit all 7 modern Wonders of the World : Completed 2011
    1. Empire State Building.
      Finished in 1931, it towers 1,250 ft over New York City. Until the first tower of the World Trade Center was finished in 1972, it was the world’s tallest building.
    2. Itaipu Dam.
      Built by Brazil and Paraguay on the Paraná River, the dam is the world’s largest hydroelectric power plant. Completed in 1991, it took 16 years to build this series of dams whose length totals 7,744 m. It used 15 times more concrete than the Channel Tunnel.
    3. CN Tower.
      In 1976, the tower became the world’s tallest freestanding structure. It looms about one-third of a mile high (1,815 ft) above Toronto, Canada. A glass floor on the observation deck lets you look 342 m down to the ground.
    4. Panama Canal.
      It took 34 years to create this 50-mile-long canal across the Isthmus of Panama. The amount of digging required and the size of its locks helped make it the most expensive project in American history at that time—and the most deadly: About 80,000 people died during construction (most from disease).
    5. Channel Tunnel.
      Known as the Chunnel, it links France and England. It is 31 mi long, and 23 of those miles are 150 ft beneath the seabed of the English Channel. High-speed trains whiz through its side-by-side tubes.
    6. Netherlands North Sea Protection Works.
      Because the Netherlands is below sea level, a series of dams, floodgates, and surge barriers have been built to keep the sea from flooding the country during storms. The biggest part of the project was a two-mile-long moveable surge barrier across an estuary finished in 1986. It is made of 65 concrete piers each weighing 18,000 tons. It has been said that the project is nearly equal in scale to the Great Wall of China.
    7. The Golden Gate Bridge
      Connecting San Francisco and Marin County in 1937, for many years this was the longest suspension bridge in world. Experts thought that winds, ocean currents, and fog would make it impossible to build. It took about four years to complete the beautiful 1.2-mile-long bridge. It is held by 80,000 mi worth of steel wire, and the cables that link the two towers are 36.5 inches in diameter—the biggest ever made.
  62. Visit all 5 great waterfalls in the world
    1. Niagara
    2. Iguazu
    3. Kaiteur
    4. Angel
    5. Victoria
  63. Go Ziplining : Costa Rica, Collingwood, and numerous others
  64. Show up at the airport with my bag and passport and take the first available international flight … lost count, but before consulting, this was a dream.
  65. Travel solo in a country where I don’t speak the language : Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Argentina
  66. Swim or dip my foot in all five oceans : Completed December 2013
    1. Pacific
    2. Atlantic
    3. Indian
    4. Arctic
    5. Antarctic/Southern
  67. Set foot on all 7 continents
    1. North America
    2. South America
    3. Europe
    4. Asia
    5. Australia
    6. Africa
    7. Antarctica
  68. Take a hot air balloon ride : Cappadocia (Turkey 2012)
  69. Float in the Dead Sea : Israel 2007
  70. Go on a coffee tour around the world : 2012
  71. Spend the night in the Presidential Suite anywhere in the world (Done many time over … latest was in Helsinki 2012)
  72. Attend an Indian wedding … too many times.
  73. Visit all 13 Canadian provinces (Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut)
  74. Ride a horse : Philippines 2011
  75. Ride an elephant : Israel 2007
  76. Throw a dart on a map and travel there : Morocco 2010
  77. Stay in a hut over the ocean : Maldives 2011
  78. Eat chocolate in Belgium: Brussels 2008
  79. Eat a taco, drink tequila and mescal with the worm in Mexico : Mexico City 2009
  80. Walk on a glacier : Iceland 2009
  81. Do nothing in the Seychelles or the Maldives : Maldives 2011
  82. Overnight in a Cave Hotel : Cappadocia 2012
  83. Overnight in a Ice Hotel : Quebec City 2004
  84. Head to Germany for Oktoberfest and drink beer with the locals
  85. Run with the bulls in Pamplona
  86. Play mas in Trinidad … like duh!!
  87. See the city of temples at Angkor Wat : Siam Reap 2009
  88. Walk through Athens and climb to the Parthenon : 2012
  89. Ride the Vaporetto in Venice : 2008
  90. Hear the Pope give mass or an address : Rome 2008
  91. Toss a rock at Stonehenge : Exeter 2006
  92. See the boats pass through the Panama Canal : Panama 2010
  93. See the Eiffel Tower : Paris 2005
  94. Slide down a volcano : Leon, Nicaragua 2011
  95. Visit Herculaneum in the shadow of Mt Vesuvius : Italy 2012
  96. Walk on a glacier : Iceland 2008 and Argentina 2013
  97. Eat steak in Buenos Aires : Buenos Aires 2009, 2011, 2013
  98. Tour the bodegas of Mendoza, Argentina : 2013
  99. Hunt for Icebergs : Iceland, Argentina and Antarctica
  100. Sleep in the Sahara desert : Morocco 2009
  101. See Christ the Redeemer : Rio de Janiero 2010
  102. Visit Bhutan
  103. See the Moati in Easter Island
  104. Walk out of a coke can in Salar de Uyuni
  105. Climb the rice terraces of Banaue and Batad : Philippines 2012
  106. Ride a donkey up a volcano : Philippines 2012
  107. Ride into Space on Virgin Galactic
  108. Use the Internet in North Korea
  109. Go Clam Digging in the Canadian Maritimes : Prince Edward Island 2013
  110. Hold a Tarantula : Mexico 2008
  111. Party like a rock star in Vegas : Las Vegas
  112. Sing on stage … anywhere : High School Bass Trio : 1993
  113. Swim with jellyfish in Palau
  114. Attend all these world festivals
    1. Battle of the Oranges | Italy
    2. Burning Man | USA
    3. Carnival of Rio de Janeiro | Brazil
    4. Carnival of Venice | Italy
    5. Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) | Mexico
    6. Electric Run | Utah
    7. Holi Festival | India
    8. Human Tower Competition | Spain
    9. La Tomatina | Spain
    10. Mardi Gras | New Orleans
    11. Obon Festival | Japan
    12. Olympic Games | Random Locations
    13. Oktoberfest | Germany
    14. Pingxi Lantern Festival | Taiwan
    15. Sandfest | USA
    16. Songkran Water Festival | Thailand
    17. Sundance Film Festival | USA
    18. Up Helly Aa Fire Festival | Scotland
  115. Swim with jellyfish in Palau
  116. Boat Hotel in Cocoa Island | Maldives
  117. Cappadocia’s Fairy Chimneys | Turkey
  118. Chocolate Hills | Philippines
  119. Church of Ice & Snow | Germany
  120. Dean’s Blue Hole | Bahamas
  121. Floating Market | Vietnam
  122. Franz Josef Glacier | New Zealand
  123. Gullfoss Falls | Iceland
  124. Komodo National Park | Indonesia
  125. Monjuic Magic Fountain | Spain
  126. Outdoor Jacuzzi at Iglu-Dorf Hotel | Switzerland
  127. Pamukkale Hot Springs | Turkey
  128. Plitvice Lakes National Park | Croatia
  129. Rio Tinto River | Spain
  130. Rock Islands Southern Lagoon | Palau
  131. Tam Ting Caves | Laos
  132. Tessellated Pavement | Tasmania
  133. The Giant’s Causeway | Ireland
  134. Tibetan Bridge in Claviere | Italy
  135. Underwater Museum | Mexico
  136. Waitomo Glowworm Cave | New Zealand
  137. World’s Largest Pool | Chile
  138. Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame

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What to do in PEI #10 : Visit and photo St. Dunstan’s Basilica http://www.rishiray.com/what-to-do-in-pei-10-st-dunstans-basilica/#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed http://www.rishiray.com/what-to-do-in-pei-10-st-dunstans-basilica/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 13:41:53 +0000 http://www.rishiray.com/?p=5579 If you’re wandering through downtown Charlottetown, you’ll find that it’s quaint and somewhat touristy by design. In Canada, there aren’t a super high number of elaborate churches, but Prince Edward Island’s churches have long-established roots in the province’s history and heritage. In many towns, they are the focal point of village and town life.  I’ve visited ...

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If you’re wandering through downtown Charlottetown, you’ll find that it’s quaint and somewhat touristy by design. In Canada, there aren’t a super high number of elaborate churches, but Prince Edward Island’s churches have long-established roots in the province’s history and heritage. In many towns, they are the focal point of village and town life.  I’ve visited many churches in the world and I always find something unique and captivating about everyone of them … St. Dunstan’s Basilica is no exception. St. Dunstan’s Cathedral Basilica is probably the best known house of worship on the island and it’s named after St. Dunstan, an Archbishop of Canterbury in England.

The interior is one of the most photographed places in PEI

The present church, the fourth on this downtown site, has its origins in 1913, built from the remains of the previous cathedral damaged by fire. A brochure about the basilica says: “The focal point of the interior, the 37-foot-high altar and 44-foot-long altar screen, houses 23 statues of saints and angels. The German-crafted Rose window, though seemingly petite, spans 14 feet.”

St. Dunstan’s is a popular stop with many tourists, Catholic and non-Catholic. The church is open several hours each afternoon for visitation but I would definitely stay away on Tuesday, since Tuesday is cruise ship day in PEI and you’re not going to get any time to yourself in the basilica.Here’s a couple views of those famous twin spites

If you have a chance to come for an organ concert here, an 89-year-old pipe organ from a decommissioned church in Montreal was installed in 2012 in the choir loft. It definitely makes for an impressive site above the entrance to the basilica.

Aside from the twin gothic spires, impressive altar and fine Italian murals, you’ll find some excellent stained glass windows. I love most stained glass windows for the chiaroscuro that you can get for your pictures.

Given the number of churches, basilicas and shrines I’ve visited over the years, I always have to remind myself about the differences since a Basilica, cathedral and shrine are distinct terms, but not mutually exclusive. For instance, a basilica may be a shrine, and a cathedral may be a basilica. Here’s a great article I found online at the Holy Spirit Interactive ... I’ve distilled the article into some main bullet points.

  • A cathedral is the chief church of a diocese and in itself is also a parish church.
  • A shrine can be one of the following
    • A church or other sacred place where a relic is preserved, like the Shrine of St. Jude in Baltimore;
    • Where an apparition has taken place, like the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock in Ireland or the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City
    • Where an historical event of faith has taken place, like the Shrine of the Our Lady of the Martyrs in Auriesville, N.Y., where the early Jesuit missionaries were martyred.
    • A place designated to foster a belief or devotion; for example, the Basilica Shrine of the Immaculate Conception was built to foster devotion to our Blessed Mother in the United States
  • A basilica has some of the following characteristics
    • Displayed a conopoeum or pavilion (something looking like a big umbrella) made with alternating silk panels of red and yellow, the colors of the papal government, and topped with a cross; this conopoeum was originally used to shelter the patriarch.
    • Other traditional basilica items are the clochetta (a musical kind of device composed of a handle, a bell, and the insignia of the basilica, which is used in procession) and the cappa magna (a violet cape worn by the canons (basilica officials) during liturgical services).
    • Each basilica has a “holy door” which is opened only during a time of special pilgrimage as declared by the Holy Father.
    • There are seven major basilicas, which are in Rome: St. Peter’s in the Vatican, St. John Lateran, St. Mary Major, St. Paul Outside the Walls, St. Lawrence, St. Sebastian and the Holy Cross in Jerusalem. The first four of these basilicas are technically called the “primary major basilicas.” These seven major basilicas remain the important pilgrimage churches when visiting Rome.

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What to do in PEI #9 : Find a PEI secret beach for a Trini lime http://www.rishiray.com/pei-9-find-pei-secret-beach-trini-lime/#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed http://www.rishiray.com/pei-9-find-pei-secret-beach-trini-lime/#comments Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:47:57 +0000 http://www.rishiray.com/?p=5571 One of my friends asked me the following questions Today was the day where I could easily answer the questions and have an epic beach day all in one. The wife and friends found our “secret” beach … it’s a pretty fantastic beach and we all “pinkie swore” that we wouldn’t tell any outsiders about ...

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One of my friends asked me the following questions

For all the places in the world you’ve been and for all you’ve seen, why would you buy a place in PEI? There are surely more exotic destinations that could have bought a place in … aren’t there?

Today was the day where I could easily answer the questions and have an epic beach day all in one. The wife and friends found our “secret” beach … it’s a pretty fantastic beach and we all “pinkie swore” that we wouldn’t tell any outsiders about the beach. The locals know about the beach but the last thing I would want, would be for a bunch of cruise ship visitors making their way to the beach.

In Trinidad, the concept of a “beach lime” is a pillar of our existence. Whether it be a “river lime” or “beach lime” or “rumshop lime” … the idea is simple …

  • Bunch of friends
  • Cooking some food
  • Having some drinks
  • Enjoying chat and quiet time all in one.

To get to our PEI secret beach, we had to drive a while from Charlottetown, drive through some bushes down an unmarked path, walk up and down a hill …

Find a bush trail …

Trail ….

Bring out portable BBQ and food

Walk up a giant sand dune

More Sand dunes

Walk a while on to the beach …

and then finally …

The secret spot … with a sea and river run on one side, beach and perfectly barking white sand in the center and clam digging on the other side.

Our view to the ocean …

Just along the water’s edge on the river run into the ocean

All you have to do have setting up your towels and stuff, would be to get some grub going on. We were well prepped with our hot dogs, marshmellows for roasting and other treats

Portable Weber BBQ for specifically this purpose

Super clear waters for swimming … although the water was a little chilly

So after a long day of relaxing, it was time to go look at buying a church!!! In PEI, there are a number of churches you can buy …

The graveyard doesn’t come into the church purchase

This stained glass would be super creepy at night though

We thought this church was going for 139,000$ but in reality we made a colossal mistake. The church listed and the church we went to see were completely different. The church listed is near a town called Crapaud, while the church we saw, was near Hunter River. The places don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things … but the hour we spent hearing about PEI village gossip, stories of Timberwolves from a guy with three fingers was pretty epic.churchlisting

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