11 June 2015

CHARLOTTEVILLE, TOBAGO : MY 'LEMONADE' ROAD TRIP


 When I found out that I would be in Tobago for a couple of days (which turned into weeks), I knew I had to visit one place in particular. Charlotteville. My reasoning behind this mental decision was that Charlotteville, situated on the North-easternmost tip of Tobago, is also the last village on the island. And when I say last, I mean last. After that, the island of Tobago comes to an end, except maybe for "Little Tobago".
I find this quite interesting because to get to Charlotteville, from where I was staying in Crowne Point (which is on the opposite end of the island) took roughly three hours (blame it on the winding roads). Yes! It pretty much was a road trip and I love the road, because the road is LIFE!
I couldn't believe that of all the days it could have rained, rain fell on the day I chose to set out to Charlotteville. I really didn't need to be driving on a wet, slippery, winding road for miles and miles, with my windows up, contemplating on how I'm about to end up with zero photos. Why? Because: 1. It's raining and I can't afford to get the DSLR wet. 2. Who wants to take photos from inside a vehicle, behind glass?!. It rained all day. So much so that everything excluding my spirit was damp. It rained from when I left my villa up until I arrived at Charlotteville and even on the way back, but I'm the type of person who, when life gives me lemons...yada yada yada ya..I make lemonade, so lemonade is what I made :) Hence the name of my blog post :) 
Now that things are a bit on perspective, you will deduct from this blog post that Charlotteville is quite scenic and exuberates a magnificence in its tranquility and natural beauty.
I read somewhere that Charlotteville sounds French, and as such one might suppose it dates from French colonization, in the same way as other locations in Tobago, like L’Anse Fourmi, Parlatuvier and perhaps Hermitage. However, there is a grave of an early settler, a Dutch woman called Charlotte, and perhaps the village was named after her. Another version holds that a plantation owner fell in love with his slave called Charlotte and left the estate to her on his death. Interesting stories.
Tobago, like the other islands of the Caribbean, is steeped in a history of European conquest and enslavement. In fact, the small island had changed hands as many as 22 times by the European colonizers, which is more often than any other West Indian island. As a result, the village of Charlotteville was directly influenced by this history of imperialism and colonialism. 
Today Charlotteville is a picturesque fishing village. Its long village beach of soft creamy sand is backed by cottages, small shops and bars owned by villagers. Fifteen minutes walk along a track is Pirates’ Bay, one of the most beautiful beaches in Tobago. I visited Pirates' Bay before, when I stayed in Charlotteville many years ago with my family, so I wasn't too keen on experiencing it again, though I knew it was probably more beautiful than ever. It was late in the pm and I figured that I wouldn't have time to trek to and from Pirates' Bay anyway, so my main focus was on Charlotteville's beach. The water was littered with Pelicans and the sand, with birds and 'ghost crabs' that I fondly chased after. The lifeguards were lazing around and a few fishermen were escorting tourists off to nearby reefs. In the midst of it all, I made un amigo - a friendly guard dog, who followed me around on the beach. I became so fond of him that I shared some of my Pringles with him.   
On my way back home I stopped by a spring to collect some water and encountered a huge, brown crab beneath some rocks enjoying a mango. It was such a pleasant surprise since I'd never witnessed a crab eating anything before. I saw a lot of bulls, sheep, lambs and goats grazing the green pastures but stopped to capture a photo of the largest bull I had ever seen in my life! What a beauty and definitely a whole lotta' testicles. Welp!
My road trip concluded at the gorgeous Pigeon Point beach, where I waited to watch the sun set on yet another amazing day on the beautiful island of Tobago.