Thursday 5 April 2012

Sunshine Panners visit Trinidad and Tobago!

In February 2012, the Sunshine Panners made their most recent trip to Trinidad and Tobago!

We left at midnight on Tuesday the 7th of February and drove down to Gatwick over night. I think it's fair to say that no one got much sleep! When we got to Gatwick we all had a well needed breakfast and then spent some time looking around duty free.

The plane journey took forever, but there were some good in flight films and most people actually enjoyed the food! If they were awake. When we got to Tobago we walked to the hotel and went to sleep.

Beach in Tobago

On the first day we spent some time exploring the area before heading down to the pan yard for our first workshop with Delbit Henry from Steel X-plosion. We learnt a song called 'Woman is boss' and MOST people enjoyed the session, even if it was hard. throughout the week we visited the pan yard three times and learned 'Rebecca' and 'Romance' in the evening we went to visit a Mas camp, where the costumes for carnival are made. We all got to try on all the costumes, and we made friends with a lot of the children. They were all really friendly and wanted to have a go with our cameras.

Trying on costumes

Whilst on Tobago we did our fair share of sightseeing. We visited a bird sanctuary, and a sugar plantation which was interesting. The birds are much more colourful then the ones in England and parts of the sugar plantation looked like something from an Indiana Jones film!

At the bird sanctuary

We also had a trip out to the Buccoo coral reef where we went snorkeling. We visited a part of the ocean called the Nylon Pool where the water is very shallow. The sand in the pool is supposed to make you look ten years younger, but you'll have to ask one of the adults if it worked! After that we went to No Man's land peninsula for a BBQ. We were outside all day, and because we were having a BBQ, it rained all day! We still managed to play limbo on the beach, and even had time to play with our guides afro.

No-man's land

The locals were all very friendly and helpful throughout the trip. Everyone made new friends, and got some facebook friend requests when they got home. On the Thursday, we visited Bishops High school and talked to some of the sixth form there. It was interesting to talk to some people my own age! In the afternoon we went to watch the Bishops High steel band play in Junior Panorama.

Talking to students at Bishops High

Most of the group decided they would like to live on Tobago (despite the cockroaches, lizards and other massive insects)

On Friday morning we caught the ferry over to Trinidad. It was a smooth crossing and no one was sick. Phew. That evening we went to watch bands rehearsing for Panorama. At the Renegades panorama we saw Joseph and Jenny, and heard the song they would be playing for the competition. It looked complicated!

View from the ferry

On Saturday night it was Panorama! The competition went on until four in the morning as around 25 bands had to play. Everyone enjoyed watching the performances, especially the bands we had seen practising. We stayed until the end to hear the results, which was exciting, even if they were not what we expected!

The next day we went to Maracas beach and had a relaxing day. A lot of people got sunburned and a lot of us nearly drowned in the sea because of the massive waves!

The next morning we got up 5.30 to go to J'ouvert and think everyone enjoyed getting covered in paint, even if not everyone enjoyed the dancing.

Post- J'ouvert group shot

We spent the next day in Port of Spain watching the carnival. The costumes were amazing, and there wasn't a dull moment. Everyone enjoyed looking around all the stalls and watching the parade of the bands.

On Wednesday the 22nd of February we caught the plane back to Gatwick, most people slept for the flight, and the bus ride home! We got back to Haydon Bridge and everyone went home to see their family and show off their tans.

Everyone had an amazing time and most people are already trying to plan a return visit!

Olivia Donoghue

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