Elizabeth's First Foreign Service Post, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

The Embassy was in downtown Port of Spain right next to the Queen's Park Savannah. One of the Seven Sisters--magnificent Victorian mansions--was right next door. Beyond that, the mountains rise to the north. In the spring, the savannah is surrounded by flowering trees in pink, purple, and yellow. And on non-rainy weekends, the calls of people playing cricket fill the air. Click on the thumbnail to see the Savannah in summer.

My apartment was a short distance out of town to the west with a view directly out to the sea and the Five Islands. I rushed home from work to watch the sun set over them as often as I could get away from the Consulate on time. By the way, it only rained for about three months. The rest of the year the weather was perfect.

In addition to being a Consul from 7:30 to 4:30, I was also the Labor Reporting Officer. This meant trips to the southern end of Trinidad to attend meetings after work once or twice a week. Since the year I was there was the 50th anniversary of the old line labor unions, I was also invited to picnics of Indian food and dinners of soul food several times. The food was wonderful, and the endless speeches by British socialists were like stepping into a historical novel. My day job wasn't half as interesting.

When the weather was dry, Maracas Beach on the north coast was the place to go on a Sunday morning after early Mass. Sometimes you had to drive through the smouldering remains of a forest fire--the road was opened as soon as the flames were conquered. Nobody wanted to be blocked from going to the beach. From 9 until noon the beach was uncrowded, the waves were perfect, and the sun not too strong. Top it off with a shark 'n' bake for lunch--the perfect break from the work week. Then you could head for home before the crowds arrived.

"There were wonderful places to visit on longer trips as well. One involved a trip on a large canoe to watch the ibis come to roost. These scarlet ibis get their color from eating the red crabs that abound in the sanctuary. At sunset they fill the sky as thousands turn the trees from green to red."

"Okay, so it's not much of a tree, but it brought a breath of Christmas into the apartment. That was the year my whole family (7 guests) spent Christmas in my two bedroom apartment. My neighbor and fellow Consul had gone away and offered his apartment for extra sleeping room, but no one wanted to miss the fun. It was a great Christmas. Notice the picture of the Five Islands painted by Jackie Hinkson, the brother-in-law of my friend Joy Hinkson.