We have been here in Trinidad a full eight months.
Almost a year. We are beginning to feel like we are blending in a little bit more every day.
We are doing our best to follow the cues we see around us and smile as though we know what we are doing.
Even if we don’t.
We try to take the exotica in stride. Monkey on my shoulder? I’m cool with that. I do it all the time.
Just today, we were sitting in a Carribbean-Korean restaurant drinking Lemon and Bitters soda, watching the people pass by, and Junie said, “We forget to do reality checks any more. Look around. We are so not in Brattleboro any more.” Looking around, we found that a reality check was indeed in order.
“Not that Brattleboro was really my home.” he went on, “But neither is Aruba, really. I don’t actually know where my home is anymore.”
For now, we smile and fortify our little nest we’ve gently set down here with the best combination of sunlight and shade we can provide,
so that our birdies can feel confident enough to step forward into this big wide world.
As we all find our way through the tangles of living,
we can take time to explore as many nooks and crannies of whichever corner of the world we lay our humble nest down in.
To walk in the rain forest.
To find out what a tanka bean tastes like fresh off the tree,
We can drink from the freshest of coconuts,
and see that chocolate doesn’t grow in a foil wrapper.
The cocoa pods grow on the branches as well as the trunk of the cacao tree.
They come in many rich colors,
but seem to share a similar quality on the inside. I suppose cocoa pods are like people that way.
Each cocoa seed’s interior is artfully arranged with an aromatic, sweet fleshy insulation that is indescribably delicious.
The aunties couldn’t get enough!
The extraction and preparation of the seeds from the pod is time consuming and intricate. Each pod yields between 20 and 40 cocoa beans.
After the cocoa beans are removed from the fruit, they undergo a labor intensive, multi step process.
They are put into various rooms in the cocoa drying house, beginning with the first sweat shed, then moved at incremental stages along the floors of the cocoa shed until they reach the roof, where they are laid out to dry in the sun.
In larger factories, the cacao seeds are polished by machine. Here at the Sangre Grande Agro Tourism cocoa farm, they still demonstrate the old-fashioned way of attaining a shiny finish to each individual cocoa bean.
Dancing the Cocoa Beans!
Yes, dancing the cocoa beans is just as fun as it sounds. Maybe even more so.
Even if a little chocolate residue remains on your sole.
If you hold them after they are danced,
and smell the luscious sun dried, danced upon chocolate aroma,
a little of that cocoa residue might get into your soul as well.
And we can carry it, carefully, like a nest, right in the palm of our hands.