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Chronicles from a Caribbean Cubicle

6/15/2005

Gaps, Savannahs and Pens

Things that make you go hmmmm.....

Only recently, driving in Jamaica with my fiancee, she asked me about all the different "Pens" that we have in Jamaica.

You know... Tinson Pen, Faith's Pen, May Pen, Androus' Pen, Comma Pen, etc. She asked me what a "pen" is, and I told her that it used to be a place where they would pen up animals for sale. We have lots of them in Jamaica... and nowhere else that I can find.

Then, I was in Bim (Barbados) last week and heard of yet another "Gap". Now, we have a gap or two here and there in Jamaica (e.g. Hardware Gap near Hollywell), but not as many as they have in B'dos, and we don't have our Gaps in town, only someplace in the hills. They have the famous St. Lawrence Gap, Pickwick Gap, Alleyne School Gap, Gowdy Gap, South Gap, Carter's Gap, et al..

It might surprise a Bajan to learn that we, in Jamaica, have only one or two "gaps" that we all know about. They'd probably think that we have a hard time getting around without the assistance of "gaps."

In Trinidad the other day, my fiancee and I were liming with her father and his wife, and they pointed out a piece of what we in Jamaica call "open land," but they referred to as "The Savannah."

Now, this was no Queen's Park Savannah. It looked like a piece of bush to my untrained eye. They explained that the developer of the area had carefully set aside the land to be a savannah for the neighbourhood -- a purposely created piece of green, open space created for the enjoyment of the residents. They used to play cricket and football there, take walks, pick fruits from the trees, and maybe exercise horses while sipping tea and eating crumpets. You could almost hear the crunch of little children's teeth as they bit into the crumpets (having never actually eaten a crumpet, I can only imagine, but they do sound crunchy).

But all there was left of that grand time was a piece of open land. An enterprising neighbour decided to capture a piece of it and placed her greenhouse on the property, in plain view, without repercussion or resistance.

It made me ask the question... how many Savannahs are there in Trinidad?

Well, it have the Queen's Park Savannah, Aranguez Savannah, Mausica Savannah, Couva Savannah, Aripo Savannah, Caroni Savannah, and more.

In Jamaica, we only have Savannah-La-Mar - a town in the west of the island. In Barbados, they have the Garrison Savannah which looks huge, until one considers the Savnnah in Trinidad.

Why the difference? Who knows, but it does make me go Hmmmm....

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