Netwatch: Caribbean Summer

What's happening in the Caribbean on the net


It may be off-season but it still sweet fuh so! The sensual contrast between sleet and snow at home and the warm breezes of the tropics makes winter-time travel a special treat, but the cool thing about the Caribbean is that those warm breezes are just as sweet (and a lot less expensive) during the summer months. And there’s plenty to do, from soca in Port of Spain to goat races in Tobago, Carnival in Antigua, eco-travel in the Virgin Isles, and shopping in Barbados. Here’s a potpourri of sites that are fun all year-round.

Carnival and Antiguan Music
(http://www.interknowledge.com/antigua-barbuda/agcarn01.htm)

Antigua’s Carnival, which takes place in July and August, has a lot in common with Trinidad and Tobago’s better-known version, including competitions for Party Monarch and Calypso Monarch, a steel band competition, the spectacular Parade of Bands, the Miss Antigua Pageant and the Caribbean Queen’s Competition. Unfortunately, this page, the official site of the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Tourism, doesn’t feature any music samples.

Tobago Heritage Festival
(http://www.tidco.co.tt/local/thf1996/index.html)

For travellers in the know, the Tobago Heritage Festival (held from mid-July to early August every year) is becoming for the “Sistuh Island” what Carnival is for Trinidad. One of the high spots of the Summer – and one of the -main events on the Tobago calendar – Heritage Festival includes the virtually indescribable goat races that have been an annual hoot since they started in 1925. It’s not easy to get specific dates for the 2000 Fest on-line; this site focuses on the 1996 Heritage Fest, but still provides fabulous background. For current dates, try http:// www. visittnt.com/T oDo/Events/ as the Festival draws closer.

Caribbean Property Rentals
(http://www.caribinfo.com/directory/ctravlinkd/cpropertyrent.html)

Hotels can be fun, but for an extended stay (or to get the feel of living like a local) nothing beats a rental condo or beachfront villa to accommodate the entire family or a bunch of friends. This site lists regional properties on 14 Caribbean islands, including Grenada, Tobago, Barbados and many more. Most of the listings include photos, and all of them will make you long to be lazing in your tropical home-away-from-home.

Sensay Dominica
(http://www.webcom.com/earllaw/carnival.html)

It’s easy to get the idea that Trinidad has the only Carnival in the Caribbean, but don’t tell that to anyone in Dominica! For a fast update on its lesser-known but fantastic Carnival celebration, you can start with gorgeous photos of Vanessa Isles, Dominica’s 1999 Carnival Queen, and go on from there to check out a great selection of local calypso and soca.

The US Virgin Islands
(http://www.usvi.net/)
Some of the sweetest islands in the Caribbean are only a hop and a skip from the USA. For instance: St Croix, St Thomas, and St John. For full info (we’re talking everything from cruise ship schedules to immigration and naturalisation regulations, business basics, local news, and an on-line Tourist Guide – not to mention job opportunities at St Thomas’s Air Traffic Control Tower), surf on over to this full-featured site. You may even win a free trip.

Caribbean Expressions
(http://caribbeanexpressions.com)

Whether it’s mousepads or rumcakes, original art or straw bags, books, pottery, seashells or woodwork, you can let your mouse do the walking at this online Bajan shopping mall specialising in products from the Caribbean. Or check the clothing section for cotton T-shirts, hand-dyed scarves and pareos, hand-painted cotton outfits and shirts.

Miss Trinidad and Tobago
(http://www.misstnt.com)

Beauty contests may not be politically correct these days, but that hasn’t held them back from continuing popularity – especially in the Caribbean, where the world’s most beautiful women can
be found. This site features photos from the year 2000 contest, and may be classified as a guilty pleasure.

Crazy’s Official Homepage
(http://home.swipenet.se/crazy/)
The Lovable Lunatic soca star has built a surprisingly conventional (but very nicely done) site, featuring a full discography with album cover art and full author credits, a nice selection of song clips in streaming audio, a list of upcoming gigs, a solid biography, and a great photo of this talented calypsonian looking professorial in a tux with his hair pulled neatly back.

Radical Designs: Fashion Statement Of The Caribbean
(http://radical.wow.net/)

This high-concept fashion site is a marvel of fine design, worth a stop if only to appreciate the graphics. Radical Designs has become known for its classic, creative and contemporary clothing. If you’re curious, go ahead and click on Catalogue to view some fantastic black and white photos.

Specialised Arts and Crafts of Guyana, Caribbean and South America
(http://www.artscraftsguyana.com)

Vast, natural resource-rich Guyana produces some of the finest craft in the Caribbean, and has a lively art scene as well. This e-commerce site offers an array of Guyana-made products, including jewellery; leathercraft, pottery, furniture and basketry, as well as paintings and sculpture by Guyanese artists. Aficionados of Caribbean art will be pleased to note the renowned Philip Moore among the artists represented.

SocaWebCarnival.Com: long Island Carnival
(http://www.socawebcarnival.com/licarni.html)

Carnival on Long Island? Yes, breds! This amusing site includes news, recipes, a party schedule, odd bursts of Carnival music, a very funny quiz, and one hilarious set of Frequently Asked Questions. If you need a laugh, check dis out.