If you stand in downtown Port of Spain — the hectic, pulsing business centre of Trinidad — and start walking north, you’ll get to the Queen’s Park Savannah in less than 20 minutes. As you stroll along, you’ll find that the city’s industriousness slowly falls away, until you arrive at the breathtaking verdant lushness of an 80-hectare park,once a sugar estate.
After the tightly wound drama of the city, The Queen’s Park Savannah hits you in the face like a soft, wet towel. Joggers lope along its circumference, coconut vendors travel miles to park around it, and buyers come from all over, including abroad, to savour the fresh, sweet water and jelly of the expertly cut nut.
The Savannah was once owned by the Peschier family, but was purchased by Governor Ralph Woodford in the early 19th century as part of his plans for the redesign of the city. Beyond its undeniable charms as an enormous park, the Savannah has a social role in Trinidad. Carnival climaxes here each year with the parade of the bands, when thousands of people dance across the stage in colourful costumes. Many hundreds more play cricket, football and rugby on fields scattered across The Savannah.
This huge open space, which occupies valuable development land in the middle of the capital of Trinidad and Tobago, impresses everyone with its absolute correctness. It is a jewel, a lake of natural beauty in the middle of a city of asphalt and concrete. It is the city’s heart and lungs. It is The Savannah, and it waits for you. This photo journey by Marlon Rouse is a well-raised salute.