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Last Updated: Friday, 27 February, 2004, 17:51 GMT
Port of Spain, Trinidad

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Phil Long, BBC Sport's man with the Barmy Army, takes an alternative look at the cities where England will play on their tour of the West Indies.

Here, Phil casts his eye over Trinidad and the island's capital, Port of Spain, where international cricket is played at the Queen's Park Oval.


The second Test match and two back-to-back one-dayers await Michael Vaughan's men and the Barmy Army as they visit the Eastern Caribbean's most populated island, Trinidad.

Despite its size and 1.2m inhabitants, Trinidad gets few of the tourists that trawl through this part of the world, which means you can look forward to sampling some real Caribbean life.

To be fair, the beaches here aren't as good as the other islands and Port of Spain packs a lot more bustle than charm for visitors.

QUEEN'S PARK, PORT OF SPAIN
Population: 310,000 (Port of Spain)
Airport: Piarco International, 16 miles east of city centre
Money: 1 = 11.37 Trinidad & Tobago dollars
Time: five hours behind GMT
Average Temperature: 26-32C in both March and April
Rainfall: seven rain days on average in both March and April
British High Commission: 19 St. Clair Avenue, St. Clair
Matches: 2nd Test (19-23 March); 2nd and 3rd ODIs (April 24 & 25)

But although the island lies just eight miles off the South American coast, the bustle still has a very Caribbean feel to it.

If you fancy city life, then most of the sights in Port of Spain are accessible by foot. There's not a great deal to see but a day exploring the city is a great experience if you enjoy sampling local cultures.

But if you're the type who's forever in search of the biggest, largest, fastest or slowest whatever, then Trinidad has a cracker up its sleeve.

Pitch Lake is around a two-hour drive from Port of Spain and is a 40-hectare lake where hot bitumen is continually replenished from the Earth's crust below.

The lake is world's largest supply of natural bitumen and, wait for it, a staggering 300 tons is extracted daily.

The best beaches in Trinidad are on the north coast and the views as you make your way to them are spectacular.

Close to Port of Spain, Maqueripe Bay has a sheltered beach and Maracas Bay (locals reckon this is the best on the island), a bit further away, has a sandy sheltered beach fringed with palms.

Although a visit to the British High Commission normally means that something has gone wrong on your trip, my spies tell me the BHC offers a fantastic view of Queen's Park Oval, so a visit there might have a silver lining after all!

You should have no problems getting in a ticket, though, as Queen's Park Oval has a capacity some 7,000 greater than any other ground England will grace on their West Indies odyssey.



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