West of Woodbrook, the grittier district of ST JAMES is a cosmopolitan place that’s known as the “city that never sleeps” thanks to the string of bars and street-food stalls along the Western Main Road. The area of today’s St James was the first place that the British set foot on Trinidadian soil; landing in 1797, they are said to have found the courage required to capture Port of Spain in the rum produced at what was then the Peru sugar-cane estate. After emancipation, the area was settled by Indian indentured labourers, and the names they gave to their streets – Calcutta, Delhi and Madras – bear witness to their homesickness. Today, the estate is long-gone, but rum remains central to the life of the area by way of the street-front bars and slightly seedy clubs that line the Western Main Road, best visited after dark when music blares and stalls serve food late into the night for queues of hungry limers. St James’ Indian population have also stayed very visible, with a smattering of mosques and puja flags in many front gardens along the residential backstreets. The area is also notable as the focus of the annual Muslim Hosay processions.

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