Barbados-Welcome Aboard !!!!
Barbados is the eastern most island of the West Indies. In fact, if you stand on its eastern shore and headed directly east out over the Atlantic Ocean...the next body of land you would come to would be Africa! Barbados is a small island in size, 14 by 21 miles, with a population of about 279,000. Although an independent nation since 1966, they have a Governor appointed by Queen Elizabeth of England.
Our ship docked in Deep Water Harbour of Bridgetown, which is the capital. This is the only island we had a planned tour to catch at 8am. It was offered by a local islander, Ronnie Carrington, who is a professional photographer. (his website http://carrington-barbados-images.com/5.html) One can never have too many perspectives in photography and it is always exciting to see an island through the eyes of a native. His tour took us all across the island, goat herds crossing our path, to hilltops with beautiful views of both the Caribbean Sea on the west side and the Atlantic Ocean on the east side.
There are many banana and sugar cane plantations to see as you cross the countryside of the island. There used to be many slaves on this island, living in brightly painted “chattel houses”, which is a house that could be broken down quickly and transported to the next plantation if necessary.
There are no longer slaves of course, but these crops still make up a large part of their exports to other countries. There are many churches all over the island, but ironically, there are just as many rum stores. In fact…there is a rum store next door to every church…I don’t know what that means, but it is a fact pointed out by Mr. Carrington as we continued around the island. Rum stores seem to be a very big business, as they are everywhere along the roads, sometimes right next to each other. The beaches here are quite beautiful and you can see the waves crashing on the coral reef in the distance. A beach we stopped at had beautiful sandy shores and crystal clear water.
We paused for a break along a hillside where we sampled some fresh coconut that a local man was offering. I never knew a coconut had jelly inside…but he cracked one open and with a spoon scooped a little out for us to try…sure enough, it was light and almost custard like. You learn something new every day….that’s a good thing!
We stopped at one of those rum stores to get some great pictures. The little wooden stores are colorful and the locals are very friendly. Just as we were trying to catch a few pictures of some local vendors at the beach across the street, the clouds opened up and we got drenched...huge raindrops that you could not dodge. Some people were comically trying to seek shelter under a palm tree, which offered no protection at all since the fronds are about 30 feet above your head. It lasted about five minutes and then cleared up, but was enough to drench most of us…except the ones who were sampling all the rum inside the store, they were “high and dry”.
One little piece of advice...in the Caribbean it is best to always ask permission before taking someone’s picture. Some of the islanders think you are stealing their spirit if you take their picture and get upset. I found this out years ago, so just remember that little tip to always ask first should you ever have the wonderful opportunity to be taking pictures in this part of the world and you won’t have any problems!
Stay tuned for our next stop--See you in St.Lucia !!!