January 11, 2011

Barbados: Roundabouts, Sand Dollars and Pablo


Flying over the Atlantic Ocean and seeing turquoise water lapping the island’s shoreline was probably the highlight of our descent. I’ve always had an unexplained attraction to most things nautical (seashells, beaches, oceans, marine life, etc.) and I love the colour turquoise. Two of my favorite things were getting together and I was invited to the party! When we stepped off the plane, there wasn’t a big metal tunnel to walk through- we were instantly outside. The heat hit me hot and humid. I’ve never been in a moderate tropical climate before, but you know that fresh-out-of-the-shower feeling when the air is moist and warm? It felt like that, but all of the time.  Palm trees make up a lot of the vegetation, along with all sorts of tropical flora I can’t name.

I could spend pages describing the differences between Barbados and Winnipeg, Manitoba, so I’m just going to list a few observations in point form:
- The houses are curvy, unique and painted in a variety of pastel colors.
- The colors in general are very bright. E.g. The sky, flowers, houses. The grass really was greener.
- There are a lot of roundabouts and the roads are narrow. Even if we were driving 50km/h, it felt like we were going 80 clicks through a construction zone.
- Sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean are gorgeous. Like I’ve said, sunsets the likes of those I’ve only seen in screensavers.
- The night critters are really loud and obnoxious.
- Wait until I tell you about the prices on goods. I assume high prices are due in part to the island’s accessibility to export. But a bag of Dorjitos was $16.50 and a small tub of ice cream was $29.50.
- The pace of life is significantly and noticeably slower. E.g. The locals walk a lot slower and the lifestyle is much more easygoing.  Speed walking doesn’t exist here.  Neither do bus schedules- we waited for a bus that never came once.

August 11/10

This was a special day because it was Steph’s birthday.  She was expecting a surprise PG-13 video present from Ben. Here’s a quote I found that I found funny: “Ben had technical difficulties with [Steph’s] surprise birthday gift on facebook, so she couldn’t view it. But we soon got up and forgot about it (well I did at least) as we headed to the beach (as in OCEAN) at 7:30 am.” This sounds a little harsh, but meeting the Ocean for the first time in my life was not unlike a hardcore fan finally meeting the singer he/she has been obsessing over for years! The Ocean might’ve eclipsed Ben’s surprise, but we still eventually got to see a full moon. Ha ha… anyways. In hindsight, it was a very well done and funny video. Ok I’m going to put an end to these puns… now.

So, the ocean. It was the best water to swim in- super clear, warm and very easy to float in. There were actual currents, and a tide, and I got to taste salt water (not on purpose). We spent the morning floating on our backs, soaking up the sun and searching for sand dollars.  The morning was blissful and it was everything I had hoped for and more. *sigh*

For supper we decided to have KFC. The Bajan dollar is exchanged at about $1.98, so we saw the highest fast food prices ever on those menu boards! Our 9pc. birthday meal cost over $40! Although we ordered globalized fast food, this isn’t to say that local food isn’t good. I loved Bajan food- flying fish, steamed veggies,  and other locally grown foods prepared in tongue-tantalizing flavours. 

Oh, I just read some amusing entries. I was the only single one on this trip, and so many times I would sit there with my eyes glazing over while Steph and Faith went on random tangents about their boyfriends (I love you Ben and Ty). One time when we were at Chilly Moo’s (a fantastic ice cream shop with concoctions such as ‘I dream of creamy’), one of them breathed, “Oh if he was here he’d probably order me this…” I deadpanned that my non-existent boyfriend would probably order me a swirl cone. Faith named him Fabio. What a pair- Chui and Fabio. (That doesn’t sound like a circus act at all…).

This other time we were at a friend’s rental beach house picking ripe fruit off her trees (the three of us were just watching the action unfold). She happened to have these wild turtles roaming the yard and two of them were mating. Upon seeing this, she passively said, “Oh, they’re always mating.” Faith retorts, “Nice…” That's what she said. But maybe you had to be there...

A few days later we woke up to a tropical downpour. I discovered Faith and Steph chatting and playing with a small snail on the balcony. Steph dubbed him Pablo and was nearly as excited about him as she was about flying for the first time. Then amongst the pitter patter of steady rain we heard the faint melodic sounds of music that universally beckoned the young and old, near and far. It was an ice cream van. As the music grew louder we gazed down the road and Faith furiously waved at the van as the man drove past, a block away. We figured it was a long-shot because it was rainy and well, we were on a balcony and the van was a block away, but surprisingly he waved back, and proceeded to rev his van and reverse all the way down the narrow street that led to the house we were staying at.  We got our ice cream and to the dismay of Faith and Steph the snail was killed. Turns out it was an African snail,  a pest to the country and possibly poisonous.

But this has gone on long enough! More adventures to follow, but until next time… I’ll leave you with something symbolic our snail friend Pablo showed me: The things that bring you temporary happiness may actually be slowly poisoning you and although deception might move slowly, it always leaves  a trail… a slimy trail. Too dark/deep? Sorry, I just watched 2 episodes of One Tree Hill.

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