During the Christmas – New Year holiday we took a break from work on the house in Croatia, as nothing really happens over there around that time, so we decided to go on a Pirates of the Caribbean Adventure starting in Barbados, and our next few posts will be Travel Diaries, to share details of our journey and adventures with all our readers.
I thought Mr C was initially apprehensive about the Pirates adventure, in case some real pirates showed up and kidnapped him/us for a ransom. I misunderstood his concerns, because Mr C was not actually talking about real “pirates” but just thugs who rob tourists as he heard that in a few luxury holiday places tourists can get kidnapped, burgled or even worse. Mr C could not believe that places like Barbados weren’t similar.
As some good friends of ours have been living in Barbados for many years, we enquired with them and they reassured us by saying that Barbados is a very safe place and pirates “only kidnap on a Tuesday at 12 o’clock and then only tourists called Mr C, so you should be fine“. On hearing this Mr C was still dubious but as we will explain later he was pleasantly surprised by the relaxed charming and welcoming attitude of Bajan and other Caribbean people. We never felt concerned in any way and only one fellow tourist mentioned a particular island named St Lucia, where you needed to be careful but otherwise everything’s very relaxed and chilled out.
But not getting too far ahead of ourselves, in December our tickets and travel pack finally arrived and when we opened it we were happy to read, “not long now to your Rockstar holiday“. We were to be picked up in a chauffeur driven car, expressed through customs at Gatwick, to the exclusive v-lounge to have breakfast and relaxation in total comfort, before boarding. In the travel pack there were pictures of the sailing ship we were due to board, called the Royal Clipper, which is a largest sailing ship in the world with 5 fully-rigged masts, and is a magnificent sight reminding you of those days when there were real Pirates scouring the Caribbean for booty.
Boarding the plane we were quickly directed to our seats and given more food and access to a touch movie and entertainment screen where you could see relatively new films for the entire journey or catch up on some sleep. The secret is to stay awake to trick your body into getting accustomed to the different time-zone, but this rarely works…
When we got to the airport in Barbados we were confronted with filling many immigration forms and – as Mr C is black and could pass for a Barbadian – a lot of the official ushers kept on telling Mr C “you can go straight through because you are a local resident coming home“… to which Mr C replied “I’ve just come from London mate” and then we had to join the long winding queue of arrival tourists. Next time Mr C will take the hint and go into the “local resident returning home” queue, and just smile at the immigration officer when they realize he is not a local….
After a taxi to our hotel we were greated with a rum-punch and lots of smiles from receptionists (Bajans love their rum) and showed to our luxury ocean-front room, where we spent our first few days of our Caribbean holiday.
One day the hotel organized a Chistmas picnic party for guests and staff and that was fun, we were taken to a lovely beach location on the East coast of Barbados called Bathsheba, and they organized delicious food, lots of drinks, and a game of cricket which everybody took part in. Barbadian love their cricket and on the way to the picnic we saw numerous roundabouts that were named after famous cricketers such as Garfield Sobers, and even children and the women took part and turned out to be some of the best cricketers in the group.
It all felt very British until the music started and the bajan hotel staff started dancing.
For a British person, it might all have seemed quite shocking, but again it was actually great fun, because Bajan women seem to have very big arses which they like to wiggle around to the sound of music, and two of them joined together back-to-back and wiggled their arses with each other, sometimes the man joins in and …… we’ll leave the rest to your imagination and to our pictures which speak for themselves.
The kids of the staff were quietly playing Monopoly but as the music started, they also began to cavort around, so they must start early over there, with their dancing lessons.
So that was one of the fun days where we did something different from sunbathing on powdery white beaches fringed with palm trees, and swimming in the blue and turquoise calm and warm Caribbean waters.
On another occasion we wanted to visit a bit of the island by ourselves.
The hotel security guard said that we could either travel around by taxi (expensive), mainline bus, or reggae bus. He explained the differences in terms of fares and safety, and we thought the reggae bus sounded interesting because wherever you went on the island it would only cost BBD$ 2 (equivalent to 1 USD), as long as you arrived in one piece…. We discovered that these buses (small vans really) can be flagged down anywhere, and the drivers are very flexible as to where they pick you up and drop you off.
The drivers are very friendly, and are constantly honking their horns or shouting out of the window in their local dialect which is totally indecipherable to a foreign ear. They seem to know everybody and stop and have a conversation out of the window when they are driving and it’s a very colourful experience. These are the buses that most locals take to go to-from work.
We found that everything takes about an hour to get to because although the island is small, the roads are quite bumpy especially on these old reggae buses, and there is a lot of traffic in rush-hour, but it’s an interesting journey nonetheless which we thoroughly recommend.
Mr C noticed on the bus a lady fiddling around with her blackberry mobile and was quite surprised when this lady started hitting the screen with her hand, and then hitting the phone and slapping it several times on her thigh. She would then furiously look through her sms and emails until next time she slapped it again on her thigh. After several times of doing this she let our a sigh and reluctantly put the phone back into a plastic bag and looked bored out of a window.
Mr C realized from his experience in Croatia, that computers and mobile phones tend to freeze in the hot weather, and this can be quite frustrating, the best tip is not to use your mobile or computer too long, or get a small fan to keep it cool in the hot weather.
Mr C saw an advert for 4G and asked the driver whether they already had this there, because in the UK 4G is only just been tried and the driver replied in his charming Bajan voice “yeah man, it been here long time“.
So this was the start to our Pirates Adventure, and we leave you with some more memories from Barbados.