When in Barbados…. do as the Bajans do

The character of Barbados – or at least Bridgetown , was made clear within minutes of landing on the pure white beach in search of a celebratory rum and supperl. We stumbled into a deserted beach bar and were ushered into the next door restaurant – full of waiters and ridiculously pretty hostesses all dressed in black – and not a single customer . The manager insisted we look at the menu before sitting down to eat , and it soon became obvious why as even with the euphoria of our completed crossing and the anaesthetic effect of the rum cocktail there was no way we could afford the prices. Its a high end tourist resort and liveaboards are out of their depth. We ended up at a strange little place with a Rasta waiter and amazingly loud reggae – probably not aimed at the tourists at all and so within our price range. It was even more obvious the next day as 4 cruise liners disgourged their baitball of passengers into the feeding frenzy school of tourism whereby everyone from the restaurant owners , down through the taxi drivers to the beggars try to get as much as they can out of the tourists before they disappear back into their ships at dusk.
Saturday however was market day and every nook and cranny was filled with street vendors selling their produce, aimed firmly at the Bajans themselves , and so much more comfortable to be part of . We filled our rucksacks with fresh provisions exhilerated by the colour and noise and banter. Even so there were lessons to be learnt. One stall was belting out music . “Want some music man?” Standard smile , “No thanks “ and move on – except that after a pause I thought “Why not , lets have some Bajan music !” so rather to everyone’s surprise , not least my own , I went back and asked him to choose some for me. He was a bit perplexed but eventually came up with a disc and we parted happily. Back on the boat it turned out to be reggae , but deeply political and giving expression to the unhappiness of the black Barbadans continuing problems amidst all this , presumably predominantly white , affluence.
For our final day I wanted to escape the tourist thing and hit upon the idea of going to the cricket. Somehow I have reached my present great age without ever going to a cricket match , and cricket mad Barbados seemed a good place to start. The home team were playing the Windward Islands at the Kensington oval and Lynda and I were first in the ticket queue. It was the best 10 dollars we have ever spent.
We had a ball! The cricket was enthralling , but even if our concentration slipped from the pitch there was a wonderful opportunity to people watch , with more characters per square inch than the House of Lords . Every summer for 30 years I have done my afternoon visits to the accompaniment of “Test match special” on the radio and it seems I had unwittingly absorbed enough cricketing culture to hold my own with our neighbours – a group of men my age who all played for a club in the North of the Island called “Yorkshire!” and were passionate about the game.
As the afternoon wore on so the crowd got noisier and noisier , and when we slipped out of the harbour for an overnight passage to St Lucia the stadium lights lit up the sky and I fancied we could still hear our new friends shouting with frustration as the “youngsters “ on the pitch refused to take those “easy two runs man!”


  1. Hi Philip and Linda – congrats on the crossing and the blog. The goose barnacles are common after ocean passages – just thank your lucky stars that you don’t have to worry about teredo worms – literally having your boat eaten from under you! We await the next installment of our vicarious adventure with you.
    Take care
    John & Fiona

  2. John ,
    I noticed that once we got here there were no more goose barnacles . Are they purely oceanic ? and if so why / i must say that our trip has awakened the latent marine biologist in me and have so many questions about the stuff in the sea.


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