Its been a while since our last tea break so get comfy, grab a quick cuppa and let’s kick off.
Barbados is more affectionately known as Bim, where I enjoyed a slow and restful escape recently, buffering me for the UK winter months ahead, hopefully.
Trying to slow it down
Me being me, I did draw up a draft itinerary with a few things I specifically wanted to do, (things more in line with my interests) but there were plenty of free days for spontaneity or doing absolutely nothing other than go with the flow – books on the beach days, slow walks, people watching, entering into a deeper level of relaxation – complete switch off.
I wanted try being less of a tourist and blend in a bit more like a local. Not sure if I pulled it off from the local’s point of view lol, but I did felt more locally immersed this time round.
One afternoon I was sitting at a bus stop, with no camera and not dressed in typically ‘touristy’ looking clothes. A couple of American tourists approached me and started asking which buses to get somewhere – which I knew, and then other idle chatter about the buses in Barbados – but they started apologising after hearing me speak, realising I was a tourist as well. Lol – almost pulled it off – I probably need to work on the Bajan accent 😆
I took my time wherever I went, paid more attention to ‘the little things’ that probably seem insignificant and made more of an effort to talk to locals, ask questions and gain more than superficial insights into their lives. I can honestly say I found more joys in simple things.
Eat local, shop local, be a local – (as much as possible) that was the plan.
Wherever I happened to be, I stopped often to sit and observe whatever and whoever was around, soaking it all up, the sights the sounds, the moods and patterns of the day and rarely looked at the time.
During one of these moments I encountered a man riding a bike with one wheel that had a rubber tyre on it, the other had no tyre, he used his foot to peddle push himself along the road, holding up traffic, a bucket and other bits hanging off him. I heard the screechy scraping getting closer from somewhere behind me, then turned around to see him approaching – we exchanged a polite hello, he was happy and smiling as he screeched and scraped past and ahead of me down the road.
I’m sure I’ve got a picture or clip somewhere – I’ll add it in here if I can find it.
Whatever the weather, I savoured it, rain or shine, humidity and sea breeze. I also grumbled a bit at times, I’ll be honest lol – it was exceptionally hot recently. Locals all commented that the heat had been more intense than usual for the time of year and felt it was too much.
I’m convinced that when we travel slower, the feeling of gratitude for the experience grows stronger since we’re taking more time to savour rather than rush through it. The mind has more space to rest, de-clutter, reflect and think.
“The more deeply you engage with life, the longer it will seem.” Dan Kieran, The Idle Traveller
I’ll be posting another series of Barbados themed posts over the coming weeks – sharing a variety of snippets which I hope you’ll enjoy, or find useful if you’re planning a trip there yourself.
Mine’s a freshly picked bay leaf tea, leaves picked straight from the tree, vibrant and green, from one of the islands botanical gardens (Flower Forest) – not the dark dried out leaves sold in packets. The aroma from the fresh bay leaves while still on the tree is very potent, this shocks a lot of people apparently, myself included. It almost borders on a mild sweet clove or a typical Christmas spice fragrance.
When cooking, I usually add it curries and also rice quite often. I remember my gran putting it in porridge….there’s no end to how you can use these leaves.
Tear up the leaves, add hot water and brew for a simple yet powerful tea, known for its calming and relaxing effect, helping with diabetes prevention on top of a long list of other benefits – this topic came up a lot in conversations, and I can think of four trusted sources promoting the benefits of bay leaves on the island in the space of a few days – including a herbalist at Holders Sunday market and also from one of the gardening team at the Flower Florist Botanical Garden, hotel staff and taxi drivers in – casual conversation.
Don’t overdo it though, I’ve been warned it can have you so relaxed and sleepy you might end up nodding off at the most inconvenient times 😉
I left a lot of bay leaves behind before flying home (didn’t want to have any aggro with customs) – the housekeeping lady who got them was highly delighted with these in particular.
In the tropics, people tend to grow bay leaves in their gardens pretty much as standard, plus an array of other medicinal plants and fruits. Like granny’s garden. Pharmacy, what pharmacy….
The next few blog posts will be a series of mainly Barbados themed posts from a recent trip. If your interested or planning on heading out there yourself, you might find something useful, interesting or amusing, hopefully!
Well they’re the alpha male chickens so they probably rule the roost right? The roosters and hens are so ‘street’, just hanging out wherever, unconcerned about anything. I saw them pretty much all over the island, wherever I went, they’re everywhere.
Like cats in Greece and Morocco, it’s chickens in Barbados.
Do chickens out number humans on the island?? (A bit like sheep in Wales 3 to 1).
I remember a near miss whilst in a car, the driver had to slow down to avoid hitting it. I saw the most down St Lawrence Gap, gangs of chickens/roosters just doing their own thing, manoeuvring around cars and people. At times loud, crowing at all times of the day. Never shy. It seems like they always like to hang around where there are people, strutting around the place.
A few more random observations in Barbados
Does not exist on buses, generally – just saying.
On the larger buses (not the ZR), it seems customary to hold the backpack of the person standing up over you when the bus is packed – they don’t even ask, they just hand it to the person sat below them, this didn’t happen to me but I observed it. Seems a reasonable compromise!
I did encounter a school girl who sat next to me on a bus driving down from the West Coast toward the South. While scrambling to find her fare, she dropped a coin on the floor of the moving bus (a bus where you pay as you get off) – we couldn’t see where it rolled off to so I gave her a coin to replace it. She took it and said thank you. Then she said “can I have another one please” – so innocently lol. I said – oh, are you a bit short there, she said yes. She’s probably been dropping her money everywhere 🚌 Bless her.
On entering an unnamed mini supermarket, one of the check out staff had her head down on the till snoozing. There was no queue at the time, She lifted her head to look at me as I entered then went back to snoozing again. I hope she was okay, and not unwell. 😴
KFC and Chefette both have branded cars for home deliveries.
I spotted a Starbucks in Worthing – for anyone who needs this.
You will not find McDonalds anywhere in Barbados 🤗 💫
Don’t be a Fraudy Frog!
This label can apply to any kind of fraudster, but I think it sounds too friendly and child-like for a fraudster though. ‘Sneaky Snake’ rings better.
Brands that make sense
Felt better about myself
When I saw this couple’s luggage waiting to be taken to reception. I thought I was an over-packer, and like I was serving a sentence with just one suitcase – but this sight was is inspirational 🤣 👍 Luckily for the staff, this room was on the ground floor.
Note to self
Saw this on the back of someone’s T Shirt – guess I won’t be going to Cancun then! 😉
As with a lot of beachy islands, Barbados isn’t just about the beach life – local people are generally busy going about every day life while you’re busy under a palm tree. It’s easier to talk to staff in shops, hotels etc than to start a conversation with a random local person – but if you immerse yourself a bit more and let it happen, well who knows.
I’ll be doing another ‘conversations with strangers’ post soon and share a few of many insights and chats I had with local people.
People watching is another interesting thing to do as well – if you can find a good spot to sit and idle some of the day away!
Best wishes 😊 🔆