A holiday in Barbados is more than just the sun and the sand, it’s also about its people, the delicious food, the wonderful Bajans, and the scenic beauty.
Click here to read the introduction: A Vacation to Pristine Barbados
A platter of delicious tropical fruits overlooking the ocean awaited me at the hotel. Soon, I was on my way towards the historic cricket ground of Barbados. The Kensington Oval as it is popularly called is a famous landmark in Bridgetown for all those cricket enthusiasts. The stadium had been revamped a few years ago, in preparation for the finals of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007.
As I entered through the main gate of the stadium, the lush green ground was so good looking, and I was sure it would pose a serious competition to most golf courses. The Oval has several stands named after some of the greatest legends that have represented West Indies Cricket. I must admit the knowledge of an average Bajan (as the islanders call themselves) is impeccable and these people understand the nuances of cricketing technicalities. Cricket as a sport is a very big deal in the Island and I was not surprised to hear that the 27,000 capacity stadium is usually almost full to its capacity when games are played in the stadium.
The lunch in Tides restaurant was a memorable experience with waves crashing off the ocean with the cool breeze-swaying palms. Boats moved past the square frame of the dining lounge as the finest Caribbean seafood was served on the table. As the tide rose, the back of my shirt was drenched in the purest of ocean waters.
I didn’t complain anyways! It was a Friday afternoon and some of the streets were lined up with the choicest of arts and handicrafts on sale. Over a hundred makeshift shops were selling everything ethnic and local over the weekend. Colorful bags and clothes, artifacts and corals, designer jewelry and exclusive paintings, the shops had a little something for every shopper.
The breeze from the ocean was keeping the heat under control as Gregory arrived on time to take me around Barbados. “The west coast is very spruced up because of the tourists,” Gregory told me. “But the north and east are natural. We all like the east coast best – you get a lovely breeze there, actually.” The Bajans, the local people of Barbados, use “lovely” and “actually” in almost all of their conversations. “The east coast is where we all go on holiday.”
We headed north along the coast, past the Sugar Hill estate, to Six Men’s Bay, a fishing village where women in headscarves and aprons deftly filleted flying fish. A lady in a pink T-shirt with a straw hat sporting a pink flower sat on a wall by a church, resting her weight on her umbrella. “Churches for the women, rum shops for the men,” remarked Gregory! At last I was beginning to see snapshots of the old Barbados. Somewhere in between this entire extravaganza, cricket was in the air!
As we moved inland I could get a glimpse into the other side of the Island. Though in Caribbean terms, Barbados is a relatively prosperous country, most inland villages seemed to have scarcely more than a few chickens, a bus stop, two or three banana trees and a pastel cluster of tiny houses! These are “chattel” houses, so called because they can be jacked up and moved like stacks of cardboard. We also passed a couple of beautiful old coral stone churches tucked into crossroads, slightly crumbling but standing solemn amidst the riotous green vegetation surrounding them.
Click here to continue reading: Sightseeing in Barbados
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