A Taste of Local Culture

Trip Start Jul 13, 2006
Trip End Jul 20, 2006

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Flag of Barbados  ,
Saturday, July 15, 2006

First off, we have to send a special Happy Birthday shout-out to our girl, Nikki. Hope you're having a fabulous day.

Going to bed early (10 p.m.) last night kind of gets you in the mood to get up a little early. And that's exactly what we did this morning. Six o'clock, to be exact. That was the perfect hour to sit on the patio and enjoy the morning ocean breeze, and to try out the free wireless Internet connection that Graham mentioned yesterday. After trying for 20 minutes to connect - voila; we got in! But because the building is made of solid concrete and sandstone, we can only get a clear signal from a little corner of the patio. So there we were, hunched over the laptop checking email.

Once our "Honorary Globetrotters" finally arose and got dressed, we all headed downstairs to The Fish Pot Restaurant for breakfast, which is served each morning from 8:30 to 10 a.m. As long as we get there before 9:45 we're alright. And we arrived just in time. The breakfast was so delicious, and the view so breathtaking, that we decided to remain at the restaurant for a spell and just take in the beauty of Barbados. Rolling waves lulled us into a peaceful, relaxed state. A few birds flew nearby to visit and landed on the railing to beg for breadcrumbs. Meanwhile, a light rain began to fall, and lasted just long enough to cool the air. Our cue to get up and out for the day.

Our adventure today took us on a walk towards Speightstown (pronounced: spikes-town), which we were told is just a short distance from the villa. About a mile down the road, a minivan filled with locals stopped and the driver asked if we wanted a ride into town. "What the heck," we thought. So we all jumped in, completely trusting that these locals were more concerned about their own lives than ours. A few more miles down the road, and the van stopped, letting everyone out. So we jumped out too and found ourselves in the middle of a dusty little town with small shops and a small marketplace kiosks, most of which were closed, most likely awaiting the activity of the weekend crowd.

A leisurely stroll through the town took us past a few of the sidewalk vegetable vendors past the Barbados Department of Agriculture, the Speightstown Fish Market, and a few shops, then to Jordan's Market for a little grocery shopping. Man are the prices expensive! After about 30 minutes of focused shopping - trying to ensure we bought only what we would eat for the week - we had spent $195 Barbados (that's about $100 US). With each of us loaded down with two plastic shopping bags each, we stopped at a few of the sidewalk vendors we had passed along the way and bought some fruits and veggies. Michael wanted to spread the wealth, so he bought green beans and garlic from one, papayas and mangoes from another, and onions and tomatoes from still another. All were appreciative, and we walked away with a bounty of fresh food.

Now, how the heck do we get back with all of these groceries? Thanks to a helpful young man, whose accent we could barely understand, we hopped aboard another minivan already packed with 10-15 locals. Much to our surprise, the van stopped once more and loaded in four others, packing us in like sardines. Arriving back in front of our villa, we decided to chill for a bit, and then go downstairs to our "private" beach for a little snorkeling. David, Michael and Anita went snorkeling, while Arlette sat on the shore. After freshening up, we head out to a nearby fish fry market that was suggested to us by Andrea, a waitress at the Fish Pot restaurant down below our room.

We walked the narrow street (no sidewalks) for about two miles, as cars whizzed past us. We found the restaurant - a "hole in the wall" place really, made our order and took in the feel of the neighborhood. As we waited for our food, Arlette and Anita enjoyed some steel drum music, while Michael and David journeyed over to the watch some local men slice up a shark they had caught just moments earlier in the waters several miles off shore. When our food was ready, we were surprised to find that the red snapper plates we had ordered featured not fillets, as we had anticipated, but full fish - heads and all. So we headed back to our villa, down the now dark and narrow road, being careful to avoid the speeding cars.

Let's just say that the walking, snorkeling and eating took its toll on us. With bellies full and bodies relaxed, we retired early, anticipating what tomorrow would bring.
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