Frogs and Angels

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

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Flag of Barbados  ,
Sunday, July 16, 2006

It must be against the law to have hot water in the mornings in Barbados. Why? You ask. Because every morning since our arrival, we've had to take cold showers to start the day. But we're not complaining. The weather is hot and humid, so a cool shower is no big problem. Today, we went down to breakfast, and again relaxed as we watched the waves roll up to the rocky shoreline just below the restaurant.

Soon enough, our masseuse arrived and we headed upstairs to greet her. We couldn't resist the opportunity to have a relaxing massage right on the patio of our villa. Arlette went first. And, while she enjoyed her rub down, Michael and David went out to splash in the ocean, while I remained upstairs and did some writing. This atmosphere is perfect for inspiration. But watching the fellas clown around in the waters right outside our window kept me entertained and a little distracted. Why in the world were they out there floating on inflatable tubes while in full snorkeling gear? Go figure. But it was quite an amusing sight. Michael later explained that they wanted to ensure that any passing boats would see them in the water. I knew that was a load of crap, but I let him stick to his story anyway.

Before I knew it, Arlette was done with her massage and it was my turn. With the sound of the ocean waves gently brushing against the rocks below and the lovely harmonies of the relaxing classical music (I'm so glad we brought a few CDs along), I allowed Sonia to do her thing and massage away any remnants of tension in my muscles.

With all of our tension massaged away, Arlette and I waved to the guys to come back upstairs. David explained that he had dropped his sunglasses in the ocean, and Michael dived down about 20-feet to retrieve them, passing a school of fish on the way down. After freshening up, we all decided to go into Holetown - named for its circular shape - about 20 minutes away.   There's supposed to be lots of shopping there. One of the locals mentioned that we could take the bus there - either the yellow bus (privately owned, where we were sure to get an earful of the local music during our ride), or the blue bus (government owned, and much more quiet). We decided we'd take whichever came along first. So we waited and waited and waited, but no bus came.

After about 20 minutes, a small car sped past us and then suddenly stopped, backed up and pulled right beside us. The friendly driver asked where we were headed and if we wanted a ride. I'm thinking, "No way are we getting into a car with a stranger." And something told me David and Arlette were feeling the same way. But you-know-who graciously accepted the ride, opened the car doors and motioned for us to get in. What the heck was Michael thinking? We don't know this guy. But we figured there's four of us and only one of him, so how dangerous could it be (kids, please don't try this at home). David grabbed a huge bag from the backseat of the car, which contained some sports gear (most likely for Cricket) and walked to the trunk assuming the guy would pop it so he could drop the stuff inside. No such luck. Either the guy couldn't open the trunk from the driver's seat or he already had a dead body in there or something, so we tasked Michael with holding the athletic bag on his lap up front as we all piled into the car.

Mister Friendly drove about as wildly as the rest of the Barbados drivers, taking curves like he was driving in the Indy 500. Just before we reached our drop-off point in Speightstown, Arlette nudged me and glanced towards the car window. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a thumb-sized frog crawling up the window. Yikes! What the heck is a frog doing in a car? We both jumped, Arlette screamed, and the guys looked in amazement at us. "What's going on?" David asked. By then the frog had jumped onto Arlette's lap, then onto the floor. She scooted over causing me to shift onto David's lap, my head nearly hanging out of the open car window. Needless to say, we were all cracking up inside that little car. Our friendly driver never slowed down; he just continued driving, curious to know what was happening in the backseat. Finally, the car stopped and we all jumped out as if the car was on fire. Through our uncontrollable laughter, we thanked our driver and made our way to a yellow bus about to depart for Holetown.

20-minute ride into town was an experience in Barbados hip-hop music. Despite the incredibly loud volume of the music and the heavy accent of the "artist", I was able to make out some of the lyrics. Let's just say they were reminiscent of many American hip-hop artists with the use of some derogatory words and a few double entandras. But for $1.50 Barbados per person (.75 U.S.) we didn't complain too much, and, as teenagers would say, it had a good beat.  

As we rode into Holetown, we noticed that the streets looked pretty sparse. Not many people walking around. Despite that, we got off the bus hopeful to find something interesting to do there. And just as we were about to trek off, Michael stopped a local woman and asked her assistance. Dressed in her Texaco Star-Mart shirt, she was clearly just getting off work, and the look she gave Michael suggested that she did not want to be bothered. But as he respectfully spoke to her, she quickly warmed up to us and suddenly became a wealth of information. We couldn't get her to stop talking once she got started. She told us where to go for fun (which was Bridgetown), which bus to take into town, and which areas of town to avoid. As she warmed up to us, she took on a motherly spirit towards us, sharing that despite the fact that she had an adult son, she was still a vibrant 51 years young (too young to be any of our mother, but we adopted her nonetheless). So she became an angel for us, agreeing to go all the way into Bridgetown with us to make sure we made it there safely. Upon arrival there, she departed and wished us well, asking that we call her later to let her know that we made it back to our hotel safely. And then she was gone.

Following her instructions, we found our way to Tim's On De Highway, a huge tent structure, where all sorts of activities were scheduled as part of the big Crop Over Festival that has been in full swing for a few weeks. Unfortunately, the activities didn't begin until later that night. So we decided to walk around town and head over to Fet Wet, another festival that reminded us of a combination of Mardi Gras (in New Orleans) and Freaknik (which used to be held in Atlanta) all rolled into one ridiculous scene. It's all about dressing up in your skimpiest outfit and getting hosed down, which seems completely ridiculous to me because it was raining sporadically and the beach was just steps away from the festival. It didn't take us long to realize we didn't want to spend much time there, so we quickly walked through the rambunctious crowd back to the bus terminal and boarded our bus back to St. Peter, where our hotel is located.

An hour-long rainy ride took us back to Speightstown, where we had to transfer to a minivan that dropped us off right in front of the Little Good Harbor. By then it was about 7:30, and we were ready for some dinner. Just as we settled in, a storm kicked up and the rains and winds started blowing outside. We had made it back just in time to keep from getting drenched. Perfect timing. Michael had marinaded a chicken, so we popped that into the oven, while he whipped up some papaya and mango smoothies for us to enjoy. We cooked up some curry rice, corn and broccoli and sat down to a delicious meal before we all started to feel that sleepy spirit sneaking up on us.
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