Farewell to Barbados

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

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Flag of United States  , Georgia
Friday, July 21, 2006

Our last day in Barbados was incredible. How could we leave such a beautiful place, where we have found such peace, calm, hospitality, kindness and relaxation? It wasn't easy, but we had to leave. As David said, "If we don't leave here, we won't be able to experience the next place." And there will definitely be a "next place."

So we enjoyed one final relaxing breakfast at The Fish Pot. Juliette, our waitress, was there to greet us with her usual friendly smile, which we have come to expect and appreciate. Over breakfast, we reflected on all that we had experienced over the past week.

While Michael went over to the office to close out the account and to take a few final pictures of the grounds, Arlette, David and I shared our top three memories of the week. It was funny to hear what we all remembered and how we ranked each memory. Then suddenly we fell into a hush, staring out over the Caribbean Sea. As Juliette went about preparing for the lunch crowd, she noticed our quiet reflection, and commented that we seemed sad. She had become so used to our morning chatter and laughter that our sudden silence caught her attention. Surely she had experienced this kind of reaction from other guests at Little Good Harbour. Who really wants to leave a place like this? But today was our departure day and our driver was due in about an hour, so we slowly marched upstairs to complete our packing and enjoy the view from our villa one last time. As Jason, our driver, loaded our bags into the minivan, we said our final farewells to Graham and Juliette, snapped some pictures and waved goodbye to the Hotel Little Good Harbour.

Ever since Sunday, when we met the angel in Holetown, who journeyed with us into Bridgetown, we hadn't been able to contact her via her cell phone, and we all wanted to thank her one last time for her help. We knew our trip wouldn't be complete if we didn't at least say goodbye to her. But we had been unable to reach her by phone. The funny thing is, we all had an eerie suspicion that she might not really exist, because after she departed us in Bridgetown, she seemed to just disappear. And then we hadn't been able to reach her by phone, so our minds developed a strange theory that she was an apparition that we had all experienced together.

David suggested we stop at the service station where she worked since it was on our way, and Jason gladly obliged. We didn't even know if she would be at work today, but it was worth a try. We even thought that we would go into the place, ask about this woman, and the people there would tell us that no such woman had ever worked there, or that the person we were describing was a ghost or something. Okay, it was just a little joke we shared. But you never know. Michael took the lead and hopped out of the van to go inside the Texaco Star-Mart to find her. And less than a minute later, who do we see running out to the van, but our little angel. David slid the door open and she flew inside to hug Arlette and me. It was like that scene in The Color Purple, when Celie (Whoopie Goldberg's character) sees her children for the first time in like 20 years. You would have thought we were her long-lost children, who had been taken to American and had returned to their mama in Barbados. Such a warm scene with lots of smiles and hugs. We could tell that we had made her day. She was so excited to see us that she ushered us into the store to meet her boss, a tall, burley guy, who seemed completely baffled by the scene. Before we left, she explained that her cell phone had been out of order, but she quickly jotted down her address and the fax number at work and told us to contact her any time.

The rest of the ride to the airport was enjoyable as we passed several chattel houses that dotted the side roads, and the acres of sugar cane growing like grass. We passed a statue that Michael had wanted to see - it depicted a man with broken chains on both wrists, indicating the emancipation of slaves in Barbados. Unfortunately, Jason was unable to pull to the side of the road for us to get a good picture of it, but click the link for more info.

  Check-in at the airport was quite a process - stand in line to receive boarding pass, stand in line to get the luggage inspected, stand in line to have passport reviewed at customs desk, stand in line to have carry-on bags inspected. With all of that you would think folks would be in a bad mood, but not us. We were as calm and relaxed as anyone could be. We took it all in stride and simply counted it as another experience on this fantastic trip. After some last-minute shopping at the duty-free stores in the airport, we headed towards our gate, boarded the plane and took off. Arlette snapped some final shots of the island as the plane ascended for a pleasant flight home.

Back in Atlanta, after going through customs once again, we separated -- David and Arlette headed for their flight back to New Orleans, and Michael and I headed home. On our way to the park-n-ride, Michael received a call from David, who explained that he had just had a serendipitous moment. While in Barbados, he had been reading a book titled The Pursuit of Happyness, and had been sharing how much he was enjoying the book. While waiting for their flight to New Orleans, he noticed a man sitting across from him and realized that he resembled the author of the book and that he was wearing the same suit that the author was wearing in the jacket photo. The man walked to the restroom, and David mentioned to Arlette that he thought that was the author. When the guy returned, David walked over to him and asked if he was Mr. Gardner. The man confirmed that he was, and mentioned that he was in Atlanta attending the T.D. Jakes Megafest Convention. David told him that he was in the midst of reading his book, and asked him to sign it. When David mentioned that his sister, Jackie had given him the book, Gardner said, "Get your sister on the phone." So David called Jackie and handed the phone to Gardner, who played "guess who this is" with Jackie, who eventually figured out that she was speaking to the author. They all enjoyed a laugh.

We all finally made it to our respective homes after a long day. As I fell off to sleep I could still hear the calming rush of ocean waves swooshing against the rocks. I'll never forget that villa, that view or the friendly people of Barbados.

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Where I stayed
Little Good Harbour, Barbados
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