Wednesday, January 6, 2010


When you land, you see that Barbados is what you picture a Caribbean island to look like. We've seen some gorgeous palm trees and sparkling turquoise water, but Barbados wins hands down in any category you toss its way: ease of travel, sunsets, generosity of locals, natural beauty, beaches, and wildlife (except music; the hotel kept playing easy-listening on the beach when all we wanted was the crack high only soca can bring).

We went originally for our friends' wedding. A catamaran to watch the sunset should be a requirement for all weddings; everyone immediately became good friends in such a delicious setting while snorkeling for turtles. The drivers bring fish, so they came en masse for us to admire.

The ceremony was in an old Catholic church right in town and this thick yellow beam of sun found our friends' faces at the start and stayed on them the entire time. They looked like technicolor angels. At the reception, after hours of dancing, every time I went to sit down, I'd look up and see grandmas, the Trini ones, still wining and knew I couldn't yet sit. A beautiful wedding it was.
My family had planned to meet us there for Christmas so that they'd get to see another island too. We rented a Mok and drove around the island in a few hours. At one point, we saw catamarans a little ways out from the beach and quickly parked, threw our suits on (all but my mom, who stayed in her pants and shirt), and swam out 100 yds or so. As we reached the boats, the drivers started playing The Jaws theme song and my sister jumped on top of my head like a cartoon. They brought out the fish and immediately, two leatherback turtles and a green turtle (with markings similar to a giraffe) floated up to us. We squealed and shared the two snorkel sets we had brought among us. We also did a bunch of shipwreck dives around the island and saw more turtles and rays, a puffer fish, and a flying gunard (which looks like the sea floor, brown and white, unless its agitated and then its aqua and purple wings open wide).

We went to Crane Beach, which has one of the coolest natural formations ever--a path sitting on empty space that used to be rock.

Plus, pink sand!

We celebrated Christmas Eve sharing tapas at a restaurant ten feet from the beach and Christmas Day with friends who live just off a sugarcane plantation. And we saw monkeys from their porch!

Tropical plants, from the botanical garden, including my new favorite tree: Pink Explosion.

And the "bearded" fig trees the Spanish first saw when they arrived here and came up with the name, Barbados.

Unripe cocoa pods

We went to Oisten's Fish Market, where we ate the best known fish: grilled flying fish from Pat's. It was a party, with more and more dancing and groups of men playing cards as each hour passed.

Barbados was lovely. Ten days was not enough time to spend there.