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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The "LDub's Suggestions for a Memorable Vacation Experience" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Checking my emails and found a link that took me to The Huffington Post travel section.  Funny how these things just pop up when you hit one of the icons or photos. Well, the story in the travel section this particular day was titled "How to Travel Like a Local in Barbados."  No problem for us, since we have been there a couple of times with our friends Jerry and Just Sue.  Could have written the article myself. Some of the suggestions that were given to travel like a local seems vaguely familiar, so I decided to rewrite the entire article myself using my ideas and photos to make you feel more at home if you ever travel to Barbados, one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean that we have been lucky enough to visit.

Taste Everything.  A trip to the Oistens Fish Fry is a must on any trip to Barbados.  We had such a great time on our trips to Oistens.  Small shacks line the area along the water which sell the fish that Barbados is famous for, the flying fish.  Yep, they really do fly across the water and kind of freak you out when you see them coming towards you.  To go along with the fried flying fish is mac and cheese, coleslaw, peas and beans, baked beans, potato salad and naturally a Carib or Ting.  The top photo shows the town at dusk, just before it comes alive along the waterfront.  Middle one shows one of the small stands and their array of treats for the travelers as well as locals.  Bottom shows the sun setting over the beach at Oistens.

Think outside the car and cab.  Some of the best means, and most exciting and entertaining, of travel on the island are the privately owned van-sized buses.  Meant to hold perhaps 10 passengers, but usually hold double that.  Wait at the bus stop until a van pulls up and the door flies open.  The conductor, the guy that flings the door open, will take your money and point to a place to sit in the jam-packed bus.  Really a fun time.   Photo shows Carol jammed into the front seat next to the driver.  Just Sue is sitting in front of me to the right.  Reminds me of an amusement ride with jamming on the brakes and fast accelerations, at least as fast as a cab carrying upwards of 20 people can accelerate.
Have a Lime.  Not the fruit, but the party type.  Head to St. Lawrence Gap strip where the locals hang out at a variety of rum shops and bars. Plenty of eating and drinking establishments to put you in a lim'in mood.

Get "off-the-beaten path" souvenirs.  A piece of pottery at the Earthworks, a CD of island music or an original batik from Henderson Reece's Batik Studio and Gallery.  We have made all of those purchases which you will never find on any other island.  Top photo shows Henderson displaying our Batik print we purchased at his studio.  
Bottom photo show the Merrymen, an island vocal group popular with all ages.

Try one of the public beaches.  Take advantage of them as the locals do.  Some of the best beaches in the world are found on this island that has more than 60 choices.  Two of our favorites were Crane Beach with it's pink sand (top) and Bottom Bay Beach which is totally surrounded with breathtaking cliffs.

Take in a game of football (soccer) or cricket.  You'll feel as if you belong on the island.  Photo above was taken near St. Lawrence Gap one afternoon.  I was sitting in the bleachers when an island gentleman my age sat down, introduced himself and began to explain how the game was played.  I must have looked lost at the time, at least to him.  Wow, we must have talked for an hour.  I felt I was a part of the island scene by the time I left.
Snap away.  One of my favorite photos I took on one of the visits.  It features a young fisherman plying his trade as the sun sets over Beautiful Barbados (one of the songs in the Merrymen album we purchased).

The list of seven suggestions I have made may make you feel more like a local, not only on the island of Barbados, but on any island in the Caribbean.  Give it a try sometime and see how your vacation will be the most memorable one you have every taken.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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