Given the recent turmoil in the world (see Mali, Paris, Colorado, and Beirut), it feels careless and trivial to write cheery travel updates on a blog. But then… It dawned on me that sharing smiles, good times, and inspiring pictures is perhaps a welcome distraction from all that is wrong and rotten in the world at the moment. And so here I am, with another post about beautiful Barbados.
Now, you may remember that a while back I wrote gushingly about Bim and how it made me want to take off my shoes and stay a while (see my post here if you didn’t catch it the first time). We began our four day stay in the quiet western part of the island, in the parish of St. James, where our to-do list consisted primarily of spending low-key days sampling local cuisine and taking long languid walks on the near empty beaches. Tough life, right?
However, after two days of very laid back exploration, we decided to shake things up a little and head to the parish of Christchurch, located on the southern part of the island. Guidebooks will tell you that the south is more touristy and lively, and honestly, I can’t say that they are wrong. The part I saw has a decidedly more “urban” feel to it: there is more traffic, and pedestrian thoroughfares are more densely packed. A huge contributor to this, of course, are the resorts lining the vibrant South Coast; their white sand beaches are rife with vacationers thirsty for sun, surf, and hopping nightlife!
Our digs: Bougainvillea Beach Resort
Our home away from home this time was Bougainvillea Beach Resort, the sprawling hotel and entertainment complex we were invited to stay at for two nights in exchange for a review. Now, if I’m completely honest, the best things about the Bougainvillea are its grounds and location. The property stretches the length of picturesque Maxwell Beach, and is but a short cab ride from major points of interests like Bridgetown (the historic center and capital), St. Lawrence Gap (good for nightlife), and Oistins Fish Fry (an institution on which I will elaborate a bit later!) The airport is also nearby though you’ll have such a good time in Bim that you might just *accidentally* miss your flight.
The grounds of the resort are a dream; Jamal, the darling Marketing Manager who gave us a tour of the property, told us the Bougainvillea is quite popular for destination weddings. After walking around we can see why:
Our room, a junior suite, was also very nice. Colourful and large, it had a beautiful balcony that overlooked the deep blue of the Caribbean sea, as well as a small, fully-stocked kitchen corner where we could prepare meals if we wanted. While the fixtures could use some updating, everything was extremely clean and well maintained. All in all, we were very happy with our lair and the friendly staff went out of their way to make us feel comfortable and at home.
However, to be honest with you, we spent very little time in our room. Instead, we parked ourselves in two loungers on the beach, fruity drink in one hand, Kindle in the other. We sat, and snoozed, and sat some more, enjoying each other’s company, the stunning natural surroundings, and quiet purring of the waves as they lapped the shore. In the rare moments I was able to muster up the energy to leave my chair, I frolicked in the sea, though not too much, since a freak Caribbean-wide invasion of smelly sargassum seaweed made the water on this part of the island a bit murky.
Oistin’s Fish Fry
In my first post about Barbados, I cited the nice weather, gorgeous surroundings, and good food as reasons I could stay there on a longer term basis. But I often think that the ability to easily “plug in” to the greater local community also plays a large role in whether or not migrants like me can see themselves putting down roots somewhere new. While many of my experiences in Bimshire felt familiar after growing up in a black/Caribbean household, I also attribute the “homey feeling” I had to how easy it felt to take part in local culture and events, like Oistins Fish Fry, the island’s long-standing weekend street party. Oistins is actually a fishing town by day, but by night, especially on Fridays, it is *the* place to be! The Fish Fry is essentially a huge outdoor cookout turned social event, with music, dancing, and vendors smoking, grilling, and frying seafood on massive barbecues right in front of you.
Rows and rows of long tables covered in plastic tablecloths seat crowds of patrons who struggle to eat the very generous plates sea-dwelling fare on offer. The atmosphere is festive and the crowd seemed to be an equal mix of locals and tourists the night I was there; with so many people out and having a good time it feels impossible to leave without at least making a new acquaintance!
So once again, another long-ish post on why I dug Barbados! What do you think of it? Stay tuned for more words and pictures about this lovely island paradise.