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Posts Tagged ‘Barbados’

Although I am now living in my most favourite place on earth thus far, I am still in the process of adjusting, which I suppose happens with everything.  Some of my current adjustments include, but are not limited to:

1.  Driving on the other side of the road.

I pretty much have this down pat as I’ve been here so often… but I still have issues with maneuvering myself around parking lots, and reversing. The fact that the roads are tiny and not made for American and/or Asian and/or European cars does not help the matter much. I still almost always try to get in the car on the passenger side, and also grab the air for the seatbelt.

What I have no problem adjusting to re: driving, is the incredible amount of courtesy on the road. I’ve always said this about Barbados, and I absolutely love it.  There are many horns being honked, but almost never in vein, instead, to say ‘hello’, ‘go ahead’, or ‘thank you.’  People stop, even though they have the right of way, to let someone else in.  It’s fabulous, I tell you.

2. The fact that I’m working mostly from home, alone, which makes for some very lonely times.  I don’t even have my cats to talk to (yes, I do that).  Although, here is a pic from before I left.  Echo was not impressed with my leaving:

echo
3. Sometimes it’s hard to meet people here that don’t have alternative intentions.

4. The crazy rocket launcher in the neighbour’s yard.  I’m still laughing, you know.  As promised, here is a pic:

Rocket Launcher

I know it’s hard to tell, but the angle of the tower is pointed directly at me, like so:

10-4

It’s hard to see all the wires, but these are the best shots I could get, as I am not in the business of pissing off the unknown neighbour.  Especially since they have a massive dog, who: a) is scary, and b) looks out for random burglars.

5. On the topic of random burglars… this is not yet something I am willing to discuss as I don’t want to jinx the situation.  I also have an ongoing entry about it that I have not yet posted, and in fact I may never be comfortable posting it.  All I can say about the situation is that I’ve never felt unsafe here in 11 years, I do now in this spot – after dark, and we’re moving.

6. Everything takes forever.  Going to the bank, supermarket, getting a cell phone, lunch, dinner, whatever. This is not so challenging for me though, as I have quite a laid back demeanor.  To tell you the truth, I enjoy it. Still, it’s an adjustment from big city life and expecting everything to be done, pronto.

Somethings that I have no problem adjusting to:

1. The amazing weather.

2. Yummy drinks, including beer, rum, Frutee and mango juice.

3. Fresh mangos, fish, plantains and all other island food in general…. including hot pepper sauce. Yummers.

4. The sound of the tree frogs.  One Canadian friend of mine thinks they sound like the noise they have for the visually impaired at large intersections.  I promised her that she will miss the sound when she leaves.

5. The beach, oh, the beach…. including the fact that the island is coral and therefore there is a lack of vegetation in the water.  It’s all about white sands and clear water.  Niceness.

6. The radio stations.  So funny and so awesome.

7. The fact that everyone says ‘good morning’, ‘good afternoon’, or ‘good evening’… even to strangers.  Wow, what a concept.  I tried that once in Toronto and just about got my ass kicked.

8. Last but definitely not least, is the beauty of the island.  I don’t have many pics yet, but here’s a couple snippets to give you an idea:

Naniki view

View from NanikiRendezvous sunsetSunset

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Yes, that’s right.  Frutee.  So. Good.

What’s Frutee, you ask? It’s the most sugary, carbonated beverage that will ever touch your palette.  I swear it.  I’m obsessed with the stuff.  That’s probably not a good thing. It’s my most favourite drink in Barbados, next to rum and beer of course.

It comes in so many bizarre flavours: banana, pear, apple, cream soda, lime, red, sorrel, grapefruit… and probably more, but that’s the variety at my local supermarket.

You can feel the sugar linger on your teeth after you drink it.

But it’s so good.

After I have one, I feel like I just drank a pot of bold coffee.  Wired. To the max. Yummers.

My fav flavour is banana.  It literally tastes like you’re drinking a banana popsicle, and my friends, I love popsicles… with a passion.

Sad, I know, but these things excite me.

Even though it doesn’t say on the bottle, I’m sure it has 10 times more sugar than a bottle of coke.

Can we say, ‘diabetes?’

I don’t care though.  So. Good.

frutee

Yum!

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“Houston?”

“10-4.”

“Houston, we have a…”

“Roger.  What do you have?”

“Uh… we have a… er… rocket launcher?”

Okay.  So get this…

The part of the porch I sit on while I funnel sip back my beer and have a smoke, looks onto my back neighbour’s yard.  The yard is pretty large in Barbados terms. Apparently, there used to be a big tree right at the fence. They had to cut it down though, assuming it was interfering with their satellite signal.  I assume this because, well, it looks as though they may have steady contact with Mars.  

For serious.  

I can’t stop laughing at this thing.  It literally takes up the majority of the yard.  It’s totally make-shift and points right at me.  It looks like a prop from the movie Contact.

For real.  

To top it off, there’s more than one. But this one is definitely the main attraction. I’m going to take a wild guess and say that they collected all of the parts over time, and eventually constructed this massive space object.  

There’s a million wires crisscrossing every which way that connect to the rocket launcher.  There are little metal things on the wires, connecting some of them together. There’s about bunch of rusty poles keeping it steady, which are based in rusty drum barrels.  Also, there’s a block of cement that has a little black box with sticks pointing out of it.  There are balls on the ends of the sticks, and they spin ’round and ’round with the breeze.  Oh, and let’s not forget the random metal boxes that are duct taped to the poles.  

Their dog, Spike (I don’t know if that’s his name yet, but he looks like a ‘Spike’ to me), won’t go near it.  As I sit and stare in awe, I wonder if they actually get any channels.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they didn’t, but were just too lazy to demolish the thing.  

Or, maybe they actually view it as a work of art.  

You think?  

I wonder if they’re proud of the mighty rocket launcher.  

I wonder if that’s where the Barbados version of Larry the Cable Guy lives.  

I wonder why they need four other antenna creations along with the rocket launcher.  

I wonder if they highjacked some building and just stole it off the roof.  

I can totally imagine them doing that and driving down the unmarked roads in the sugar cane fields, holding the rocket launcher steady on the hood of the car with one hand, while pounding back a beer with the other.  

Hmmm.  

Anyhoo, I promise to have a pic pronto, but as of now the sun has already set and I’m afraid I’ll either,

a) Piss off Spike with the flash,

b) Piss of the neighbours with the flash, or

c) Unintentionally set off some random trigger that launches the rocket straight for my head… with the flash.

Until then, Godspeed!

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So the day has finally come.  And what a sweet day, indeed.  My countdown is complete, and I have finally made it to my favourite destination.  

Ahhh… Barbados.  

My flight etc was rather uneventful, which is a plus, since generally I travel on Air Canada, US Airways or American Airlines and it’s always hell.  West Jet, however, you are my saviour.  So much so, that you even got us there early.  

Please pause, as I bow down to West Jet….

….

….

Alrighty.  

It really didn’t hit me until I got off the plane.  I walked down the steps onto the runway and felt the warm breeze through my hair.  

Warm. Breeze.  

Wow.  Those two words are so much sexier than wind chill.  

As I tried to gather my carry on luggage and winter coat in an acceptable fashion, I wondered why my face was twitching.  

Then it hit me.  That twitch, my friends, was a smile.  

What?!  She’s actually happy?  

Yes indeedy.  I forgot what happiness felt like.  And this is it.  Seriously.  I am absolutely in love with this island.  Like how you feel when you’re in a relationship.   That kind of love.

I forgot about that feeling… the last time I had it was July, which was the last time I was here.  It’s like a switch goes off and all the stress and negativity disappears.  The feeling increases even more when I realize I’m not just here for a few weeks, but four months.  

Four.

Weeeee!

Is it crazy that I have a human being relationship with an entire geographical land mass?  

Maybe.

But I don’t care.  It’s full blown true love.  Heaven.  

Now please excuse me as slip into my flip flops and sit my ass on the wrap around porch filled with palm trees, aloe plants and birds of paradise.  It’s time to suck back my third Banks Beer, feel the warm breeze on my face and watch the planes take off overhead.  

Bliss.

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Yep.  If I was a story in the paper, that would be the best headline to describe me (thanks to mamatulip for the most accurate description of me ever).  

Why, you ask?

Well, I do have blonde hair and blue eyes, I have gone postal, and… here’s the best part… I am fleeing to a warmer climate for the winter.

That’s right boys and girls.  I’m outta here.  Big time.  Adios.  Later.  Ciao. 

I can barely contain my excitement.  

Where am I going?

If you’ve read any of my earlier posts, you should have some sort of idea.  If not, I’ll give you three guesses….

1) Florida?

Nope.

2) Mexico?

Nah.

3) California?

No.

Ready?

Wait for it….

Wait for it….

Ah, sweet Barbados.  

Yep.  That’s right.  I’m going back for 4 months to do some contract work for my mom.

Weeeeeeeeeee! 

I can’t wait.  Really, I can’t.  Today marks 1 month remaining of my winter.  

I just can’t hold it in anymore.

So. 

Awesome.

I give you all permission to hate me now.

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*Sigh*

I arrived home early Friday morning from beautiful Barbados. All I can say at this moment is that the trip was everything I wanted and more, and I am sooooo incredibly sad to be back. But such as everything else in my life, I’ll get over it. So when I am ready, stories will follow.

Although I didn’t get in until 2am and was somehow puttering along on 1.5 hours sleep from the night before, I had to work in the morning. I have no idea how I managed to drag my sunkissed butt there, but I did it. Go me, go. I didn’t accomplish much, other than a skim through the 75 emails that were waiting for me to get back. Boooo. Then I dragged myself back to the clinic re: the funky neck thang. So once again I waited and waited, and eventually passed out in the doc’s room. No energy for a tongue suppressor popsicle stick house with a garage add-on this time. So the doc told me my iron is incredibly low bla bla bla, which I already knew, but at least that eases my mind. I went home after that and threw some jeans on (because yes, even though it’s nice here, I’m freezing my island bum off). So I’m strolling to the store, bouncing to some reggae, and I noticed some smiles and weird looks from the people I passed. I thought,

‘Hrmmm… Maybe Toronto is turning a new leaf? Niceness and smiles? Maybe this won’t be so bad.’

Nope. Wrong again. Turns out my fly was all the way down and the bright pink underwear I was sporting stood out nicely against my dark jeans. Yep. Go figure. It never fails. I’m back in full swing, Toronto.

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Last weekend, my mum took me to the prestigious Barbados Charity Ball (unfortunately in Toronto and not Barbados, but amazing none the less). Wow, did it ever make me miss the place. Seriously. By the end of the night my acquired Bajan accent came shining through. I believe the rum and cokes (don’t forget the lime!) helped with that. Overall, the night was awesome, and was a taste of systematic randomness at it’s best.

It was an underwater theme where people were totally decked out in the fanciest of gowns, and spiffiest of suits, swarming the massive silent auction, fish cake appetizers and rum punch cocktails. I looove silent auctions (I’ve been known to sneakily guard my bid, and/or convince someone else to guard it for me – I can also thank rum for that one) and ended up winning a sweet piece of art (and then got another piece for free…go me go!).

My mum let me bid on a piece that I recognized as ‘that phone booth in the middle of nowhere near Bathsheba.’ I ended up meeting the artist, who just happened to have some Lithuanian heritage like us, and he gave me another piece of his work pro bono. I was hoping for the awesome kite surfer shot in mid-flip …but instead got the monkey shot. It’s a white and grey monkey, standing on a turtle, eating a nut or something of the sort. It’s a fantastic shot, yet slightly creepy at the same time. But you know, what was I supposed to say?

‘Ya, sorry, despite your kindheartedness, I want that one.’

That would have been a major only-child-itis remark.

So back to the monkeys. Oh, the monkeys. It reminds me of those days at Kent House, when a family of monkeys would come out and harass the neighbour’s dogs behind the chain linked fence. If you have ever wondered where the term, ‘monkey face’ has come from, then this is it for sure. They would literally come up to the fence of annoying barking dogs, make faces, jump up and down, spin round and round and then run back into the sugar cane fields. Monkeys roam Barbados like squirrels and raccoons roam Ontario. Monkeys trump squirrels and raccoons, always. Awesome. Oh Barbados, how I miss thee.

Alrighty. Less reminiscing and back to the Ball…

There were live auction items that included an autographed Paul McCartney guitar, and some other things that I really didn’t notice after I saw the guitar. Definitely super cool, and no where near a fraction of something I could afford. I have this obsession with wanting to touch nice things. Luckily, I was able to suppress those urges…for a short while anyways.

Some yummy drinks and flying fish later, we sat and listened to the long list of speeches from many, including the Prime Minister of Barbados (who just happened to talk about the little wee town my mom grew up in, and the other little wee town my Uncle, Aunt and cousins live in). I mean, what are the odds that his first trip to Canada was to Welland and Port Colborne Ontario. Seriously bizarre.

I texted some of my friends the happenings as they happened. For future reference, drinking and texting is just like drinking and dialing…. impossible to understand and just wrong. Yep. Technology made me do it. I swear. Well, technology, rum and wine. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I vaguely remember being on the dance floor with my mom at some point dancing to a song entitled, Sexallent. Ahhh, gotta love it. Where else could you possibly be where a room full of beautifully dressed schmoozers wine it up on the dance floor?

So there I am, strolling around with a huge picture of a monkey and a phone booth and we stop and say hello to Austin Clarke, a renowned Bajan author. Heard of him? Seriously. This dude is cool. He’s taught at Yale, Duke and many more, produced for CBC, and won Giller and Commonwealth awards, among many others I’m sure. His bio is a novel in itself. Anyhoo, he invited mama and I back for a drink, and of course, I was intrigued. So we took a taxi to his place and while we were sitting there I felt a little intimidated but shook it off once we arrived to his amazing house downtown.

I must say, his house and book collection blew my mind. We went outside and shot the shit, while my mom went back inside as apparently the humidity that night was not enough for her. He pulled out a shiny gold cigarette case, and although I knew I shouldn’t, I couldn’t resist. I bummed a smoke and we talked about Toronto, Barbados, Dollarama, dogs, society and the like. Once we were back inside, he let me choose a nice bottle of red and offered me some yummy Bajan sweet cake. Mmmmm. Again, I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by the enormousness of his book collection. So jealous. Seriously.

Ever since I can remember I have always dreamt of my own room filled floor to ceiling with bookshelves (and a must have: the attached wooden ladder), a big ass arm chair, a cool little reading lamp and a sweet side table to place my glass of vino on. This place had it all, minus the attached wooden ladder. There was in fact a ladder, but it wasn’t wooden, or attached, and I’m pretty sure I was foolish enough to point that out. Leave it to me to make inappropriate remarks. Right.

So back to the house… The first 2 floors were floor to ceiling book shelves, arm chairs, photos, and memorabilia. This guy has original Rudyard Kipling books from the 1880’s. The pages were thick and jagged at the end. I opened the book, ran my hand over the page, and wondered how many people had touched it before me. The only thing I could blurt out was, ‘Uh..Wow.’

Brilliant. So I marveled over the collection, and couldn’t help my urges to pull out random books. He showed me his daughter’s old art studio downstairs and her paintings, and told me to check out upstairs. I took the glass of red, yummy sweet cake and myself upstairs to check out various books from the shelves. Some of them had christmas cards from 70’s, old concert stubs, plane tickets, notes, and letters from publishing companies stuffed in random pages. I glared at all of the photos surrounding the millions of books. The history in this house was so overwhelming that the only photo I can remember, probably among hundreds, is that of Nelson Mandela. I read about four chapters of one of Clarke’s own books, ‘Growing Up Stupid Under The Union Jack’ which is totally hilarious and captivating, especially if you have frequented Barbados. As I sat there, I recognized the Bajan tune on the record player, repeating over, and over and over, and sang it to myself while I continued to read.

Suddenly I realized, ‘Hey, I’m still alone up here’ and heard many voices coming from the main floor. Apparently this was where the party was at, y’all. I recognized people from earlier that evening, but was so overwhelmed, drinky and tired that I could no longer trust myself in a social situation. I headed down and strolled into the crowded room in a red wine induced shuffle. I told my mom it was past her bedtime, and we bounced out of there. I don’t remember saying goodbye, but I hope it was somewhat intelligent sounding on my part, if anything. I mean, this guy is the last person I want to slip one of my random phrases of absurdity to.

Ahh, what a night. I’ve ‘accidentally’ left out some classic moments of embarrassment (on my part of course), because, well, there’s no way to get around it with out making me seem like a complete dork. So, in the name of self preservation, those special moments are my little secret (and anyone else that managed to witness them). Shhhh.

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