#SuberTravels Barbados - Part I
I saw the amazing flight fare and wanted to book immediately but somehow I needed more of an incentive. What would make this island getaway different from the countless ones I had taken before? This trip needed purpose. At the time I felt the urge to commit to something, be more deliberate in my actions. I was reading a new book - The Defining Decade - about the importance of your twentysomething years and the message was really taking hold. I didn't have much of a plan but I decided to fly out a photographer to document the experience.
When we landed at 3 am my eyes were big and dry from reading the aforementioned book nearly the entire flight. I looked around at people who looked vaguely familiar, almost as if my late grandfather - a native of Barbados, had sent angels in his image to remind me that he was still carefully watching over me. Something about landing in Bridgetown gave me a calm sense of home. With this ease, I allowed myself to be excited. At best, this would kickstart my tenure as the world's most influential travel blogger; at worst, it would be a tropical escape for the snowy wet we left behind in New York City. I held the idea of success in mind.
My photographer Rome and I shuffled through security greeted by beautiful dark faces and melodic accents - and of course a poster of Rihanna. We paused for a moment to check social media and email on the wifi before we stepped out into the warm humid air to grab a taxi. A man brusquely shooed us into his van. In an instant we were speeding through the streets of Bridgetown fast enough to make your grandma spit out her teeth. I felt a little dangerous, stimulated, I felt alive.
We came to a quick stop. "Is this Bridgetown?" I heard Rome say from the seat behind me. "Christ Church," the driver gruffly replied. The neon signs, a stark contrast from the dark roads we had passed made my eyes dance. I said a silent prayer of thanks for the tag glowing "OPEN" against the wall. We swiftly eyes the menu inevitably deciding on seafood which, even at 5 am, was a great choice. "$62." My heart nearly fell as I contemplated how to politely tell this man he was ripping me off. That is until through my hazy thoughts I realized the bartender followed up with a quick "turty one American." I had to keep in mind everything was half Barbadian dollars in USD. We grabbed our food and climbed back into the van for a thrilling ride to our AirBnB for the morning.
Our first host never gave a house number to his home, just the street name so I assumed this was standard - it wasn't. Our taxi driver called him on the phone and flung us from left to right as he made the widest u-turn in history. A tiny man with deep skin and a sweet Caribbean accent emerged from a pale yellow house. He gave us a tour of his place with all of its quirks then came back to inform us where the insect repellent was. "Tourists underestimate the mosquitos. Mosquitos are everywhere in Barbados. Spray all your exposed skin before you go out." He of course made mention of the Zika virus in case our senses weren't heightened enough by his warning. Rome had already showed me a collage of small babies born to mothers infected with Zika so I was taking every precaution against these buggers!
Through a cloud of aerosol repellent Rome and I bid each other good day, stifling our laughs at how ridiculous it was to sleep as day just broke. I lie in bed typing on my phone, not wanting to let a drop of this experience fall into the bucket of forgotten memories. It was all so great - the tiny man, the humble space, the crazy drive. I loved it all and we hadn't even done anything yet.
We rose lazily at half past eleven thankful for the rest but anxious to start our journey. In the bathroom mirror I quickly grew weary of the sweat beads forming on my forehead and nose - putting on makeup in this hot muggy weather was no joke. The plan was to hit the beach to kick off our exploration.
Immediately the scenery and modest architecture enveloped us in inspiration. Approaching the beach we stepped onto a sandy pathway, turning the corner to what can only be described as paradise. The water was three shades of the purest blue playing against the pale white sand. Rollicking in the sunshine, I finally felt I could let loose, giggling and splashing in the waves. After fully taking it all in - if that's even possible - I captured a few videos for my Snapchat. There is something about a beautiful beach that brings out the brightest parts of me.
Sufficiently sun-soaked we headed to our official AirBnB for our stay, speeding past simple homes washed in an array of colors. The warm tropical breeze whipped my face until we reached our destination - a spacious upstairs apartment with a balcony overlooking the town. With a quick change of clothes we hopped in a taxi that crept up a hill to St. Lawrence Gap, a nearby restaurant strip. The streets were aglow with light as we scoped out options. The area was jarringly quiet, a stark contrast from the island music-infused experience I had my heart set on. Nonetheless we settled on a place with good drink specials and promising dining choices, relaxing at the bar until our table was ready. Two hours and two rounds of drinks later, the food we ordered still had not arrived. With zero patience for bad service I demanded we settle the bar tab and be on to the next.
A short way up the road I heard live music playing covers of familiar songs, this was the spot. Within ten minutes there was fried fish and rum punch - a specialty of Barbados - sitting in front of me. Contentment doesn't even begin to describe how I felt, I was so incredibly hungry!
Full and happy, we summoned our new friend and taxi driver, Don, to come pick us up. He was becoming our personal chauffeur. With my mind already going over plans for the next day I asked if he could drive us up Cherry Tree Hill to catch the sunrise. Don enthusiastically agreed to meet us at 5 am to start our adventure. Before we arrived in Barbados I contacted their minister of tourism for guidance on what gems to see. Cherry Tree Hill was a favorite "must-see" both from his office and locals alike. I couldn't wait.
Stay tuned for Part II of my Barbados adventure! Subscribe and be sure not to miss a thing.