Beautiful Bathsheba during the after-effects of ‘Wilma’
Well, trying to get back in the groove leaves a bit to be desired. It’s a bit of a challenge to say the least.
I’m revisiting old photos, rethinking how much I want to share, revising, remembering and trying to recapture those memories from years past when I finally got the OK for my first 6 months in paradise. I think about Barbados a lot, but not in terms of my ‘old’ life there. The last post on this subject was ‘My God Experience’, where I spoke about manifesting my dream to live in the tropics. Now I have to remember what ‘the dream’ was all about.
This entry, and probably all the rest relating to my 15 years spent in Barbados will be better appreciated through photos, with bits and pieces of information added. There isn’t a great deal to expound upon when life consists mostly of sun, sea and sand and that was what my first 4 years was all about.
And so I arrived! November 1992, 8 months after my first and only visit. I don’t mess around. Once I decide to do something, I’m on it. Sometimes I’m way to spontaneous for my own good.
I was excited but terrified at the same time. My friend Diane was not spending as much time there. Her and her partner Cent were soon going back to Canada.
Fortunately for me, she had given me a name and number for a six month ‘holiday’ rental, just blocks from where we had stayed in Bathsheba. As soon as I returned home, I contacted the woman and secured a ‘six’ month rental. I only knew a couple of locals, so I really had no idea how everything would work out, but being a strong, independent feminist woman I was ready to find out.
The taxi ride from the Airport to Bathsheba was harrowing and reminded me of my first ‘ride’ with Froggy last time around. Lots of horn blaring and plenty of cursing..a colorful Bajun pastime with no offence meant. I arrived as dusk was settling in; key in hand and praying to those with power that it would fit and that there was a bed with a mattress and a pillow or two. Oh please Goddess, let this be a safe place!
Well, there was a bed, so to speak, with a mattress, so to speak…and now I know why those folk have such great asses..the bed was hard hard hard and so was the pillow! My first shopping spree was going to rectify that. I was pretty positive I could make that happen.
The next morning I was locked and ready! Time to get some food in the larder, some drinking water, some beer etc and then time to hit the beach. I soon realized that one should ‘take the sun’ before 10:00am and stay out of it until after 3:00pm..or at least 2:00pm. By the time me and my hot, sweaty body walked back with all my groceries, the only thing I was ready for was a big nap! I decided the beach would wait.
Well, it wasn’t long until the locals heard I was back and the visits began. First would be the ‘lifeguards’, Leo and Sammy.
We would all have coffee and visit for an hour in the morning before they ‘hit the beach’. They both took their jobs very seriously and told me many stories of incidents where careless and not so careless surfers were carried out to sea and the ‘boys’ had to rescue them. It was great fun having lifeguards for my friends. They took me with them to the beach and we would walk for miles and miles.
They taught me how to watch the sky for rain. When you saw it falling out to sea, it was time to run for cover. They taught me about the rip tide, and what to do if I got caught in one. They taught me about the tides and where it was safe to swim. I learned to body surf and to boogie board. They gave up trying to teach me to surf. It was something about balance, or my lack of. Soon I started meeting the regular Bathsheba surfer boys, and we had great times together, although I never could stand up on that board.
Smoky was the first, and not only did he try to teach me to surf, but he taught me how to cook ‘Rasta’ food.
He was a great friend and often I would go with him to his land to collect food. Smoky got his nick name because as a child, he came to close to the fire and got burned. Most Bajuns have nick names. Some have more than one.
Next there was Pecker.
I don’t know how he got his nick name, but I can certainly guess. He was a life guard as well, but spent most of his time up on his board. Most of the fellows were surfers and when they weren’t surfing, they came by to play games. This was great entertainment. It gets dark in Barbados by 6:30pm, so it was nice to have company in the evenings.
Hoggie was a regular visitor, and backgammon was his favourite. Diane was the champion and the fellows loved to play with her. Elita and Pecker (not surfer boy Pecker) came to watch and so did Roz, when she could stay awake.
Her and Diane were both accomplished players. Me, not so much although I could hold my own.
Dick used to come and pick water coconuts for me, and he loved to challenge the winner! I used to get very nervous watching him climb up the trees. I was always worried he might fall out! Roz used to laugh at me and tell me the ‘boys’ had been climbing since they were babies. Then she would tell me the stories of the couple of locals who had fallen out, and what a mess it had made. I didn’t like those stories and I think she was pulling my leg. The first couple of weeks were a whirl wind of visitors, games and just hanging out. It was a great beginning for my new life and I had six months to play and immerse myself in a culture totally foreign to me.