Barbados: Good-Bye

Barbados: Good-Bye

(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

I’ve started to write this post probably a hundred times since the mid-May phone conversation when my Dad, an American ex-pat living & working in Barbados for the past four years, told me he was moving back to the States. It seems like only yesterday that, in a similar phone conversation, he was asking me how to get a passport in short order so he could fly south for a job interview – not exactly something you want to hear when you’re getting set to get married two months later.

Prior to his move there, I had zero desire to visit the Caribbean. I grew up in Florida – wasn’t the Caribbean the same thing? I already appreciated, & readily had access to, beautiful white sand beaches, beach bars & summer days spent reading in the sea breeze. But as I visited Barbados six times between February 2008 & March 2011 – each time falling deeper & deeper in love the place, the people, the food, the beach, the culture – something changed.

Barbados isn’t like Florida at all. The farmer’s market sells mangos & plantains. The beach bars serve up Banks beer & flying fish. Books brought on vacation almost always are left in the suitcase, with afternoons spent listening to the waves rhythmically lap against the shore. I met people from more countries than I thought possible: Canadians, Québécois, British, Australians, Americans, Trinidadians, &, of course, plenty of Bajans. Every stereotype the world labels small Caribbean islands with were not only broken, they was thrown out the window & smashed into a million pieces.

I don’t know if we will ever go back to Barbados – without a free place to stay & ex-pat compensated airfare, it is definitely not the most cost effective place to visit. But even if we never do, my heart will always be filled with warm memories of liming on the balcony overlooking the ocean, a Banks in hand, hysterically laughing at the stories told by my new friends, ready to ring in the new year with a rousing countdown… in French.

shooting Holga in Bathsheba
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

happy at the mobile tiki bar
(C) Christina Saull – All Rights Reserved

  • Where to eat in Cincinnati
    Posted at 22:33h, 19 June Reply

    […] christina on June 12, 2012 in Destinations, U.S.A. When my Dad moved from the tropical paradise of Barbados to the not-even-close-to-a-tropical-anything city of Cincinnati, Ohio last year, I was more than a […]

  • Mary Calculated Traveller
    Posted at 13:00h, 27 January Reply

    … at least it was great while it lasted…and you have the memories to show for it! (that drink looked yummy btw)

  • Helen Anne Travis
    Posted at 13:03h, 27 January Reply

    As a fellow Floridian, I understand your ambivalence about the Caribbean. Gorgeous water and beaches? Meh. But you’re right, it’s a completely different world down there. Now I’m adding Barbados to my list!

  • Vanessa
    Posted at 15:47h, 27 January Reply

    I love the description of the farmers’ markets and eating flying fish – that sounds like the opposite of the ultra touristy image I’ve often had of the Caribbean.

  • Aggy
    Posted at 00:35h, 28 January Reply

    Sounds like you had great memories there! I hope you find your way back to Caribbean! :)

  • Andrea Rees
    Posted at 01:06h, 28 January Reply

    Great to have those memories and with your dad. I loved Barbados and visited there when I was 16, many years ago. Thanks for this post as it brought back memories of the flying fish… flying..not eating (wasn’t a fish person back then) and my Bajan friends that I’ve since lost touch with.

  • Megan
    Posted at 02:29h, 28 January Reply

    That first photo is phenomenal! I don’t know if Barbados is at the top of my list, but it sounds lovely. Now, if I could convince my parents to move there, that’d be perfect. Sadly, I don’t think that’s going to happen!

  • Lance | Trips By Lance
    Posted at 11:18h, 28 January Reply

    I’ve only been to the Caribbean once. And while I loved it, I don’t have a great desire to return. It’s just not the type of travel I want to use my limited vacation days on. We have a similar situation in England. My wife has family there, so we’re able to stay for free. England could be a boring country but I’d still love to visit just because there is family there that allows us to get into the local culture. I’m sure that made Barbados much more enjoyable, not just having a free place to stay but the opportunity to live like a local.

  • Malou
    Posted at 14:14h, 29 March Reply

    As a proud Barbadian, I am humbled by this sweet post! You perfectly summed up the international flair that the visitors bring. I love meeting new people from far flung countries and showing them what this little rock has to offer. I hope you can visit again one day!

Post A Comment