Thursday, June 16, 2011

Day Six-Barbados

dateline approaching Barbados

Today I woke at ten of eight. The automated wakeup call was set for eight, and before then I had called room service for coffee and oj. From my balcony I could clearly see Barbados which is about twenty miles away. I have declined to photograph it however, as while showing the pix to A*** last night, I became aware of how overwhelming the numbers are becoming. It looks like St Thomas which looks like St Croix which looks like Antigua which looks like etc. More and more I can understand how S*** doesn’t know where she has been, especially a drinker who would be nursing a massive hangover now as she prepared for whatever they were going to do. Mine is Best of Barbados tour commencing on the dock in a little over an hour.

This was a pleasant and well planned arrival, with my shower, slathering of sun lotion, packing for the day and everything nicely coinciding with our arrival just at 9am. Two other ships precede us that I can see from balcony portside – the Adonia from London and the Crystal Serenity. . I think I pretty well have it together for this one, with expected trip beginning in ten minutes and no cabin announcement made yet.

They finally announced that the delay was caused by tired linesmen on the dock, which I interpret to mean unbribed. On the horizon was a strange looking ship and I asked R*** to find out what kind it was, and she tried. Our driver Larry said it was a ship with Buses and cars from Japan. By the way, there is a 100 % duty on imported cars, so every car is double .the usual price. The number of cars on the island has grown from 15,000 to 115,000 in the past few years. And they have agreed to host a world cup cricket match which will bring a half million visitors.

I had less than a 30 second wait to debark. Had my bathing suit with me but we went nowhere near a beach. Like St Croix, they took us off the pier in shuttle busses, but unlike St Croix, they knew what they were doing with over six thousand people coming and going amongst the ropes and cables and freighters, fireboats police boats, more zodiacs as constant painting apparently takes place in every port, as well as bunkering.

So the buses were big and ran frequently. In the terminal I found a fine welcome to Barbados sign and got my pic taken by same and it is good. Was held up from getting on one tour bus and ergo was first one onto the one that pulled up next, and sat behind Larry whose Moms family came from Wales and his Dad’s family from Ireland, but he had been in Barbados for three hundred years, or six generations. He was white and had an accent that could not be pinned down. He said no probs with being such a minority (4% whites now) and low crime etc etc. He also rides a trek bike and has ridden competition. He was taking the place of a missing tour guide as well. One had the impression that he was called at the last minute. But he did fine.

The island itself is pretty, but again, I am beginning to see where S*** is coming from in that they all look alike, as they do. This one is not volcanic but coral, and the weather the last two weeks has been non stop rain, and he told us several times how lucky we were to get right onto the tour at Harrison Hill, and how very lucky we were with the weather, which spit a bit but was basically bright and sunny and stayed that way all day.

From Bridgetown we went right to Harrison Cave which is on top of a mountain but 160 feet deep, riding on an open electric tram amongst the stalactites (hanging Tight on Top) and stalagmites (which Might grow) and hidden lakes and waterfalls. It was lighted subtly and was very well done. Reminds me of another nice place where these things were similarly nicely done, but right now I can’t remember where.
Carol was our tour guide and Richard was the driver and I fell into conversation with D*** from the 11th deck who may or not contact me to look at his digital pix.

Following the cave, we drove to an orchid farm, and there I remembered it was Singapore where I had seen the orchids before and had thought then of LM as I did today. They are raised with their roots out of the ground, hanging in mid air.

Started seeing pretty views from there, and continued to the Gun Hill Signal tower where the views included our ship and a good deal of the island, which is about 160 square miles. Then back on the bus, just missing a good shot of the Barbados flag as the bus passed a tree branch.

SO- Barbados is history now. Highlight – 4 hour bus tour with underground cave, orchid plantation and Gun Hill Signal Tower. To ship and back out again for a solid hour of internet and then three telephone calls – self (no messages!!) S** and C***, left message. Posted on pprune and couldn’t find Dorrie’s site.

On my return between shore trips, I discovered that the little place by reception where I’ve been getting my ice water and where I got the cookies last night has the best damn burgers aboard, almost as good as the Ecstasy, and even tho A*** was not there, I ate a delicious cheeseburger with onions and tomato and had some fries, and then took a plate of six cookies out to A*** who cannot help but smile when I carry on like that. There are four security cameras there and she is not allowed to eat, but when she left, she had carefully secreted the cookies and was going back to her room to enjoy them, and the smile was worth it.

This minute I am on the balcony overlooking two other cruise ships and a few rather rusty looking freighters, one called the sea cloud. I am going down for some more steak at A***’ restaurant in an hour. Sailing is supposed to be at seven, so I should be thru eating although it will probably be dark then.

And so it was, I walked up to A*** at 5:30 and said party of 30, and got her great smile and dimples. She sat me alongside the wall again, and this time I didn’t fuss because we were docked. I had steak to complement my chateaubriand and filet mignon of the last two nights, this despite my finding the really great burgers down by reception. Finished off a second dish of strawberry ice cream and walked up to hang out with A*** again, showing her the pix from today, and then taking the puter back upstairs in a new backpack which I got at the tour desk.

Returned to cabin and labeled photos, and catching up on day’s diary (a little choppy I suppose) and lites out by 2300. Hooked three cookies from upstairs.

--Signal Hill

----Fireboat in Barbados Harbor


Fijufic said...

I would love to fall into the distillery at the Rum Factory there...I know, bad idea but what the hell...

Fin said...

It is certainly one of the more popular tours there (from memory) and doubtless includes samples.