Welcome to paradise! Where the water is warm, the sky is blue and where the greenery is lush with tropical beauty. Barbados!
A beautiful island situated in the western area of the North Atlantic, and despite being classified as an Atlantic island, Barbados is considered to be a part of the Caribbean, where it is ranked as a leading tourist destination.
Inhabited by Kalingo people since the 13th century, and prior to that by other Amerindians, Barbados was visited by Spanish navigators in the late 15th century. An English ship arrived in Barbados in 1625 then taking ownership of the island. In 1627, the first permanent settlers arrived from England, and it became an English and later British colony.
Basically, in history, culture, nature and climate you can not find an island more unlike my home island of Newfoundland. So when given the opportunity to interview Dionne Hunte from The Daily Connection I was thrilled. So if you are like me and dealing with the cold harsh winter and looking for an escape or just wishing to learn more about this piece of paradise check out this interview. You may find yourself placing Barbados on your travel bucket list.
I was born in Barbados, which is an island in the Caribbean. Specifically, it is the most easterly island in The Lesser Antilles (lower region of the string of islands making up the Caribbean region). It’s small but beautiful, only 166 sq. miles. The locals are called Barbadians but we have shortened that to Bajans. It is the island home of Rihanna and also the birthplace of rum.
It’s a beautiful island with sunshine most days of the year. We don’t have traditional seasons, only a Dry Season that runs from December to May and a Wet Season that’s from June to November. It’s mostly flat, so no mountains or volcanoes to speak of.
I know people wouldn’t speak badly about their country but no country is perfect and all have some negative features. One of those for Barbados is that the wet season is usually hurricane season for the Caribbean. So it’s a risk of getting really wet and having floods when the storms/hurricanes pass us by. The silver lining is that because of where Barbados is located on the map, we have been mostly spared from the really devastating weather. Another negative is that the cost of living can be kind of high. And that is as a result of the policy that was put in place that sees most of our education being free to a certain age. One more negative that annoy most Bajans, is when people think that Barbados is a section of Jamaica.
One of the most positive things I think are the people, they can be very helpful and friendly. So much so that a lot of celebrities like to vacation here without worrying about locals crowding them.
Definitely the beach. On a good day, you can get a nice suntan, have a swim, go kayaking or do a catamaran cruise and just relax.
For First time visitors:
Local Foods to try:
Because Barbados mostly has the sunshine, almost any time is good. However, if you want to take in the local festivals, you should come in July and stay until the first week in August. We have a local festival that is called Crop-Over, which came about as a celebration of the end of the Sugar Cane harvest. Sugar Cane is not the island’s main income earner anymore but the festival lives on. It is the island’s biggest festival and climaxes with a huge carnival known as Grand Kadooment on the 1st Monday in August every year. The next best time would be in November to really get a view of everything local. Barbados celebrates its independence on November 30. Next year (2016), the island will be celebrating 50 years of Independence.
If you’re planning to visit the island, come to relax so that includes the clothes as well. Think nice, airy, and light, short pants/cargo pants, crop tops, etc.
The culture of the Barbados was always a mix of West African and British cultures since most the blacks on the island are descended from slaves and we were colonized by the British. The influences of this mix of cultures is seen in different aspects. For instance, some of the architecture around the island is a testament to the British influence. The West African influence is seen in our language, as we have our own Bajan Dialect. It is also seen in our music – Calypso, Spouge, Soca, Tuk and Reggae as well as in our cuisine. We have lots of food shops/rum shops (small shops that just sell food or just rum and maybe snacks as well) and lots of food vendors.
The people are friendly for the most part. We are mostly Black (locals and other Caribbean islanders) but we also have Whites, Chinese and Indians as well. We locals can be very community-minded people, willing to lend a helping hand. And some Bajans are very adventurous – it is said that you can find a Bajan anywhere in the world (usually identified by our accent, so people tell us).
On my travel bucket list, I would like to go to Italy, France, Israel, Australia, England and Hawaii.
Would you like to be interviewed and featured on The Chatting Compass?
If you have any suggestions for questions to ask our Chatting Compass bloggers please let me know in the comment section below… Stay tuned for next weeks post, which will now be featured on Tuesdays.