A Taste of Local Culture
Trip Start Jul 13, 2006
9Trip End Jul 20, 2006
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Going to bed early (10 p.m.) last night kind of gets you in the mood to get up a little early. And that's exactly what we did this morning. Six o'clock, to be exact. That was the perfect hour to sit on the patio and enjoy the morning ocean breeze, and to try out the free wireless Internet connection that Graham mentioned yesterday. After trying for 20 minutes to connect - voila; we got in! But because the building is made of solid concrete and sandstone, we can only get a clear signal from a little corner of the patio. So there we were, hunched over the laptop checking email.
Our adventure today took us on a walk towards Speightstown (pronounced: spikes-town), which we were told is just a short distance from the villa. About a mile down the road, a minivan filled with locals stopped and the driver asked if we wanted a ride into town. "What the heck," we thought. So we all jumped in, completely trusting that these locals were more concerned about their own lives than ours. A few more miles down the road, and the van stopped, letting everyone out. So we jumped out too and found ourselves in the middle of a dusty little town with small shops and a small marketplace kiosks, most of which were closed, most likely awaiting the activity of the weekend crowd.
A leisurely stroll through the town took us past a few of the sidewalk vegetable vendors past the Barbados Department of Agriculture, the Speightstown Fish Market, and a few shops, then to Jordan's Market for a little grocery shopping. Man are the prices expensive! After about 30 minutes of focused shopping - trying to ensure we bought only what we would eat for the week - we had spent $195 Barbados (that's about $100 US). With each of us loaded down with two plastic shopping bags each, we stopped at a few of the sidewalk vendors we had passed along the way and bought some fruits and veggies. Michael wanted to spread the wealth, so he bought green beans and garlic from one, papayas and mangoes from another, and onions and tomatoes from still another. All were appreciative, and we walked away with a bounty of fresh food.
Now, how the heck do we get back with all of these groceries? Thanks to a helpful young man, whose accent we could barely understand, we hopped aboard another minivan already packed with 10-15 locals. Much to our surprise, the van stopped once more and loaded in four others, packing us in like sardines. Arriving back in front of our villa, we decided to chill for a bit, and then go downstairs to our "private" beach for a little snorkeling. David, Michael and Anita went snorkeling, while Arlette sat on the shore.
We walked the narrow street (no sidewalks) for about two miles, as cars whizzed past us. We found the restaurant - a "hole in the wall" place really, made our order and took in the feel of the neighborhood. As we waited for our food, Arlette and Anita enjoyed some steel drum music, while Michael and David journeyed over to the watch some local men slice up a shark they had caught just moments earlier in the waters several miles off shore.
Let's just say that the walking, snorkeling and eating took its toll on us. With bellies full and bodies relaxed, we retired early, anticipating what tomorrow would bring.