Trip Start Nov 29, 2011
99Trip End Mar 01, 2012
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We treated ourselves to a cooked breakfast at the hotel this morning, partly because we ran out of milk and I sure wasn't going to risk fetching some from the shops and wading back through the sea like the other day. The news on the ipod is not good, I connected it to the computer and after a while it recognised it, I had hope for a while but it won’t turn on. If anyone can fix it let me know.
Alvan took the day off work today and met up with us for our last full day in Barbados. He became a tourist for the day and our guide. We went across to Bridgetown to start with. Just as we got there a small group of about 10 people were gathering, Prince Edward and Sophie were visiting here today so we stopped and waited to see them. Alvan of course knew most of the police and security even shouting hello to one of the main undercover guys. Had this been in the UK we wouldn’t have gone anywhere near expecting huge crowds, here you wouldn’t have known anything was going on. There was the local nutcase though, with his flags and photo of the queen trumpeting using a large shell. Alvan didn’t know him by the way!
The royal couple came out and gave a wave, I took a quick photo and we were off to do the more important things in life like buy some souvenirs to take back for friends. We had a look around some of the shops, at least Alvan was leading the way and we didn’t get caught up in any women clothes stores and even better there is no Marks and Spencers here.
Wandering through the streets and then back across the harbour bridge we stopped to try some fresh coconut water, they sell the young coconuts whole and slice the top off with a machete, you then drink the water with a straw. I wasn’t keen but Claire liked it. Worth a try though. While we were sipping our coconut another Brit asked the guy on the stall how much a coconut was, he was outraged at $2.50 and walked away, that works out at about 75p scandalous!!!
From Bridgetown we drove over to the airport for our supersonic experience. They have one of the Concordes here and have guided tours. We didn’t know exactly what to expect but it was really good. The three of us were given a personal tour which included a close up view of the Concorde from the outside, a video presentation which was projected on to the side of the aircraft, some original exhibits and best of all a chance to board the plane, sit in the seats and look into the cockpit. We had timed our visit perfectly, we went on just the three of us where as the next group was about 12 strong.
The tour guide Alison was very knowledgeable and of course Alvan knew her from years back. Alvan remembered watching Concorde taking off and landing every Saturday morning in Barbados, it was one of only 4 permanent destinations that Concorde flew to, the others being New York, Paris and of course London. The plane here was the actual one that Alvan would have seen, it was donated by the British Government in recognition of one of the more profitable routes it flew. I remember seeing it years ago flanked by the red arrows when it flew over home as part of the Coventry air show way back possibly in the early 80s.
The seats were all leather and very comfortable to sit it with plenty of leg room. All the passengers were treated as first class, mind you at the price they charged I should think so. The windows were very small but had to be so that if one did get blown out you wouldn’t get sucked out at supersonic speed, I guess I could live with that. It is such a shame that it is not flying today, it still looks so magnificent. I didn’t realise that it was taken out of service not because of the disaster in 2000 but because of costs. It did fly again after the Paris crash but retired in November 2003 due in part to 9/11. A lot of the businessmen who travelled on Concorde between New York and London worked in the twin towers and a lot of customers were lost. That with the general recession forced the French into stop making the parts, the costs for BA to make their own parts from scratch would have been too much and they too were forced into retiring the plane. One amazing fact I learned today was that the first passenger flight after the crash was made on 9/11 carrying BA staff and landed in New York shortly before the twin towers were hit.
The Concorde here can still fly in theory although the building it is housed in cost the Barbadians £7m dollars to build and it would need to be dismantled to get the plane out so I don’t see it flying in a hurry. The only chance we might get of seeing one flying again is a rumour that one might be used to fly over the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, that would certainly be something to go down for.
We came back to the hotel and spent a couple of hours at the beach, I went in for a last snorkel and Claire read her book catching the remaining sunshine before we enjoyed a beer at happy hour. I sent Claire to the bar this time with instructions to only order 1 beer, I had learnt my lesson!
This evening we went out for a wonderful meal to say thank you and goodbye to Alvan, he chose a great restaurant challed "Champers" which had a great decking area right on the coast. There were lights shining on the sea so we could see the waves crashing just beyond our table. The food was excellent and Mr Babb was really on form telling us stories and reminiscing with Claire. We did drink a toast to absent friends Andy and Lisa, cheers guys!
We’ve had an absolutely fantastic stay in Barbados thanks really to Lisa and Alvan, we sure wouldn’t have tried some of the things we did without you (especially the pigs tail)!