Friday, April 23, 2010

April 22, 2010 - Carlisle Bay, Barbados

Barbados is expensive. Seriously. I don't remember the Caribbean being this pricey. It will be interesting to see as we head north if Barbados is more expensive than the other islands or if we've just gotten really cheap over the past three years.

We're really struggling with how much everything costs here. So when a Dutch guy swam by our boat on Wednesday and suggested that we join the yacht club because it had good cheap food we were definitely interested in checking it out.

Yesterday we stopped in around lunchtime and became temporary members of the Barbados Yacht Club. Standing there in our flipflops and shorts we were a little intimidated by the business lunches taking place in the formal dining room over roast beef and yorkshire pudding, so we headed out to the much more casual grill down by the beach. The Dutch guy had not steered us wrong. The menu prices were 30% of those in town and the food was really good. The difference is enough that when our free membership runs out in a week we may be tempted to become paying members.

And as an added bonus, we were also given the password to the yacht club's wifi service, which we can pick up out in the anchorage. I think the last time we had access to free, unlimited wifi was 2 years ago in New Zealand. I've taken advantage of the club's wifi to upload the photos from our run from Ascension. Scroll down to see them.

After lunch we moseyed up the hill to Barbados Museum to get some culture. The displays were mildly interesting but the old brick garrison buildings that housed the galleries and the surrounding grounds were gorgeous. There were cascading purple blooms everywhere.

Today we aimed a little lower on the culture scale and hopped on a bus up to the Mount Gay Rum Visitor Center to learn more about how rum is produced. Our tour guide was very entertaining as she tottered around on 4 inch spiked heels and talked about the role of the rum shop in Barbados society. After a short film about Mount Gay's history, she led us into the bottling building. The factory produces 10,000 bottles a day, 85% of which are exported.

Interestingly, the rum available on the island is 43% alcohol. But the exported bottles are all 40%. As the bartender leading the tasting at the conclusion of the tour explained, "That is why we are happy and you are miserable."

One thing that is not expensive in Barbados is rum. So we bought enough rum to fill a storage compartment and headed out to catch a bus back to the Carreenage where we had left our dinghy. After an hour of waiting, in a continuously shrinking patch of shade, we finally gave up and started hoofing it back, each of us loaded down with several bottles of rum. Within minutes, a bus sped by us. Isn't that always the way?

By the time we had walked the few kilometers back to town, we were both hot and sweaty. We slid into a booth in an airconditioned food court and panted for a few minutes. Then we split a few guava juices and bottles of water to cool down and rehydrate while sharing a chicken roti for lunch/dinner.

Back at the boat I put on a suit and jumped in the water to cool down. While I was floating around Sten struck up a conversation with the three naked Swedes on the tiny (20ft) boat next to us. We wound up having them over for a few rums. We were shocked to learn that the three of them had sailed to the Caribbean from Sweden on that tiny little boat. Even more impressive, they handsteered all the way. After the adventure they've had these past few months, university is going to be a cakewalk.

Okay, so how many of you assumed that the three naked Swedes were female? Guys, sorry to disappoint you. Ladies, they were pretty good looking, even if they were just this side of jailbait.

1 comment:

scott davidson said...

Nice way to decorate your walls. I have never done that. My effort to beautify the walls in my house was to order big-sized canvas prints from wahooart.com, from images of western art. I use the same angel motifs in all of the rooms painted by different painters, such as this one by very interesting English artist Stanley Spencer, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT7K6