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Barbados Vacation

This is the Life: Barbados

By Ruth Anne-Lynch

Persuaded by the thoughts of hot sun, cool breezes, sandy beaches and the promise of endless cocktails and seafood, I decided to celebrate my birthday by joining a good friend of mine on a 7-day vacation to Barbados.

We arrived at Grantley Adams International Airport, to be greeted by a heat that warmed you from deep inside accompanied by a cool salty sea breeze. Hungry after the long trip, we stopped at Granny's, a small food bar that specialises in fried fish, liver and gizzards, which immediately introduced us to tasty Barbadian fare. Granny's is located in Oistins, a major fishing community in the Parish of Christ Church. Here, local fishermen and women fish for Tuna, Shark, Flying Fish and Barracuda, which they sell in the Oistins Fish Market.

On Friday nights, the area hosts a giant fish fry and street party. People stop by to eat seafood and dance to the music and tourists often visit to sample the local culture.

Barbados is not terribly big, a mere 21 miles long and 14 miles across, although, it manages to support 11 different Parishes (like boroughs). I stayed largely in the Parish of Christ Church, which is where you can find St Laurence Gap, a very popular tourist area. However, whatever it lacks in size, is made up for by its sheer natural beauty.

Barbados is packed with fine restaurants where you can partake of light or sumptuous traditional and specialty meals. Many restaurants are located near the beaches where you can watch the waves ebb and flow while you eat. There is something for all tastes and wallets, however, do remember to dress for dinner.

Two restaurants stand out in my memory, both located in St Laurence Gap: Josef's a French colonial styled restaurant, which served excellent crab cakes and Pisces, a lovely, romantic restaurant with a lush tropical d├ęcor, located on the waters edge.

Barbados nightclubs are mainly located in St Laurence Gap and feature live entertainment and great music most nights of the week. The Boatyard is, however, in Bridgetown. It has its own beach offering several water sports during the day, the liquid delights of Sharkey's Bar and live bands and dance music at night. That evening a lively band called 4 D People fronted by one Philip Forrester, whom I was told had founded the famous Square One (one of my favourite Soca Bands), whose lead singer is Alison Hinds. It was a great night and I danced the night away on the beach and even in the sea itself.

We spent a few hours one morning on Dover Beach, a long white stretch of beach with big waves. Breakfast was a tasty traditional ham cutter, a salt bread roll filled with a thick slice of ham. You can also have cutters with cheese or flying fish, spiced up with a bit of hot pepper sauce for the very brave.

I spent the last day on the island being pampered by Patricia at D and P Beauty Bar, located on Spry Street in the heart of Bridgetown where I participated in a lively debate on life and love with the owner and her patrons. Obviously, hairdressing salons are the same the world over.

It was soon time to leave and at the airport, I managed to meet Ronald Jones, President of the Barbados Football Association and several members of the Barbados Senior Football Squad - The Rockets. Demonstrating a knowledge and interest in football hitherto unknown, I spent an interesting half hour discussing tactics on the football field. In my job, you never know when such knowledge might come in handy!

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