This afternoon, we arrived in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Being Sunday, it was pretty quiet; naturally, nowhere was open, yet more than a few people were wondering why it was that we’d spent so long in Martinique when we could have spent all day in Bridgetown.
By request, Tracey and I had no tour escorting duties (yeey!). We were asked, but we told the shorex team that we were all ‘gardened-out’, and the only tour we would be happy to do would have been to Harrisons Cave (which we’ve been to before, independently). Harrisons Cave had already been allocated, so we got the afternoon off.
The plan was very simple; have lunch then find a beach…
There are several beaches within walking distance of the port, so we opted to walk towards Carlisle Beach, located on the other side of the town. It was hot, but the walk was pleasant enough. We passed several people walking in the other direction all of whom complained that nowhere was open, and when we finally did get to the beach, people who were there mourned the fact that we’d spent so long in Martinique and only had half a day to enjoy beach-life.
A Reggae Festival was in the process of being set up on the beach next door and large numbers of Barbadians were accumulating near the entrances. We could hear soundchecks being made, and figured it was all going to get rather busy, and perhaps noisy, later on.
‘The Boatyard’ beach club cost us $15 each to get in. This included use of all the facilities; restrooms, beach recliners, tables and parasols, one free drink and a free brightly-coloured paper wristband. It also included a free taxi ride back to the cruise terminal, the last taxi being at 4pm (which I think is a bit stingey – 5pm would have been better). Most people commented on what a good deal it was, yet we still think our beach day in Costa Maya beats it by miles ($5 each for the use of all the facilities plus a free drink).
It was only after we’d paid our thirty dollars that we realised it might have been possible to purchase a cheaper, no-taxi option. The time was just after 2pm, and the ship would be in port overnight, so there really wasn’t any rush. However; we enjoyed the free drink and a magnificent dip in the sea, and decided to make use of the taxi since we still had to pack and needed to be back in time for an end-of-cruise meeting (besides – we’d paid for it). One couple from the ship were already into their second bucket of beer and chips, and couldn’t imagine why we were heading back so soon. The fact is; if we’d arrived in Bridgetown earlier, we would happily have spent all day there.
The Voyager was one of only two cruise ships berthed in the port. The other was a massive Royal Caribbean ship which appeared to be full of Americans.
At this point, I am happy to acknowledge the fact that Brits abroad can be embarrasingly noisy and rude. Such a reputation has been well-earned, but I’m also thinking that holidaying Americans must trump that, if the four passengers we had the misfortune of sharing the cab back to the port with are anything to go by. I can’t begin to describe the details of how utterly obnoxious and rude they were, and all I kept thinking was that ‘Serenade of the Seas’ might possibly be full of people like this. I in no way want to stereotype people, but every time I’ve visited Barbados, it does always seem to be populated by such types (shudders….).
Our time on the beach was short but highly enjoyable, and both Tracey and I commented on how much we preferred it to the notion of escorting a tour around yet another botanical garden or spending four hours on a coach with photo stops on the ‘Coast to Coast’ tour.
It’s our last night on the Voyager; tomorrow, we’ll be heading home. It’s been four enjoyable weeks, during which we’ve passed through the Panama Canal and visited Havana. Ecuador was memorable; fortunately for us, we missed the recent, devastating earthquake in Guiyaquil by only three weeks. We’ve hardly seen any rain at all, and guides have commented on how notably hot it has been compared to usual. The UK is going to seem cold.
I enjoy going away, but I also enjoy going home… back to fast broadband, real milk and our large shower.
This will be my last post for this cruise (unless there’s something to report, of course). I’m actually writing it on Monday morning as we sit waiting for the time to disembark, which will be after lunch (2pm). Our flight back to Gatwick leaves at just gone 5pm, and with the time adjustment, we expect to be landing on home soil at 6:20am on Tuesday morning.
I will be joining the Magellan in October, sailing to the Baltic Cities, and returning to the Voyager in November, on another back-to-back, but this time to a part of the world that is entirely new to me; ‘Beyond Ceylon’ and ‘An Insight into Indonesia’.
Watch this space…