Our Honeymoon Duex - Caribbean Cruise - Barbados
I am reminded of a family where there are numerous children born to the proud parents. Though all the children are equally loved, it seems it's the first born that gets all the pictures. One might think cameras were no longer available by the time the last child comes along. While Barbados proved our greatest adventure, it is the island on which I took the fewest pictures.
We woke to see from our balcony this virtually flat island on the southern end of our trip. The tour book in our cabin suggested Barbados is so popular a vacation destination because of the beaches. We had already chosen to make Barbados an "on your own" island and hoped to make a beach visit part of our day. We also saw there were numerous other appealing attractions and settled on the "wildlife reserve" on the northern end of the island. After docking at Bridgetown on the south east end of the island, we set out for our adventure. The lady at the terminal information booth suggested a cab to the reserve would cost us $80. When I pressed her for an alternative, she said we could take a bus for a buck. She was not particularly helpful, but I did squeeze enough information from her to think I knew what I was doing. As we left the port, we had to walk the guantlet. One cabbie offered us the trip for $60 and another for $50. We declined both and set out to find the bus. We walked to down town Bridgeport where we were assisted by another cabbie who offered us the ride for $100. He was kind enough, when we declined his offer, to point us in the right direction for the bus. Barbados has an official bus service, the Barbados Transit Authority. We guess that the locals have discovered this system not enough for the traffic, so a whole local subculture of transportation and freelance busses has developed. The BTA busses are big and blue. The others are more like large vans. They are all bright yellow. A third level of white vans opperate as taxis. The BTA bus we wanted to Speightstown was not scheduled to leave for 45 minutes which would not have give us the time we wanted to visit both the reserve and a beach, so we hopped a yellow bus. The drivers working with a partner compete with each other for passengers to fill their busses and get quickly to their destinations. The fare, regardless of which tranport is taken or the distance traveled is $1.50 Barbados or $0.75 US. The trip to Speightstown took about 45 minutes. Christmas music played on the PA system make the trip pleasant. In Speightstown we transferred to a white taxi van for the ten minute drive to the reserve. That cost us the same 75 cent fare each.
The Barbados Wildlife Reserve is an enchanted forest. The primary residents are Barbados green monkeys who have free reign not only of the reserve but of the areas adjacent. We saw the two that were caged in the middle of this lush, tree and vine filled park as the monkeys tend to leave the reserve during the day and return in the evening to be fed. We walked the romantic old coral lined brick paths capivated by the tortoises, agouti, and Brocket deer that roam freely (none of these are native to Babados).
Cages contained non-native snakes and Cuban iguanas.
We rushed a bit to catch the 12:30 BTA bus back to Speightstown where we hoped to visit a reknowned Barbados beach. On the advise of two young ladies on the bus, we debated walking to Almond Beach or taking a bus south to another beach when a "taxi shark" talked us into a ride north to Almond Beach. He didn't call it that, and he made it sound like he was taking us to paradise. We suckered and paid the US $1.50 (two fares). The moral of our story is listen to the young girls and not the guy who wants your buck. The beach was beautiful and the water clear, but there was no place to swim and we were not wanting to just sit and do nothing. I suppose the lack of pictures betrays our disappointment. We walked back into Speightstown and caught a yellow bus back to Bridgetown. The ride was not nearly as pleasant. The radio was blasting a very annoing DJ shouting right over the Caribbean music he was playing. The music seemed like a mix of secular and spiritual faire, but we concluded it was not Christian spiritual. The bus was very crowded and the sun was beating in the open windows. We had not eaten and were hungry and crancky by the time we got to town. We walked back to the ship stopping along the way at a street vendor to get rid of the Babados dollars we had picked up as change along the way.
The next stop, St. Lucia, is on the next page.