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barbados

Public transportation…

… Bus version… Barbados buses versus OCTranspo. Based on recent experience.

There are 3 types of buses to take in Barbados: the full-sized buses that we have here in Ottawa (no A/C though), smaller versions of said buses… and minivans whose sole goals seem to be to cram as many peeps as possible into the van all the while tooting their customised horns and breaking land speed records. We rode on the first two but not the last. Didn’t know if my travel insurance would cover such recklessness.

Commonalities between buses here and buses there…

Lots in common, actually.

  • Land speed records are tested.
  • Timing is unreliable.
  • Corners and braking are for playing the “knock down the rider” game.
  • “Interesting” clientele

Differences:

  • The drivers on the island try to be helpful. Might not understand a word that they’re saying due to the accent… but they are trying. OCTranspo? Well… there ARE exceptions, but…
  • $2 Bajan ($1 US) will pretty much get you anywhere on the island.  Might take a while… but you will get there. OC? What is the cash fare now? $3? And, most of the time, one must change buses at least once to get to where they are going to.
  • The Bajan Transport Board website ain’t very fancy… yet the bells and whistles on the OCTranspo site doesn’t really help much, now does it?

All in all, the two systems are pretty comparable.

Yay for us! Our modern and complex system in Ottawa compares favourably to that on a far-off tropical island.

 

 

 

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Public transportation…

Taxi version… Ottawa versus Barbados. Based on recent experience.

1) Lots of baggage and taxis, Barbados. Part One.

Driver cheerfully picks up from Granley Adams Airport and carefully sets our 5 heavy suitcases carefully down in the back of the minivan. Smile on face, he talks us up on the way from the airport, telling us about what to see and do. The agreed upon and reasonable fare is paid and an arrangement is made for him to pick us up on the day of our departure.

2) Lots of baggage and taxis, Ottawa. Part One.

Blue Line taxi is called the night before for a 4:30 pick-up. I tell the dispatcher that we are a party of 4 with 5 pieces of luggage and 4 carry-ons. I am assured that this won’t be a problem. At 4:40 the on the appointed morning, an undersized car shows up. No apologies for being late. Shrugging his shoulders, the driver crams as much luggage as possible into a trunk and front seat while the four of us are crammed into the back. Only the 2 kids wearing seatbelts, and I with a 40 lb suitcase on my lap.

Good times.

3) Lots of baggage and taxis, Barbados. Part Two.

Driver shows up dead on the minute. Won’t let me touch the bags. He loads everything on. Makes sure the kids are in the cab safely. Nice convo about the politics of Barbados… this is a smart and informed guy. Waits for other cars to move so he can debark us right in front of the Air Canada check-in desk. He thanks us profusely for hiring him and gives me biz cards to give out to any other friends or colleagues who may visit the island.

Note: if you plan on visiting Barbados, email me.

4) Lots of baggage and taxis, Ottawa. Part Two.

Bags drop off belt around midnight. I’m tired. the kids are tired. Want and need smooth sailing from here on in… should be safe, right?

Go outside to stand in the taxi queue. The taxi stand organizer is A-one ( the only bright part of this tale this side of the 13th parallel) and has C and the kids stand in his heated office while we wait for a vehicle large enough to accommodate our bags. It wasn’t a long wait. The taxi herder says to me: “heads-up… he’s gonna ding you for and extra $10 because you have an extra bag”. Nice of him to tell me and I’m too tired at this point to make a fuss.

Mini-van pulls up. Driver tosses and stuffs bags in. No words of friendly conversation. Arrive at our house around midnight and upon I handing over the fare, the driver grumbles: “that’s an extra $10 for the bags.” I say: “But, this is a van. There’s no biggy for you.”

He says : “Ten dollars.”

I downwardly adjust the tip accordingly. I take the bags out myself. Stack them at the end of the driveway while C gets the freezing kids into the house. Then I drag them up the drive and into the house myself. The cab clips one of the bags upon backing out of the driveway.

Welcome back to Ottawa.

Gotta love the customer service, eh? Pathetic. And this is the nation’s capital.

Tomorrow: Barbados buses versus OCTranspo.

 

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It was a monster…

… but my skills as an angler prevailed!

I went deep-sea fishing for the first time the other day (strike another off The List) and brought Subunit #2 with me.

Armed with sunscreen, Gravol and an intense desire to land a fish – nay, a behemoth – that would stun the good citizens of Barbados and indeed the world! We talked of how tales would be told and songs sung in the highlands and in the lowlands of the mighty battle that would surely be engaged on this fateful day!

And engage we did! There was a hit on the line! I dutifully assumed the position in the chair, clasped the handle of the rod in both of my hands and began the fight!  I looked left and right now and then during the epic battle between man and beast and couldn’t help but notice that the Captain and First Mate seemed a bit nervous. Perhaps they momentarily considering that they would, in the end, need a bigger boat.

Here I am in mid-struggle… sweat pouring from my brow and arms aching!

After what seemed to be hours, the monster tuna was landed.  Bells rang from the mainstaff as it was hoisted aboard!

Praise be to the good Captain and crew for a productive day, my fellow fisherfolk on board and a special thanks to my dear daughter for wiping the sweat from my brow and taking the pics!

And here is the monster tuna in all its glory! Do not forget that the fish is actually still 10 feet from the boat… the apparent “smallness” of the monster is but an optical illusion.

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Trashy in Barbados – deuxieme partie..

… and yeah, I’m late…

Well, bite me.  I have many, many , many other more important things to do aside from blogging!

Seriously. On a scale of 1 to 18, where would I fit on the loser scale if, while faced with a beauty surf and awesome temps, I instead chose to stay within WiFi range and blog.

18?

Yeah. Easy.

So, right now I’m on the patio with the waves crashing below and a Merlot in hand. Kids in bed. I’m still somewhat coherent with some recollections to impart.

  1. Yesterday. Fishing. And not for bass. Awesome beyond awesome.  Addy came with me in her role as the “Official fisherperson of Alta Vista” and was impressive. 8 hours on the sea and not a word of complaint. She took it in and had fun. I think. Maybe when she is 16 and less eager to please she’ll tell me otherwise…Fish-wise? Meh. Had a blast and that is all that counts. My ol’ bud The Wagman arranged the trip and he couldn’t have landed a better experience. The few wee tuna that I pulled aboard with great effort (note – renew GoodLife membership) were shiny and scaly mini-thrills.But let us not mention the monster that the same Wagman let free after being firmly in hand… was likely a trophy… sigh… He will have to live with that… not I.
  2. The weather. Been told and have confirmed that this part of the globe is among the best for weather predictability. Warm. Dry. Predictable.

    Though after talking with more than a few Bajans, times are a changin’… promised not to bring up politics during my restful vacay away… but it seems though things are shifting… weather-wise.

  3. Due to human activity? Probably.
  4. The Bajan accent. Can’t understand a fricking thing they say. Maybe they were really telling me that all is the same as it was 50 years ago, re:  the weather! Who the hell knows… deaf as a doorknob and cannot pick up on this accent. First mate yesterday told me to move aside and I thought he was asking me to be his bride… scary.
  5. Waste management. I think they need a consultant to deal with their IC&I collection issues as well as an integrated waste management strategy. IF a rep of the Barbados government happens upon this post, contact me. I will work for patio chair rental licenses.

Tomorrow, Harrison Caves and Bert’s Bar to watch the *sigh* bronze medal match…

 

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Bad versus good…

YIKES!

Better…

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Trashy in Barbados – part I

… or is it part II? I dunno. I’m on island time now!

We arrived late Friday afternoon after being delayed by over an hour in Toronto due to the ol’ de-icing routine.

Unpack. Get essentials from shop down the street. Go for obligatory first walk on the beach… no big excitement except for the dramatic temperature change from -27 to +27.

…but on the second day – New year’s Eve – or Old Years Night, as they call it here… whatta great start to the vacay!

The surf was (and still is) quite rough in front of the Seafoam Haciendas so we wandered along the Hiway to Accra Beach where the surf was a little tamer. Kids loved it and so did we, of course. Bobbed in the water, got a few mouthfuls and eyefulls af the briny sea, and got a little burned (well, I did… the kids were wearing SPF 1,000,000, of course).

But the real hi-light of the day was to the Barbados Yacht Club where we met up with some old and dear friends for lunch! Nice setting and great food.1  Then for some great swimming on the beach directly in front of the Club. it was far calmer than either of the beaches in our corner of the island.

Around mid-afternoon, our friends brough us back to their bungalow directly situated on the beach beside the Club. We were treated to a fine authentic Bajan dinner, great conversation, great fireworks, and met some new and amazing people on the way (many, MANY thanks to Richard… who drove us back to our digs after the festivities were over… quite a detour for him and we appreciate it and hope to pay it forward someday soon ).

A great start to the new year and a great end to the old.

Thanks  G & T & J and, of course, Rufus…

Oh, and J? Yer Dad will NEVER let you forget the JR incident.

Never.

1. If ever at the Barbados Yacht Club, try the fish cakes! Incroyable!

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The view from our balcony…

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Back to travel log mode…

… starting tomorrow!

As has been my custom when I travel, I take a break from my political punditry, overblown opines, meandering messages, etc., etc., etc. Instead, this space turns into a travel log where I’ll talk a bit about where I am and what I’m doing; and I usually post lots of pics.

The place where we are staying claims to have wi-fi, and if they’re right, then we’ll be good to go. If not, well, you’ll likely not hear from me till I return!

 

 

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