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Eat, Drink, Barbados Part II

Click here to read part I

Part II

The scenery in Barbados’s Flower Forest may evoke images of tartans and pipers, but the weather is most unScottish-like. It is the farthest easternmost island of the Caribbean Sea, just past the Grenadines, and a mere 11 degrees north of the Equator. Did I mention hot? Web site research stated the October visitor could expect daily temperatures of about 30 degrees Celsius. Not true. We never had a day below 35, and for those of us living in northern climes, that was just fine, thank you.

Nightlife including bars, restaurants and resorts are located in two main areas – Bay Street north of Bridgetown into Holetown (Olives, The Mews, Blue Rare and perhaps Angry Annie’s – just don’t get her angry!) and south through to the St. Lawrence Gap, (or just "The Gap") on the south coast. Both are a mere 10-minute cab ride (about $20 Barbados) from the center of Bridgetown.

"The Gap" is a long stretch filled with neon nightlife, including the 50’s and 60’s musical tribute at The Plantation (the last Saturday of every month), McBride’s Pub & Cookhouse, Café Sol, Sweet Potato, and Zafran. Check out MoJo’s though for a fun mix of locals and ex-pats from numerous countries – those from cold countries who have decided to claim the hot sun as their right.

But everyone sometimes heads to The Boatyard, a big and brazen waterfront bar – huge, loud and colorful. Best to bring your own earplugs because the DJ likes to keep the tables trembling after 9 pm. This is the ‘hang out’ spot for all islanders who want to meet and greet after a hard day’s work. They also boast a great beach with water sports galore (just try climbing their ersatz ‘iceberg’) and you can also pick up a Jolly Roger party cruise at their dock.

Accommodation in Barbados is like the rest of the Island – high class and first rate. You won’t find any hovels here. Now, you could go totally off the charts with the luxurious Sandy Lane, always rated as one of the top hotels in all the Caribbean. Rooms range from a low season of $700 U.S. per night to Christmas prices of $5,000. Or rent the Villa for $20,000 U.S. per night! Most however eagerly check in to some of the Island’s lovely all-inclusive resorts, such as the Almond Beach Village/Almond Beach Club. There are two locations along the west coast and guests can use all facilities from beach to bar, nightclub to noshing.

One of the most popular hotels is the Savannah, just south of Bridgetown (due west of Grantley Adams International Airport) that has just added new rooms and suites in flowing tiers leading down to the beach. The hotel also has a friendly bar, smooth sounding musicians at night, and scrumptious Bajan buffets.

Families and golfers might want to check out the Rockley Plum Tree Club. This is a collection of condo rentals (many live in the community full-time) with full kitchen amenities and bedrooms overlooking the golf course, priced at $100 U.S. Best to have a car at your disposal, although there is a good, direct bus service to Bridgetown on Bay Street just outside the Golf and Country Club.

All in all, Barbados is a very upscale, stable, educated country that provides a safe and civilized vacation environment (i.e. no Third World poverty) for those unfamiliar with life on the Islands. It is no wonder that Barbados was recently voted the "Leading Destination in the Caribbean" at the recent 2003 World Travel Award ceremonies. Of course the hot sun, sandy beaches, and warm azure waters of the Caribbean Sea are all thrown in for good measure. Toss some excellent accommodation, fun day-long tours of ‘Rum Roading,’ sailing and snorkeling, as well as numerous restaurants of five-star cuisine into that vacation pot, and you have the ingredients for a memorable Island stay. ¾

Contact: Barbados Tourism Authority. 105 Adelaide Street. West. Suite # 1010. Toronto Ontario. M5H 1P9.

WEB: www.barbados.org.

Email: Canada@Barbados.org

Eat! Drink! Barbados Festival. WEB. www.eatdrinkbrabados.com

Barbados Signpost

Location: Easternmost island of the West Indies,

East of Grenada (200 km) and about 600 km north of Venezuela.

Getting There: Daily flights from Toronto. Air Canada 966 Dep’t. 8:30 AM. Arr. 1:45 PM.

Return FLT: AC 967. Dep’t. 3 PM. Arr. Toronto 8:30 PM.

Airport: Grantley Adams International Airport along the southeast coast. (Note: Departure tax of $25 Barbados/$12.50 U.S.)

Language: English, with Island patois.

Population: 253,000

Capital: Bridgetown

Government: Parliamentary (British system)

Currency: Barbados Dollar

(i.e. $ 2 B = $1 US = $0.70 CDN)

Major Industry: Tourism. Rum. Agriculture.

(Barbados is the home of Mount Gay Rum – celebrating its 300-year anniversary in 2003, making the company the world’s oldest-producing run label.)

Major world influence: England

History: First English settlers arrived in 1627, formed the Barbados House of Assembly. The island remained a British Colony until 1966, when it became an independent nation while still remaining a part of the British Commonwealth.

Size: 34 km (21 miles) long and 23 km (14 miles) wide.

Politically/Socially: Very stable

Education: High. British Education system.

Standard of Living: Very high. No visible poverty.

Climate: Hot. Classified as "Tropical Maritime." Typical temps for the rainy season in October is 28 C. (90 F) and about 35 C. (100F) in the dry season of June.