The Crane earns AAA Four-Diamond Award

Friday, December 26, 2008

WooHoo!  This is "our" place!

The Crane, for over 100 years a distinctive part of the Barbadian hospitality landscape, has today received new recognition with the bestowing of the prestigious Four-Diamond Award by the Automobile Association of America (AAA), joining the ranks of three other premier properties in Barbados.  Developed on a phased basis from its original 18 rooms over the last eight years, today this premier residential resort features 202 rooms, five swimming pools, and three restaurants.  Priding themselves on warm Barbadian hospitality, the hotel’s management and staff have placed increasing emphasis on service over the last number of years and are pleased to announce that, along with the concurrent product development, these training and development efforts have been rewarded with the AAA designation.

AAA Diamond ratings for hotels represent a combination of the overall quality, range of facilities, and level of services offered by the property, and the descriptive ratings are assigned exclusively to properties that meet and uphold AAA’s rigorous quality standards.  In order to receive a Four-Diamond Award, the property must be upscale in all areas. Accommodations are progressively more refined and stylish, and the physical attributes reflect an obvious enhanced level of quality throughout. The fundamental hallmarks at this level include an extensive array of amenities combined with a high degree of hospitality, service and attention to detail.  In 2008, a total of 1,159 hotels and 756 restaurants received the AAA Four Diamond Award. AAA Four Diamond hotels and restaurants represent just 3 percent of the 60,000 AAA Approved and Diamond rated properties.

Continuing its product development, The Crane will also open a Barbadian retail village in early 2009, to offer guests and visitors to the hotel a 3,000 square foot duty-free environ, a number of small shops and boutiques featuring local art, fashion and food products; two additional restaurants, and a new conference centre.  The resort is also adding three phases of garden residence suites before the end of 2009, bringing its total room inventory to 282.

While Crane Beach has long been recognized as one of the best beaches in the world, The AAA Four-Diamond award is added to a growing list of accolades that the resort has received recently, including the Pillar of Tourism Award in 2007 and the Top Restaurant - Food in the Best of Barbados Zagat 2009 Guide, for Zen restaurant.

Posted by MaryO at 2:26 PM 0 comments  

Barbados Port Overview


Barbados is one of the best developed, most popular tourist destinations of the southern Caribbean. Often called the “Little England” of the Caribbean, blends the finer elements of British tradition with warm island hospitality. Located relatively close to South America, the nation of Barbados is around 270 miles northeast of Venezuela.  Explore the many beaches, rolling countryside, charming villages, old sugar mills and plantations that represent the colonial past of the island. Tour the East Coast where the Atlantic Ocean’s waves are a surfer’s paradise. Shop in the capital city or stay out late to party in the nightlife. The average annual temperature ranges from 70°F–87°F.

Ships dock at the Bridgetown Cruise Terminal, about a mile west of downtown Bridgetown.  You can shop for crafts and souvenirs in the terminal area. Barbados offers plenty of duty free shopping for jewelry, perfumes, liquor, pottery & cigars. Not interested in shopping, enjoy Barbados’ endless beaches, natural beauty, attractions and fine dining.  You can tour Barbados via car, 4 x 4, bus, catamaran or helicopter.  Snorkeling and scuba diving are popular shore excursions as well.

Rather than use the cruise line’s shore excursions, we wanted to book a private tour to create our own itinerary. We booked through Glory tours. Confirming everything via email was easy. Please note that the tour operators cannot come all the way to the ship, so there is about a 1/4 mile walk to where you meet up with the tour guides. Our interests were the Mt. Gay Rum Factory, the Barbados Wildlife reserve, Harrison’s Cave, St. John’s Church & Bathsheba.

The day did not go exactly as planned. There had been a small earthquake the day before and it was rumored that there may be an aftershock. So we opted for a 1/2 day tour rather than a full day. We got great pictures of area beaches and made it to the Wildlife Reserve. If I had it to do again, I would have skipped the reserve. Although it was interesting, it took up too much time and I did not get to see a Green monkey which was the main reasons I wanted to go and see them in their habitat. Apparently the monkeys normally come out around feeding time which is 3 p.m.  In my opinion, there are many other “must-sees” that you should spend your day in port enjoying:

Harrison’s Cave:  Travel through the winding tunnels in specially designed trams and make your way into the specially lighted caverns, view the majestic stalactites and stalagmites which have been growing from the floors and ceilings for many centuries. Cascading through the caves, the crystal blue waters form magnificent pools and waterfalls.
Get their early to avoid the lines.

Bathsheba:  It is said that Bathsheba, wife of King David, bathed in milk to keep her skin beautiful and soft. The surf covered white waters of Bathsheba are said to resemble Bathsheba’s bath in both appearance and health giving value. It is breathtakingly beautiful dramatic coastline of striking rock formations against which the Atlantic rollers break in cascades of foam.

Mt. Gay Rum Factory:  Discover the colorful history of Mount Gay Rum Learn how the world’s finest rum is made and then taste it. Enjoy Bajan cuisine in the verandah restaurant overlooking the sea. Then take home a taste of the Good Times from their store.

In speaking to other cruisers, they really enjoyed the Turtle and shipwreck snorkel excursion.

We are looking forward to going back to see these island highlights. 

Rum and more "yo ho" on Barbados

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


Bridgetown, Barbados -

A Barbados legend insists when Englishmen partook of the brownish beverage concocted from molasses - a by-product of sugar-making - they became boisterous, bawdy and even unruly or rumbustious.

It didn't take long for the drink to be christened "rum."

The easternmost of the Caribbean islands, Barbados could easily adopt the moniker "the Island that rum built," but that is only part of the story.

Visitors to the island will discover a place of pink sand beaches, clear blue seas and friendly residents eager to share their island's beauty and history.

Bridgetown, the capital, retains its British ambience and is home to the country's Parliament Building - Barbados has been independent since 1966 but Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state.
It is also the main port and the place to head under the sea in the Atlantis III (, a submarine sporting multiple windows on both its port and starboard sides so those inside don't miss any views.

As the submarine slowly descends to an offshore coral reef, schools of tropical fish glide past.
Hundreds of blue chromis - so blue they're nearly black - are the main inhabitants of the reef, but they share their home with the "school-master snapper," a gray fish with yellow spots so named because it appears to have a stern look on its face; and the chief predators of the reef, the horse-eye jack. As the submarine nears a shipwreck, much to the crowd's delight, several sea turtles slice their way through the water.

For those who prefer to stay above board, Tiami Catamaran ( offers daily catamaran sailing trips. A five-hour sail hugs the shoreline, stopping a few times to allow passengers the opportunity to snorkel or swim. Cruises include lunch complete with the nation's two most recognized dishes - steamed flying fish and macaroni pie.

Back on land, grab a board and head to the island's Atlantic Coast and the best surfing in the Caribbean. Beginners would be wise to book a lesson with professional surfer Alan Burke.
In the basement of his home on Burke's Beach, Burke runs Burkie's Surf School ( teaching students who have ranged in age from 8 to 65.

"Barbados has an amazing amount of surfing spots. Spots that are consistent," Burke said.
A lesson in Burke's backyard about how to find the board's sweet spot, how to keep the nose of the board slightly out of the water and how to stand in one smooth move, of course becomes a harder process when clinging to a board that is being thrashed by waves - in my case at Long Beach on the calmer waters of the Caribbean.

When you've had your fill of sand and surf, Barbados offers several indoor attractions that are historical, educational and just plain fun.

St. Nicholas Abbey (, in the northern parish of St. Peter, is the second plantation house built on the island. Dating back to about 1660, the home is one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the Western Hemisphere.

The place has nothing to do with the church, but, like much of the island, was built as part of the burgeoning sugar trade. Little remains of the original homestead beyond the walls and beams, but visitors can tour the buildings and grounds to get a glimpse of what life was like for the historic privileged few on the island.

For a look into the lives of common Bajans, as locals are called, head to Speightstown and the Arlington House Museum ( The museum is located in a three-story home with a steeply pitched gable roof, dormer windows and a veranda on its northern side that 200 years ago was home to the Skinners, a merchant family. It's a classic example of a Single House - a house that's one room wide on the street but can be several rooms deep.

Life in the 1800s centered on fishing, sugar cane and trade with England. Speightstown was once called Little Bristol after the English port city of Bristol, a major trading post with the island.
The museum offers historic maps, photographs and prints that tell the history of Barbados, with interactive videos and a movie outlining the story of slaves brought from Africa and the sugar trade.

Visitors can also learn about the island's most famous pirate, Stede Bonnet, a wealthy plantation owner who ditched conformity and joined forces with Blackbeard.

Though it's hard to prove any pirate ever burst into song with, "Yo, ho, ho and a bottle of rum," the beverage is an important part of the island's economy and lifestyle.

At the center of that story is Mount Gay Rum and its factory in Bridgetown which produces 10,000 bottles a day.

You can take a tour of the facility ( and learn about founder Sir John Gay Alleyne, see the various stages in the rum-making process and even sample the end product that is part of everyday life on the island.

"When you're holding a bottle of Mount Gay, you're not just holding a bottle," said Maria Elias, a tour guide at the factory. "You're holding the history of Barbados."

If you go:

GETTING THERE: American Airlines ( offers connecting flights via New York's JFK and Miami; Delta ( through Atlanta.

STAYING THERE: The Hilton Barbados is located on Needham's Point just five minutes from Bridgetown. The two-towered structure offers 350 guest rooms, two swimming pools, two private beaches and a fitness center. Rooms from $299 per night (
The Crane Resort and Residences offers upscale accommodations, overlooking its private pink sand beach. Rates run from $300 per night for a garden-view junior suite to $2,100 per night for a three-bedroom penthouse with ocean views and a private pool (


(Find more travel features and the Get Away with Fran blog at

Nature Sanctuary in Barbados forced to Close - Lapwings and other migratory birds now at risk

Thursday, October 30, 2008

For the last 18 months, Barbados Free Press staged an uphill battle against the destruction of the Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary, with this News-Blog adding its voice where appropriate. I have even gone so far as to e-mail Dr Karl Watson and get his view on some of the international visitors of the feathered kind that grace the Graeme Hall Swamp...

But now it appears as though it is too late, despite Barbados Underground joining in the fray -

Environmental philanthropist Peter Allard announced that the 35-acre Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary in Barbados will close on December 15, 2008.

Saying that “no one individual can stand longer than a generation in the wilderness of environmental preservation,” Allard despaired that to preserve the environmental heritage at Graeme Hall for future generations of Barbadians would require “a government-led consciousness.”

“I thank the the citizens of Barbados who came to the Sanctuary to visit, and thank those who signed the petition with the Friends of Graeme Hall for a National Park,” said Allard. “I believe the Sanctuary would not have been possible without the support of the many eco-visitors, school children and the hard-working employees who put their heart and soul into making the Sanctuary a first class visitor experience.”

Allard went on to say that the Sanctuary would not exist if it had not been for special individuals who helped make it happen such as Dame Billie Miller and her kind and capable Permanent Secretary, the late Brie St. John, Dr. Lorna Inniss, Dr. Trevor Carmichael, Dr. Karl Watson and many, many others.

Approximately 85 employees and contractors will be negatively affected by the closing. It is expected that tour companies, taxis and local businesses will lose bookings as well.

In 2007, over 6,000 Barbadians signed a Friends of Graeme Hall petition in favor of preserving the approximately 240 acre green area at Graeme Hall as a National Park. As the largest green space on the South Coast between the Airport and Bridgetown, the proposed National Park would include the designated 91-acre RAMSAR wetland approved under the international Convention on Wetlands, the 35-acre Sanctuary, and recreational lands.

Saying that that the future of the Sanctuary and the National Park is in the hands of the people of Barbados, Allard believes that the Friends of Graeme Hall and the citizens of Barbados must decide what their priorities are.

“We have great affection and regard for the people of Barbados, and the Sanctuary effort has always been a philanthropic mission. This has been an incredibly painful and saddening decision, but ultimately it is not for us to initiate or set national goals and long term legacies for the nation.”

Measured by the foot

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Pure air, pristine beaches, and miles of byways make hiking eye-opening

By Patricia Borns

Globe Correspondent / October 19, 2008

belair-barbados Belair is where Barbados's tourist industry got its start. Codrington College in St. John Parish opened in 1745 and is the oldest Anglican theological school in the hemisphere. (Patricia Born for The Boston Globe)

The young British fencing coach had left her friends on the beach to go hiking. It was her first time in the Caribbean.

"Hot weather doesn't normally agree with me," she said, nor, she admitted, had hiking. "At home it's an older person's sport."

We met in the East Coast village of Bathsheba, where some 50 outdoors lovers had materialized like a scene from "Field of Dreams." We hiked for four hours, fumbling through light woods and lianas (woody tropical vines); crowding reverently into a former slave chapel smothered in bush; laboring up Melvin Hill to a fisheye-lens view of the green Chimborazo valley below; and over coral promontories where Atlantic waves exploded in furies of spray.

Our guides, George Medford and Carl Fenty, reminded us that the wind washing over us travels some 2,600 miles across the ocean to this coast from The Gambia in West Africa and is some of the purest air in the world.

"This track was part of the Barbados Railway built to transport sugar cane and tourists," said Fenty. "It went bust five times before ceasing operation under its last owner, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. A first-class seat with champagne cost 48 cents; when the train stalled, the third class got out and pushed."

As we spilled down a heathered slope to the seascape of Cattlewash, raw and romantic in the Byronic sense, the fencer turned to me with shining eyes. "I'm definitely coming back here," she said.

While Barbados can be enjoyed without ever leaving West Coast Highway 1, which is fringed with beaches and hotels, a local passion for walking has created opportunities to explore more than 800 miles of roads at little or no cost. Our trek was one of 45 rambles offered free by Hike Barbados, a program of the Barbados National Trust. No reservations are necessary: Simply meet Sunday morning or afternoon at the designated location, break into groups according to pace, and experience a 6-to-14-mile slice of the island that you might not otherwise see.

"Everything we encounter has a reason in history. Our early settlers planted those palms around their plantations so insect-eating birds could nest in safety," said Victor Cooke, a professional guide and National Trust volunteer, on a hike in rural St. Lucy Parish. "Those mahogany trees were planted near the driveway to shade workers waiting to begin the day. You always see these peas planted at the edges of fields. They were used to make jug-jug, a Christmas stew."

It seemed to my fiance, Ron, and me, that at least half of our company were Bajans (or Barbadians), not visitors like us. Richard Goddard, a program founder, explained, "Hike Barbados started not as a tourist attraction but as a way to connect our own people with their environment and heritage."

We noticed several hikers wearing T-shirts inscribed "the Colin Hudson Hike," commemorating a Hike Barbados leader who died a national hero for his advocacy of sustainable development.

If the turnout for the St. Lucy hike was a good indicator, more Bajans than ever are hitting the trails. When we passed through villages (and increasingly, subdivisions), children and grandparents greeted us with a "Good morning" or "All right," as if the sight of 60 backpackers strung out in twos and threes was an everyday occurrence.

Hiking changed our vacation from the lazy idyll we had planned. We began buying rock cakes of dense Bajan coconut bread for carb fuel and saving empty water bottles to fill at the ubiquitous roadside stand pipes, the island's first water supply fed by underground springs. Our pockets bulged with chips of 18th-century blue and white porcelain, clay pipe stems, and wisps of Sea Island cotton. The best prize, an Amerindian adze made of conch shell, was found and given to us by a local insurance agent who placed its age at 500 to 1,000 years.

Members of smaller groups invited us to join their hikes. One, a Wednesday trek in St. John Parish, climbed to soaring views of Consett Bay and Ragged Point; crossed the gold-grained sand of Bath beach; slogged up Society Hill; and lingered beside the lily pond at Codrington College, where young West Indians study theology in the hush of majestic coral stone buildings.

An ambassador's wife told us about BH3, the Barbados Hash House Harriers, part of an international network whose free outings are modeled on the English schoolboy game Hares and Hounds. The group meets at locations across the island every Saturday at 4 p.m. and welcomes walkers as well as runners.

We tried them all.

Who would have guessed that a 21-by-14-mile island could seem so large and varied? The meandering quality of the roads contributes to a perennial sense of discovery - and to the frequent experience of getting lost.

"Every road in Barbados leads to your destination - eventually," Thomas Loftfield, an assistant director at the Barbados Museum, said reassuringly. The museum's collection of early maps clarifies why this is so. By 1645, English settlers had almost completely deforested Barbados and replanted it with sugarcane, which would drive the economy for the next 350 years. Today's roads and public rights of way are a web of those 17th-century cart paths and cane field intervals.

If there is a successor to Colin Hudson as the articulator of Barbadian byways, Adrian Loveridge might be it. "It's almost painful to reveal the spectacular beaches encountered on this hike," said Loveridge as we picked our way along five miles of the East Coast from Bottom Bay to Crane Beach in St. Philip Parish. Together with his wife, Margaret, Loveridge has packaged six hikes with a stay at the couple's hotel Peach and Quiet, in Christ Church Parish, located near one of Barbados's best unpublicized beaches.

We were seeing the others now: Ginger Bay, Harry Smith Beach, Sam Lord's Beach, and Belair. From a tourist map, you might never know they existed or were accessible by car or bus.

"Barbados was born when the original [tectonic] plate fragmented and the Caribbean portion slid beneath the Atlantic one," Loveridge said as we wound among fossilized crags. "Corals thrived in the shallow water this created, and with a final tectonic push, up came our coral-capped island - you're walking on the ancient, submerged plate now."

A staircased ruin appeared weirdly at the shore's edge. "Three guesses as to what this is," Loveridge challenged us.

"The remains of a health spa," he said. "Picture ladies in Victorian bathing costumes being carried to the beach in litters hoisted by Bajan men."

Invariably the hikes ended with some of us removing to a restaurant or rum shop, where we didn't hesitate to try a full-sugar-strength Plus or caloric staple like macaroni and cheese pie. Moving slowly and poetically through beautiful scenery is one of the pleasures of a walking vacation, but guiltless enjoyment of food shouldn't be overlooked.

We ate our hearts out and returned home tanned and toned, having lost a total of six pounds.

Patricia Borns can be reached at

Barbados wins top awards at craft show

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Barbados wins top awards at craft show
Published on: 10/5/08.

Minister of Trade, Industry and Commerce George Hutson (left) dancing to Soca Junkie by Mr Dale (backing) as his wife Isabel (second from left) and Carl Lewis, corporate banking director of FirstCaribbean International, look on.

BARBADOS walked away with the top prize Friday night at the Best Of Show Awards Ceremony of the 15th Caribbean Gift And Craft Show 2008.

An ecstatic Angela Went, designer of Angelique Custom Creations, won the coveted Best Of Show Award for her unique copper jewellery, beating out more than 200 exhibitors, who showcased their products over the last four days at Sherbourne Conference Centre, Two Mile Hill, St Michael.

Barbados also won Best Booth through Exclusive Cottons of the Caribbean Inc. and Best Design School (Graphics & Communication) via Barbados Community College (BCC).

Minister of Trade, Industry and Commerce George Hutson congratulated winners, noting the high quality of craftsmanship and their contributions to gross domestic product (GDP).

"When we consider gift and craft as a business sector, we think of small and micro business persons. Nevertheless, there is substantial contribution to the GDP that is made by this sector, both in terms of employment and in terms of foreign exchange earnings," the minister said.

He called for greater support from all sectors "to aid in the sustainable development of our craft industry". (TM)

BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS W.I. 1654 Old Synagogue & Cemetery

Wednesday, September 24, 2008



BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS W.I. 1654 Old Synagogue & Cemetery


The present Jewish community of Barbados continues to maintain and use the cemetery which surrounds this historic synagogue. However, with the sale of the synagogue in 1929 by the last remaining Jews from the original congregation, there was a lapse of three years before the first member of the present congregation, Moses Altman, arrived in 1932. By this time artefacts had been removed; some sold to visitors found their way into private homes and museums. The original eight chandeliers, wall brackets and several other items are in the Barbados Museum and two standing lamps were given to Moses Altman to be used by his congregation. At first, services were held at his residence; with the growth of the community to thirty families, a property was purchased and adapted to the use of worship. The original synagogue located in the centre of Bridgetown, had been converted into commercial space. Before 1983, several attempts were made to restore the cemetery, and a positive achievement was its improved maintenance. Sadly however, in the effort to tidy-up, many old tombstones (dating back to 1660) were moved from their original positions.

The acquisition of the Synagogue building was not contemplated before 1980. It appears as if the problems encountered in efforts to improve the cemetery discouraged any further plans.

By 1983 government had made plans to build a new Supreme Court building, acquiring the synagogue building and a number of properties surrounding it. A member of the local Jewish Community and grandson of Moses Altman, Paul B. Altman, was successful in obtaining governmental support for the restoration. Former Prime Minister, the late Tom Adams, had taken a personal interest in the restoration project. This interest has extended into the present administration. A local committee has been organized. Overseas organizations have offered assistance with main support coming from the Commonwealth Jewish Trust and from visitors have offered assistance and the project has become a reality. A restored synagogue will represent an important link in Jewish history as a reminder of the route of the original Jewish settlers took to North America. It will represent one of the two oldest synagogues in the Western hemisphere and will be a place of worship for Barbadian Jews as well as for many Jewish visitors to Barbados. It will have historical significance for all.


The old synagogue, located about 200 yards from Broad Street, the main shopping street in Bridgetown, had its origins soon after the first British settlement in 1627 with the exodus of Jews from Recife, Brazil in 1654. A group of those who had fled Recife for Amsterdam, upon learning that Oliver Cromwell had opened British domains to Jews, applied for and secured permission to settle in Barbados. Among them were members of the de Mercado family. Aaron de Mercado died in 1660 and became the second Jew known to have been buried in Barbados. The prime organiser of the congregation Nidhe Israel (The scattered of Israel) was a Recife Jew, Lewis Dias, alias Joseph Jesurum Mendes and the earliest reference to the synagogue is found in a deed of conveyance of land adjoining, the Jewish property dated September 1661, and vestry minutes of that period also date the old synagogue to the late 1660’s. Public worship for Jews in Barbados came in 1654, three years ahead of London.

The old synagogue in Barbados can boast of being one of the two oldest synagogue in the Western hemisphere and similar in age to the synagogue in Curaçao which has become a landmark of that Island. (Of interest, two Barbadian Jews established the beginning of a Jewish community in Rhode Island, USA in 1677 and it was another Barbadian Jew who was responsible in 1682 for purchasing the plot of land that is today the oldest surviving Jewish graveyard in North America, at Chatham Square, New York).

The hurricane of 1831 destroyed most of our original synagogue and on 29 March 1833, the present building was dedicated, constructed at a cost of 4000 L. The moving spirit behind the rebuilding was Dr Hart-Lyon, a jeweller who together with ninety other influential Jews, raised the necessary funds.

The following extract is taken from the Barbados Globe of 1 April 1833 as reprinted in Mr E.M. Shilston’s work Monumental Inscriptions in the Jewish Cemetery, Bridgetown, Barbados.

“About three of the clock on a bright and sunny afternoon in the month of march 1833, the people of the Hebrew Nation in Bridgetown, Barbados, commenced to assemble in the courts and avenues of their Synagogue, and in the course of an hour, They were joined by a number of the most respectable inhabitants, the ladies of grace, fashion and beauty (admitted to the galleries) to witness the interesting and impressive ceremony before them. It was the day that would ever stand eminently distinguished in the annals of the Hebrew Community of the town prophesied the editor of the Barbados Globe.

“The building occupied an area of two thousand square feet, fifty feet long and forty feet wide. It was thirty-seven feet high and received considerable strength from the rounding of the angles, which were capped with large antique censers uniting a balustrated parapet all round, the roof being hardly visible.

The windows were lancet shaped and tastefully harmonised with the proportions of the building side, covered with a Gothic Hood, led to the gallery within; the whole of the exterior was lightly tinged of stone-colour, and scored in blocks, the appearance altogether was classical and chaste…

The interior correspond with the outer appearance; a light and tasteful gallery occupied three sides of the interior supported by neat Doric columns. The Reader’s desk in the body of the edifice was sufficiently elevated to give a conspicuous view of the person officiating. From the ceiling was suspended at each corner in front of the gallery a single brass chandelier of eight lights, and in the centre, one of similar kind containing twenty-four.

The area of the building was paved in alternate squares of black and white marble; and the ceiling, painted in relief produced a most pleasing effect, as well from artist-like manner in which it was executed as from the chasteness of its design. It was computed to hold about three hundred persons.

The cost of this building, L 4.000 in Island currency, was defrayed by the ninety influential Jews resident in Barbados. Mr Hart-Lyon, a Jeweller was the moving spirit in its rebuilding”.

A fall In sugar prices led to emigration of most of the Jewish community from Barbados and by 1900 only seventeen Jews remained. The synagogue was sold in 1929 by private treaty with only one Jew remaining. It was converted into offices and continued under this use until the end of 1993 when it was compulsorily acquired by government with plans to demolish it and erect a new Supreme Court building. The Jewish community, with the support of the Barbados National Trust and Caribbean Conservation Association were able to persuade government to accept plans for a restoration project.

(An attempt had been made in 1929 by Mr Eustace M. Shildstone a Barbadian lawyer and non-Jew, to purchase the synagogue for preservation as a national memorial to the Jews of Barbados and because of its historical and antiquarian connections).

Lord Bernstein

Beautiful Island Nation of Barbados

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Located far out in the Atlantic Ocean, there are few places more beautiful than the island nation of Barbados. Featuring stunning island scenery and a rich culture, Barbados is worth a visit of its own merit. Surfers though will especially want to make time and save money for a trip to experience the world-class waves that form off the coasts of Barbados.

A coral reef stretches around Barbados, reining in the waves and allowing the swell to be more consistent than usual. Because of the island’s position in the Atlantic Ocean, waves can travel thousands of miles to finally break on the shore of Barbados. These two factors make surfing a possibility almost every day of the year, without too much difficulty in finding a spot. The east coast of the island is especially popular among surfers, because it has what many contend to be the best waves. The south coast is popular because a variety of surfing conditions from one side of the coast to the other allow you to decide what you want to surf and when.

Barbados is warm and sunny the whole year, with temperatures ranging from 75 degrees to 85 degrees Fahrenheit and not getting much higher or lower than that, except in rare circumstances. A wind coming from the northeast blows steadily so that the island is not unbearably hot. When it does rain, it is only in small showers and is usually in the later half of the year, so for the first part of the summer you can expect it to be dry. Water temperature stays in the mid-80s.

A popular surf spot on the eastern coast of Barbados is called the Soup Bowl, and its world-class waves are known far and wide among dedicated surfers. Even with this in mind, the crowds tend to be manageable throughout the week and the year. Parking is limited, but getting to the spot is fairly easy since Barbados isn’t too large of an island. It is generally recommended that the best time to go is from September to November in order to take advantage of the good weather and the excellent waves.

Zen - Barbados’ Top Restaurant


The Crane thanks all its valued members and guests for helping us making Zen the top restaurant on the island, as noted by the 2009 Zagat Guide to Barbados. Beating out traditional favourites, our Japanese and Thai signature restaurant was named Top in the Food category of all restaurants in Barbados.

Perched atop a cliff overlooking Crane Beach, Zen restaurant took the top rating in the Food category, of all restaurants on the island. The restaurant, which features classic Thai and Japanese cuisine, has a fantastic panoramic ocean view, traditional Grand Tatami room, an exquisite sushi bar and private rooms for dining. It’s no wonder that reviewers declare it is “worth the drive” for Zen’s delicious cuisine.

We are extremely proud to be the home of the top restaurant in Barbados!

The accolades were presented to The Crane at Zagat’s award ceremony held at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion in St. James on Saturday, September 13.

Both Zen and L’Azure restaurants were honoured with ratings in the ‘Top Ten Most Popular Restaurants’ and ‘Top Hotel Dining’ categories. L’Azure was praised for its “incredible Gospel Sunday brunch” and described by one reviewer as “heaven on earth.”

The Best of Barbados Guide is the only Zagat Guide for a Caribbean destination. Now in its third year, the 2009 Guide features 181 restaurants, night spots, attractions and golf courses stretching from the Atlantic coast to the Caribbean Sea. The ratings and reviews are based on the collective opinions of more than 1,500 savvy locals and frequent visitors.

About Zagat Survey:
Zagat Survey is the world’s leading provider of consumer survey-based leisure content. With more than 250,000 surveyors, Zagat Survey rates and reviews restaurants
, nightlife, movies, music, golf, shopping and a range of other entertainment categories.

Zen Restaurant's Grand Tatami Room

Zen Restaurant's Grand Tatami Room

Barbados off to World Mind Games


Web Posted - Sat Sep 20 2008
By Alan Harris

BARBADOS will be represented at the International World Mind Games which are being hosted in Beijing China from the 13th-18th of October. Ronald Suki King, currently the number one draughts player in the world, Jack Francis, who is currently ranked fourth in the world, and the lone female competitor for Barbados, Wilma Branch, who is undoubtedly the best female draughts player in Barbados, will fly the Bajan flag high in China, as did the Barbados Olympic athletes did just last month.

Speaking to Barbados Advocate Sports, the threesome said that preparations are on track and they were in the process of pro-actively seeking out financial assistance from the government and persons in the private sector to aid them in their quest to bring glory to Barbados through the game of draughts.

The International Mind Games will see three styles of draughts being played which are 100 squares, 8 by 8 (Russian style) and three move restriction. The winner of the three move restriction will gain the opportunity to play Alex Moise for the three move championship of the world next year. King, who just successfully defended his world Go-as-you-please title, believes that this championship will return to Barbados after he demolishes the competition in China and wins a chance to play the champ.

This event is seen as an unofficial Olympic event with Olympic medals being handed out but no prize money attached to the victory. This event is also being viewed by the international draughts community as the launching pad for the addition of draughts to the Olympic line up. If this was to ever become a reality, Suki said There is a real chance of hearing the Barbados national anthem if draughts was in the Olympics. We are some of the best if not the best in the world at draughts.

The Bajan threesome took the time out while speaking to Barbados Advocate Sports to thank their sponsors who have already come on board such as the National Sports Council, Barbados Tourism Authority, Pizza Man Doc, Jordan's Supermarket, Professor Hillary Beckles and Mr. Lionel Weekes. However, they stressed the need for as much corporate sponsorship as they can garner, as the trip was estimated to cost $30 000 for the team and one manager who is yet to be named.

World's sexiest beaches 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008


11. Site: St. Philip, Barbados

Bring the heat: It's only 21 miles long, yet Barbados has a bit of everything: Fine dining and bawdy beach shacks, cricket matches and Mount Gay Rum tours, the posh Caribbean Platinum Coast and the rough-and-tumble (and Highland-like) Scotland District up north. Gauge your partner's whims and go.

Select sands: Been fantasizing about pink-sand beaches while sitting in your beige work cubicle? Imagine waking up, running out of the hotel with your lover, and straight onto Crane Beach, backed by tall cliffs and baby powder–fine sands that glow pink. It's a primal place that might encourage a detour back to the hotel.

Hookup potential: Minimal. There are other tourists to check out, but Barbados is really about spiriting out of town for a week with somebody you'd like to know better.

Privacy rating: 8.3. The western coast packs 'em in, leaving your side of the island just as it should be: empty.

Pillow talk: Unless you're desperate to hang around the crowds, the Crane's remote location—on an east-coast cliff overlooking Crane Beach—is ideal for intimacy. You have a choice between the rooms in the original section (built in 1887) or the new private residences, which come with private plunge pools.

Crane Resort
Tel: 800 223 9815 (toll-free)
Tel: 246 423 6220
Doubles from $150

Island Safari Barbados - A WOW! Barbados Island Tour

A good review of Island Safari.

Read the whole article and see the pictures at Island Safari Barbados - A WOW! Barbados Island Tour: "Island Safari Barbados!

This Barbados island tour goes off the road!

And takes you to the edge!

Explore places some us didn’t know about.

The Island Safari Land Rovers reach best kept secrets!

Early Morning Pick up

The day of the Island Safari Barbados tour all we did was wake up and relax! We showered in between but relaxed.

Our Island Safari tour guide came to pick us up in one of the festive, zebra stripped, out back, 4x4 Land Rovers , called Garfield - the fat cat.

Our guide for the day was Jordan, a cool guy! He’ll crack you up and crack the day wide open with a few jokes. Good ones too!

We joined other companions already on board.

All set, buckle up and we were on our way to meet the rest of the Land Rover fleet - Simba, Papa Smurf, Bugs Bunny, Elmo, Dino, Sylvester , Scooby-Doo and other cartoon Island Safari Land Rovers at the first stop of the day - historic … Gun Hill ."

Posted by Mary O at 4:55 AM 0 comments  

Farwell to Barbados

Friday, September 12, 2008

Our experiences with the Concorde Museum can be found here:

This is from another blog, written September 12th 2008 by Ksue44



Day #5 - September 6th (2008)

As they say, "all good things must come to an end". I got to go to all of the places that my little heart was content to go. There was an exception to that, and it was a BIG surprise for me. I found out that the Concorde was on display in Barbados! I was excited - I had always wanted to fly on the Concorde.

British Airways Concorde G-BOAE or Alpha Echo for short, was opened to visitors on April 16, 2007.
Studies began in 1959 to design the Concorde. The plane was developed in the 1960s by the French company Aerospatiale and the British Aircraft Corporation.

In the mid 1960's the first protoype was made, and the first flight took off in 1969.

The Concorde was retired in 2003 due to costs and the crash of the Air France Concorde in July 2000.

The Concorde flew to: New York, Paris, London and Barbados. Flying from London Heathrow to Barbados would be a 4 hour flight on the Concorde. Today, that same flight is 8 hours.
An excerpt about the Concorde that intrigued me "The sun is now climbing from the west. In winter it is possible to leave London after sunset, on the evening Concorde for New York, and watch the sun rise out of the west. Flying at Mach 2 at these latitudes will cause the sun to set in the west at three times its normal rate, casting, as it does so, a vast curved shadow of the earth, up and ahead of the aircraft."

Rear of the Concorde
Rear of the Concorde
The wings have an interesting shape.

There are 7 British Airway Concordes on display: four in Britain, two in the United States, and one in Barbados.

When entering the Museum you are treated to an impressive video/sound presentation telling about the plane itself and giving interesting information about some of its features: It can travel at twice the speed of sound (Mack 2.00) some 1380 m.p.h. or 23 miles per minute. This is faster than a rifle bullet. Since Barbados is only 21 miles long the Concorde could have travelled the length of the island in less than one minute! The Concorde’s “home” was in the stratosphere, on the edge of space, and it travelled so fast that it heated up, expanding the metal of which it was made and actually increasing the length

Front of the plane
Front of the plane

When the Concorde takes off, the nose is up. When it lands, the nose is down.

The Concorde plane is really enormous, with landing wheels some four feet in diameter. Some other interesting facts about flight: the sound barrier, about 690 m.p.h., was first passed in 1947 and the first supersonic passenger plane flew 19 years later in 1976.

My favorite part: a video which simulates take off including vibration of the plane; the simulation also offers experience of the sonic boom during flight. Realism is enhanced when you are handed a “boarding pass” before “boarding” and when this is collected at the entrance to the plane by a “flight attendant”.

After you view the inside of the plane, you can have an "opportunity" to fly the Concorde on a flight simulator. It isn't as easy as it looks. I had trouble with take-off, then once airborne, the plane went straight up. I fully understand why I'm not a pilot! It was fun!

The Concorde exhibit is a great place to go, before catching your flight.

After leaving the exhibit, I caught my flight home. Interesting thing - on the flight going to Barbados, everyone was chatty, bubbly with excitement, and anxious.   Returning home, the plane was quiet and faces were long. Vacationer's "remorse".

Departure lounge
Departure lounge
These chairs were luxury!

Eating in style
Eating in style
This isn't like the "peanut" gallery that some of the airlines of today now offer.

Wine list
Wine list

Inside the cabin
Inside the cabin
The cabin is short and narrow inside.

Meal time
Meal time
This is a little bit more upscale than that "Happy Meal", naturally, you'll want to have some bubbly.


Flight uniforms
Flight uniforms

Luggage conveyor belt
Luggage conveyor belt
The luggage was a bit dated. There is very little room inside the Concorde for luggage, it isn't stored underneath the plane.

Long and narrow
Long and narrow
The tires were about 4 feet high.

Engines of the Concorde
Engines of the Concorde

Rear of the Concorde
Rear of the Concorde

"Green" plane
This was cute!

This plane was a dwarf next to the Concorde

UK Travel Agents have a taste of Barbados


By Kerrie Bynoe

A hundred travel agents from the United Kingdom dined in fine style last night, during the fourth night of the Gimme 5 and Fly programme put on by the Barbados Tourism Association.

Hosted by the Almond Beach Village, the numerous travel agents that came from Northern Ireland, England and other areas in the UK were treated to dinner on the beach, as they continued to experience what their customers feel when they are booked for a unique vacation in Barbados.

BTA President Stuart Layne, said that the sixth year of the programme has again proven to be a successful one, adding that the UK agents are not only excited about selling Barbados, but they are excited about returning as well. If you have done this well with selling the island without visiting it, now that you have seen it I am hoping that you have done twice as well, maybe three times as well in terms of promoting it, said Layne.

The agents arrived in the island last Friday and have participated in a number of activities including an Island Safari tour, a mini-carnival through St. Lawrence Gap and a breakfast catamaran cruise.

The Barbados Advocate spoke to travel agent Val Brown who was representing One World Travel Agency from Northern Ireland, and he was having a fun time in Barbados while learning more about the island. I will definitely be telling my customers about the beautiful scenery, said Brown, during the Safari we saw a lot of the East Coast and other areas which are really nice, and I would be able to talk a lot about that.

The Irish travel agent went on to say that he would be able to make personal recommendations which he was not able to do before, adding that this was an asset to any agent. It has given us a wider view of the entire island and the hospitality and the type of accommodation that you can get here. The all-inclusive hotel is different than the other all-inclusive deals that we have experienced at other places and it is certainly a tremendous experience, he added.

Brown and a number of the agents praised the BTA for their work, stating that while they have been invited to other countries in the same setting, the effort put in by the BTA outshone the other places.

They actually organised a carnival and we made our suits, closed the road way and we had a big street carnival. It was really good, continued the agent. Chairman of the BTA Ralph Taylor said that enabling the agents to experience the island was something that could boost the number of people coming into Barbados. He said, Many of them love the island and know a lot about it, which makes them the best people to sell the product, because when you can tell your customer about the product in detail then you are the best person to sell it.

Taylor, who is also the Chairman of Almond Hotel said that the hotel is looking to do some major renovations to the Almond Beach Club, adding that some work will also be carried out at the Beach Village in an all over effort to provide a facility that the agents will be proud to sell.

More about Barbados and the Crane

Monday, September 8, 2008

Just a reminder that I have a whole website dedicated to Barbados and the Crane at

I'm sure that I'll need to update the Sightseeing pages since some activities have come and gone over the years.


Posted by Mary O at 12:46 PM 0 comments  

And We're Home Again

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Only 50 weeks until we go back to Barbados. 

It already seems so far away, an eternity that we were sitting by the pool and it was less than 24 hours ago.

crane-elevator Friday we went down to the ocean again and Tom actually went in this time while I sat on a beach chair and "rested".

These are pictures of the new glass elevator that goes down the cliff from near the Zen restaurant to the beach.  It has air conditioning which is really nice.  I joked with Tom that I could just ride up and down looking out the glass front and watch him that way while he swam.

After swimming there, we went to the Jacuzzi and pool again.  Just like we were on vacation!

Saturday we packed up and put our stuff in the car and walked around a bit by the tennis courts and greenhouse.  Tom took lots more pictures and I'll add those after he's downloaded them from his cellphone.

We sat a little by the pool and decided - sadly - that it was time to go.  We still had an hour before airport check-in so we rode over through Oistens, down the coast road then back on the ABC highway.  The ABC highway is named for three politicians: Tom Adams (father of Grantley Adams, for whom the airport is named.); Errol Barrow and Gordon Cummins.

We actually got to the airport in plenty of time, time to drop off the rental car instead of leaving the keys with the plane check-in folks, time to get a sandwich, have a leisurely stroll around the shops.  It was much better than doing a four-wheel power slide into the airport, just as the doors were closing on the plane.

Customs and immigration at North Carolina went well, too, unlike some of the long waits, no luggage found, and other airport mishaps over the year.  We completed all that and had time for a sandwich before our final flight.  Very civilized!

About 11:30 we arrived home, exhausted and achy from too much airplane sitting.  But, we're here!

And now...

Parrots, Green Monkeys And Tourist Dollars In Barbados

Friday, September 5, 2008


The Monkey Knows What Tourism Is All About!

The Monkey Knows What Tourism Is All About!

Should Tourists Pay Extra To Visit Barbados?

There are many beautiful beaches in the Caribbean - and some of the them are even in Barbados. The same Caribbean sun, sand and waves can be found from Florida in the north to Venezuela in the south, and from Mexico in the west to Barbados.

And it will cost tourists considerably less to sit on some of those beautiful beaches than on others.

The beautiful beaches of Barbados are unfortunately not the closest beaches to our main markets in Europe and North America - and that means that a vacation in Barbados is generally more expensive than in some of the closer mass market tourist destinations.

But our distance is also in some ways a blessing because it means that Barbados will never be swamped by the culture-destroying “lowest price” masses who have made sunning on the beach in Nassau virtually indistinguishable from Cancun or Miami. The distance and higher travel costs also mean that visitors expect something different, something better in Barbados than is presented by the cheaper, closer destinations.

And that is our challenge: to make Barbados worth the extra price of admission when compared with other destinations.

See The Beauty Of Jamaica… If You Dare

The island of Jamaica along the lush green coasts and in the mist-shrouded highlands puts Barbados to shame. I am speaking the truth. Although you may not like the truth, it is still the truth.

But Jamaica has a problem with violence and tourist safety - and increasingly, folks don’t care how beautiful it is… they aren’t going there!

So they look for other destinations, but many (like Cancun and Nassau) can be be described as a strip of sand bordered by high-rise condos.

We must ensure that Barbados does not turn into a wall of condos indistinguishable from so many other shorelines. We need green space, hills, solitary rugged cliffs being smashed by the sea. We need GREEN gullies - clean of rubbish and rusting motorcars. We need our nature preserves, monkeys and parrots.

But most of all, we need a population that sincerely welcomes every visitor to this island.

If all we have is beach and sun, our visitor numbers will soon whither, because if that is all we have to sell, we will never compete with those who can sell that vacation much cheaper.

Best to say hello to a visitor today, and really mean you welcome.

Your children’s future depends upon it.

Posted by MaryO at 10:25 AM 0 comments  

The Last Full Day

Yesterday we ended up going to breakfast again here at the Crane.  We ran into four of the 8 others from the bus and talked with them a little.

I spent the rest of the morning lazing around - I do that a lot here - and Tom worked  - he does that a lot, too!  He had a meeting in Black Rock around noon.  I went in the little pool.

Finally, about 4:30PM on the next to the last day, we went in the big pool and outdoor, under-the-stars, Jacuzzi.  We ran into those same four again.  I guess they were having a lazy day, too.

Not much else of interest.  We're cleaning up leftovers since we're leaving Saturday.  We go through Charlotte, NC.  I see that the latest hurricane is supposed to hit that day.  Maybe we'll stay here longer - I wish!  I think Tom is ready to get back but I'm not.  He had another new job come in last night, so that's at least 2 new jobs since we got here.  He has a trip planned for Arizona next week, already getting back into the rat race.  Me, I could laze around forever given the choice.

Here's a list of some of the activities here in Barbados.  I'm sure I'm missing some but I'll add those next year!  Years listed before 2006 are guesses since my memory isn't that great.

To add...We've also been to Tyrol Cot, about 2005.



Wednesday, week two: Bajan Roots and Rhythms at the Plantation

Thursday, September 4, 2008

As usual, the rest of Wednesday didn't work out quite how I thought it would.  We ended up going out to breakfast at the Crane and saw that the surf was a little high, possibly due to one of the hurricanes forming out to sea.  So, we decided that we wouldn't have the afternoon as an ocean day but would go to the pool instead.

Tom did some work and I did some reading/napping and he got a new job coming in.  So, it was about 3 before he suggested that it was pool-time.  I thought I should take a serious nap since we'd be out all night at the Bajan Roots and Rhythms show (this site has music and video) at the Plantation.

So, I stopped the pretense and put down my book and fell asleep for real.  Tom continued working, calling people, checking email - the usual.

About 5, we started getting ready since the shuttle pick-up was 5:30.  We got to the Plantation early - our shuttle was the first one there - even before the payment booths were open.  That was a first for us, to be anywhere early.

We talked to others from our shuttle and the nice crew of the Plantation set up a table so that all 10 of us from the Crane could sit together.  That was nice and we got to talk to others from here.  One couple is staying right over us, in 221.   They had spent the day driving around, getting lost, making their way up to Bathsheba.

We all got our complementary drinks and were taken to our table, very close to the front.  Last time we were a little closer - actually on the dance floor - but those are four little round tables.  Since we were a group we had a nice large table with more room for our food and drinks.  We were as close as we could be without being on the dance floor.

The waitress kept bringing us more drinks.  I finished my one rum punch and switched over to piña coladas.  She would bring a fresh drink whenever I had only about half the previous drink.  She also brought water, which was a good thing!

After a little while, the steel drum band started playing.  One guy had a double drum, one on bass, a few on other parts, one "real" drum and an electric guitar.  They called themselves The Casablancas and they were very good.  They continued to play while we ate.

We also got to go through the buffet line first, maybe because we were seated first, whatever.  The meal was as I described earlier, with the addition of the macaroni pie and also beef stew.  They had a wide selection of desserts, too.  I got way too much food and couldn't finish most of it.  I never found any hot sauce so I didn't eat much of my flying fish.

I just love that hot sauce, made with Scotch bonnet peppers.  We got some to take home one year but since we never have flying fish at home it's still unopened.  I'm sure I could eat it on something else but it wouldn't seem "right".

After everyone finished eating, there was a little Name That Tune contest with the steel drummers.  Unfortunately for me, they played music that most people would recognize.  Had they played local music I might have won.

Then the MC came out and introduced the show.  The first set was from Africa and had belly dancers, African costumes, and the stilt walkers made their first appearance, entering right next to our table.  The music was loud, with a great beat, and the costumes gorgeous and colorful.

Also in this show was a little "street scene" from Bridgetown about 100 years ago.  This was my least favorite set.

The set from Cuba, old-time Havana cabaret was great and I loved the Crop Over enactment.  Included in that is a "Mother Sally" character, tumblers Shaggy Bear and more stilt walkers.

The stilt walkers were fabulous and they did way more than walk.  They danced, jumped, did splits in the air.  I was sure that they might hit the ceiling sometimes, they were so tall.

There was a tribute to local superstar Rihanna and they danced to some of her music.  Bob Marley also warranted a tribute and some of his reggae music was featured.

The fire eater was amazing, too.  And the limbo dancer did her limbo-ing under a rod of fire.  When they had the limbo contest at least the rookies who volunteered from the audience didn't have to go under fire!

When the show was over, a singer came out and sang popular music.   People sang and danced to soca, reggae, calypso and more.  What a great party!

Tuesday, week two: Lazy Day!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Tom worked some, of course, I updated my blog and that's about it for "work". 

I haven't checked my email today but as of last night, I had 10 Cushing's bios to format and a couple helpful doctors to add.  There are also several unread PMs on the board to read and answer.  Maybe I'll get to those today.  Maybe not!

I finished up my second book, Silent in the Grave, by Deanna Raybourn and I've started Careless in Red by Elizabeth George.  Both these books are on my Kindle and bringing books this way has really saved me weight in my suitcase.  Usually I bring about 3-4 books.  This time, I just brought the first book I read (In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner by Elizabeth George) as a physical book and the rest electronically.

I usually find a book here in the library that I like and exchange the ones I brought from home.  Oftentimes I'll find a book here from the UK or elsewhere that I wouldn't see at home.  I got started reading the Anne Perry series of books about a Victorian policeman and his family (Thomas and Charlotte Pitt) because I started one here.  I found those fascinating and I've read all them to date.  I learned a lot about Victorian manners and habits through and you could see the changes in the police department  - the addition of phones, first just at the station, then in homes.  Then the debate about carrying guns.  The criminals had them, should we police carry them?  It was also interesting to see the differences in the classes.  Things that the upper class must, and not must not, do according to social dictations.

The Victorian mysteries are continuing after Silent in the Grave.  I'll definitely read more of this series.  Even though the characters are from a long time ago, they seem so real and their issues not much different from today.  The main character is someone I would definitely like and I love the writing style!

IMGP1005 Raybourn was a new author to me so I only invested in this one of her books but there will be more when I get home. 

Tiding me over for the moment is the Careless in Red.  This is only the third of George's books that I've read but I'm enjoying those, too.

So many books, so little time!  I'm glad yesterday was a do-nothing day.  I love sitting outside over the ocean and just quietly reading.  That's a vacation!

In the afternoon, Tom finished his work for the day and we went over to the actual Crane beach.  They have a glass elevator to the sea now and we took that down.  We actually put our toes in the Atlantic Ocean!  Then, we sat on beach chairs for a while and decided that maybe today we'll take bathing suits and go in. 

I don't remember when the last time was that I went into the ocean here.  When we go out on the catamarans, that's the Caribbean.  This side is the Atlantic.  Big difference in temperature and roughness of the water, especially with hurricanes out there somewhere.

And that was pretty much our day.  We called Michael at night to see how his first day on his new job went but, like his dad, he was still working when we called.  Workaholics!

This afternoon looks like more of the same with maybe that trip to the beach.  We haven't even been to any of the big pools yet, although we did walk around them one night.  But, there are 3 days left to do all this, right?

Tonight is the Bajan Roots and Rhythms show at the Plantation and I'll report on that tomorrow.  We've seen the show once before and it was pretty good - bears another look.

Monday, week two: Island Safari

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Whether it was the pounding rain or the nagging reminder that I hadn't yet written the post about the races, I woke up very early this morning.  I guess the rain was a part of one of the hurricanes that are out at sea somewhere - Hanna or Ike.  Gustav had already been past Cuba and headed towards New Orleans.  Maybe it was just rain.

Anyway, I woke up early and wrote my last blog entry.  When I went online to upload it, I found that  my hacked site and my 2 sites with the error messages were back up thanks to the hosting company.  WooHoo!  That takes a lot off my mind.

Today is Island Safari day.  Island Safari is one of two 4x4 jeep Land Rover companies that takes people on off-road tours of the island.  The other company is Adventureland.  As we later found out, Island Safari bought out Adventureland recently, anyway!

My (Our?) favorite is the Island Safari because I like the places it goes better.  The IS goes to more coastal places while Adventureland seems to go for inland places.  In the past on Adventureland we have gone to Chalky Mount into a potter's studio (stuff was for sale, of course), Welchman Gully (rain forest), St. John's Parish Church (a nice, old, parish church on a cliff but too many souvenir hawkers in the parking lot), Mt. Hillaby (the highest point on the island), Hackleton's Cliff (Hackleton wanted to commit suicide so he and his horse went off this cliff.  It is not known if the horse had wanted to commit suicide), and Bathsheba for lunch.

Ian, our driver, picked us up at 7:50AM.  Although the "official" trip hadn't started yet, he gave us a running commentary of everything we were seeing on the say to pick up people from two other locations.  5 of the other people were other "O'Connors" from Wales.  So, the O'Connors had the non-O'Connors outnumbered 7 to 4.

IMGP1708 Ian told us all about chattal houses, various types of plants and much more as we headed to our convoy meeting place, the lion at Gun Hill Signal Station.  This signal station was restored by the Barbados National Trust and has military memorabilia and great views.  The lion was carved out of a single piece of rock in 1868 by a British Army Officer serving on Barbados. The lion has a large globe under it's paw, signifying England's world domination.

The others in the convoy were there already and had seen the lion and were just waiting for us.  We had to exchange vehicles (Scooby-Doo for Garfield) because the Scooby was too low on gas.  After getting our new vehicle, we took off to join the others.

IMGP1712 Through the sugar cane fields, past crops of yams and eddoes, past the still-working Andrews Sugar Factory, through mud and ruts, the Land Rover took us all over.  Sugar used to be a very important crop here and it was used in another important crop - rum.  Now the main industry here is tourism but you can still see lots of sugar growing around the island.  It's a rotational crop and they rotate that with the eddoes, yams, pumpkins, cassavas, peanuts and other ground crops.


IMGP1714 We went past an interesting cliff that has been painted on over the years.  Part of the outcroppings suggest a lion, so a lion was painted there and other areas features highlights of Barbados.  Here's a painting of our jeep and it's headed towards Bathsheba according to the caption.




IMGP1716 This section of a bridge is over a gully - a collapsed portion of an old cave.  When this would happen, rainwater would leak in or be funneled in from the streets and birds would drop seeds in making a new forest or rain forest. 

This bridge is particularly interesting.  When they made it a couple centuries ago they ran out of building materials so they used what they had on hand - molasses, eggs and eggshells.  And it still holds up to this day amazingly well.


IMGP1730 Our next stop was on a high cliff overlooking Bath.  It's hard to tell from this picture how high the cliff was but we had several warnings not to get to close to the edge - No Way!

I suspect that this cliff is part of the cliff that Hackleton and his horse leaped off.





IMGP1736 Here are all the Land Rovers lined up ready for our next adventure.  They all have the names of cartoon characters and the jungle stripes are different colors.

The sides are plastic and roll down in case of rain, as we'll have a chance to discover a little later.  This reminds me of "The Surry With The Fringe On Top" from the musical, Oklahoma:

"...and isinglass windows that'll roll right down, in case there's a change in the weather..."


IMGP1745 Looking over the banana trees into Bathsheba.  This was taken from a solid - I hope! - bridge.  To the right is one of many types of palms found on Barbados.

There are also several types of bananas, including plantains.  The smaller, green ones are called "fig" bananas and they're cooked green and mashed up and used for their large iron content with pregnant women or people with anemia.

Banana plants are often used here to help prevent soil erosion.  Also used to help prevent erosion are gabions.  These are rectangular wire baskets filled with small rocks and strategically placed so that water can flow through easily but the soil is held behind.  These gabions can often be seen near bridges.

IMGP1760 Bathsheba and one of its curiously eroded rocks in the ocean.  These are being eroded away from underneath as the tides come and go.

Bathsheba is a beautiful little seaside town.  Although it is too rough here to swim here on the Atlantic side, surfers practice and hold competitions here.  This surf area is also known as the "Soup Bowl".

Also here is Andromeda Gardens.  Although on this trip we didn't stop here, we've been there before.  The Gardens were founded over 50 years ago by horticulturist Iris (great name for a horticulturist!) Bannochie.  There are 650 plant species there from all over.  It's an absolutely beautiful, peaceful 6.5 acres of plant heaven.  There are naturally-growing orchids, palms, flowering trees, lily ponds...and animals such as green monkeys, birds, lizards and fish.  It's a fantastic way to spend an afternoon.

IMGP1763 Bathsheba is also a place to pick up lovely beaded jewelry and island crafts.  Here Tom is looking for a new band to replace the last one he got here.

The last time I got one was the year that Sue was with us.  We all three had them and when mine finally broke Tom fixed it a few times.  The last time mine broke and became unfixable I decided not to get any more, at least not for awhile. For me, the bracelet was a reminder of Sue (like Cocomos, in an earlier post) and when that broke, it was like a little part of Sue's memory leaving me.

IMGP1764 And here come the rain!  We didn't roll down the curtains, at least for a while.  The rain felt good and cool on my face while riding along.

When we finally put the plastic curtains down they didn't help all that much - rain dripped off the corner of mine and into my molded plastic seat making my human seat soaking wet.

We stopped taking pictures because we didn't want to get the camera wet but we probably have some from a previous year that I can insert into here when we get home.

From Bathsheba we headed north on the Ermy Bourne Highway past Cattlewash (where they used to, well, wash cattle)  Most cattle on the island is for dairy only.  Most people here eat chicken or fish. 

After that, past Barclay Park, a popular area for locals to take a picnic or relax for an afternoon.  There used to be a railroad coming up to this point but it stopped service in the 1930's.

Further along was the side of the cliff that they call the Sleeping Giant.  When looked at it from the right angle, I could see how it got its name. 

At some point, we went through Joe's River Forest.  This Tropical Rain Forest consists of 85 acres of woodlands situated in the parish of St. Joseph. With the imposing Hackleton's Cliff on one side and the picturesque Atlantic Ocean on the other, this site is a nature-lover's paradise!

Here we saw fiscus, white woods, cabbage palms, mahogany trees (used for high-end furniture and boats, and the bearded fig trees for which Barbados was named by the Portuguese.  We also saw massive termite nests on some of the trees.

We went past the Morgan Lewis Mill, the last complete windmill on the island.  Originally there were 530 windmills, used in sugar production but the others have all fallen into disrepair due to changes in the sugar refining process.  The Morgan Lewis is kept in good running order now as a historical landmark and it's operated on certain occasions and for school tours.

Then up to Pico Teneriffe.  From this point, the next point of land is Teneriffe in the Canary Islands.  This is a very interesting part of a cliffy-beach with waves coming up through breaks in the rock as huge water spouts.

The rain let us and we could roll the curtains back up, thank goodness!  Without the breeze, it was getting kind of muggy.  But the good stuff was finished.  We headed across the island to Six Men's Bay, down past the ritzy condos of Port St. Charles, through Speightstown, past Mullen's Bay, and into Holetown for lunch.

We had a nice lunch, similar to the one I described last week in the Cool Runnings post but with the addition of macaroni pie, in a very nice outdoor restaurant attached to the Sandridge Hotel.  Unfortunately, this hotel is doomed to be torn down soon, to become the parking lot for the hotel going up next door.

After lunch it started raining a bit again and we were going fast on the ABC highway and the rain hurt.  It almost felt like hail but I knew that couldn't be.

Finally, back to the Crane and some dry clothes!  What a great day, even with the rain.  I like seeing the various sights and hearing the local guides describe his/her island but what I like most is the ride, the jouncing up and down through the fields, over cliffs, into forests, though mud.

A Day At the Races

Monday, September 1, 2008

Saturday, August 23 (the day we arrived) was supposed to be a race day but it was rained out.  So, we got lucky this year when the race was postponed to August 30, instead.  We've always known that they had horse racing at the Garrison Savannah but it never had happened while we were here.  So, we decided to go.

I found out very late Friday night that one of my sites had been hacked. I had contacted Tech Support for my hosting company and got nowhere, being the Friday night/Saturday morning of a 3-day weekend.  So, Tom called them before we went.  At $2.00 a minute, I didn't want to stay on the line while they restored a database so I trusted them to do this and we left for the races.

We got to the Garrison Savannah in plenty of time and parked about 1/3 of the way around the oval, trying for a place in the "shade".  HA.

The Garrison area, just south of Bridgetown, is also home to the Barbados Museum & Historical Society as well as the newly opened George Washington House and Museum.  We have been to the Barbados Museum a few times but not (yet) this year.  It's set on the grounds of a 19th century military prison and has several galleries such as:

  • Amerindian Culture
  • Barbadian social and military history
  • Antique maps, prints and paintings
  • New African Gallery
  • Interactive children's gallery
  • Natural history
  • A research library of Barbadian and Caribbean history
  • and, of course, a gift store

The George Washington House and Museum is just opened this year so we haven't been there yet.  Neither that nor the Barbados Museum was open on race day.  We did walk past both on the way to  the grandstand for the race. 

I was amazed that we could get in so cheaply - it was only $10BDS each ($1BDS equals $1.98US) and $5BDS for the program.  $12.50 US for both of us.

I have never been to any kind of race so this was all new to me.  We were very close to the track and we sat by the finish line.  There was a grass track and an inner sand track.  We had been told that the sand track was used sometimes but it wasn't while we were there.

We were kind of confused at first because they were describing a race but no one was running.  It turned out that they were broadcasting another race from Sarasota in between the individual races here.

200808301259_00695 There were 10 races in all and we stayed for 4.  In the second, I picked a horse that I liked while it was walking around the track before the race.  When I found out it had a musical name - Bold Ballard - I was hooked.  Too bad I didn't bet.  Bold Ballard, number 8, won.



200808301507_00809 The 4th race was all horses from the US and UK.  I chose one from Ocala, FL because I thought that one could best deal with the heat.  Guess which won?  The jockey was 19 year old Chris Husbands.  He'd just won something like 4 out of 5 races in Trinidad in July.  And he did very well on Saturday.

After the 4th race we decided to leave and walk the other 2/3 of the way around the track (well, going that way was Tom's idea).  He kept looking back, thinking we could catch one more race.  I was hot and wanted to get something to eat.

While we were walking, they move the start gate halfway around the track.  When we got there, the horses were right in front of us.  Tom got a great picture of Chris Husbands.  He said he was having a "good day".  Guess so - he won that race, too!

Finally, back to our car and off to Bubba's for lunch.  Not my favorite but it's a sports bar with big screen TVs and American-style burgers and fries. The food is good but it's just a little too much USA and not enough Barbados.

Then back home for a dip in the pool, a bit of reading and a nap.


Sunday mornings Tom always has a meeting here and today was no different.  Actually, Sundays are pretty slow here since the stores, museums and activities are mostly closed. 

The Crane has a nice Gospel Brunch followed by a lunch buffet with steel pan drums.  We used to go the the Brunch but the format has changed.  It used to be a drop in thing up until about 11:30-12:00.  Now it's 2 seatings.  One at 9, one at 10 and we can't make either of those.  We have never been to the lunch buffet.

Someone at the meeting asked Tom to go to another one at night.  It was up in St John parish and we've always gotten lost there.  Luckily, the guy agreed to meet Tom and lead him to the meeting - and back again, since it would be dark.

In the meantime, we talked to MIchael and wished him luck with his upcoming move on Monday and new job starting Tuesday.

The website is not fixed.  In fact, 2 others are now not working.  They had been fine, not hacked, before the database restore.  So, there are 3 with 500 Internal Server Errors.  I guess it's better than having that hacker stuff but I hope these can be restored.  So much work was put into them and I hate to have to redo everything.

Then, Tom went to his meeting...and ran into someone from his childhood hometown.  Small world!  He always seems to run into people he knows, no matter where he is. 

He brought back Chefette roti for dinner.  Yum!