Weekend Events in Barbados

Thursday, April 30, 2009

View the events listed below taking place in Barbados this weekend.
Thursday April 30th, 2009
» Gender and Development Training Programme - Deadline to Apply!
» Frank Collymore Hall - Lecture Series
» Harbour Master Starlight Dinner Cruise
» DB Home Wedding Day Event
» Overdose Fridays at Club Xtreme Special Edition
» Unity Bar Lunchtime Lecture

Friday May 1st, 2009
» National Holiday - Labour Day
» Barbados Polo
» The Cave Hill School of Business Open Enrolment Programmes 2009
» Barbados Rally Club
» First Friday Funk at Bump n Wine Cafe
» Harbour Master - May Day Lunch Cruise
» Large Garage Sale
» Barbados Archery Association Events May 2009
» Yard Sale in Aid of the NICU
» Fun Day at Ocean Park

Saturday May 2nd, 2009
» Barbados Co-Operative and Credit Union League Training Events
» Saturday Sailing Course 3, Day 2
» Dinghy Regatta
» Advanced Certificate Course in Business Administration
» BIMAP Small Business Training Opportunities
» Get Moving Barbados
» May Day Ball
» Trinidad's Most Successful Comedy Show
» Large Garage Sale
» Barbados Archery Association Events May 2009
» Yard Sale in Aid of the NICU
» Super Celebration of Choirs
» DLP Branch Meetings May 2nd, 2009

Sunday May 3rd, 2009
» Blue Box Cart 2009 Cropover Band Launch
» Hike Barbados - Roberts Manufacturing
» Events At Lancaster Great House 2009 (for this week)
» Sunday Scenic Tours in May 2009
» Barbados Rally Club and Motor Club Barbados Inc
» Barbados Polo
» Cruiser / Racer Offshore Regatta
» The 6th Annual Hip Hop Festival
» The Ship Inn Fun Run 2009
» Seventh Day Adventist Church National Health Walk
» Large Garage Sale
» Naniki Jazz Brunch Buffet for May 2009
» Sunday Coast Roast
» Barbados Archery Association Events May 2009
» Ocean Park Buffet Sundays
» Super Celebration of Choirs

Day hike offers new perspective on Barbados

Monday, April 20, 2009

From http://timestranscript.canadaeast.com/travelleisure/article/638162

By Jill Wilson

ROCKLEY BEACH, Barbados - I have been to the stunning north coast, watched the awe-inspiring Atlantic crash and foam on the steep cliffs and been through the animal flower caves.

Enlarge Photo

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The Canadian Press

Rockley Beach is one of the jewels of Barbados.

I have frequented the wild and beautiful east coast -- walked on the white sand of the chi-chi Crane beach where Hugh Grant's been known to frolic, had my bathing suit filled with sand as the powerful waves of Bottom Bay dashed me to the ocean floor, wandered around the huge, eerie coral formations of Bathsheba, which look as if a giant deposited them randomly around the shore.

I have visited the west coast, where the turquoise water is so blue that the word "turquoise" seems inadequate and where every beach is a postcard waiting to happen.

I have been to the legendary Friday-night fish fry in Oistins on the south coast, where it seems as if the whole island gathers to eat fresh flying fish or dolphin (mahi-mahi) and macaroni pie, drink Banks beer from sweating bottles that are warm before you finish them and dance the night away to reggae music.

I've been to the Barbados Jazz Festival on Farley Hill, a natural amphitheatre complete with crumbling ruins at the bottom and a panoramic view of the island at the top.

I've seen sharks and barracudas and fed a stingray at Ocean Park aquarium; I've seen green monkeys and haita congas and been attacked by a goose-like creature with a pink horrible beak at the Barbados Animal Reserve.

I've taken the awesome Adventureland 4x4 tour and bumped and banged around the backroads and byways of the island; I've visited the Mount Gay refinery, home of the oldest rum in the world.

In short, I have explored Barbados from top to bottom, so perhaps I can be forgiven, on this latest trip, for doing almost nothing at all.

My friends and I decided that our only desire this time around was to sit and watch the waves at Rockley Beach, our favourite of Barbados' many lovely strips of sand. On calm days, it's perfect for snorkelling, with a well-marked coral reef within easy swimming distance (and lifeguards on duty). On windy days, the surf kicks up enough to allow for some decent boogie boarding or body surfing.

The one concession we made to our plan of lying motionless on deck chairs and frying ourselves to a melanoma-be-damned crisp was to go on a three-hour hike at 6 a.m. on a Sunday morning, which turned out to be a significant concession.

These free weekly National Trust hikes set off from a different starting point each week; the goal is to cover most of the island in the course of a year. There are morning and evening hikes, but the 6 a.m. start time allows for at least an hour of cooler weather before the sun begins to beat down.

When we arrived at the marshalling area, we were surprised at the number and variety of people -- it's clearly a regular gathering for local hikers.

There were four levels to choose from: The Stop and Stare, which covers eight to 9.5 kilometres in the three hours; the Slow Medium, which covers 13 to 16 kilometres; the slightly more ambitious Fast Medium and the clearly suicidal Grin and Bear, which leads you on a 19-kilometre trot.

We chose the Slow Medium and set off, getting farther away from main roads and into areas we'd never seen before, from open fields to gated mansions. I'd suggest, however, that "Slow Medium" might be a misnomer. This is not a walk for dawdlers or lollygaggers; it is not a ramble. It is for serious walkers. It is, in a word, brisk.

Luckily, Christ Church is not the hilliest parish, but the walk did take us through sugar cane fields where a machete might not have been out of place and where you had to keep an eye on the ground or risk a turned ankle.

It was fantastic, giving a whole new view to the island that we never could have seen, even touring in a car. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the scenic vistas because if you so much as stopped to tie a shoelace, the rest of the group would be a dot in the distance by the time you stood up.

After the hike was over and we'd bandaged our blisters, as one of my travelling companions put it, "Now the only thing we have to worry about is where and when we're going to eat."

But for three dedicated food lovers, that's a considerable worry. Luckily, one of our dinners was already arranged, as I'd made the reservations months prior.

Tell anyone who's familiar with either Barbados or fine dining that you're going to The Cliff and his eyes will widen gratifyingly. The restaurant -- thanks to chef Paul Owens -- has the highest Zagat rating on the island, with prices to match: BBD$245 (C$151) for a two-course prix fixe menu (not including cocktails, wine or dessert, all of which we indulged in).

In these tough times, it seems ridiculously indulgent to spend such a princely sum on dinner, but what we got was fit for a king (or at least a prince -- Prince Andrew has been known to dine at The Cliff) and how often do you get to visit a restaurant with the reputation as one of the best in the world?

Lit by flickering torches, the restaurant sits perched on a cliff, with wide stone steps that lead down to intimate tables overlooking the surf that rolls into the scenic bay below.

And the food is truly incredible: beef carpaccio that melts in the mouth; gnocchi as fluffy as pillows; perfectly cooked tender duck breast; ravishing lobster ravioli; a lemon tart that might be the best dessert I've ever had.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that we'll remember forever. And be paying off for several months.

On the other end of the spectrum -- but no less enjoyable -- is It's All Good, a modest shack on Rockley Beach manned by the ever-smiling Jasmine Brown, who whips up healthful smoothies with juice and vitamin supplements. What keeps us coming back, though, is what might be the best daiquiri on the island, made with fresh bananas and a generous helping of dark island rum. For BBD$12 (C$7.50), you get an overflowing plastic cup, which Brown will often top up with whatever's left in her blender.

She also slaves over a hot barbecue to grill flying fish, marlin, swordfish, garlic shrimp and other seafood, which she serves on a plate heaped with seasoned grilled potatoes, plantain and a crunchy-sweet coleslaw-like salad topped with walnuts and raisins. It's not elegant, but it's delicious.

Another high-end highlight was Pisces in the St. Lawrence Gap, where the rum sour was perfectly mixed, the Asian-style scallops with crispy lentils perfectly seared and the atmosphere -- terra cotta lanterns, a sea breeze and a view of fishing boats bobbing in the ocean -- perfectly lovely.

Our other splurge, one we've never gone without, is a day trip on a catamaran. A five-hour cruise on a Tiami ship is BBD$175 (C$108), and more relaxing than a day of being pampered at a spa. They pick you up at your hotel and you're greeted at the harbour with a mimosa, after which you set out along the island's west coast, skimming over unreal waters that shift from indigo to azure and sipping the beverages that are brought to you from the open bar by the attentive staff, who strike the perfect balance between funny flirtiness and serious sailoring.

Along the way, you stop to snorkel and swim with sea turtles, which, no matter how many times you do it, is a wondrous experience. The turtles, with their wise-looking faces and mottled shells, are not shy and will brush up against you in the water.

After a lavish buffet lunch, the boat anchors off the luxurious Sandy Lane resort, where you're free to swim ashore to the beach or just lie back and bob effortlessly in the buoyant blue.

God forbid we should exert ourselves.

About Barbados

Saturday, April 18, 2009

From http://www.guardian.co.uk/country-profile/barbados

Country profile: Barbados

Facts and statistics on Barbados including history, population, politics, geography, economy, religion and climate

Map of Barbados

Map of Barbados. Source: Graphic

Potted history of the country: With Caribs long gone from Barbados, British settlers found the island uninhibited on their arrival in 1627. The demand for sugar, rum and molasses made it a common destination for slaves, and the industries flourished long after the abolition of slavery in 1834. The nation retains a strong British culture, four decades after independence in 1966.

  1. At a glance
  2. Location: The most easterly of the Caribbean islands
  3. Neighbours: Trinidad
  4. Size: 166 square miles
  5. Population: 273,987 (180th)
  6. Density: 1,650.5 people per square mile
  7. Capital city: Bridgetown (population 116,000)
  8. Head of state: Queen Elizabeth II
    Head of government: Prime minister David Thompson
  9. Currency: Barbados dollar
  10. Time zone: Barbados time (-4 hours)
  11. International dialling code: +1 246
  12. Website: barbados.gov.bb
  13. Data correct on Saturday 18 April 2009

Political pressure points: The prime minister, David Thompson, in power since January 2008, won a no-confidence vote in March over his handling of a financial crisis involving the troubled insurer CLICO. The Barbados Labour party had accused him of masking the extent of an emergency that threatens jobs and pensions.

Population mix: African-Caribbean 80%, European 4%, mixed 16%

Religious makeup: Protestant 36%, Catholic 3%, Muslim 1%

Main languages: English

Living national icons: Kamau Brathwaite (writer), George Lamming (writer), Rihanna (singer), Sir Garry Sobers (cricketer, retired), Obadele Thompson (athletics)

Map of Barbados Barbados on a map. Source: Graphic

Landscape and climate: Almost completely encircled by coral reefs, the easternmost Caribbean island's position, tropical climate and gently sloping limestone plains make it fertile growing ground for sugarcane, which covers about 80% of the island's surface. The wet season runs from June to November and the dry season from December to May.

Highest point: Mount Hillaby 336 metres

Area covered by water: Less than one square mile

Healthcare and disease: Occasional outbreaks of Dengue fever are among the few concerns on an island that has some of the best healthcare facilities in the region. The government is funding a $90m (£64m) programme to reduce the country's prevalence of HIV nearer the Caribbean average of 1.2%.

Average life expectancy (m/f): 72/78

Average number of children per mother: 1.5

Maternal deaths per 100,000 live births: 16

Infant deaths per 1,000 births: 12

Adults HIV/Aids rate: 1.5%

Doctors per 1,000 head of population: 1.2

Adult literacy rate: 99.7% (m 99.7%/f 99.7%)

Economic outlook: The end of the construction boom has hurt the tourism industry, and foreign exchange earnings have suffered as offshore banking activities have slowed. The government has committed to stronger trade ties with China.

Main industries: Tourism, banking, insurance, rum

Key crops/livestock: Sweet potatoes, coconuts, poultry

Key export: Rum

GDP: £1,752m (145th)

GDP per head: £5,980

Unemployment rate: 9.8%

Proportion of global carbon emissions: 0.01%

Most popular tourist attractions: Enterprise beach, one of the most popular white-sand beaches, the Andromeda botanic gardens

Local recommendation: A tour of the 350-year-old Sunbury Plantation House, 25 minutes from Bridgetown in the St Philip countryside

Traditional dish: Coucou (cornmeal and okra paste) and flying fish

Foreign tourist visitors per year: 547,534

Media freedom index (ranked out of 173): n/a

Did you know ... Road tennis, originally played on quiet streets with a wooden paddle and a de-fuzzed tennis ball was invented on the island.

National anthem:
We write our names on history's page
With expectations great
Strict guardians of our heritage
Firm craftsmen of our fate

· Information correct on date of first publication, Saturday 18 April 2009.