Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 20, 2010


No matter what your beliefs may be,
we wish the very best holiday season,
full of family, friends and better health.

Posted by Mary O at 1:30 PM 1 comments  

Barbados for Hikes, Beaches

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bath Beach at sunrise

Seth Kugel for The New York Times
Bath Beach at sunrise.

I picked up a few money-saving tips during my four days in Barbados last week:

1) Drink tap water instead of bottled; it’s safe.

A bus stop on the eastern shore.

Seth Kugel for The New York Times
A bus stop on the island’s eastern shore.

2) Take the bus, not a cab, from the airport to your hotel.

3) Avoid paying the cover for live music at McBride’s Pub by befriending the Brazilian women’s boxing team.

I admit, the third may not be universally applicable, but it sure saved me some bucks (15 Barbadian dollars, or $7.50 at a simple 2-1 exchange rate), so I’d be remiss in not passing it along.

Turns out that my trip coincided with the world championship of women’s boxing, also being held on the easternmost island of the Caribbean. My first night, I spotted three women wearing Brazilian athletic outfits and strolling along the island’s night-life row. I am a big fan – and part-time resident of — Brazil, so I introduced myself and invited them all for a drink.

Lest you think that either a) the Brazilian women’s boxing team boozes during tournaments or b) the Frugal Traveler can afford to buy three women a cocktail, let me clarify. First, my new friends Glauce, Clélia and Andréia had already been eliminated from their weight classes. And second, I was taking them to Café Sol, where the two-for-one, 10 p.m.-to-midnight happy hour meant a round would cost a mere 24 Barbadian dollars ($12).

So soon we were sipping mediocre, beggars-can’t-be-choosers frozen margaritas, and I was doing what any man surrounded by female Brazilian boxers must: beg for a team T-shirt. Clélia said she had an extra uniform (like the one in the photo accompanying this article), and would bring it to me the next night. She did, I put it on, and we were all waved into the dance party at McBride’s, where a mixed crowd of tourists, Barbadians and Barbadian-American tourists packed the sweaty house.

It was a nice change from my trip to slightly stuffy Bermuda. Both had perfect swaths of white sand lapped by brilliantly, pleasantly warm blue waters. But Barbados also had a vibrant, warm, slightly scruffy local scene to go with them. Add to that the incredible kindness with which this island’s residents — who call themselves Bajans — treat foreigners, and you’ve got one heck of an island.

Even its size seems perfect. Shaped like a ham (or, for vegetarians, an off-center pear), Barbados measures about 22 miles from top to bottom and at most 14 miles across – too big to get bored in, too small to get lost in.

Upscale resorts dot the western coast, and the bustling southern coast is full of budget hotels and nice – if teeming – beaches. The rest of the island is more raw, more wild. There are empty beaches; former plantation houses; historic parish churches; and small villages largely consisting of what Bajans call chattel houses, tiny old wooden homes, many of which are barely bigger than a small New York City studio apartment.

I spent a lot of time in the south, on the beach or at the Gap or eating at good places like Just Grillin’ and Ackee Tree, but I spent more on trips around the island. Buses will get you just about everywhere. Blue public buses, yellow private buses, and private vans are all 1.50 in Barbadian dollars (75 cents) per leg, no matter how far you go.

The Barbados National Trust runs free hikes every Sunday.

Seth Kugel for The New York Times
Hiking with the Barbados National Trust.

My favorite spot by far was the sparsely populated east side, where surfers – and few others – flock. I got to see the east side’s other, er, side. I figured an easy way to do so was one of the free weekly hikes run by the Barbados National Trust that start out from a different point of the island each Sunday morning at 6 a.m. That’s how I found myself standing in the Bath Beach parking lot with about 60 or 70 Bajans on my third morning there. (I could spot only one other semi-outsider, a Bajan visiting from New York. ) The trust’s general manager, William Gollop, showed frightening good cheer as he explained that the hikes were available in five levels of difficulty. I joined the second easiest.

Make that the fourth hardest. We set off down a sometimes grassy, sometimes wooded trail that hugged the rocky coastline at a pace I associated more with speed walking than hiking. But the terrain was flat, and I kept up as we ducked under branches, swashbuckled through high grass and admired the crashing waves against rocks below.

It was when we cut inland and sharply uphill into the woods that I began to suffer. Pretty soon my heart was beating so hard that it upped the intensity of the pounding in my skull. Note to self: next time you are going hiking at 6 a.m., lay off the Mount Gay Rum on the rocks at Sweet Potatoes’ Latin night the previous evening.

The leaders of the hike felt my pain, though, and swung into be-kind-to-tourists mode. When I had to stop and catch my breath a few times, someone always waited with me, never remarking that several young children had passed me by. When I finally reached the top of the hill – after a final narrow, steep and tortuous passage between two rocks that required you to pull yourself up by vine, I was rewarded with a view of the coastline below, and a long, easy trip down.

Views from the top of the hill, after a torturous hike.

Seth Kugel for The New York Times
A view of the coastline.

The trip down, through villages and by churches, was much more sociable (in that I could breathe). I struck up a conversation with a Bajan named Roslyn Straker, who took it upon herself to become my fruit tree guide, picking fruits growing from trees everywhere – dunts, Barbados cherries, guava, even a fruit I had never heard of before, the janum. (Yes, I had heard of dunts – the day before.)

Near Bathsheba Beach.

Seth Kugel for The New York Times
Near Bathsheba Beach.

After we finished the hike – at barely 9 a.m. — I downed two snow cones (1.50 Barbadian from a woman who drives her snow cone truck to meet the hikers’ finish every week), and Mr. Gollop was kind enough to give me a ride to Bathsheba, the main town on the east side of the island.

I headed straight for the beach, where a swim and a nap were in order. The surf was fierce, in some spots crashing just offshore into dramatic rock formations carved by waves over the millennia. But there were other places to take a dip, and a handful of Bajans were taking advantage as I dozed.

The view from the Round House Inn, in Bathsheba.Seth Kugel for The New York Times The view from the Round House Inn, in Bathsheba.

Everyone I met in Bathsheba recommended that I eat lunch at the Round House Inn up the hill above the beach. I landed a choice table with a view of the water and ordered pork chops in Bajan barbecue sauce, macaroni pie, salad and a spiked rum punch. Cost? Fifty-six Barbadian dollars, which I justified under the you-deserve-it-after-a-tortuous-hike clause of the Frugal Traveler unwritten contract. I ended the day with a walk (uphill, argh) to the Andromeda Botanic Gardens: nice, but no better than the free fruit-tree-tour I had gotten that morning from Roslyn.

One other worthwhile daytrip was to Speightstown, a slow-going historic port town on the northwest coast with little to do but walk around and enjoy the atmosphere – including a drink at a traditional Bajan rum house called Val’s Hideaway, housed in a chattel house on Mango Lane. I wish I could say there was some great chattel house hostel I stayed in for $10 a night through all this, but such a place does not exist. There are two other budget options, however, at slightly different definitions of “budget option.” The Intimate Hotels of Barbados site offers loads of hotels for under $100 a night, one of which was the Pirate’s Inn. The price listed on the Web site is 167.44 Barbadian dollars ($83.72) plus taxes, but when I called to reserve by phone and asked for their cheapest possible price, they offered me the Caricom rate (given to Caribbean residents), a discount of about 10 percent.

Marlin at Oistins Friday night fish-fry.
Seth Kugel for The New York Times
Marlin at Oistins Friday night fish-fry.

But two days in, I moved to a guesthouse recommended by fellow bearers of the JetBlue All-You-Can-Jet pass, Saska and Paul, whom I met on the bus to the famous Oistins Friday night fish-fry. Over immense plates of marlin, macaroni pie and salad (17 Barbadian dollars, or $8.50) from one of the endless stands serving huge crowds of Bajans and tourists, they shared their find: a guesthouse called Cleverdale, where they were staying for $32 for in double room. I moved in the next day, even though the owner chose to charge me $40.

Cleverdale was far from luxurious – it had no air-conditioning and a shared kitchen, for example – but it was perfectly clean and friendly and had a beach view. It was also a 30-second walk away from the object that view, Worthing Beach, a pretty white stretch of sand popular with local families on weekends. Forming a cluster with Cleverdale were two other guest houses that travelers staying there suggested might even be better: Rydal Waters Apartments, and Maraval Guest House.

All also had the advantage of being within short walking distance of the St. Lawrence Gap, saving late-night money on cabs home and increasing the odds, however slight, of bumping into the Brazilian women’s boxing team.

From http://frugaltraveler.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/barbados-for-hikes-beaches-and-a-brazilian-boxers-t-shirt/

Friday, September 3. Our last day this year

Friday, September 3, 2010

Our last full day here.

I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night. Even with the AC on, I was very hot and I finally got up and rested on the sofa under the fan. I started writing this at 3:30am after tossing and turning.

It looked like it rained outside again, otherwise I might have tried to sleep outside. Maybe my non-sleep will make me tired enough to sleep well on the plane on Saturday.

Yesterday they had fogged for mosquitos like the do every Tuesday and Thursday evening but last night's seemed heavier than usual. Still, some mosquitos survived and managed to bite me, one on the arch of my foot. I can't imagine he got anything out of my foot.

When I woke up at 6am after getting only 2.5 hours of sleep. Tom had opened up and there was a nice breeze. He was off, trying to get sunrise pictures. When he got back, I was sitting with my legs in the pool, trying to cool down the burn from the mosquito bites. They reminded me of a time we had been in Hilton Head and I accidentally stepped into a nest of fire ants.

We got yet more pictures from the deck. I saw that heron again but he was still too fast for me. It looks like there's another storm out at sea somewhere. I hope nothing big happens between here and Miami tomorrow while we're flying home.

Turns out there was no storm today. The whole day was beautiful. We went over to the Carriage House again for lunch. I got several “heron pictures” but none that really show him/her to best advantage.

Yesterday I'd ordered a tossed salad with lunch instead of fries. Fries arrived. Today I figured what the heck and ordered fries. My salad came. Hmmm..

There was another wedding and we got pictures of the setup and all. This one had a steel drummer playing the wedding march. I tried to get a little video but we were too far away. The wedding took abut 5 minutes. The pictures afterward took about 45.

At some point, I was resting on my elbows on the side of the pool, just lying still, thinking, and a bird swooped down and touched my chest. I think he was as surprised as I was that I wasn't a fish.

This is the last entry until we get home. Tomorrow will be a long, difficult day. We get up and pack, then check out of here by 10. We have to be at the airport by 12:40, then lines for tickets, baggage checks, security, customs, duty-free stuff. Then at Miami we go through immigration, US customs, then wait for several hours until our next plane. We get to DC about 12:35am on Sunday, then get a cab for a 45 minute ride home. Then, sleep! Our son should be there when we get home and that will be so nice.

Then, we pick up our dog later on Sunday and...back to real life. Work, doctors, volunteer stuff, medical testing, webwork, house cleaning, laundry, calls to make, emails, rehearsals. Real life.

In 50 weeks we'll be back! I'm already counting the days.

We took 177 pictures today just in case we missed anything over the last 2 weeks:

Thursday, September 2

Not much of interest today. I went over to reception and posted 3 days worth of blog posts and pictures. I haven't found anything yet that can replicate for the Mac what Windows LiveWriter does on my PC. Fortunately, at home. I can stick with the LiveWriter.

People called from the spa to offer a 10% discount for any treatment I wanted (or, presumably, any treatment Tom wanted). I guess someone looked at our account and realized that we weren't coming even close to the hold they had put on our debit card and wanted to use a bit more of that money before we left.

Around 2:30 we went over the the pool complex for lunch. I took some pictures of the goldfish? Koi? Whatever, there were lots of them, maybe hoping for lunch, too.

I saw what looked like a brown heron watching the fish but I think they were too big for him. I saw him or one of his relatives last night but thought that I was mistaken. I don't think that they have herons here. I'll have to look that up. Of course, this one flew away as I was getting my camera out but Tom saw him, too.

Around 6pm I finished my 4th book and started on number 5.

Only 10 pictures today:

Posted by Mary O at 7:16 PM 0 comments  

Wednesday, September 1

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Wednesday September 1

When we woke up, we could see that it had rained overnight but it was another nice sunny day.

Mostly another lazy day that blended into the others. Around noon I finally decided to get the bag I'd been coveting since we got here. I had looked at it 3 times when we were in Cave Shepherd before. Naturally, this time it had been sold. They did have it in another color which I didn't like nearly so much. Tom got another thirt, though!

We went swimming in out little pool for a bit, then the rains came. We got lots of pictures.

At first, I thought this might be hurricane Fiona but it turned out she was already north of us. This was Tropical Storm 9, now hurricane Gaston. This season has had more hurricanes out to sea than I can remember from any other year. There have been 4 in the 12 days we have been here. Pretty impressive! Someone on StormCarib said that it seemed like Africa was shooting us with fiery cannonballs and I think she was right.

When it it was pretty obvious that the rain wasn't letting up anytime soon, I took my shower and resumed reading inside. When the rains stopped, I went back outside to read even with the chairs being wet. Why not? I had just been in the pool and the clothes would be washed anyway.

When it got too dark to read, I got some good sunset pictures before coming in to get dressed...again.

This time I put on the new island-y dress I had bought last week for only $24 duty free. We stopped over by the big pool again to see if we could see any of the satellites or the Hubble space telescope. Several space objects were supposed to be orbiting around 6:30 but it was too cloudy to see anything.

We stopped by the little street market in the village and Tom bought some handmade shoes but wanted then in black so the shoemaker is supposed to deliver them to us on Thursday. I had never known that anyone in Barbados made handmade shoes and I never knew Tom to be interested in any. He also bought some bird made out of a coconut shell for one of his office workers. I'll reserve comment but he was sure she'd like it.

We took the coconut-shell bird back home then went back out for our main mission of the evening. Out to dinner at D'Onofrio's again. I had the same thing I had last time – chicken scallopini with lemon sauce. Tom had the veal scallopini with lemon sauce but said that it was tough so he had some of my chicken instead. The restaurant manager took the veal off the bill, even though we hadn't asked, and that was nice.

A week from today I'll have to check in at Weight Watchers and I don't think it will be good news.

Stopped by the pool again, just in case any of the satellites were late but nothing there. Maybe tomorrow!

More pictures! Click to view, as always:

Tuesday, August 31

Today we ran out of milk and the fridge is looking pretty bare so I guess we actually have to go shopping again. But later, much later.

Our usual housekeeper, Brenda, came back from a 4-week holiday and it was so nice to see her again.

We started the day as usual, my typing away, Tom checking email and we decided to go out to L'Azure for breakfast. They have a really nice buffet-type spread so we got lots of good stuff to eat, with a nice view.

When we got back, we found that Brenda had cleaned out or coffee pot, our supply for the day was gone and we hadn't gone shopping yet. Oh, no! I need my coffee and I'll drink day-old, cold, I don't care as long as it's fully caffeinated.

Tom managed to get some last coffee out of our container, enough to tide us over a little.

I went over to Reception and did my daily email, Facebook, Cushing's news and bios, the usual daily routine here. I saw Mel again from the other day and he actually remembered my name, probably because I'm the only person in Barbados walking around with a laptop all the time.

We were going to go to the store but decided to go later (everything in my life is becoming later and later!) and take the opportunity to go in the pool. Tom had a book to exchange so while we were over by the big pool we noticed that no one was in it so we settled into our private space. After reading for a while, we went in and swam for a bit, then went over to the pool complex and tried out a couple of those pools that we hadn't been in yet this year. Pictures were taken.

And I finished my third book for this trip.

We decided to go back and get to the store. We had decided on the little general store here. Surely they had milk, coffee and spaghetti sauce. The paperwork said they were open until 9, so no rush. We got there just after 7 and they were closed for inventory. There had been no announcement, no sign earlier. Luckily we had the rental car. Otherwise, I guess we'd have had to eat at one of the restaurants. Not a bad thing, but something I like to plan for, to look forward to.

So, we went back, got the car keys and headed to Emerald City again. We got more than we would have gotten at the general store and it probably cost less, so it all worked out.

Today's pictures: Click the cover one to see them all

Posted by Mary O at 1:08 PM 0 comments  

Monday, August 30

Monday, August 30

This is actually Tuesday now and I didn't write a thing yesterday. It was another of those sloth days, just being, thinking, reading, napping. No serious naps like at home but short ones here and there.

We had requested someone come in to fix two of the doors that were sticking due to all the moisture in the air. A very nice Portuguese man named Faroe from Guyana came to do that and Tom spent lots of time talking to him while he worked. Tom actually happened to have a phrasebook of lots of languages, one of them Portuguese, and the man was very thankful when Tom gave that to him.

There are a lot of workers here from Guyana. In past years we used to see the construction crews a lot more and Tom would talk to them about the building plans and so on. The wages here are so much better that many workers will come here for a year or two and send money home to family. Faroe had been able to bring his family here for a month and they were enjoying their time until the youngest had to go back to school next week

Sometime in the afternoon we decided to go have lunch by the pool so we put our suits on and walked over just to find out that something had happened to the stove and they only had drinks and cold stuff.

We went in the pool, read a bit then decided to go to the Manager's Welcome Party we missed last Monday. I went to take a shower and could hear Tom's cellphone ringing in the safe. Apparently, Tom had set his alarm on his phone. When he went to open the safe, it wouldn't open so he called the front desk.

I got my shower in before the safe-fixing person arrived. Apparently, it had lost power sometime – maybe when the stove stopped working at the pool? - and it “forgot” our combination.

We got to the party about halfway through and talked to some folks. There weren't many staff people that we could see there but a nice woman named Margarita came over and introduced herself. She was the new head of housekeeping, just here 3 weeks and she was anxious to hear from people how things were going. Although she is a Bajan, she has lived in Canada, Florida and Indianapolis. After being in all the snow of Canada and Indianapolis, she wanted to come home. Who can blame her?

Margarita had also worked at Sandy Lane but gave most diplomatic answers when I asked which she liked best.

Sandy Lane is a huge resort on the West Coast of Barbados which focuses mainly on golf and luxury living. I remember when they were being built, wondering what it would be because the area was so large. One of their claims to fame is that Tiger Woods was married there. This year I saw that they were still featuring his wedding pictures in their ads. I asked Tom if they shouldn't remove these ads since the marriage was in such trouble. Tom said that they weren't divorced yet and still might get back together. That night the divorce was announced.

Guess next year Sandy Lane will have different pictures in their ads.

Then we talked at great length to Paul's wife and that was nice. I wish I could remember her name. One of the other guests came over to introduce himself and asked where she was from. She said that she lived here and the man asked if she worked here. Embarrassment all around when she said that she and her husband owned the whole kit and caboodle.

We stopped by the pool overlooking the sea on the way back and thought that maybe could go to L'Azure for dinner but we weren't wearing “evening attire”. I pointed out that it was evening and we were dressed but we decided that probably wasn't what they meant.

We should have done shopping today, but we lazed around too much, so we were out of a lot of stuff. For our exotic dinner we had canned soup and peanut butter sandwiches. Yum! Shopping trip tomorrow for sure.

I don't think we even took any pictures today – amazing!

Sunday, August 29

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sunday, August 29 (but not posted until Tuesday!)

The sun was shining brightly through the window but it looks hazy out to sea so I'm not sure what kind of day it's going to be.

At least we know it's going to be quieter!

Last night when I went to bed I slathered on some nice-smelling lotion. This morning, while writing this, I had mosquitoes hovering all around me. I guess they were attracted to the lotion, too! Luckily, I have some Off! Towelettes here and I used those. Mosquitoes gone!

The haze seems to be lifting and it looks like its going to be a beautiful day. I can hear some waves coming in and that's unusual. Even though we're on the Atlantic side of the island, we don't usually get much wave activity here. Further north, in Bathsheba, they get good waves, good enough for surfing competitions in the “Soup Bowl”. I wonder if Earl or another hurricane is out to sea somewhere.

Just checked on http://stormcarib.com and it looks like Earl is already north of us. He's become an actual hurricane with winds of 75 mph so that could affect our waves. I guess Fiona will be next up. Hopefully not too soon! I did read that article before we came that predicted a hurricane for here on August 30 so we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Throughout the day, the waves her got stronger and I noticed that planes flying into the airport had changed from a southern approach to a northern one. Something is brewing out there.

The rest of the day was spent in the usual routine – reading/napping/being in the pool. I started on my third book since I've been here. This one is Kane and Abel, recommended by my good friend Alice.

Tom went over to Reception to get beach towels again. Our were lost in the great flooding incident. Then, he convinced someone to exchange the gift red wine for white. I still may not drink it, but there's a better chance. I don't get any headaches from white wine.

Today was a nice, relaxing day. So much better than yesterday.

Today's pictures:

Paradise Lost / Paradise (Re)found

Sunday, August 29, 2010

More excitement. While I was finishing up yesterday's blog, I started hearing a dripping noise. I ignored it, then Tom got up and said that we had water leakage from the floor above. Those noisy people upstairs managed to flood something.

Tom went upstairs to see what was going on. One of them had left the toilet handle up and after it had flushed water kept coming out of the tank, onto their bathroom floor and bedroom, then down to our bedroom. When Tom got their, they were still asleep and didn't know this.

Maintenance came in with buckets and mops and we moved out a rug that was getting wet on the edge. Tom went and had a few choice words with the front desk and I guess we're going to move.

We went and looked at another apartment in another building. It's newer and on the fourth floor so I'll have to take an elevator or stairs to get to Reception and online. The view will be different, too but, hopefully, it will be MUCH quieter. The apartment and the pool is smaller, too.

I originally chose this place, 211, because of the larger apartment, best view and bigger pool. Now annoying people have changed our vacation and I'm pretty angry. I keep telling myself that it will be quieter and dryer.

Already I hear these people yelling back and forth to each other. I'm glad we're going...I'm glad we're going...it will be fine. I hope.

I've packed up all my stuff already – it's 10:43 – and they just called to tell us our new place won't be ready until 3, even though they've made it a “priority”. Tom said if the water stops maybe we could stay. I told him to go outside for a minute and listen. He did and agreed that we should go. I still don't see why we should be inconvenienced like this because of other people. This day is completely wasted mopping, packing, waiting for the next place to be ready, unpacking.

At noon, we talk to someone else, Dwayne, at the front desk. I'm still PO'd, Tom thinks we could maybe stay here. He's concerned that I'm so angry and unhappy about all this. He points out to Dwayne at that these people made the noise, overflowed the water, are spending the day out at the pool/beach while we're sitting around, wasting the day waiting for another room to be available for us to move to.

At one, someone from Guest Relations, Korey, calls and says that the other people are leaving at 6. Hooray!

We decide to stay and start unpacking again. Korey sends us an apology along with a bottle of red wine. Eventually, someone from housekeeping will probably get the wine. Tom doesn't drink and red wine gives me headaches every time I try it. It was a nice thought, though.

Housekeeping came and cleared up the rest of the floor and removed the buckets, our pots and pans and pool towels that had been collecting water.

I resumed reading outside knowing that the noise would end at 6. A kid or kids from upstairs were in the pool and the father(?) was upstairs yelling at him/them from off their balcony. The kid yelled back. Doors slamming, yelling, the TV is a little quieter than last night. 6 is coming. Thank goodness!

At 5:30 the man yells to the kid(s) that it's time for them to come back to get ready to go. Hooray! They left at 5:59 and left the windows and door to their patio open.

The quiet is so nice. It's back to paradise after 30 hours of hell.

A couple got married over by the pool and we got some pictures of them. No rainbows today, though!

I took my laptop over to Reception to get done the things I couldn't do this morning during the packing/unpacking activities.

On the way back we stopped by the main/older pool. Years ago there had been a frog who stationed himself right outside the path to the pool. He was always there, like a guard on duty. We hadn't seen him for several years but tonight he (or one of his great-grandchildren) was there, back on duty. That was cool :)

We got back home and just before I started making dinner, it started to rain. I remembered the upstairs windows and called the main desk to let them know that it was probably raining in.

Those people probably did far more damage than they had paid to be here. As a fractional owner of this enterprise, this disturbs me. These people were being annoying to us (and to others around them), wasted a day of our vacation here AND cost us money due to their carelessness.

Let it go and not ruin the rest of our vacation, already!!!

Today's pictures: Remember about clicking to see them all?

Posted by Mary O at 8:15 PM 0 comments  

Friday August 27

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Click on above image to get today's pictures, if you want :)

Wow, our time here is nearly half over. I was sad when I thought about this this morning but then I remembered that most folks would be headed home tomorrow after a week here. When I get home, bells will start up right away, maybe children's choirs, piano teaching for sure, doctors appointments... Boggles the mind, how to transition from this to that.

One thing that I'm looking forward to – our son is supposed to be there when we get home. He was able to get a week off work, but it was Labor Day week, not one while were were here. It will be so nice to see him, whenever, wherever.

Something new and exciting! The fire alarm is going off in our building. I was impressed how quickly staff got here. I talked to one of the workers who said that someone cooking set off the smoke alarm. The sound is still going, though, so we'll see.

I had gotten a mystery from the book exchange a few days ago. It looked like something I'd like and there had been 17 previous books in the series so someone must like it. I just never got into it at all and ended up returning it today. I've found some really good books here in the past. Books from England or Canada that I can't normally get as easily in the states. Back to reading the books I brought on my Kindle.

>We ended going to L'Azure for lunch which is always nice. I had a chicken and roasted pepper wrap. I had assumed that the peppers would be the mild green or red ones like we have at home but they were the hot Bajan ones. Shoulda known! It was good though.

Sometime in the afternoon I was reading/napping when not one but two sets of noisy neighbors arrived. One set, to our right, was the yelling, slamming doors type and the other set arrived and started watching sports on TV at a high level. I tried listening to my iPod with headphones to block out the noise but it wasn't enough. Tom tried noise canceling headphones and those didn't really work, either.

We shut the doors, turned on the AC and headed to the pool to get some quiet. When we got back it was nice and cool and we couldn't hear the upstairs people...too much. Who goes on vacation in the tropics to watch daytime sports? Sheesh! Hopefully tomorrow, they'll all go out, go to the pool, something quieter.

I am really liking this new Mac. The only thing really missing is Windows LiveWriter which I use to write my blog posts. I like that because it's so easy to insert images and other formatting where I want and, if there's something that's good for two or more blogs, I can easily switch to the second without changing any formatting.

I installed the new Google Voice today although I'm not sure if I'll use it much. I have Skype and rarely use that. We do have a MagicJack that we're using here to give us a “local number”, even though it's in Massachusetts. It's still cheaper than calling/being called from the states. We were able to get a vanity number that ends in our last name, although that gives us quite a series of 6s!

Wednesday, August 25

Thursday, August 26, 2010

For some reason I didn't sleep well last night. The last time I remember checking the time was at 3:45 so I guess I slept well after that, at least until 9. Not enough! The sun streaming through the windows is just too inviting to resist, though.

So, another lazy day. A little reading, a little napping, a little online stuff. We went in the plunge pool here then went over to the pool complex and went in a couple different pools. I think I might have napped a bit there, too :)

We split a club sandwich – for some reason not a club cutter – then back into the pool even though my Mom always said I had to wait a half an hour before going in. She hasn't been here since 2001 so she probably won't find out, either!

There's a niggling thought in the back of my mind. In 1984 we were on vacation and I knew that as soon as we went back I had an appointment at NIH to see if I'd be accepted into a clinical trial for Cushing's. I was terrified that I would and terrified that I wouldn't. Now I'm reminded that as soon as we go back I have an appointment with a new specialist, a pulmonologist. I guess I'm thinking of this today especially because of the article I posted with info from Dr. Mary Lee Vance at UVA about growth hormone and cancer. I've already had cancer. I hope that the lung nodules and enlarged mediastinal lymph node aren't heralding either a metastasis or anything new.

Time to think those happy thoughts again!

It's time for the street fair over in the village. This is new this year so maybe I'll check it out. Or maybe next week. This chair is just too comfy to get out of right now.

About an hour later, I did get out of the chair and we went to the street fair. There were some interesting local arts and crafts and stuff. Tom got some stuff for people back home and a replacement magnetite bracelet for himself. I also got an ankle bracelet since I never found one at home before we came.

We stopped in the new Italian restaurant, D'Onofrio's, for dinner. Turns out Paul was there with his family and he had some good recommendations for us! I had chicken scallopini with lemon sauce and a rice with peppers. Tom had spaghetti carbonara.

Dessert was a weird thing for me – something called beehive ice cream and liqueur. Gloria, our server, said that beehive was a kind of liqueur but I'd never heard of it. I had assumed that anything called beehive would be made of honey or at least be sweet but it wasn't. Actually, I found it kind of bitter.

The dessert was the beehive ice cream in a pastry shell with the beehive liqueur, whipped cream, pirouette cookie and garnish of strawberries and blackberries. How that can't be sweet was beyond me. So, now I know that I won't be getting that again! Live and learn...

Tom had plain vanilla ice cream, an old standby for him.

Back at home we watched the movie Up and had some popcorn before bed.

Today's pictures. Click on the cover image to see the rest of them. Today Tom got hold of the camera so there are lots more pictures than usual!

Posted by Mary O at 1:01 PM 0 comments  

Thursday, August 26

Yet another lazy day. I'm turning into a sloth! More of the reading/napping stuff. Today's big news is that I finally got on Facebook. I got nearly through the identification of the avatars, mainly by guesswork, then I came to one that I got entirely by accident. Thank you Becky B for using your yearbook picture with the tiny name written underneath!

Sandy Boone, former assistant pastor at my church had gone out on a leap of faith to start a new waterfront ministry in Baltimore. She sent me a copy of her new website for review/critique and that made me feel good, to be trusted to have possibly-useful comments and thoughts. :) The new site is supposed to go live today or tomorrow. Sometimes these things take a while to propagate, though. In case it's today, the URL is http://www.watersedgepartnership.org/ . We miss Sandy terribly at Pender UMC but I'm sure that her Waters Edge Partnership will exceed all expectations. When I go to my doctor appointments at Johns Hopkins, I'll be able to check this out, too!

Tom came over to Reception while I was doing my daily online routine. He had sent me some PDF files that he couldn't open. They were all financial reports about The Crane, some sent by a new man named Mel. While we were reading, Mel came over and introduced himself.

On the way back, we stopped at the village branch of Cave Shepherd and got that bathing suit Tom had wanted from the first day but didn't come in his size. They had sent one in the right size from another branch.

We were out of some basic stuff again, so it's off to Emerald City for shopping. I always feel like my name should be Dorothy when I mention or write about this store. LOL

Back home I was reading (or napping) outside when suddenly a huge rain cloud rolled in from the ocean. I don't remember seeing if there was a hurricane at sea or not. I thought the next one wasn't supposed to be until the 30th but one could be sneaking up. I went to get my camera but by then, it was really coming down.

About 10 minutes later I got these great rainbow pictures. I don't know if it will show up but the rainbow goes all the way into the sea.

I have a special “thing” for rainbows. Way back, we were in Florida, on the beach. My dad was terminally ill with his second bout of colon cancer. I was feeling guilty being on the beach while my mom was taking care of him in their home. Tom and our son were in the water and I was on shore praying for my dad, that everything would work out ok. It was a beautiful sunny day but all of a sudden there was the most glorious rainbow. I called to Tom and Michael so they could see it, too, and to prove to myself that I wasn't seeing things that weren't there. They both saw it too. I really felt that this was an answer to my prayers, that things were going to be ok. Since then, I've always looked for rainbows :)

No surprise but Tom spent a lot of time at his local “office”.

We went over to the pool area and all the pool chairs were wet from the storm – just like they were at our place. We went in the jacuzzi instead of one of the pools. The jacuzzi is in special location. Way, way back, when this was a hotel, the jacuzzi area was a stable. When my friend was here in the 1990s we were exploring and the stable was abandoned, with all kinds of junk in it and overgrown weeds and stuff. Nowadays, thanks to Paul's vision, it has been expanded, the roof removed and it houses a huge open-air jacuzzi where you can sit out and gaze at the stars.

The expansion – it was about doubled – looks so natural that no one would know. There are 6 large open window cuts on the shorter sides and 6 plus doorways on the longer sides. I'm guessing that the coral stone removed to make these open areas are what was used to make the expanded section but I'm not sure. However it was done all the coral stone looks to be the same age.

Similarly, the old carriage house has a new incarnation as the Carriage House Bar and Grill where we had lunch the other day.

Immediately after dinner I feel asleep on the sofa again. I don't see how I can sleep so much when I'm not doing anything!

The weirdest thing happened. I had been needing a nail file since we got here but I always forget when I'm in the store. Just after we paid at Ganzee the other day, I noticed some with souvenir pictures right near the cash register but I didn't want to start a new transaction. Then, I remembered in the jacuzzi.

When I went to bed, there was a brand new one, not in any packaging or anything, on my side of the bed. Tom didn't put it there – I'd never even mentioned one to him. I supposed that housekeeping maybe found it somewhere and assumed it was mine but I would have thought that they might put it on the bedside table.

Cue Twilight Zone music...

Today's pictures.

Tuesday, Lazy Day

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24:

Another early rise for me, anyway. I woke up at 8 with the sun streaming in. Made some coffee, wrote a little bit. The gardeners cut down some of the foliage that I liked the other day. Tom likes it better – we can see the sea better again. I liked the jungle feel, though.

By the time Tom had finished his morning work we decided to go to breakfast at the new Italian restaurant here. The paperwork said that they were open until 11. Turned out, they were only open until 10, then at noon for lunch. We could have gone to L'Azure but I knew that their buffet ended at 11 and I didn't want to get all the left-overs so we decided to go shopping instead.

We headed out to Six Roads, near Emerald City and the Chefette from the other night. The highway we usually take had a roadworks sign up so we circled the roundabout again and got off at highway 5 instead. That way to go is a little longer but prettier and goes by the Four Square Rum Distillery. That's a great place to go for tours and info on the rum process. A bit easier to get to from here than Mount Gay!

We got out to the ABC highway – named for 3 important past politicians from here: Tom Adams, Errol Barrow and Gordon Cummings. Each has his own named section of the road.

Then, along the Spring Garden to Holetown where we were going to another Cave Shepherd for that ellusive bathing suit. They had one – hooray! We also went into a tshirt store where they had a cute dress. They showed both the LP (Local price) and the DF (Duty Free price). Big difference – $24 US DF and $43.50 US LP. Luckily we were able to get the DF price.

From there we headed back home. We tried to take the road that had been closed out of Six Roads and we got close but there was a long detour. Of course, there was just the one detour sign with no further instruction. We did find our way and went just past our place to a newish restaurant called Cutters. Cutter is the Bajan word for sandwich. This restaurant is owned and operated by the husband of someone we've known for a long time here at The Crane and its nice to see them doing well.

While waiting for our food, Tom took the opportunity to check his email (as usual!)

I had a flying fish cutter. Yummy! I've never heard of any other place in the world that has flying fish. It's an interesting phenomenon to see, a school of fish flying/gliding through the air, all shimmery. They have a wonderful hot sauce to put on things here, made with Scotch bonnet peppers. I used some – sparingly. Yum! We actually bought a bottle to take home once but I never used it. Nothing at home seemed like it was suited to the hot sauce like flying fish is.

Back home for a little nap. When I woke up, I started taking pictures of the newly trimmed gallery when I came upon a little rainbow. I took these pictures but within 2 minutes, according to the timestamp, the rainbow was gone.

(Click on the image to view all today's pictures, please. But only if you're interested!)

Off to Reception to update webpages, blog and so on then we sat outside for a bit and just talked.

This year is nice. No plans (yet), no people to show around, no place we have to be. Just relaxing and being calm. I like this! Usually by now we'd have plans drawn up for the whole time. Where to be on what day, things to do, scheduled conference calls. How nice to leave all that behind for a few weeks and just chill.

I think it's about time for a bit of “Kristine's” rum punch now!

Facebook Friends...

I still can't get on Facebook. If you've commented on anything that I've posted through my external sources like blogging and Twitter please forgive me for not responding!

FB doesn't recognize this location and wants me to identify people by their avatars. I don't know who currently has a picture of a mound of eggs or a young child with an Auntie tshirt. So, I get bounced out again. I'll try again today and there will be different images I probably won't identify correctly.

Some of the comments are coming through to my email.

Kristine, I'll have that rum punch for you tonight :)

Posted by Mary O at 11:26 AM 0 comments  

Rainy Days and Mondays...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday, August 24:

Rain! I got up about 8am and it wasn't long before there was a drenching rain. There had been families in the pool complex already and they got up to leave. I'm never sure about that. They were already wet, some playing under a waterfall but when the rain starts they leave.

After a while, the rain stopped and I took the laptop over to Reception where there's a better wifi connection. Several people were amazed that I was online since another area didn't have coverage. It rained again and people from the beach who'd come here just for that experience were trying to decide if they should leave or not. They finally took a taxi back to the west coast.

I tried to log into Facebook but couldn't since it didn't recognize my new location. I was supposed to identify a number of other members by their avatars. I can't remember all those and some people seem to change them daily. So, I was locked out for at least an hour. Maybe I'll take my phone over tomorrow and log on with that – I don't think I ever logged out.

I checked email, added some bios to http://www.cushie.info updated some other pages, checked banking records to be sure that none of the debit card thieves had gotten our card numbers yet. Downloaded Picasa to organize pictures to add to this.

The rain stopped again and I went back to 211A. Did some reading, more rain. Napped a bit, more wet you-know-what. I'm thinking that this is fallout from a hurricane that's out to sea. Next time I go online I'll check my favorite weather source for here – http://www.stormcarib.com – and see what's brewing out there. I remember reading before we came that we were supposed to get a cyclone on August 30. It hadn't even started raining yet but somehow the weather forecasters think that there will be a hurricane here on the 30th.

We've never had a hurricane here. They almost always veer to the north. I think the last one that came here was in the 1930s. One year, they thought that one would hit Barbados. We were out on a small cat (catamaran) and the owner was sure that a hurricane was coming so he took the cat to Trinidad and Tobago. Guess where the hurricane hit instead of here?

Others were pretty sure that wed get hit here, too, so housekeeping brought around emergency instructions, candles and so on. We already knew where the hurricane shelter was which was helpful. All the window shutters were closed and bolted down, the pool chairs sunk into the pool. We hunkered down and waited. We were in the historic hotel still at that time and we had the wonderful wrap-around second-floor deck. We sat out on that and so did our next-door neighbors. We watched the storm out to sea and waited.

The storm turned north for the cat's Appointment in Samarra...

I must be getting old with all these reminiscences and memories. It's sure nice to have them, though!

Tonight is the manager's welcome party but we've been welcomed in past years so we didn't go. I noticed on the invitation that the location had been changed to inside. They probably thought it might rain again. And it did.

Sunset on this coast is always amazing. It's light, light, light, dark! It seems like the whole sunset takes 15 minutes, like a shade dropping over the horizon. The moon right now is full, big and bright and in about an hour and a half a US telecom satellite will pass overhead.

It gets so dark here that we can see all kinds of constellations, which is pretty cool. We went out one time with an astronomer who brought telescopes and showed us all kinds of stuff. He had lots of information to share including that he was an alien from one of the planets he was showing us. When he invited us to the place he said he was living temporarily in Barbados, we politely declined...

It's so peaceful and relaxing here. No stress, no doctors, no deadlines to meet, no places to be and people to see. Very easy to take.

We decided to take a stroll down to the pool complex and sit there for a bit. Unfortunately, most of those chairs were still wet from the rain. We found some under a little roof that were dry enough and sat for a while enjoying the evening breeze, the stars and the tree frogs.

Back home we discovered we got the Game Show Network. Oh boy! More TV for me coming up! LOL

Barbados 22, 2010

Click the image for the rest of the photo gallery for today.

Posted by Mary O at 6:39 PM 0 comments  

We arrive!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Friday, August 20:

I had an early morning appointment to get the stitches out of my back, then I came home to await the UPS delivery. It arrived at 3:00. Whew! Then to start set-up and adding my favorite programs that I need for the trip. Installing applications is a bit different from Windows but I finally got that figured out ok.

Took Mimi to her sister's for her vacation then home to pack. Our flight was out of Reagan, further away from us than Dulles and it was at 7:10 AM so it was to be an early start. Got everything packed and got to bed sometime after midnight.

Then, I got up and repacked the backpack. I had been going to take a larger one, intended for the Gateway but I realized that the Macbook might fit into my favorite backpack – and it did. So, smaller and lighter all-around. YEA!

Saturday, August 21:

The taxi arrived at 5:00 am and we got to Reagan just about 5:45. Plenty of time. The one main suitcase was 40.5 pounds so we didn't have to pay for overweight luggage. The first flight to Miami was uneventful. Our connecting flight was the next terminal over and we had about 40 minutes to get there so we really hustled. Thank goodness for rolling bags and my lighter backpack!

Along the way, of course I lost my neck pillow. I seem to lose one per trip. I vowed that the next one would have a bungee cord or something to attach it to my bag. Luckily, the little news shop had one with a snap at the front so I could snap it onto my bag and around my neck on the plane.

The flight crew was coming from elsewhere and they were late clearing customs/immigration so we didn't board the plane until an hour late. We didn't have to hustle quite as fast to get there.

On flights I almost always get Mr. and Mrs T's Bloody Mary Mix to drink. It's like a spicy V-8 and most flight magazines list it as an available drink. Our stewardess seemed amazed that I wanted that. Then, my husband wanted one, too, and she acted like she'd never heard of people drinking the stuff. Oh, well. She gave him a can, anyway.

I watched a movie and promptly fell asleep. The flight from Miami is about 3.5 hours which is a long time to sit in an airplane seat. My legs kept falling asleep, too.

We arrived in Barbados an hour late, of course, but we got here! So did our luggage. A major plus. Cleared customs and immigration with no problem and headed over to Stoute for our rental car. We've been renting cars from them for 12 years or so so we might own one of them by now!

Got the car and headed out – remembering to drive on the left side – to The Crane, our home-away-from-home.

Everything keeps changing here and it's all for the good. When we first bought in 1998, we were staying up the coast at a place called Coral Point where we'd stayed since 1996. We had actually wanted to buy that place but we would have had to buy outright and have to rent it out for the times that we weren't here aka most of the year. That place was beautiful and private but really too big for us. There were 4 bedrooms which is normally 3 too many. Even with guests, it would be 2 too many. But we looked into it and it would cost quite a bit plus we'd have to pay someone (Stoute, again – they do lots of stuff here!) to manage the place when we weren't here. Tom had seen a lawyer about buying here and it is very hard for non-locals to buy property in Barbados.

We went to lunch at The Crane just up the beach, a beautiful old hotel and restaurant built in 1887. A Canadian man named Paul Doyle had bought The Crane and he had big plans. We looked over the site maps, the plans, talked to Paul, liked what we saw/heard and bought 4 weeks worth.

When we came back in 1999, we had to stay in the original hotel but it was on the second floor and had a wonderful wrap-around rooftop verandah. The only bad part was they were constructing the building which we had bought and those workers started up early in the morning!

Tom had some all-important work to do in the states so he left me alone in Barbados but I had friends come down for a week. I dropped Tom off at the airport and got the only flat tyre of my life. I drove the car back home and called Stoute. They brought me a replacement car within the hour. Great service! The next day I picked up my friends and we spent the week tooling around the island. Took them back to the airport and picked up Tom.

We also had other guests that year.

2000 rolled around and we decided that maybe 4 weeks was too long to stay so we sold off the 4 weeks of our lock-off apartment and used the proceeds to buy an additional 2 weeks at Thanksgiving. We use those 2 weeks plus the 2 weeks we don't stay in our apartment in the rental pool so our place makes us money all year long. Good deal!

In 2001 my mother and our son came for a week of the 2. Michael was attending college and he had to get back to Massachusetts. It was a complicated plan but it worked. He and my mother flew back home – he helped her navigate the airport and customs and all. Then my friend who had stayed with me in 1999 picked them up at the airport and took my mom home and him to our house, then took him to the airport for Massachusetts the next morning. A really good friend!

Tuesday of that year we were out on a 4x4 jeep tour with our favorite driver, Zario. He picked us up and them we got a couple from New York City. We started the tour and got to the first stop. He'd been listening to the radio and said something about the World Trade Center. He was always joking and we thought that this was another story he was going to tell. As the day wore on, the news grew worse and worse. By the time we got to lunch, they had CNN on and all eyes were glued to it. No more funny stories, people laughing about their day. The NYC couple was worried about friends and family as was everyone.

The rest of the week was spent trying to call people at home, listening to news, reading the newspapers, emails, worrying. We didn't even know if we could get home. Paul said if we needed we could stay here. We were able to get out on Saturday to go to Puerto Rico. No one knew what would happen after that.

The airport at Puerto Rico was jammed with people who had no where else to go – the hotels were full, airports closed at home. We were very lucky. We got on the first American Airlines flight out, headed home. The crew came marching up the hallway with a huge American flag which they draped out the window on take-off and landing. It was so dramatic, with all the passengers cheering. They cheered, too, when we had a fighter plane escort into DC airspace. Most people seemed to think that they were there to protect us rather than shoot us down if we veered from our flight plan.

That was our most memorable year – hopefully there will never be another one similar to that!

Over the years we have shared Barbados with other friends and that has been nice but the nicest is that since we've sold the lock-off we are here by ourselves. Guests could sleep on the pull-out sofa but no one has done that yet.

This year when we arrived we got to see the new Crane Village. We'd seen the fences around the construction before and now, the real thing! As always, Paul did a fantastic job designing and building this to look like it's an old Bajan village. There's a town hall, Cave Shepherd (department store) , general store, Italian restaurant, beachwear store, jewelry store, gym and more. Reception is also in the Village so we checked in there and headed to our place.

The palm trees have really grown up outside the patio making it even more private – I like that! We can see some of the pool complex still and the ocean, of course. New pictures will be coming in a day or so to compare with the ones from past years.

We went out to the Emerald City grocery store to stock up on supplies for a few days. On the way we ran into Paul and we told him (again!) how pleased we were with the changes. He remembered us walking on the floorboards in the skeleton of this apartment while it was being built and that was cool.

We bought essentials including salt bread, tutti-fruiti milk, rum punch, coconut ice cream and other, more real, stuff.

By now I was exhausted. I'd missed a real nap for 2 days and hadn't slept well/long the night before. We stopped at Chefette for roti for dinner.

When we got home we had the roti and coleslaw. I was too tired to even finish my roti so I saved most of it. I fell asleep fully dressed on top of the bed and didn't wake up until housekeeping knocked on the door the next morning.

Sunday August 22:

At some point Tom told me he was headed out to meet some friends and that he'd made coffee. I'm sure I mumbled something in return before going back to sleep.

The next thing I knew housekeeping was here so I got some of that coffee and sat out on the deck. That's when I learned that there's wireless when the wind is blowing my way. We have a cable connection at the desk and wireless is better there but who wants to sit at a desk all day? I'm very familiar with taking computers over to Reception and using the wifi there but it will be even better if I get it here. Supposedly, at some point the whole place will be wireless and that will be nice but I'm not holding my breath! Everything that was promised to be done has been so I'm sure that this will come, too.

Tom got back and we got his computer and our internet phone set up then we went out to explore the new Village more. We bought the required t-shirts but Tom couldn't find a bathing suit in his size. Then we went down the glass elevator (new since we've been coming here – we used t have to take stairs down the cliff) to the beach. After walking on the sand and in the water a bit we came back for much-needed naptime.

And I started writing and writing...

Heading back "home" to Barbados, 2010

Thursday, August 19:

I had my annual visit to my kidney cancer surgeon. He said that things are looking good and reminded me that chances of a recurrence are getting smaller each year as are probabilities of a metastasis. Whew! However. He asked me about the CT scans I'd had last year. I had lung nodules at that time as well as an enlarged mediastinal lymph node.

I was supposed to get those scanned fairly regularly and my PCP was supposed to order the scans. I did a couple of those then we (PCP and I) thought that maybe the radiation risk was worse than the possible findings since there was no change. So he stopped ordering the scans and I forgot all about it. Until today.

So my kidney cancer surgeon said that my PCP would no longer be in charge of these scans. He referred me to a pulmonologist. The KCS thinks there will probably be a biopsy. Yuck.

I called the hospital at 11:00am and said that I needed a CD of my scans and they said they'd be ready when I got there. I got to the hospital at 11:20 and their machine had broken. So, I waited while they made a manual copy.

I got home about noon and, of course, the pulmonologist's staff was out to lunch. I left a message for them to ca back but of course they didn't. When I called them back I got an appointment for September 8. I hope that this doesn't signal the beginning of a new medical journey.

Like Scarlet O'Hara I'll think about this...tomorrow.

I finally did it! I've been looking at Macs for a while now. I'm so tired of the Windows constant security updates. On tuesday night there were 35. Egads! I've had 5 different Macs in my amazon.com shopping card trying to decide what to get for a long time. Today I made the decision.

We leave on Saturday for our annual trip to Barbados and I'll be carrying my laptop in my backpack. Since I just had a bit of surgery on my mid-back, I want to keep things as light as possible. My Gateway weighs 7.5 pounds and the battery lasts maybe 3 hours. The Mac weighs 4.5 pounds with a 10-hour battery.

On some kind of whim, I looked at amazon.com again and they said that I could get next day shipping if I ordered by 7:30 pm. I assumed that the shipping costs would be prohibitive but I looked anyway – only $3.99. So, I ordered it and hoped that they were right about next day delivery. I hated the thought of this Macbook sitting on my front porch for 2 weeks if I missed the delivery.

Posted by MaryO at 11:37 AM 0 comments  

Folkstone Marine Park

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Posted by Monique in Living in Barbados on April 10th, 2010

Folkestone Marine Park is located on the West coast of Barbados and is home to an artificial reef which has been formed by the sinking of the ship Stavronikita. This ship rests in 120 feet of water, is relatively close to the shore and is an excellent spot for scuba divers and snorkelers alike to explore the reefs and most often have the pleasure of swimming with the turtles.

A bit about this shipwreck by Tropical Welcome:

The Stav is the most popular wreck in Barbados waters. She was a 365 foot Greek freighter built in Denmark in 1956 and originally christened the Ohio. On August 26, 1976, while en route from Ireland to the Caribbean and carrying a cargo of 101,000 bags of cement, the vessel caught fire, killing six crew members and injuring three others.

An explosion that followed the fire destroyed all of the ship’s radio equipment, making it impossible for the stranded crew to call for help. Twenty four crewmen drifted in the open sea for four days before being rescued. The Stavronikita was then towed to Barbados.

A year went by, and the vessel was still anchored off Carlisle Bay, Barbados. On October 24, 1977 , she was purchased at an auction for the sum of $30,000 by the Parks and Beach Commission.

The ship was then stripped of all the machinery and brass that could be salvaged.

She was also cleaned of pollutants, namely the 70,000 gallons of oil being carried in her fuel tanks and towed to a spot just 400 yards offshore on the west coast of the island. On November 21,1978, the U.S. Navy demolition crew set seven charges totaling 200 pounds and blew holes in the ship’s hull, causing her to sink.
This area is also referred to as Church Point and can be a surfer’s dream when the North swells start rolling in onto the West coast.

Also on these grounds is a recreational park and playground, where you will find many local Bajans picnicking on any given Sunday.

From http://blog.barbadospropertylist.com/folkestone-marine-park-in-barbados/