9 Oct

I don’t get the pleasure of traveling too often so when I do, I do it right. This trip was a visit to the beautiful island of Barbados where I indulged in flying fish sandwiches, barrels of rum and a killer nightlife. Barbados is an island and a culture rich in history and in pride, the people of Barbados don’t have much but they love and make the most of the things they have! Let’s go!

Simple people, living simple lives, cooking simple food is exactly what you can expect to find in the gorgeous yet highly impoverished island of Barbados. They are grateful for everything that they have and they use it well. Fresh fish is caught and prepared daily as a ritual of sorts for the local fisherman. They are known for producing some the best rum in the world which they make from locally grown sugar cane. Rum is an abundance to these people and everyone from proprietors, hosts, bartenders and locals indulging in the streets are happy to share, and this means Stiff Drinks!! Rum punch, mint mojitos, rum straight up, and starting every morning with rum in my coffee and rum in my juice, its island life to say the least. In fact I find it rather amazing I was able to wake myself from a booze coma, brush the sand out of my hair and explore the natural beauty that the island of Barbados has to offer.

A quick jaunt down the beach and I’m standing in front of a local beach front shack that serves up delicious fresh flying fish sandwiches, homemade hot sauce, and the local Banks Beer. The flying fish are abundant in the surrounding waters and the fish sandwiches are an island specialty. Paired with the tangy hot sauce, the cool refreshing local Lager, and the fact that I was enjoying it with my feet in the sand made for an all around awesome lunch! I will of had my share of sandy footed fish sandwiches before my departure.

We found a nice local man to show us around the island. He drove us over the high speed, windy roads that cover this small island. For such a relaxing and laid back cultures the locals fly down these narrow, curvy, and overly-vegetated roads and turn it into a lightning fast death coster! Speeding and carving down the road nearly side swiping the other drivers and sending pedestrians running for their lives! But we did arrive safely and without causing much harm to any one.

The first spot we visited was the historic St. Nicholas Abbey plantation from the 1600’s. It was a beautiful Jacobean style mansion but by wealthy englishmen who employed locals to work its sugar field. The property was quite lush and the house contained some very cool historic furniture and architecture, with designs reminiscent of old ancient colonials. Now heres the kicker, they still operate as a distillery and brew an assortment or rums and rum products. After indulging in a few samples I was feeling loose enough to buy a special jar of high quality aged rum infused with a scorching hot chili pepper. Just a drop of this stuff sets your whole mouth on fire! We strolled around the garden and admired the landscape and then we were off.

Our next stop was at the oldest standing Temple in the western hemisphere, The Bridgetown Synagogue. It was built in the 1600’s by jews fleeing from Brazil during the inquisition.It was destroyed in 1831 but was rebuilt a few short years later. In the 1980’s it was almost seized by the Barbados Government but the locals jewish community, roughly 60 members,  fought back and made it into National Trust Property. This place was incredible, even for the non-jews who were with us it was a spectacular sight. The history, culture, and sense of community that surrounded with temple was palpable. The cemetery surrounding it contained some of the most gorgeous and artistic displays of life and time as tombstones dating back to the 1600’s lay in rubble with only bits and pieces of their ancient hebrew scripture legible. On a lighter note the temple had been kept up and running through the love, support, and donations of its local community.

We were able to get in and tour the local rum distillery, Mount Gay, makers of some of the highest quality rums in the world. We had a short tour of their facility and how they made the rum. Some parts of the process were so old and specific to Mount Gays history that we could not be shown it. Some rum distilleries had even sent in spies to try to obtain their ancient methods. We then had a fantastic tasting of of a variety of rums, from the standard dark and light to a 5 and 10 year aged. My favorite was the 5 year aged, it had the bold oaky taste from the aging process but still had the burn and bite of a less developed rum. Now with a belly full of rum its back to the beach for a nap, maybe a flying fish sandwich too!

That evening we headed out to a local favorite seafood restaurant call the Fish Pot. Opened by a native couple with a passion for fresh high quality ingredients and upscale dishes and technique. The oceanfront restaurant doubles as the proprietors home and a luxury bed and breakfast. Everything on the menu was so fresh that it had been swimming in the ocean that morning. Top it off with some bottle of fine local wine and a decadent chocolate mousse the chef prepared special for my fathers birthday.

The next day I filled my stomach with some fresh local fruit and some very tasty coconut scones, a Barbados specialty. Shot of rum and I’m out the door! Today we are playing golf at the Green Monkey resort, the same resort where Tiger and Elin Nordegren were married (a lot of good luck this place has!). The course is normally exlusive to members and hotel guests but they made a special exception for us. I am sure glad they did because the course was impeccable; lush landscape, perfect greens, and great views of the ocean. The best part was passing through hole 11-14 where the monkeys live. The swing from the trees, chase balls, climb on the carts, and provide some up close wildlife. As we finish the 18th it begins to sprinkle which is extremely refreshing to after a round of island gold, couple beers at the bar and its just another day in paradise!


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