|Barbados is a small island, just 21 miles long and 14 miles wide, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the warm Caribbean sea and endless beaches to the south and west. The people of Barbados drive on the left and the currency is the Barbados dollar (approx 2 to 1 USD). It has a population of approx 254,000 people, and was the first Caribbean island to have piped water. Barbados has a literacy rate of 97%, and the United Nations Development Index rates islanders as having a better quality of life than people living in Spain, Italy or Ireland.
The island has the 3rd oldest parliamentary system in the world - it has been in place for 358 years, and is the only holiday destination in the hemisphere to have had a scheduled Concorde service. The island has always flown only the British flag, until achieving its independence in 1966.
So, at the end of what feels like a very long transatlantic, we have today arrived in sunny Barbados! I have been here before, so it's not really a case of exploring today, but of revisiting old haunts - namely the Boatyard, which is actually an infamous bar/beach just outside Bridgetown that pretty much all the crew of every cruise ship make a pilgrimage to on arrival!
Today is especially busy in Barbados as there are a total of 5 cruise ships in - very busy even for a hub like Bridgetown. We are in with the Norwegian Dawn, Ocean Village, Celebrity ship and Carnival Victory, all fairly big ships, so the place is buzzing. It takes us longer than usual to get to the Boatyard because of this, and Bridgetown is bursting at the seams.
We (me and the 'baby doctor' - affectionate term for crew doctor for those of you who don't know) arrived at the Boatyard to the reassuring sound of the stereo blasting steel band music and head for the bar. The place is bouncing with crew from all the different ships, with a few older people that look suspiciously like passengers...never mind. So, we had a couple of cocktails and some food whilst sitting in the bar area - I don't really sunbathe, and Greg didn't want to, so we had great fun people watching.
Our day of chilling out came to a slightly abrupt end when one of our crew ambitiously took up the suggestion of the DJ to dance on the bar - and slipped off, hurting her back. So, seeing as Greg and I were right there, we kind of had to undertake to get her back to the ship, which we did. However, she was in quite a lot of pain understandably, and obviously we had no painkillers with us, so we first encouraged her to drink the 2 Long Island Iced Teas that the barman had brought over for some reason - which she did in less than 10 minutes. Hmmm.
This resulted in her alternating between singing and shouting orders at the taxi driver all the way back to the terminal, where we managed to find a wheelchair. Well, actually find doesn't actually describe what we did...stole it fron Ocean Village staff while they weren't looking is more like it, but in fairness I think our need was greater. And we are all one company...She then proceeded to shout 'coming through' to every passenger who got in her way whilst doing royal waves and high fives at anyone that came close, all the way to the gangway.
So here endeth our day in Barbados. I've just been out for a barbeque and drinks on the crew open deck, which was fun - it's a gorgeous clear evening tonight. So, Aruba here we come!