If you dream of islands, dream of them at dawn, on the border between night at day, sleep and waking; dream of them when they are cool and hushed, before heat and light chase the dream away.
This shaded nuanced time is precious, for the sun comes up at full glare, poaching what it does not fry; the humidity rolls in as regularly and almost as wetly as the tide. Cherish the edges of the day and survive the middle. P.F. Kluge - The Edge of Paradise, America in Micronesia
It was a long day. We left at 5 minutes past midnight, Saturday morning and arrived into Barbados fourteen hours later. From cool, chilly skies to sultry heat, we flew across the continent and then headed south.
And here I am. Sipping coffee, ensconced in a big wicker chair, sitting looking out over the lawn to the ocean and blue skies beyond, surrounded by lush tropical fronds, listening to birds twitter in the trees, hearing the sound of monkies skittering through the branches.
Ahhh, the sweet life.
And the only hassle of the journey, the hour and a half it took to get through Customs and Immigration. One long line of plane-discorged tourists snaking through stanchions, edging their way closer and closer to paradies. That was us. One of at least 400 people in the big holding room, passports in hand, eagerly -- okay some not so eagerly, more like grumpily -- waiting to receive the stamp of Bahamian approval that would let them out into the wild blue beyond.
A woman waited at the exit with a sign with our name on it. A van pulled up, scooped up our luggage and us and we were off.
Colonial remnants abound. The lilting Bahamian accent with a spicy British fob on top. Driving on the right hand side of the road -- which feels like going backwards every roundabout we come to.
PTY incorporated companies whose signage sprawl along the sides of the busy roads we travel.
The land is lush and verdant and little of the vegetation is indigenous or original. Long ago this island was deforested to make way for the plantations. Coffee and tobacco were big but even bigger, sugar cane. The island wealth was founded on the backs of slaves forced to work for masters unconcerned with their welfare as much as the accumulation of wealth that came with pandering to the world's desire to be sweetened.
And wealthy they did become these British imperialists who streamed into this tropical paradise to claim it as their own. There is a link here with our own Canadian history -- in the 1500s smallpox once decimated the earlier inhabitants of this island just as it did Native Canadians throughout the centuries. The Spanish brought it first and then the British who claimed it as its own in the 16oos. No one knows for sure how many indigenous peoples died from the disease -- but in one case of the west-coast tribes it is estimated 85% of one village died.
It always fascinates me, this belief we can claim a land a make it 'ours'. That those who inhabited it needed our presence to 'find themselves', to create better ways of living, to help us create our own better life. And in the process we bring new diseases, new life-styles that decimate the population.
We humans are fascinating.
And I am sitting on a deck overlooking the ocean in Barbados -- what could be more fascinating today?
It's a day of indolence. I do have some work to finish off before I can completely relax into 'island time', and so for today, I'm off to church -- the oldest church in Barbados is just behind us. It's bells just called worshipers in for the early morning Sunday service. Last night, an organ concert serenaded us as we sat on the deck and finished off the remnants of an amazing meal prepared for us by the staff. An amazing pumpkin soup. Flying fish. Rice with a Barbados spicy sauce. A vegetable dish of Christina (and I'm not sure of that name for greens but they were delicious.) And fresh fruit and ice cream for dessert.
Twelve hours of sleep and I feel refreshed, ready to slip into this quieter way of living, immersing myself each moment into the lulling call of the ocean ebbing and flowing against the shore. To the tweets of birds pecking their way across the lawn and the chatter of monkeys in the trees.
Ahhh, the sweet life.