Tuesday, April 10, 2007

WORLD CUP DIARY: Beautiful Barbados

Like had been the case when I went to the Kaieteur Falls, Barbados has made me fall woefully short of words. Though this being a city and not a wonder as the Falls were, I guess I might be able to pull it off.

We came in last afternoon in the same flight as the chirpy Bangladeshis (as well as the sour South Africans who went on to Grenada) and the taxi ride from the airport to the hotel itself was lovely in the same way a drive around Kerala is. The sea is a constant companion to the left, with picture perfect hut-like houses (we would call them bungalows in India) the only things between the sea and the road we were driving on.

It’s evident that tourism makes this country tick as hotels outnumber everything else, and the Barbadian dollar is a strong 2 units to 1 US dollar. Compare this to India’s 45-odd and in the Caribbean, Jamaica’s 66-odd and Guyana’s 200-odd and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Everything is kind of polished and spanking, and the city gives the impression of overall well-being.

Onward to our hotel, the beautifully named Coral Mist, and believe me, it’s as close to being in heaven as possible. Now I am not a sea/beach person. Beaches bore me. Seas interest me only for a bit, though I must admit the sound of the waves is a brilliant accompaniment when you’re going to sleep. Ajitha is more of a beach person, and she has to come here sometime, because it really doesn’t get better than this. Especially from the balcony of our room at Coral Mist. We are on the third floor of this hotel, and if you jump off the balcony of our room, you’re going to land on the edge of the beach. If the tide is high, you can very well make the water.

But even that is not the best part. The best part really is the colour of the sea. It’s a bright, bright, bright, bright blue; absolutely clear and has a smooth lilt to it as far as the force of the waves is concerned. There’s no unnecessary choppiness, though it’s far from being sedate. So it’s no sissy. But it’s not a bully either.

Went for my usual morning walk today along the beach and found that the sand is really, really fine, and even the water doesn’t manage to change the texture. While walking, I realised that the tide was coming in and seeing that I was walking in the water, I decided to go in for a swim as well. Now this is not particularly dangerous because the high tide is not very different from otherwise and is a difference of only about 20 feet of additional water. And they have these flags around that tell you when not to go in the water, and as long as that’s not the case, you’re safe.

Barbados is also, obviously, home to some of the greatest cricketers of all time, so the next post will be on some of the experiences we’ve had in trying to track down remnants of the Worrells and Marshalls of the world.

PS: Don’t come to Barbados on work. If your office wants to send you, say ‘no’. It makes no sense. Better not come here than come on work.