Signs

Since lockdown has eased, leaving home is properly strange.

I used to get excited about leaving Quest. Road trip with rented cars? The luxury of luxury days out.

This is because the best way of gauging a country is driving around it. This is the way things would happen at home. We drive. We’re out and about. Doing it in another country becomes the gold standard comparison.

Hanging off the edge of the island doesn’t really compare. Cars are the windows of the ‘Can you imagine if we lived here?’ game.

We played it yesterday. In fact, I feel a list brewing. Urghh, lists. I hate lists. Ok, I give in. Here come the colon:

1. Barbados is blooming. In freaking technicolour – particularly the newly flowering flame-red flamboyant trees. Only a few weeks ago, everything was brown. The trees were drooping with seed pods and no action. Now, after only a few days of rain, they are suddenly in blossom. I’ve learned a botanical lesson. And we feel a little more Bajan for it – watching the seasons change.

2. The whole of Barbados was queueing yesterday at the drive-thru of their favourite fast-food restaurant. Is it McD’s or KFC? Even Burger King you might wonder? Nope. It’s called Chefette.

Chefette have only just re-opened after lockdown. Bajans really do love Chefette. It is a Barbados-only fast-food joint. Lu told me there are 200 outlets, but I just checked. There are 15. Some are downright enormous though – and most seem spanking new. With amazing toddler playgrounds, which were still closed.

We lined up too. I discovered Chefette is in fact owned by a Trinidadian, and some of its food is Indian, and vegetarian. I had a delicious potato roti. The potato roti was cheap and hot and wholesome. Filled to the roti-brim with curried potato.

3. We went to the supermarket afterwards. Since no yachtie day-trip is complete without a supermarket run. It is also the moment you can stand back and answer the question: could I live here? It’s the supermarket truth sweep.

Well, food is expensive in Barbados. It isn’t easy to get everything either. You pay painful amounts of tax if you have items flown into the country.

Does any of that matter? I don’t think so. I think the character of the place is number one. On this basis, it’s a no-brainer. A person could have an awesome life in Barbados.

You’d shop smart, be less wasteful, appreciate the nice things more. You’d be kind to your neighbours. Wave when you drove past Rihanna Drive. She doesn’t live there anymore, but she’s still the queen. You’d hit the beach, and you’d be your brother’s keeper. And on the weekends? Chefette potato roti every time.

I’m still glad to get back to Quest though. She calls us back. Since we all think differently about our homes now. Adventure just isn’t the same.

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