Leaving Barbados

I wish we were one of those cool families – who didn’t bicker in the last week of us being somewhere. In the last hour even. But alas, never going to happen.

We are already en route to Martinique. We left four hours ago on a beautiful soft afternoon. Not a squall in sight. That’s not where I wanted to start though. I want to start at our Covid test.

Have you had one yet? I feel this will be the 2020 question. I wouldn’t like to have one if I was sick either. Poor you if you have.

We called the hotline number in Barbados at the beginning of the week and organised our test for Friday. Martinique encourages you to have one 72 hours before you arrive. Like when we used to have to de-worm Fin before we travelled. Amazing Barbados provides free tests and results within 24 hours.

Lexi from the hotline number told us to come to the military base behind the airport for 9am on Friday. We rocked up in the hire car at twenty to. Their were about five cars already waiting.

The soldier at the army base kiosk (their masks match their camo) told us to go and wait in the car in a field. By 9:30, there were another ten cars. Were these other people travelling too we wondered? Were they contact-traced or about to have an operation? Apparently you need a test before you have a routine operation here now.

It was another half-an-hour before we were all herded together. Two large tents were erected nearby – one was a white WHO tent. This was the testing tent. A Canadian nursing volunteer came and got our history from the car, and told us it would be about two hours before we could leave. In the end though, it was only another 20 minutes before we were called into the tent.

Four test stations were manned by fully-decked PPE-wearing nurses. Sit down. Spray hands. Take off mask. Spray hands. Given tissues to blow nose. Spray hands.

The nurse, Rachel, told me the sensation of the swab would be akin to having saltwater up my nose. Apparently Jack heard that being said to Delph too, and she replied, ‘That’s ok, because I live on the sea.’

Ticklish but so intense for me that it was beyond ticklish. When Rachel told me that if I leant back anymore, I would likely fall back off the chair, I had to give in. It was laugh or cry. I chose the former.

‘You scared them,’ Lu said afterwards.


‘I don’t think they’ve had that many people laugh hysterically like that.’

Quite possible. And the girls didn’t make a noise which made them even braver – and me even weirder. Lu screwed her eyes shut and Delph cried silently.

Jack went after me and did that thing Lu told him to do with his hands that her friends have said stops a person gagging. Didn’t work, he said. Oh well. Less then twenty-fours we all received a result via email. Lucky us.

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