On our first visit to Barbados, we had intentions of going to the beach. We saw Bridgetown, visited the Mount Gay distillery, and then planned to go to the beach after lunch. Those plans were derailed when I left my camera in a cab going to lunch. Thankfully I got it back, but we never made it to the beach. I aimed to fix that this time.
We got up early, got breakfast and an excellent cappuccino from the coffee cafe (another big improvement on this cruise), and then went down to get on the shuttle bus in port. That dropped us at the pier shops, which you have to wind your way through in order to make it outside. From there, it was a short walk to the taxi stand. They piled everyone heading to a certain location in a minibus – Matt and I got the cramped front seat with our driver Roberts – and we were off to Rockley Beach (otherwise known as Accra).
I was feeling much better than the previous day, thanks to Dramamine and my Sea Bands (which I only wore overnight). I was still dizzy, but at least didn’t feel nauseous constantly.
We drove through Bridgetown, where Roberts confirmed that Big John’s, the awesome roti place where I discovered the loss of my camera, had indeed closed. Sigh. We dropped some people off at one stop south of town, and then headed onward to Rockley. There were some older Brits in the back, and all one of them did was ask semi-uncomfortable questions about the differences between England and its former Caribbean holding. He also complained about the price of everything, including the cab ride, which I thought was pretty reasonable at $15/couple.
Our driver dropped us at the Tiki Bar, and made arrangements to pick us up at 3:15.The deal there is you pay $30 for two chairs and an umbrella, and you get $40 (Bajan, which is $2-t0-$1 USD) ‘tiki bucks’ to use at the bar. Since we had no other plans besides beach and beer, that sounded fine to us. Plus the place was nearly empty when we arrived. We got chairs and a couple of Banks and hung out looking at the ocean.
I could look at this forever. It’s amazing.
We went for a swim after a while, and discovered there’s a sand bar a ways out that you can swim to. From there we were able to walk most of the way down toward the other end of the beach. We hung out in the water for a really long time, and then retired to our chairs again for more Banks. The Bajans are proud of their local beer because the reef-filtered water is so different from the volcanic water on the other islands, and for good reason: it’s delicious. We started ordering them in fours at the bar, because it was just easier.
After a while we went to swim again, and then switched to their delicious rum punch. I wanted to stay there longer, but Roberts started milling around the bar around 3pm. We went to use their bathrooms-in-a-cave one last time, and then climbed in the van. The Brits for some reason hadn’t used their tiki bucks up, so they were rushing to use them while a group of us sat waiting in the van. I was not a huge fan of them, but at least it started raining on them while they were still outside.
In the van, we ended up talking to a lady who was on the British P&O Oceana ship in port. She said she was in the middle of a 28-day cruise from Southhampton that was delayed for a few days because the weather was too bad to leave port. I felt like we got really lucky with just a blizzard!
Roberts dropped us at port. It was too late to go back into town, so we got a Mount Gay and coke at Coconuts, the bar at the dock where we’d previously celebrated having recovered my camera. We hung out there for a bit, eavesdropping on dumb girls. There was a wedding that had just taken place, apparently involving people from the Oceana, who got an ovation when they wandered into the bar. Awesome.
We headed into the port shops to look for interesting duty-free liquor (they had nothing special), souvenirs, and snacks. We got a set of the same awesome Banks dominoes we’d brought back for my father-in-law last time, because they’re the best; they have a little metal tack in the center that makes them slide well, and they’re really heavy. We picked up some snacks from the grocery store, including a pack of Go Ahead, because they’re my favorite British snack.
We ended up on one of the last shuttles back to the ship, around 5pm. We watched sailaway from our balcony, then took showers.
We then headed to Rendezvous to play canasta again before dinner. It was finally time to act like civilized people and have dinner in the main dining room, so we went down there about 7:30 and had hardly any wait for a two-person table. (The change in the way dining works on cruises the past few years is my favorite… it works like a regular restaurant now. You don’t have to show up at a fixed time and sit at a big table with strangers if you don’t want to.)
I had a porcini mushroom napoleon that was incredible, and really good potato masala curry. Matt had scallop crudo, French onion soup, a ribeye and red wine. We were way too full for dessert.
After dinner, we headed to the martini bar. We’d expected to find it packed – it was by far the most popular bar on the ship – but we had no trouble getting seats at the bar. This was another of the newly-redone spots, and it was great. The bartenders did flair, things like pouring 7 small cocktails from stacked shaker glasses all at the same time, and they were adorable. Also, the bartop was frozen… it was cold metal that they drenched with water, so it frosted over completely. It was a great setup. Their drinks were excellent, too!
The couple we’d met from Pittsburgh showed up, so we re-introduced ourselves again, as we’d of course all forgotten each others’ names. We ended up talking to them for a long time, and realized we have a ton in common. They even got married in Key West, and talked about moving there too!
They headed to bed, so we decided to do the same. After grabbing a to-go Manhattan, of course. We had them on our balcony, and then went to bed.