Fancy a coconut? If you longingly imagine a machete-wielding vendor on the roadside presenting you with an expertly cut shell, which serves as a natural cup for coconut juice drunk with a straw, you are not necessarily a visitor but quite possibly a Barbadian. The novel presentation appeals to both visitors and locals and the coconut water, perfect for quenching thirst and pleasingly low in calories, also appeals to both groups. The coconut water has other merits as well. It helps deal with problems of the kidney and bladder of concern to all. Coconut water is not the only gift of the coconut. Coconut jelly, when grated, makes an excellent ingredient in coconut bread, sugar cakes and ice cream, served in hotels and homes alike, and is also a great treat when eaten, scooped out straight from the coconut.
Looking for an outing for the kids, and indeed the whole family? We suggest a trip to the north of the island to Barbados’ second city, Speightstown, also known as “Little Bristol” because of strong trading links with that English city in the past. This is not a bustling city like the island’s capital, Bridgetown; indeed, it is rather sleepy and quite quaint but wonderfully rich in history and culture. First stop should be Arlington House, one of the island’s best-kept secrets. Dating back 300 years, this ‘single house’ of Charleston style was restored by the Barbados National Trust and eventually opened to the public in 2008. Despite its historic setting, this museum could not be more modern in its use of technology, creating an interactive experience extremely educational and enjoyable for all ages, but especially for those of primary or early secondary school age.
Over the years Barbados has produced some of the best in the sport, chief among them being our only living National Hero, the Right Excellent Sir Garfield Sobers, OCC, widely acknowledged as “the greatest cricketer the world has ever seen”. Other legends from Barbados include the unforgettable batting trio known as the 3Ws – Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Everton Weekes; the feared bowling duo, Sir Wes Hall and Sir Charles Griffith, the dynamic openers, Desmond Haynes and Gordon Greenidge and the terrifying fast bowler, Malcolm Marshall. All of these played for Barbados and the West Indies with great distinction.
The Gem of the Caribbean Sea. Little England. Bim. These are all names that have been affectionately given to Barbados over the years. One other notable one is ‘the Land of the Flying Fish’. These small fish glide for significant distances above the surface of the water and have given many a spectator the illusion of flight. While they can be found in other territories, Barbados is known for its preparation of Flying Fish as a delicacy, so much so that they became part of our national dish, Cou Cou and Flying Fish. Locals and visitors also enjoy them in Flying Fish Cutters and at many a restaurant, they are included as parts of gourmet main dishes.
The Caribbean is known for its tropical weather, but despite the year-round summer experience that these islands boast, one thing is always seasonal – mangoes! Mango season is in full bloom around summer time in Barbados with trees bearing gifts to share from household to household. Whether you prefer to eat your mangoes sliced and diced or with a good old fashioned squeeze, suck and chew, you’re sure to get a rush of sweet, unparalleled flavour.